SERVICE HISTORY COUNTS
Try to find a car with service history and long-term ownership because it’s essential that regular oil changes have been carried out every 3000 miles or so. The oil lubricates the rotor seals and makes a major contribution to engine cooling. Even in good condition, the motor can shed some oil, particularly from the crankshaft oil seals.
COMPRESSION OR DEPRESSION?
A compression test can help to reveal the true condition of an engine. Poor starting on an RX-7 can be down to worn rotor tip seals. These can be difficult to get hold of and while they can be fitted on a DIY basis, it’s best to leave it to a professional, although you’ll pay accordingly.
SMOKE AND THE WATER
Some white smoke on start-up is nothing to worry about but constant water vapour from the exhaust suggests a broken seal on the combustion chamber, which can lead to overheating and catastrophic engine damage.
CHECK CAREFULLY FOR CORROSION
These cars can – and do – rot just about anywhere, though the sills, wings, doors and boot are well known weak points. Pay close attention to the underneath of the car at the rear, too, and the state of the rear suspension mountings in particular.