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Thread: Landon's Rotaries

  1. #1
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    Landon's Rotaries

    Hey guys- been on here for a few months but never posted.

    Definitely hooked on rotary engines, I keep buying RX-7s as they're the cheapest way to get them, ha!

    Here's what all I've got so far:

    1983 GS w/ 86K miles, 2nd owner car. Owned since 2006, no plans to ever sell.



    1988 Base model, with lots of mods. Got in 2009 for free, as it wouldn't start and was about to go to the crusher! Definitely saved this one. Now has a rebuilt engine, AC, etc etc a nice dependable daily driver



    Came out to the '88 one day, & someone had left a note on it. "would you like to buy another RX-7- 1987, runs/drives, has extra engine & trans..." I'm thinking, well, yea. So I ring the guy, & he wants $800. My GF & I were discussing a project car, & here's one that's fallen right into our lap. Upon seeing it, we realize it's a rare sport model, w/o sunroof, but has a bad coolant seal. We ended up getting it for $600, and are working on resto-modding it!



    I just graduated USF in mechanical engineering, & my parents bought this as my graduation present. It's an '89, with 67K miles. It was parked in a ladies garage just a block down the street, and hadn't ran since around 2003!! I spent a lot of free time (since school wasn't any longer a priority, haha) getting it back looking like it had the milage it had


    And after buffing/cleaning/getting it running reliably/etc



    That's all I own for now, however here's what I'm going to be picking up this weekend: an '89 GTUs. Another car that's sat some time (since 2004 this time). Shouldn't be too terrible to bring back to life



    And I'll also be trading some Turbo2 FC parts for this engine-less '83. Plan on it is to go either S5 NA engine, or possibly either S4/S5 T2, keeping all the stock ECU/wiring/injection etc, to have a nice reliable easy to drive car.



    I guess you can officially call me a hoarder, since I'll have 6 at one time. In my defense though, I can't bear to see them go to the crushers, or to owners who neglect them and catalyst their time to the crushers, haha. But hey, I'm having a blast fixing them up & driving them around. Hope you guys enjoy! I'll get some more pictures/story up once I get a free bit

  2. #2
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    Seattle
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    Re: Landon's Rotaries

    :tu: Love the collection! Some of us can never have too many rotaries.

  3. #3
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    Dec 2011
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    Auckland, New Zealand
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    Re: Landon's Rotaries

    You can never own too many Mazdas. Looking at my 3rd 70's model Mazda next week! :wink:

  4. #4
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    Tampa FL
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    Re: Landon's Rotaries

    Nice Collection you have there!

  5. #5
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    Sep 2011
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    Re: Landon's Rotaries

    Thanks guys!! Glad you guys can relate, haha. All my non-RX friends in life think i've gone nuts.

    I bought that red GTUs yesterday, and got the title to the brown '83 which I traded some T2 drivetrain parts for.. Really excited, what a weekend!

    I'll have to post up the stories on all these cars here once I get a good while to sit down & write them

  6. #6
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    Re: Landon's Rotaries

    Now you just need a fd to complete the collection.
    Nice cars buy the way wish I never sold my Fc.

  7. #7
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    Re: Landon's Rotaries

    Good time to start writing about these cars, haha. I'll start from square one.

    I'd always ask my dad what type of engine every car had, and it was all redundant. Porsche had a flat 6 in most everything, almost all trucks were 6 or 8's, & some 4's in smaller light duty pickups, etc. I'd ask what was what as it popped into my head. One day, back in... probably 1996 or so, a yellow FD passed us on the highway. I immediately asked him what engine was in it, and he answered "a rotary." I asked what it was, but he had no idea. It wasn't until I received a wankel engine model for my birthday years later that I actually "got" how it worked.

    I checked out several books from the library just after getting my license on rotaries & early Mazdas, and thought it was the neatest thing. I'd always pull engines apart that I could get my hands on, mostly weedwackers & mowers found in the trash thursday night, but the idea of something that created rotating power completely differently than those just continued to amaze me. I had to own one!

    So, when I turned 17 I bought an '87 FC. It wasn't all that bad, here's a picture of it:



    I ended up crashing the car, and selling it only a few months after buying it. I was again rotary-less.

    A friend who rode w/ me a bit in the FC started to get the bug, and I found him an '85 S in the paper for sale. We went to look at it, & I test drove it for him, as I knew the cars a little better from owning one.



    The car wasn't too well off. Secondaries didn't work, turn signal was missing it's detent & spring, so it defaulted to "Left", and the headlight switch didn't work, keep in mind it was night time . Here I am test driving this unsafe car, thinking "I've got to buy this!". As I'm driving, I ask my friend "are.. are you going to buy this?"
    "I'm thinking about it."
    "Let me put it this way, I'm buying it." I said. & I did just that, 2 days later. This was the car that really got me hooked on these things. I drove it for the rest of highschool, and start of college. The 30 mile-each-way commute really did a number on the 195k mile car, and I didn't have time or money to devote to make it a reliable runner. So, in late October of 2006 I decided I needed a more dependable daily driver. A few weeks of looking later I found my brown '83, with 60K miles, from the original owner.

    The ad read that it had never had inside it:
    -pets, cigarettes, food or drinks
    -meticulously maintained, etc. Upon seeing the pictures, my jaw dropped. The old man who owned it was an aircraft salesman, and owned a '47 Piper Cub. He was up to date on maintance with this car just like he was with his plane. It was exceptional! I bought the car a few days after seeing the ad, and was so over joyed!

    It was my daily until mid 2007, when I was passed down a Camry from my mom to take to school, and left this car in the garage for only nice days. I would wash the first gen at least twice weekly, and it was ALWAYS covered the whole time it was my daily. I was extremely protective of it, haha.

    Here's some pictures of it:













    The car has remained almost completely untouched, modification wise the whole time I've owned it. All that's been done: Louvers, glass sunroof. No radio, exhaust, or anything of the like. I will be keeping it this way!

    That's all for now, I'll continue the other car's stories here soon

  8. #8
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    Dec 2011
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    Auckland, New Zealand
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    Re: Landon's Rotaries

    I'm loving that brown(?) RX-7. I would love to own an early all origy RX-7 but all the ones I have looked at here in NZ have been tweeked in some way. I'll keep looking but must say I'm really jealous of your one!!
    Keep the car pictures and stories coming please mate, loving your work!

  9. #9
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    Re: Landon's Rotaries

    OK, here's the story on the white 88 4 lug car.

    Back in 05, met a friend Joe, who owned the car. It was his daily, and I'd see him + the car at all the RX-7 meet ups, etc. Time went on, Both of us got busy with school, until one day back in Nov 2009, when I checked a local racing forum. He'd posted on there, saying he was giving his car away!

    I immediately posted, saying I'd take it. 3 other people called dibs on it before me, though.

    A few hours later & my phone rings, it was Joe. He told me the situation- Car'd sat for 8 months, wouldn't start, was parked at an apartment complex where he didn't even live at anymore. Had many tow warnings, & was set for impounding on Tuesday, it was currently a Saturday.. So that's 3 days only! Now, being a shit box 80s car that doesn't run, it's sure to be headed to the crusher, which wasn't OK with me.

    He told me about the other 3 people who'd called it before me, but said he knew how much I cared for these cars, & would rather it go to me, so he just told them all that it had been sold. An hour later I was on my way with my dad's truck & a trailer to get the car. It was 3 hours north of me!

    I got it home, and it looked like this-





    Not bad from far away, but there were MANY problems-

    -It had no radio
    - 4 flat tires
    - No brakes (brake pedal went to the floor)
    -A blown engine that would not even turn over
    -Both door handles were broken (entry into car was by popping the hatch, and pulling speaker cable tied to the interior drivers door handle, which was left unlocked)
    -What I would define as a “dis-tasteful” exhaust and wheel s set up (Wheel shop 17”s and 2 HUGE rice cannons)
    -The only electrical items which worked were what nesicary to driving were: headlights/brake lights/turn signals, engine ignition system.
    -A/C was FULLY removed, except for the evaporator, which had a hole in it.
    -Sunroof was RTV’d (silicone sealant) shut
    -Holes in roof from severe rust due to sunroof being glued
    About a week after bringing the car home, I got a new battery for it, and started seeing what was wrong. Found that the negative lead to the starter solenoid had falling off, and that was the cause of the no start. Once installed, it started right up after 9 months of sitting, and not without a TON of smoke. A new brake master cylinder fixed the brakeless-ness of the car, and a parts car supplied some nesicarry goodies like the door handles. It was about this time when I found out the engine was blown…

    Keeping in mind the initial cost of the car, I decided it would be wise to restore it back to daily-drivable condition, however I had to meet two personal goals along the way: 1) anything purchased for the restore would be either ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY to the build, or would be bought at an unbeatable price. 2) Keep the car as 80s/original as possible, only upgrading parts when they’re cheaper/better than OEM.
    I started out with the engine.



    I found a used, known running non-turbo rotary out of an S5 RX-7 (1989-1991). These had higher compression (9.7:1 as compared to the 9.4:1 which is in the car), but could be made to work with a few modifications, and use of the stock wiring harness. While I had the short block out of the car, I decided to tear it apart and rebuild it in my garage; to be sure there wouldn’t be a hidden coolant leak or the like. Upon finishing, I pulled the blown S4 engine out and installed the S5 engine.
    From this point on is where I begun the true restoration, in my eyes, of the car:
    -I was given an OEM stereo/cassette player (definitely goes along with the 80s them)
    -A donor car in the junkyard provided most of the A/C components: condenser, evaporator, all hard & soft lines. I installed a reman’d compressor, new dryer, new expansion valve, and a new rubber o-ring at each coupling joint, and had it filled with Freeze12 (Like R12, but still legally purchasable). A condenser fan was also added, I’ve had vent temperatures of 37* F in April, in FL.
    -The warning lights/clock did not work, the wipers only worked on 1 speed, the horn and factory alarm did not work, and the A/C control head wouldn’t blow but on defrost. Everything was fixed by removing the item, taking it apart further to get to the PCB boards within, and resoldering every solder joint. These cars are famed for having bad electrical (almost up there w/ old MG’s haha) but everything works in this car, with the exception of the power antenna mast, & 3 illumination bulbs in the stereo/AC control head.
    -I added cruise control from another vehicle, as well as power mirrors, and ignition keyhole illumination.
    -The wheels were a Craigslist score for $250, with brand new tires and center caps. They’re period-correct Enkei 92 mesh, 14x6.5”.
    -Car was on cut factory springs, I found Tanabe lowering springs and switched to them and it actually RAISED the ride height.
    -Rust in roof was cut out; panels cut from a donor RX-7 were welded in. An acrylic sunroof (very rare) was found for $50 and installed.
    -The dash was pulled to remove the carpet, along with the hatch carpet and all seat/storage belts. Everything was scrubbed down with a hard bristle brush/soap & then pressure washed. The main carpet had to be dyed RIT “royal blue” to bring back its color. The interior, save for the seats, is like new.
    -I installed the S5 Intake manifold, which has a more efficient flow path. Mazda engineers discovered that >5000 RPM, at the moment the intake port is shut by the rotor, a shockwave like pulse of intake air at ~1psi is sent traveling away from the port. This manifold takes advantage of this phenomenon by opening a passageway for the pulse to travel, when above 5000 RPM, into the other rotor’s intake port. The effect is called VDI, (Variable Dynamic-Effect Intake), and combined with the .3 higher compression, allowed this engine to make 160 bhp over the 146 of the original engine. (This engine was actually the record holder of the most power per liter displacement, only being 1308cc in size. The record was lost to the RX-8, with 238bhp, also 1308cc.) The intake manifold also has provisions for opening secondary intake ports above 3800 RPM. In the 1989 and up cars, these were opened from pressure actuators receiving pressure from the smog pump, and opened via solenoids controlled by the ECU. This being an 88, I had to use aftermarket RPM trigger switches, which send out 3V at a set-by-user RPM point (in this case, 3800 & 5100 RPM). The 3V travels to relays which step up the voltage to 12V, which is then sent to OEM emissions solenoids which weren’t used due to the newer emissions on the S5 engine. A factory smog pump supplies the air to these solenoids, which in turn, control the pressure actuators. A round-about way of making a newer factory design work in an older car.
    -I did away with the exhaust, in favor for a fully stainless steel mix of Borla cat-back/ Racing Beat (Big name in rotaries) header & presilencer. New, it was a $920 combination; I got extremely lucky and obtained it for only $7!! This was probably the best deal I’d gotten on the car!
    -The red hood is a rare factory hood; however it’s made of aluminum and is half the weight of a comparable steel hood.
    -I put a sport aero kit (front air dam & front/rear rear tire spats, aero spoiler, and aluminum engine under pan) from an 86-87 sport RX-7. I plan to make a full underbody pan soon; similar to what’s going into new cars, for a better drag coefficient.
    This being said, the only thing NOT touched yet is the paint/body work. I’ve buffed and waxed it, but that only does so much when there’s dents covered in rust-proofing paint, mis-matched hoods, and battlefield-esque welded panels on the roof. I’d love to have it painted, but that takes away from the do-it-myself aspect, as well as the cost aspect. I’ve got about $5000 into the car entirely, which is quite a lot.

    I've learned SOOO much from working on this it's crazy. This is definitely the car that's gotten me hooked, and I'd almost venture to say I like it the most out of all of them just because of the amount I've done with/to it. Here's some pictures of how it is now!





    Only real goal is to pull out the big dent on the drivers side, and paint it. I think I can learn to paint once I buy the equipment, and do a good job myself. Just another skill to learn!

    More coming soon!

  10. #10
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    Sep 2011
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    Re: Landon's Rotaries

    Onto the '87 Sport-

    As I said, my GF & I bought it for $600 with bad coolant seal. It was ROUGH- The whole interior had been spray painted black, almost nothing worked, etc. Ouch. But we were determined to fix it up! So we picked it up anyway. & hey, it came w/ a spare engine (though had a bad apex seal) & trans, so why not.



    Bondo falling out of a poor bondo fill job, only "sport" item is the rear wing. No mirror glass, nasty S4 tails



    The awful interior



    Extra parts! Drove it home like this (barely)





    Under the hood- Note there's no belly pan, fan shroud, the clutch hose is a single piece of hose..


    Thermostat cover held on by vice grips- there wasn't a thermostat in the car either (between this & no belly pan or fan shroud, plus a bad radiator- this engine died of overheat)



    Another Gem lol

    So yea... It was rough

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