September 26, 2022

The third-gen Mazda RX-7 FD represents the height of rotary-powered sports activities vehicles. Right here’s all the pieces it is advisable know when shopping for one.

Mazda RX-7 FD Historical past

By the point the nineties had rolled round, Mazda’s profitable RX-7 wanted a little bit of freshening up. So, whereas the earlier ‘FC’ was barely extra touring targeted, the brand new FD was not solely designed to look radically completely different, however to really feel radically completely different too.

A a lot sleeker automotive than the one it changed, the FD RX-7’s mushy curves stood out amongst the remainder of its angular, blocky JDM rivals. The automotive’s svelte look was matched by its underpinnings, which had been tweaked to supply a extra sporting drive. Properly weighted steering gave drivers the kind of suggestions they wanted to sort out corners with precision, and the engine had advanced into one thing suitably potent. This was achieved because of a posh twin turbo system, whereby the second snail solely kicks in after 4000rpm. The outcome was 236hp within the Euro-spec vehicles, although Japanese market FDs (lots of which, have since been imported) left the manufacturing unit with north of 250. Plus, because the 13B-REW engine has solely a small 1.3-litre capability, it was easy to tuck away behind the entrance axle for a 50:50 weight distribution. The motor’s packaging additionally provides the FD a low centre of gravity, making it a genuinely compelling car to drive.

Nonetheless, not all FDs had been born equal. In spite of everything, this automotive was in manufacturing for the most effective a part of a decade. Vehicles produced between 1992-1995 are known as Sequence 6, and over in Japan, they may very well be had in six completely different variations, starting from performance-focused fashions just like the Kind RZ, to the Touring X which got here with a four-speed auto field. Over right here in Britain, issues had been saved good and easy although: only one choice for us, which had the suspension from Mazda’s sportier home-market RX-7s.

Sequence 7 arrived in 1996, however this was solely actually a minor facelift. The rear wing was redesigned, as had been some parts of the inside, whereas a revised ECU gave the automotive fractionally extra energy. Sequence 8 of 1998 was a extra headline-grabbing evolution of the FD although. On this iteration, Kind RB vehicles had their energy upped to 260hp, whereas the highest line examples boasted 276hp. This included the Kind RS which additionally got here outfitted with upgraded Bilstein suspension, an extended fifth gear, and lowered kerb weight.  The Kind RZ, in the meantime, took issues a step additional. Along with all of the options discovered within the RS, the RZ additionally had a dynamic ABS system and got here with a candy set of 17-inch BBS alloys. One other 10kg was shaved off of it too.

Probably the most sought-after FD RX-7 of all of them, nonetheless, is the Spirit R. Adjustments made to those had been really comparatively minor: upgraded brakes the place maybe the largest draw, although an unique color – Titanium Gray (how thrilling) – was additionally on provide. Solely 1500 of those flagships had been ever made, which in all probability explains the hype across the Spirit R. Properly, that, and its Gran Turismo fame.

In abstract, the Mazda RX-7 FD was – and nonetheless is – a terrific driver’s automotive, and also you don’t have to have the final word trim degree to expertise it at its finest. That stated, whichever spec you go for, the RX-7 is a giant funding, and requires a variety of TLC to maintain wholesome. So, earlier than you make your rotary desires a actuality, have a fast learn of this:

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Mazda RX-7 FD Prime 5 frequent issues

  • Blown apex seals
  • Improper oil upkeep
  • Warmth-damaged engine bay elements
  • Tough fifth gear
  • Knackered suspension

What to look out for on the Mazda RX-7 FD

Mazda RX-7 Bathurst Type R

Engine & Transmission

It’s a typical cliché to query the reliability of rotary engines, however the actuality is usually far much less scary than the net discourse would have you ever consider. Fact be advised, if the 13B-REW is maintained nicely, it may well simply dwell past 100,000 miles. If it isn’t sorted, although, you may be taking a look at a full rebuild at lower than half that mileage. As such, it’s essential that you just purchase from a vendor who’s within the find out about what it takes to run certainly one of these wankel oddities.

By far the largest factor you’ll need to test for on this regard is a stable service historical past. Rotary engines burn oil by design, and meaning they want their fluid ranges topped up way more usually than a daily piston engine. Ideally, you’d need to see proof in writing that the automotive’s been given recent oil each 3000-5000 miles and had a brand new oil filter fitted on most of these events. It’s additionally value noting that many house owners will select to completely flush the oil and change it after a observe day, so ask the vendor in the event that they’ve taken the automotive on observe to see whether or not its servicing historical past matches up.

If it appears as if they’ve accomplished nicely at conserving on high of the automotive’s servicing schedule, the subsequent query to ask could be: “So, what kind of oil do you employ?”. Many engine oils nowadays are artificial, nonetheless synthetics don’t burn, and that makes them incompatible with rotary engines. What you’ll find yourself with is a automotive that’s clogged up with deposits and particles, one thing which is able to finally result in damaged apex seals (extra on that later!) and terminal engine harm. As a substitute, you’ll need to purchase a automotive which has been completely serviced with mineral-based engine oil that’s excessive in zinc.

Assuming nothing has put you off in regards to the automotive thus far, the subsequent essential factor to do could be to carry out a compression take a look at, or view the outcomes of 1 that the proprietor has performed in preparation. You’ll need to be taking a look at readings that are near – or barely above – 100 psi (7.0 bar), with not more than 20 psi distinction between every chamber. Measurements decrease than 80 psi (6.0 bar) are indicative of an engine that’s on the best way out. Typically, the reason for low compression figures will likely be a worn apex seal, or aspect seal.

Except for that, you’ll additionally need to solid your eyes over the vacuum strains related to the dual turbo set-up. The engine bay will get notoriously sizzling within the Mazda RX-7 FD, so these authentic strains can perish within the circumstances after time. In the event that they really feel stiff relatively than rubbery, then they’ll should be changed.

Now right here’s the enjoyable bit – the take a look at drive. Naturally, there’s a couple of issues that you just’ll need to be watching out for, the primary of which is the idle. A wholesome heat engine ought to idle across the 800rpm-mark, so any main variation upon that will counsel that one thing’s awry. Then, test what’s popping out the tailpipes. Steam upon start-up would possibly counsel that the recent engine bay has brought about the RX-7’s coolant seals to waste away. Actually, talking of coolant, it’s vital that the vendor has changed it yearly, in any other case outdated fluid can deteriorate the seals too. Coolant leaks aren’t extraordinary, so take a look to see whether or not there’s any proof dripping away beneath the automotive.

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With these checks all sorted, it’s time to hit the street. The clutch is fairly able to dealing with the FD’s inventory internals, so it’s unlikely to trigger you a lot concern if you happen to’re taking a look at a largely normal automotive. Nonetheless, one factor that may be an issue is the second turbo throughout the twin system. Generally these can fail, both as a consequence of warmth, or lack of use from overly cautious drivers. So, to check whether or not all the pieces’s so as, you’ll have to take the automotive into the upper finish of its rev vary. If it’s all accurately, you’ll really feel a small further splurge of energy when the second turbo comes into play at round 4500rpm.

As for the gearbox? Properly, these are fairly strong as long as you’re coping with comparatively inventory energy ranges. That stated, the shift from fourth into fifth is understood to be an space that suffers from synchromesh put on.

The ultimate factor to say in regards to the Mazda RX-7 FD’s powertrain is that, in the end, most examples can have undergone some kind of aftermarket modification. If accomplished nicely, this could flip the FD into a wholly completely different beast, however ask your self whether or not you really belief the workmanship. If it whiffs of a bodge job, then there’s no disgrace in strolling away.

rear profile shot of bathurst Type R Mazda RX-7 FD

Suspension & Brakes

The excellent news is that if you happen to’ve made it this far, the automotive you’re viewing doesn’t have too many extra exams to move. Typically talking, the remainder of the RX-7 FD past the powertrain tends to outlive relatively nicely. Nonetheless, with a automotive this age, there’s at all times parts of its underpinnings that it is advisable be checking.

Let’s begin with the suspension. By this level, it’s fairly possible that the bushings and different perishable components will likely be in want of consideration, so take a look by way of the automotive’s historical past to see if this has ever been accomplished. Has it been lowered? In that case, ensure that the plastic wheel liners haven’t been eliminated. If they’ve, you then’re simply asking for moisture to begin wreaking havoc with the automotive’s wiring. The vendor’s alternative of alloys can have an effect too. Until you’re taking a look at a high-spec Japanese import, the FD is at its happiest when on a set of 16-inch rims. Something greater than that won’t solely create a harsher trip, but additionally start to pressure the inventory suspension too. So, if there are 17s or 18s fitted to the automotive, you’d ideally need it to have upgraded suspension to manage. Preserve an ear out for any knocking from the rear too.

The usual brakes are usually deemed enough to deal with the inventory iteration of the Mazda RX-7 FD however test to ensure that they aren’t worn. The hydraulic assisted steering, in the meantime, ought to nonetheless be in high-quality well being regardless of its age.

Inside

The within of the automotive is the most effective place to search out out for positive whether or not you’re taking a look at a real UK market RX-7, or a JDM import. British vehicles have storage compartments within the again, whereas a Japanese automotive can have a bench of seats (until after all, it’s a stripped-out observe racer).

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The precise supplies used throughout the FD’s inside are pretty powerful, however by now you need to count on to see a minimum of some indicators of wear and tear and tear on the important thing touchpoints throughout the cabin: steering wheel, gearstick, driver’s seat being the principle ones. Sometimes the hinges for the door pockets can snap too, they usually’re not a straightforward factor to interchange.

Air-con got here as normal on the Mazda RX-7 FD, so be certain it’s working if you happen to plan on utilizing the automotive in summer season in any respect. Plus, relying on its age, you would possibly discover a distinct look to the motive force’s gauges. Sequence 6 vehicles have crimson lighting, whereas the Sequence 7 vehicles got here with inexperienced. One thing completely different solely factors to the gauges being of an aftermarket spec, which tends to imply that the automotive’s been tuned. So, if the proprietor’s been quiet about issues on that entrance thus far, it’s in all probability value quizzing them about it.

Exterior

Modifications are more likely to be the very first thing you discover about any Mazda RX-7 FD’s exterior – it feels as if most nowadays have been restyled, whether or not it’s within the type of a revised aero bundle, or a full-on widebody package. As is the case with any mod, simply make certain that the work’s been accomplished to an excellent normal.

All the principles about rust and outdated vehicles nonetheless completely apply right here too. Verify the wheel arches and sills as you’ll on any car, and the chassis too. FD-specific weak factors embody the realm beneath the brake lights, and likewise the rear wing. Many years of opening the boot by pulling the wing up can enable moisture to gather inside its joins, or if the spoiler’s been deleted, ensure that the remaining holes have been stuffed to an expert normal.

Aside from that, door handles – each outdoors and in – will be fragile, and it’s additionally value conserving in thoughts that alternative physique panels are fairly scarce within the UK.

Mazda RX-7 FD buyer's guide

Mazda RX-7 FD Costs

Sadly, costs for collector vehicles are by way of the roof in the mean time, and there’s no exception to the development right here. Sequence 6 vehicles which have exceeded 100,000 miles will nonetheless command someplace round £20,000, whereas clear early fashions with much less miles underneath the hood can fetch as much as 35 grand. More often than not, it’s these types of vehicles that you just’ll come throughout within the fingers of British distributors. If, nonetheless, they’ve had fascinating upgrades fitted, reminiscent of an RE Amemiya bodykit, you could be taking a look at a price nearer to £40,000.

Wanting on the worldwide RX-7 market as a complete although, costs can attain a lot better heights than that, particularly for well-kept Sequence 7 & 8 vehicles. Customary examples of those with 70,000 miles or much less on the odometer will usually value between £40,000-£60,000 at this level, nonetheless the values attributed to the cream of the crop are downright bonkers. Immaculate high-end Sequence 8s can demand greater than £70,000, whereas untouched Spirit Rs have climbed perilously near the six-figure threshold. Sadly, shopping for a wholesome FD isn’t going to be low-cost anymore, no matter finish of the market you’re in.

On common, within the UK the Mazda RX-7 FD might be a £30,000-£50,000 automotive nowadays. Thoughts you, while you see the kind of cash that different Japanese icons are going for, that determine doesn’t appear fairly so dangerous.