It’s been a mixed couple of weeks on the rotary front. Such is the emotional rollercoaster of owning a Wankel fleet!
Starting with the good, which is all RX-8 based:
The new shed is driving magnificently. It got one hell of stress relieving thrashing after visiting my FD last week and then got treated to a few jobs…
I installed some new gaskets from Essex Rotary. Given the weather at the time I was forced to reinstall the clusters before they had fully dried out and condensation has reformed. Will have to give it another go, but at least the boot has dried out with the new gaskets in place. Both tail lights had drain holes drilled into them which I filled in with silicone sealant.
I have fixed a wiring issue that was stopping one of the tail lights from illuminating. Looks like the wire was previously cut and then crimped for some unknown reason (maybe a connector got broken). Anyway one of the crimps had failed and given how thin the wire is, I decided to solder and heatshrink it back into life.
I have now installed an Xcarlink and Bluetooth add-on to bring the stereo into the modern age. I actually bought it many months ago off eBay simply because I won it cheaply. At the time I wasn’t sure if and when I’d buy another 8, but it feels like an inspired purchase now. Thinking tablet install next.
Finally following a bit of investigative work (rubbing off the dirt hiding the logo), I discovered that my exhaust is a Toyo. This surprised me a little as I thought they were supposed to be louder. I used to run a Cobra (albeit with a RacingBeat resonated decat) and it was so much louder and more droney. So much so that I eventually got rid of it. I’m quite enjoying the Toyo in comparison, although I probably shouldn’t decat it, especially if the car is going to be used for some more track work, which seems likely given that I intend to book onto the Snetterton track day and only have the one working rotary…
Speaking of track work, the car made it’s track debut at Brands last Friday. I was fortunate enough to secure a late place at the expense of Cabriolet (thanks John). It was an excellent day with plenty of familiar faces as well as new ones. Given my limited track day experience Brands had always seemed a little daunting, but despite the initial dampness I had no real issues (probably wasn’t driving hard enough) and the car coped perfectly other than some brake issues. Thanks to Sam for offering me some Mintex 1144s, which coped significantly better than the street Mintex pads which I was able to get smoking after a 10 minute stint. Of course having stuck lower sliding pins on my front callipers may have contributed. Turns out the rubber sleeves had expanded which prevented them from being refitted. Anyway I had no issues after simply removing the offending rubber, but will probably want to have everything back to spec before Snetterton!
With the new pads and a drier track, I finished the day with a big 20 lap session running about 10 seconds a lap quicker than I had in the morning. Sure my PB of about 1.06 was slow compared to some of the others, but I'm pleased with my progress on the day and know where I could make some further improvements.
Given how good the day was, I now want to do more track days in the car. I felt far more confident tracking it than I would be in the FD (which I have tracked a few times and found far less forgiving in wet conditions).
Moving on to the bad – The RX-7
I’m really starting to regret the decision to take a car that was running well and deciding to go for a single turbo conversion.
I made the decision about a year ago and ordered a BorgWarner 8374 internally wastegated turbo from Ben at Rotary Revs, who got me a great price on it. The 8374 is (in theory) a perfect match for the 13B-REW as it is large enough to keep building power until redline, while spooling up incredible early for a turbo of its size. There is loads evidence of people hitting 1bar of boost at 3,000rpm and I’ve spoken to UK owners who have corroborated this and sing its praises. Given that I was running non-sequential on my old setup and I had to wait until 4,000rpm for turbo action, gaining better response and an extra ~150bhp felt like a glorious prospect that I was willing to throw a big chunk of money at.
Skipping to present day, we get to this latest saga in this painfully slow process. Carl has spent countless hours trying to get to the bottom of the suspected fuel system issue. A few weeks ago the car was flooding on cold starts, this was eventually attributed to dirty fuel and after a fill up it looked ok and that tuning could be finished. Instead there have been more issues. Carl informed me that he was experiencing midrange hestitation, and swapped out my secondary injectors. He thought this had worked, and then discovered an additional high rpm issue.
I was invited to see the car last weekend to gain an understanding of what the problems were. The car took the opportunity to be on its worst behaviour. It backfired on starting up and required a little encouragement to idle. After that it drove ok while slowly cruising around, however when I finally got the opportunity to put my foot down there was nothing. The car could barely build boost and then backfired and hesitated. Apparently on other days it has driven better and had hit target boost boost fine (albeit without the desired boost threshold). The whole experience was soul destroying…
Carl is soldiering on with it and hopefully he gets somewhere. Unfortunately he’s now away for 2 weeks, and then later this month I’m having keyhole surgery on my knee. Therefore it seems likely that I won’t be in the car until February at the earliest.
Brands video and pics
RX-7 current state