Jim Rothe's Mazda RX-7 Page

This document last modified October 7, 2007.
Body Restoration of my RX-7

And more Body Restoration.

Page 3 of my body restoration saga.

The last (and final?) Page of my body restoration saga.

But wait -- there's more!

My new, 1985 GSL-SE. I owned a 1984 GSL-SE for about three years. I did most of the work on it myself, including removing and reinstalling the engine after it blew an apex seal in October, 1998. Mechanically, that car was perfect, but the body had significant rust and was in need of a restoration. That would have required new doors, front fenders, a valence, and some professional quality welding and painting. Those were skills that I didn't have, but I did want to restore that car. So I started looking around for a parts car. Take a look at what I found....

Stacey's RX-7 , stolen and recovered...

The absolute first thing that you should buy after you get an RX-7...

Further Reading for GSL-SE Owners

The 1984 Mazda Training Manual is an invaluable supplement to the 1984 and 1985 Mazda Shop Manuals.

RX-7 Parts Catalogs for all years of the RX-7.

1985 Service Bulletins for the first generation RX-7.

Mailing Lists are probably the next best place to get technical help on maintaining and modifying RX-7s. If you're brand new to the rotary scene, though, please make a point of exhausting the other links below first. The General Information, Personal Pages and Club Web Sites, and Vendors sections of this page all have excellent technical information and FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) pages. I've even got a few tidbits of my own in the Tips section.

General Info about Rotary Engines and Mazda

1984 and 1985 Mazda RX-7 Sales Brochures -- scanned images of the original dealer literature

March 1984 Car & Driver Article on the RX-7 GSL-SE -- a great article on the culmination of the first generation RX-7

Personal Pages and Club Web Sites of RX-7 enthusiasts all over the world

Tips from my own experiences.

Vendors for parts and performance add-ons.

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Mailing Lists

The descriptions of the lists below and instructions accompanying them have all been taken from e-mail messages from the list administrators themselves. If any information contained below has changed please let me know -- JR.

First Gen RX-7 (SA22C) FB Mailing List, formerly known as the RX7-FB mailing list

If you have a 1985 or older rotary-powered vehicle (RX-7, -4, -3, etc.) this is probably the best support group out there. Suscription information is here.

Team FC3S - Second Generation RX-7 Mailing List

This group has their own web site, with online instructions for subscribing to their mailing list. Click here.

The RX-7 Mailing List

Frequently referred to as "the Big List" among the Rotary Cognoscenti, this list is for *ALL* Mazda Rotary engined vehicles and anything that operates using the Wankel type rotary engine. The list's main purpose is to discuss related matters concerning these cars whether it be technical or not.  All opinions and postings are welcome.

To subscribe, send a message to:


With the following line in the body of the message:

     subscribe rx7 [email address to subscribe]

You will automatically be sent further instructions when your message is received.

MARRS RX-7 Mailing List

The Mid-Atlantic Road Racing Series (MARRS) is the SCCA championship road-racing series that some of my friends have run in for the past few years. The Spec RX-7 drivers have their own web site and mailing list. Details about their mailing list are all spelled out right here.

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General Info:

Besides these links, make a point of checking out the "Autocross and Racing" section of my "Car Stuff" page.
Wankel Rotary Combustion Engines Motors and Vehicles The RX-7 doesn't have pistons and cylinders. It's a rotary engine. This site has some techie stuff about how these engines work.

Mazda History pages from Mazda's Japan web site.

How Rotary Engines Work from the Howstuffworks.com web site.

The Rotary Engine Pages is a nice site, including more history lessons and pictures.

The OS Engines .30 cubic inch Wankel is more than just an engineering curiosity. Model airplane builders that I know say it's the smoothest running engine they've ever used.

Moller International has developed their own rotary engine for use in aircraft and powerboats. If you're into planes, check this out. Their two aircraft are amazing.

Rotary Recycle specializes in maintaining older rotary powered motorcycles.

Citro�n�t has nothing to do with Mazda, except that French-made Citro�n was one of few other manufacturers that produced a Wankel-powered automobile. Site author Julian Marsh has a nice history of the Wankel engine in a series of web pages.

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Personal Pages and Club Web Sites:

Tri-State RX-7 Club , covering New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Mazda Sportscar Club of Washington , DC has some great events. I've run in their Mid-Atlantic Driver's School at Summit Point Raceway -- an excellent event!

Bay Area Rx7 Club Home Page also has a nice vendors list.

The Southeast RX-7 Club.

The Peritrochoid -- Paul Mullen's page includes some excellent tech-tips.

Wankel Net is Tim Schuh's baby.

Mazda Rotary. Jon Booker did a great job on this site. Includes a first-generation FAQ.

David Randall has one of the most extreme GSL-SEs that I'm aware of.

Bruce's Modified Mazda RX7 Page by Bruce Crawford. Bruce is the first person I had ever met that races these cars. Does pretty well, too.

Todd Hornsby is another RX-7 fanatic.

Project X-605, by Dave Girvan, is another great one.

The RX7 Files tell the real truth about the origins of the RX-7. Dave Disney has been a mainstay in rotary-dom for years.

Felix Miata has a ton of good information about all things rotary.

No Rotor, No Motor. Jason Wiles' extensive site.

RX-7 Land. Mark Tsai has a nice site, including tips for starting a flooded RX-7. Also, see Rotary Performance's tips, in the vendor's section, below.

Efini.net is Wael El-dasher's 3rd gen site. He's a Tri-State RX-7 Club member, and has the most outrageous 3rd gen that I've ever seen.

Mazspeed -- Mike & Numerik created this nice little site.

The CSP RX-7 Project , by Jenaro Rodriguez, covers setting up the 1st gen RX-7 for autocross.

The 2nd Gen FAQ page -- Justin "Tuck" Cordesman did a really nice job on this page, including a photograph/html-map of a 2nd gen engine compartment with clickable descriptions. The 6 port second gen engine is so similar to the GSL-SE that I include it here as a reference.

Yaw Power Products -- Paul Yaw makes his living making things go faster. His Technical Articles are must reading for any rotary engine enthusiast.

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My own experiences/tips:

Replacement Fusible Links for the first-generation Mazda RX-7

ECU Sensor Monitoring Project

Upgrading Wheels and Tires on a GSL-SE

Enhancing the GSL-SE Stereo System

RX-7 First Generation Steering Gear & Column Replacement

Exhaust System Upgrade for the GSL-SE

Torsen Differential on a GSL-SE

Adjusting the Over-Rev Buzzer -- this one's not my creation, but my tips section seemed to be the best place to put it. Credit should go to James S. King on "the big list."

Abandoned Project: 2nd Gen Air Flow Meter upgrade for my GSL-SE -- There are so many technical obstacles to making this work, that I'm going to give up on it. I've come to the conclusion that if you want to put more air molecules through a GSL-SE air intake, you need to squish 'em together. In other words, turbocharge! As such, I've sourced a Cartech turbo kit on E-bay, and that kit will be going into my car soon.

Regardless, others have asked about the feasability of such a project, so I'll leave this page online indefinitely.

Replacing a Power Antenna

Bleeding or Flushing Clutch Hydraulics -- how to do the job in 15 minutes or less, not 8 hours like I once did!

My Engine Parts Order from when I lost an apex seal on my '84 GSL-SE.

Replacement Battery Cables -- how, why, and exactly what to buy. This should be standard maintainence on your 18-24 year old sports car.

Running a Rotary Without Oil -- this is hardly a tip, as I don't advise trying this at home, but it's an interesting little story about a very durable engine.

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Mazda Competition Parts is Mazda's factory race team support program. You must do some form of racing to qualify for these discounted stock and aftermarket parts. ( Autocross , anyone?) There are some brief details about how to sign up for the program on this page -- click on "Team Support Program."

Jim Hull's Rotary Restorations business is for sale, and he's selling off his huge inventory of parts.

The Rx-7 Parts Trader is a great site put together by Brandon Colvin. It's an online database of cars and parts available from private parties. Covers other import brands, as well.

Mazdatrix sells racing (and street) parts for RX-7's. If you don't have their printed catalog, get it! For $9 plus shipping, there's enough good technical information in there that's it's worth the money even if you never buy a thing from them.

Racing Beat also sells aftermarket speed equipment for the RX-7. They also have a great catalog/tech manual, for the same nine bucks as MazdaTrix. Get that too. BTW, many Racing Beat products are sold by MazdaTrix, above, at the same price that Racing Beat sells them. The difference is that the salespeople at MazdaTrix will answer questions and treat you with respect, whereas the folks at Racing Beat don't seem to have a clue about how to keep customers.

KD Rotary has quickly proven themselves to be the most thorough, reliable and inexpensive tuners and mechanics in the northeast. Not exactly next door to me (2 hours away), but worth the trip for those special jobs that I can't/won't do myself.

Rotary Performance of Manassas, VA is arguably the premier 1st and 2nd gen race car builder on the east coast. Owner Bret DePedro did the rebuild of my street ported 13B engine in my '84.

Rotary Performance of Garland Texas is one of the best known rotary tuners in the country. Also, they have an excellent tech tips section on their site. Check it out.

Precision Import Products has a guy named Mark Schroeder who really knows his stuff about hi-performance exhaust systems for rotary engines.

Mazda Auto Recycling is another used parts source.

Mazmart. Same deal.

Quality Mazda & RX-7 Parts. Ditto.

Roebuck Mazda -- many folks have recommended them for great discounts on OEM parts. I haven't worked with them yet, though.

The Tire Rack. These folks have given me good prices and prompt service on all kinds of tires and wheels. You just have to get your local mechanic to mount and balance 'em for ya.

Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc. makes the Bridgestone RE-71. When I bought them, they were arguably the best tire available in sizes for the 1st gen RX-7. Unfortunately, they've discontinued my size. That just means that I'll have to upgrade my wheels. :)

Diamond Racing makes some really cheap road racing and autocross wheels.

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