September 26, 2022

Rotaries. They’re typically thought of the forbidden fruit of the automotive world: excessive efficiency, unbelievable sound, however a frightening status for unreliability. Opinions are inclined to differ on whether or not that status is actually deserved, so in case you’re a ‘half-glass full’ sort of individual, right here’s every part to be careful for when shopping for a Mazda RX-7 FC.

Mazda RX-7 FC Historical past

The second-gen Mazda RX-7, referred to as the FC, first got here to market in 1985 earlier than bowing out seven years later. By Mazda’s personal admission, up to date Porsches performed an enormous function within the inspiration for Akio Uchiyama’s design, which had been tailor-made particularly in direction of the American market.

Its predecessor was a convincing success, promoting practically half 1,000,000 models regardless of its uncommon powertrain. So, for the second iteration, Mazda noticed no want to switch the 1.3-litre twin-rotor motor, and in reality the model would go on to be synonymous with the know-how for an additional 20 years.

There have been a handful of alterations made to the ability unit between generations of RX-7 although. Within the FC, the usually aspirated model got here outfitted with a brand new variable consumption system, however the largest change got here a 12 months after the automotive’s debut. In 1986, the 13B-DEI unit was turbocharged, lifting output from 150hp to round 180hp. The quantity was then inflated once more in 1989 when the FC acquired a facelift, which included a revised twin-scroll turbo and elevated compression ratio. This last evolution of the automotive was good for 200hp, making it roughly a 3rd extra highly effective than the unique FC idea.

A 12 months previous to that, a convertible model of the second-gen RX-7 was additionally launched, known as the FC3C. By comparability, these are a lot rarer, making up for lower than a tenth of all FC RX-7s that ever rolled off the manufacturing line.

The FC’s lifespan was punctuated by a few coupe-based particular editions which might be additionally worthy of observe. The tenth Anniversary version vehicles have been constructed to mark a decade for the reason that debut of the unique RX-7 SA22, and are simply identifiable by their Crystal White bodywork and matching wheel rims. Solely 1500 have been ever made, however from a mechanical perspective, there’s nothing to separate the anniversary fashions from an everyday 180hp turbo automotive.

A bit extra thought did go into the GTUs particular version although. Scarcer than the tenth Anniversary mannequin, the GTUs was saved down to simply 1100 models, and was designed to rejoice Mazda’s successes within the American IMSA sports activities automotive championship. Utilizing the facelifted base automotive as a beginning canvas, Mazda reverted again to a guide window crank and deleted the rear wiper. Additionally they added the suspension often discovered on the turbocharged variant, in addition to upgraded brakes, speed-sensitive energy steering, and subtly revised entrance aero. So, what you ended up with was a barely rawer, however barely extra athletic RX-7.

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Normally although, it’s honest to say that the FC RX-7 is probably the least sporty of the three RX-7 generations. As an alternative, it’s extra of a cruiser with some sporting character sprinkled on high. That stated, after a little bit of fettling, the Mazda RX-7 FC could make for a rewarding driver’s automotive. So, now you already know slightly bit about its origins, let’s dive into all of the stuff you want to concentrate on when in search of one out on the used market.

Mazda RX-7 FC Prime 5 frequent issues

  • Damaged apex seals
  • Low compression fee
  • Defective inside electrics
  • Abused rear differential
  • Pale/peeling paintwork, or rust

Mazda RX-7 FC purchaser’s information

Engine & Transmission

When speaking about rotary-engined vehicles, the very first thing to examine over needs to be the ability unit. Don’t get it twisted although – these engines aren’t inherently self-destructive, they simply want strict, common upkeep to maintain that triangular rotor spinning healthily.

Rotary wankel engines chug by way of oil like nothing else, and if an proprietor doesn’t carry on high of that, the outcomes are simply as catastrophic as they might be if a standard engine was left to run dry. Inexperienced, unaware, or just lazy homeowners may not be used to such a frequent interval for fluid adjustments, so that you’ll wish to look at this a part of the automotive’s historical past very carefully certainly. If the oil hasn’t been absolutely replenished each 3000-6000 miles, or six months (no matter comes first), that is prone to be a pink flag. Significantly eager drivers will high up extra typically than that, because of the fee that these engines burn oil by design.

Should you’re not sure concerning the numbers, begin the automotive up and see how roughly or easily it idles. One of many nice issues about rotary engines is that once they’re wholesome, they’re extremely easy. If this isn’t the case, it might be that the rotor’s apex seals have change into worn as a consequence of inadequate lubrication.

A defective apex seal may additionally current itself in different methods, comparable to a laboured start-up as a consequence of poor compression, although a tough begin may be all the way down to carbon build-up. When on a test-drive, look out for frequent misfiring and a noticeable lack of energy. If the automotive you’re taking a look at is presenting any combination of those signs, you then’re prone to be going through one with seals which might be on their means out.

Rotary engine inside of Mazda RX-7 FC

Try the complete function on this 350hp RX-7

One other factor to be cautious of is the truth that the 13B-DEI doesn’t have a tendency to love operating in chilly situations. Frequent brief use of the engine with out permitting it to succeed in its optimum temperature will finally result in – you guessed it – broken seals. Likewise, if the automotive has typically been made to run scorching, it’ll find yourself blowing its coolant seals. Examine beneath for any coolant leaks to be sure that’s not the case.


The simplest means of getting an general view of the engine’s well being is by operating a compression take a look at. Ideally, you’ll get the vendor to rearrange this previous to your arrival. Total readings of round 100psi are what you’re aiming for, however something decrease than 70psi means that the engine is in want of an imminent rebuild.

One engine quirk which may have an easier resolution, nevertheless, is mid-range hesitancy. Should you discover a trough within the automotive’s energy supply between 3500-4000rpm, that is almost certainly to be as a consequence of a dodgy floor connection. Typically nothing greater than a clear across the wires is required to repair the problem, although a specialist alternative may be on the playing cards if that doesn’t work. For probably the most half although, any kind of engine restore on this automotive is prone to be expensive, given the specialist experience concerned. As such, a historical past of preventative upkeep is essential.

If they’re sorted although, these engines *can* final, regardless of the frequent narrative. Sometimes although, you gained’t get that rather more than 100,000 miles out of 1 earlier than it wants an overhaul. If yours is fitted with a turbo, that’ll additionally final between 80,000-100,000 miles on common.

Transmission-wise, you’ll be glad to listen to that the five-speed guide within the Mazda RX-7 FC doesn’t have any main achilles heels. As an alternative, simply be certain that to be careful for a slipping clutch or crunchy synchromesh, as you’ll on any ageing car.

Additional again, hear out for the rear diff. Any grinding, particularly when turning, ought to have you ever operating for the exit.

Suspension & Brakes

One of many FC RX-7’s social gathering items is its suspension. The earlier SA22 had a little bit of a status for oversteer, so to deal with that, Mazda fitted the FC with unbiased rear suspension slightly than the stay axle discovered on the first-gen automotive. What’s extra, the FC makes use of Mazda’s DTSS (Dynamic Monitoring Suspension System), which adjusts the toe angle at every wheel relying on cornering drive. The intention was to enhance stability, although as a knock-on impact, it does scale back the quantity of really feel and suggestions despatched again to the driving force. That’s removed from preferrred once you’re on a spirited touge run, or taking the automotive drifting, so loads of homeowners could have opted for a DTSS eliminator package by now. This includes changing the versatile customary bushings with inflexible alternate options, guaranteeing that the toe angle stays constant. There’s nothing incorrect with this, nevertheless it’s value inspecting in order that you already know what you’re coping with.

Equally, AAS (Auto Adjusting Suspension) was one other new function on the FC which acquired a blended response. Successfully, this tech alters the damper settings in step with the street floor for an improved trip, however like DTSS, it additionally numbs the expertise. Once more, this speaks to Mazda’s intentions of constructing the FC extra of a sports activities tourer than an all-out sports activities automotive.

Naturally, which means the automotive responds very properly to performance-oriented suspension upgrades, so don’t be shocked if the instance you’re taking a look at has obtained loads of aftermarket consideration. Simply be sure that high quality elements from respected manufacturers have been used.

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As for the brakes, vented discs have been customary all-round on the Mazda RX-7 FC, with the turbocharged variants benefitting from four-piston calipers on the entrance. These will virtually definitely have wanted changing someplace alongside the road for the reason that late eighties, so seek the advice of the automotive’s historical past pack to determine when this occurred.

Regardless of their age, the usual disc design nonetheless holds up properly right now, so if it’s sporting a bigger set, you possibly can count on the automotive to have seen it’s fair proportion of high-intensity use.

The interior of the Mazda RX-7 FC


The inside of the Mazda RX-7 FC seems to be precisely as you’ll count on of a Japanese automotive from the eighties. There’s loads of low cost plastics concerned which might be most likely wanting their age. Plus, because the supplies are fairly brittle, you is perhaps taking a look at some damaged switchgear. If the automotive in query was fitted with leather-based upholstery, that too is prone to be wanting a bit worse for put on by now.

Electrics are one other weak level. The solder used inside the FC’s circuit boards was by no means of the very best high quality, and because the many years have passed by there’s been many circumstances of it merely cracking. So, in case you discover that the FC’s digital devices or horn aren’t working, failed circuit boards are prone to be the problem.

Oh, and whilst you’re contained in the automotive, see in case you can look underneath the carpet within the again. This hidden space can comprise all types of proof about every part from crash harm to water leaks.


Mazda paint from this period wasn’t precisely one of the best that the automotive business needed to provide, so count on it to be light or peeling.

Past these visible defects, you’ll naturally wish to examine for structural corrosion too. A complete look over the chassis is beneficial because of the harshness of street salt, however there’s additionally a number of key drawback spots to pay explicit consideration too.

Like many vehicles, the Mazda RX-7 FC’s sunroof can entice water in its sills, so be certain that there’s no rust there in any other case pretty intensive roof repairs could possibly be so as later down the road. Rainwater may also wreak havoc with the steel body that surrounds the glass of the rear hatch, and the bottom of the antenna is vulnerable to rusting as properly.

Lastly, apart from apparent zones like wheel arches, you need to open up the bonnet and look down in direction of the entrance bumper. The reinforcing metals behind the bumper have been recognized to corrode fairly properly.

Most FC RX-7s could have undergone some kind of visible modification, so if it isn’t to your style, remember to consider the price of placing it proper when haggling on value.

Mazda RX-7 FC Photos