A rotary engine can be one of the most reliable and trustworthy motors in the world provided you give it proper care that it deserves. Having only a small number of moving parts, it does not have usual breakdowns and headaches related to a piston engine. Mazda Rx8 is one of those sports cars that were imported in relatively high numbers due to its smaller engine cc, hence low import taxes. So if you own a Rx 8 here are few things you need to keep in mind to make sure your engine doesn’t give up on you in the middle of the road.
With all automobiles, an oil change is supposed to be one of the most significant and vital regular maintenance steps. The used oil should be completely drained and replaced with correct viscosity motor oil. A rotary engine is lubricated very differently than a conventional piston engine. Mazda recommends its own Mazda 5W30 Dexelia Ultra engine oil. Rotary engine experts in other countries recommend any good brand semi-synthetic 10w40. But here in Pakistan, it is usually recommended to stick with the regular 20W-50 mineral oil. The length of setting up a new oil change should be every 3,000 kilometers. We have a lot of dust and impurities in our fuel. So it is better to be cautious with the oil changes. And keep checking your engine oil level regularly since you actively burn engine oil during the process of running the motor.
Cooling and other maintenance
Rotary engines require a little more care considering they are different than your average piston engine and rev at higher RPMs. And bad or irregular cooling can really hurt your rotary engine. Make sure you get the best coolant for your car and keep checking the coolant level. You do not want to overheat your rotary engine. A piston engine will survive an overheat. You might just get away with a gasket change. But rotary will not forgive you that easily if you overheat it.
Also, keep in mind to check the spark plugs after every 10,000 km. Rotary engines are prone to carbon deposits relatively quicker than piston engines. Carbon can be bad for your apex seals. Rev the engine now and then to make sure you don’t let the carbon to deposit. Rotary engines love to rev anyway. So don’t worry when you redline it for few seconds.
Also, make sure you inspect the air filter after every oil change and replace it when dirty. Other than that, keep an eye on the engine bay for any oil leaks, greasy or oily marks, or any sort of leaking in the garage where you park your car. Keep an eye on belts as an extra precaution.
Compression testing a rotary
In a piston engine, you have rings to make compression when the piston goes upwards for a spark plug to make a bang. In a rotary engine, you have apex seals. Apex seals are small blade like wedges mounted on the three corners of a rotor. Those seals keep a surface contact with the inner lining of the cylinder. With the passage of time, the seals drop the integrity of a contact, and you start to lose the compression. And that’s why, get your engine compression tested. Here are the PSI numbers of a healthy rotary engine:
- Normal compression – 110-150 PSI
- Minimum acceptable pressure – 75 PSI
Rotaries can be as reliable as a piston engine. The thing is, since they are a different breed than a piston engine, they have different maintenance requirements as well.