Maintenance Schedule

Last updated: April 9, 1998

Date: Tue, 7 Apr 1998 10:36:00 -0500
From: "Westbrook, Chuck"

The best way to prevent failures is to very frequently inspect your car's systems. These cars are almost like aircraft in their complexity and in their performance capabilities. Treat them as one! Who wants a failure at 100MPH+?

Inspection, and replacement requirements IMOHO!

  1. coolant level, change yearly and add Red Line Water Wetter, use the least amount of antifreeze as is needed for your location, use distilled water

  2. coolant system hoses, change after about 5 years

  3. fan belts, change after about 4 years

  4. oil level, change every 2500 to 3000 miles with new filter

  5. change transmission and differential oil yearly

  6. change spark plugs yearly

  7. change air filter yearly if paper, K&N wash and re-oil

  8. brake fluid, flush system yearly, same applies to the clutch

  9. tire air pressure, monthly

  10. brake pads, replace at least every other year

  11. check battery for leakage

  12. power steering fluid level

  13. look at everything else

  14. If the car has been at the dealership or any common shop, check everything!


Schedule 1 (Normal Driving Conditions) U.S.A.

Change oil and filter every 7.5 months or 7500 miles. OK! Trash this one and do the real schedule.

Schedule 2 (Unique Driving Conditions) U.S.A.

This is a combination maintenance schedule for unique driving conditions and Canada. Some of the items listed under Canada are not listed under the U.S schedule. From my '93 workshop manual.

Rotary Performance has a maintenance schedule on their site as well.

Date: Thu, 03 Feb 2000 10:20:49 -0800
From: Dave McAnaney (

There are two O-rings below the filter pedestal that tend to harden-up and eventually leak. I have replaced these O-rings after I saw a small leak. The local Mazda dealer had them in stock (~$.75/each).

To replace the O-rings, remove the oil filter (it's probably best to drain the oil before hand). Remove the two nuts holding the filter pedestal to the mount and slide the pedestal up to clear the studs. I had to jockey the pedestal around a bit before it would clear the studs, but I did not have to loosen or remove the pipe going to the oil cooler from the pedestal. Be sure you remove all the pieces of the old O-rings before fitting the new ones into the grooves. Replace the pedestal and torque the nuts as specified (don't over-torque - they don't need to be too tight!!). Good luck!

Date: Sun, 11 Oct 1998 18:40:18 EDT

I've stored RX-7's for the last eight Winters in the Chicago area without mishap or Springtime problems, although it doesn't get as cold as Calgary.

Before winter:

Some folks lower tire pressures and/or putting the car on jackstands, but I've not done that and have never had any tire related problem.

In the Spring:

  1. Replace Battery

  2. Check all fluids levels

  3. Remove EGI fuse

  4. Do a visual inspection of the car and engine bay, and under the car. (I had a mouse living on top of my dymanic chamber last winter, with all the dropping which accompany such a critter. I also had antifreeze leaking onto the ground which turned out to be a failed water pump).

  5. When you are satified that all is well, crank engine 6-10 times with EGI fuse out to wet internal engine parts with oil

  6. Replace EGI fuse and start engine

After startup, the engine ususally lumbers for a few minutes. Don't race it. Let it come up to operating speed itself. Let it come up to operating temperature and run for 10-15 minutes before driving.


From: Steve Cirian

In addition to the above, also do the following if the car is to be stored for longer periods:

Put the car up on jackstands , and make sure you put the stands under the suspension members, not the frame, i.e.- so the shocks are compressed. This will prevent rust ridges from building up with the shocks in the extended position, which would get forced past the seals when the car is let down and the suspension re-compresses.

Auto parts stores sell fuel stabilizer - dump a can in the tank, drive around the block to mix and suck some through the system, and then park it. (Or follow directions on the bottle.)

Remove the plugs, and squirt a little oil in the hole. Rotate to the next combustion chamber and repeat. Repeat until all chambers have been oiled. You will need to make sure all the plugs are removed, or disable the ignition, so the car does not fire, or you will lose track of which chamber is done. (I have not done this on a rotary, just a piston car, so I am guessing a little here.)

Date: Sun, 23 Aug 1998 14:56:56 -0400
From: "Houseman, Carl W. x1323"

Ta-da! Here are the results of the survey on 3rd gen engine reliability.


Responses: 94 (way to go, people!)
Persons reporting previously owned car plus current car: 3
Persons reporting current ownership of 2 cars: 1

Although I didn't ask in the survey for the year of the vehicle (I should have), most of you did include the year, or I figured it out from prior correspondance. So I have broken down some data by year, but keep in mind that the year-based numbers do not add up to the total responses.

91:			 1 (Japanese spec)
93:			44
94:			24
95:			 1
96:			 1 (Japanese spec)
Unspecified:	23

Total vehicle mileage among ALL cars:
00000-09999: 3
10000-19999: 4
20000-29999: 13
30000-39999: 16
40000-49999: 14  Average: 49518
50000-59999: 13
60000-69999: 12
70000-79999: 8
80000-89999: 4
90000-99999: 4
100000+: 3

Total vehicle mileage among 93 and older cars:
00000-09999: 1
20000-29999: 4
30000-39999: 4
40000-49999: 5
50000-59999: 7
60000-69999: 9  Average: 60003
70000-79999: 6
80000-89999: 3
90000-99999: 3
100000+: 3

Total vehicle mileage among 94 and newer cars:
10000-19999: 3
20000-29999: 6
30000-39999: 7  Average: 35126
40000-49999: 6
50000-59999: 3
70000-79999: 1

Modifications (current engine):

Stock or minor mods: 65 (69%)
Recently modified: 5
Not so recently modified: 24

Note: Less than 3 months or 5000 miles on mods I classified as "recently modified". For "minor mods", a K&N drop-in, cat-back, and RB intake duct were not counted as mods unless all were present and accompanied by a high-flow cat. A downpipe or free-flow intake with nothing else were also considered stock.


Note that I did not include failures where some part of the failure could be ascribed to mechanic or owner error, unless the error resulted in total engine replacement, which is noted below. Also there was one case where a serious failure was noted but the engine had not yet been replaced (o-rings); I counted that as a replacement/rebuild.

Cars still on original engine: 81 (86%)
Replacement/rebuilt engines installed: 14
Cars on first replacement/rebuilt engine: 12 (13%)
Cars on 2rd replacement/rebuilt engine: 1
Failures due to known overheating: 4
Failures due to overheat during track events: 3
By year: those engine replacements which gave a year were all 93s.
By modifications: 10 failed engines were stock, 4 were modified.
None of the modified failures were recent.

Engine failure or rebuild due to:
  Apex seals: 3
  Side seals: 1
  Low compression: 2
  Water O-rings: 6 (only 1 due to known overheating)
  Other: 1 (oil metering jet came loose)
  Unknown: 1

Replacement engine origin:
  Factory rebuild: 6
  Dealer rebuilt: 2
  Specialty rebuild: 5
  Not yet replaced: 1

Turbos replaced: 8 (excludes failure if result of engine failure)
Turbo replacement mileage: 
  20-29K: 2, 30-39K: 1, 40-49K:1, 50-59K: 3, Unknown: 1

Other nuisances:
  IC hose/tubing leaks: 22
  Vacuum line problems: 18
  Oil metering pump: 1
  Sensors: 5
  Clogged cats @ < 50K: 4
  Electrical: 3
    EGR valve: 6
    Water pump failure: 8
    Low boost, unknown cause: 2
    Throttle body gasket: 1

Note: if you didn't mention EGR or water pump failures because they don't strictly impact power or reliability (unless water pump problem is ignored), that's OK. I just included the numbers above because so many people did mention them.

Conclusions/opinions: I think the results speak for themselves. Some of you will look at a 15% engine failure rate and say it's terrible, others will think it's great. Given suggestions that 50% of cars for sale on have rebuilt engines, I think it's not bad - and it stands to reason that people who've had engine failures would be disillusioned and wanting to sell their cars.

Some of you wondered about reporting other (non-engine) reliability/quality problems, owner age, and so forth. If somebody wants to run the full-tilt nothing-excluded survey, I'll answer it, but I'm not doing it!!!

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