Author Topic: 1981 RX-7 Back from Storage  (Read 1966 times)

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Offline vbjohnc

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1981 RX-7 Back from Storage
« on: June 22, 2014, 02:18:26 AM »
I am a new member who is bringing his first car back from Boston where it has been in storage since 1988, yes, that would be 26 years! I am going to get it back on the road for my teenage son. I know enough to know not to start it until I see if the seals are still good in the 12A and am leaning toward rebuilding the engine. Does this group have hands-on sessions to get some pointers on how to do this? Anyone done this before and can offer a good website or video? Any help would be appreciated. Towing it back next month!

Offline ~Groll69~

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Re: 1981 RX-7 Back from Storage
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2014, 10:21:43 AM »
We haven't done any hands on assembly class at all.  There are a few people on here who have rebuilt their 13b engines.  I myself am currently working on getting a 84 up an running for a guy in northville.  His car had sat for 8 years.  It took a bit to finally get running.  Instead of pulling the engine apart, if you have low miles, the seals should still be good.  i would suggest put some oil into the chambers and hand rotate the engine a few times to help the seals become re-oiled, not to mention you will have to check all hoses etc.  I am not sure how yours was stored, but the guy's that i have been working on, was not properly store so there is a lot of rust that creeped up.  I actually had a hard brake line blow when i was bleeding the rear brakes.  The important thing is just make sure you get oil through out to help ensure they function properly.  I am not an expert so if anyone else wants to wiegh in, please do so.

BTW thank you for joining and we hope to see the car on the road soon.
"Long Live Rotary"

An RX-7 is like having a slut as a gf! She will love you, but she will also screw around with the guy at the parts store, most of the local cops, your insurance agent, your apex seals, your bank account and your credit card!!!

Offline murz

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Re: 1981 RX-7 Back from Storage
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2014, 10:53:55 PM »
Awesome, how many miles are on the car? Would love to see some pictures! Lucky son haha.

Anyways, I'm currently in the middle of rebuilding a 13b from a 1986 Rx-7, I have ZERO automotive maintenance experience prior to this. It's not really that bad so far, it's not really even that time consuming, it's been about 2 months since I've started and I could have done this all in a week or even less if I stayed constant and had all the parts.  Just to help, I ordered Atkins Rebuild DvD, it looks like they offer one for the 12a as well (You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login). Looking ahead at the re-assembly portion, I'm not intimidated in the slightest. Would definitely recommend that DvD, as well as utilizing these forums and Rx7club forums (You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login).

Pretty much what Groll69 said though, since it sat for a while in the NE at that (Dry-rot), you'll need to replace a bit of things, hoses, lines etc. Guessing how many miles are on it and how it was stored really is the determining factor though. I'm not an expert either, but I'm quickly learning the ropes! Anyways, if I can do it, you can! Good luck with the build, hope to hear more on it!
1986 AS GXL Turbo swapped
1991 BB convertible
1993 VR R1

Offline vbjohnc

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Re: 1981 RX-7 Back from Storage
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2014, 03:12:22 AM »
Hi guys,

Step One - Done. I just completed a 13 hour drive to get my baby back from Boston. It was on blocks and had some surface rust so it's not too bad appearance-wise. Overall storage was nothing special, it was covered in an unheated garage and if I remember fully gassed up. I never got my brothers to cooperate by helping me start it every few month and they even ended up stealing my battery but oh well.

Got it into the garage off the U-Haul trailer today. Good thing I was prepared and had a Harbor Freight winch all set up on a hitch to help me get it up and down the trailer and finally up the driveway. I have not dared start it up yet. I will order the recommended video to take a look. Nice to hear it won't be too difficult. I hope I won't have problems as I am pretty handy and a mechanical engineer by education. Just have never overhauled an engine before. Thanks guys for the great advice.

I will try adding oil and turning over the engine a few times manually and have been even thinking about finding one of those compression testers specific to rotary engines to take a look at the seals. It does however have 97K miles on it.

My son is stoked. It has the front air dam with the slots for fog lights, rear spoiler and the louvers over the rear hatch. Pretty standard cool for its day. Standard alum wheels and oh I put a very nice Recaro seat in from its early days. Silver/black interior. 1981 GS.

Offline ~Groll69~

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Re: 1981 RX-7 Back from Storage
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2014, 12:38:15 PM »
if it was stored with a full tank of gas, you will need to drain that all before ever attempting to start it.    I am sure the gas has gone bad.  I am learning on putting mine together.  I need to order the special washers for mine. Not sure if there is anything else i need to pick up for it.
"Long Live Rotary"

An RX-7 is like having a slut as a gf! She will love you, but she will also screw around with the guy at the parts store, most of the local cops, your insurance agent, your apex seals, your bank account and your credit card!!!

Offline ITSWILL

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Re: 1981 RX-7 Back from Storage
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2014, 09:55:11 PM »
This thing sounds pretty cool.  Get some pics up when you get a chance.  Also feel free to start a build thread, I would be interested to watch the progress.
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Offline murz

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Re: 1981 RX-7 Back from Storage
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2014, 09:53:58 PM »
I agree, I would love to see some pictures, and watch the progress. Anyways, congratulations with step one being complete!
1986 AS GXL Turbo swapped
1991 BB convertible
1993 VR R1

Offline vbjohnc

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Re: 1981 RX-7 Back from Storage
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2016, 02:48:53 PM »
Update on my slow but forward progress. Yes, it's been 2 years since I've reported back but I've been working on it. Honest!  :-\

Initial items replaced were the coolant hoses, oil, antifreeze, belts and plugs.  Next step was to make sure the engine seals were ok. Drenched the engine through the spark plug ports with Marvel Mystery oil and found that the engine turned by hand very easily. Rigged up a pressure transducer through which I got direction from a website and hooked it up to my laptop. I found this to be a very cost effective tool as compared to the Mazda tool.

First thing I found was the starter was gone. Replaced that. I was then able to crank the engine without the fuel feed and was able to record on a laptop the various chamber pressures for all three seals on each of the two rotors. I was elated to find they all were fine. No seizing whatsoever.

Next step was to start the car with the fuel system but found that being in storage so long my entire fuel system was gone, basically all varnished up. Disassembled the tank. Drained it and then had it resealed and resealed through Tank Renu (You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login) in Detroit. They have a lifetime guarantee which I think is great! I also ended up replacing the fuel filter and the fuel pump. Tried starting it and while it ran fine with some starter fluid (I was doing somersaults at this point) I was not able to get it to idle.  By the way it sounded great. Elated that I knew I didn't need to do an engine rebuild. I forgot how cool the rotaries sound (turbine always comes to mind). Opened up the air filter and found fuel flooding over all the carburetor.

Next step - rebuild the carburetor. Never done this before. Was careful to follow as much as I could read on the internet. It was bitch to take off the mounting nuts as it was extremely tight to get a wrench in there. Ordered a rebuild kit, took a lot of pictures and found a ton of varnish inside the bowls and floats. Watched out for the little bearings and labeled almost everything. Cleaned it and replaced as many parts as I could (washers, jets, gaskets). Have since remounted it (again a bitch to get on) but still no luck. While it starts up now, it starts at very high idle with the choke pulled out but there is no ability to idle at all.

Requesting if anyone has any experience with a 12A carburetor if some suggestions can be made. Rat's nest was put back in place as originally found. I'm thinking either there is an vacuum leak somewhere or I missed a linkage to one of the cables. Help!! Thanks!

Offline ITSWILL

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Re: 1981 RX-7 Back from Storage
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2016, 08:05:24 AM »
Sounds like the low speed idle circuit is blocked up. Maybe just a big vacuum leak too.
86 Base LS1 w/100 shot
88 TII 20B T70 turbo