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The Mazda Rotary Engine is a very durable design if set up properly. Unfortunately if attention to detail is not done upon startup a perfectly serviceable engine (used) or a very valuable investment (rebuilt) engine can be damaged or even destroyed upon startup.

The engines built today seldom are installed by professionals and dealers, independents and enthusiasts all pose a risk of compromising the rotary within minutes, hours, days or weeks after startup if they are not aware of some very basic practices.

The first rule in any install will be “you’re engine is only as good as its’ weakest point” or accessory. The second rule in your install will be, “think and plan ahead”. The third rule will be patience in troubleshooting and break in.

Additionally the RX8 is highly sophisticated in its engine management system and many engines have been condemned by a lack of understanding of this system. So in addition to these written basics the ECU has to function 100% correctly to enable the RX8 to run correctly.

An untrained installer overlooking a intake manifold cleaning, solenoid testing, wiring diagrams, break in procedures or a failure to consistently and methodically reboot and reprogram the adaptive memory cells in the RAM of the computer will often end in frustration.

             Close attention to basic mechanicals as well as electrical must be performed

#1.WEAK POINTS Even a used engine installation is quite an investment requiring a new water pump, radiator, radiator and heater hoses, belts, spark plugs, wire set and fuel filter and depending on configuration it may require fuel injectors and grommets, clutch assembly, turbo , coils and/or distributor cap and rotor. These components are critical; Do you make Tollhouse cookies with Western Family chocolate flavored chips and margarine? Or do you use Hersheys chocolate and butter? . . . . . . Well?

So ask yourself, What if you put a $2000 engine into a chassis with a $4.00 heater hose that leaks. Or if you put a $3000 engine into a RX8 with old coils. . . . . . hmm

And what about engine life? Typically the difference between a engine that goes 30K miles or 100K can often be traced to a lack of investment into a new radiator or a critical accessory.

Let’s not forget to talk about the most neglected part left in a chassis, the oil cooler. What makes us think that we can have a catastrophic internally lubricated part fail in our last engine, with the old failed engine putting metallic material into the entire system and leave the oil cooler full of the previous engines failed particulates. You wouldn’t put sand in your oil filter for your new engine, but the oil cooler . . . . . . . it’ll be alright!

Your install is only as good as its’ weakest point!


                                                             STARTUP PLANNING.


  1. Battery is fully charged and is capable of 700 CCA minimum
  2. Starter is capable of 250 RPM – RX8 verify on a OBDII in live data
  3. Cooling system is topped of and holds 11-12 psi
  4. Gallon of coolant is ready for top off upon firing and after thermostat opens
  5. Spark plugs are out
  6. Ignition disabled
  7. Oil is full
  8. Crank the engine- during cranking the entire oiling system needs to undergo a visual inspection for leaks
  9. Audible verify compression- simultaneously
  10. Enable ignition and install start up plugs
  11. Timing has been statically verified and timing light has been connected to L1.
  12. Oil up chambers, ½ pint in both front and rear chambers
  13. Fuel is being delivered, is fresh and proper pressure, Fuel system is previously known to provide no drive ability problems (don’t try to dial in a newly jetted side draft on a new engine)
  14. Have second person (throttle man) start engine and hold at 3000 RPM for 2 minutes
  15. Throttle man to verify and monitor oil pressure
  16. Look under car for leaks first 10-30 seconds.
  17. Top off radiator
  18. Throttle man @ minute 3-4 gradually lower RPMs to 2000
  19. When thermostat opens fill radiator again and seal with cap
  20. Set ignition timing
  21. Check car for coolant and oil leaks
  22. Continuously verify gauges
  23. Road test for 20-50 miles
  24. After returning to shop shut car off , let sit 10 minutes and verify restart

#3. TROUBLE SHOOTING. Rotary engines go thru many changes within the first 500- 1000 miles or 10- 40 hours of initial start up.


Cost is $100

Contact us on the web or phone Roberta Robertson at 503-349-9194 for more information on training.                       2017 Workshop Dates JUNE 16 ,17 & 18

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