Why didnt the wankel engine catch on?

Discussion in '1993 Mazda RX-7 JM1FD' started by turbo power, Aug 10, 2002.

  1. I recently became interested in the wankel engine after having been pressed back in a 3rd generation and started to do some research on it. Fascenating, a true stroke of genious by doctor felix wankel-or should I say rotor of genious(ok it was a bad joke). So efficent, a center of gravity so much lower than a normal car, and so much lighter with fewer moving parts. Also if properly maintained it will last longer than any piston driven car, and can be easily converted to run on hydrogen. General motors almost made the corvette a 4 rotor and ford almost made their whole line up rotors. So with so many good points and so few bad why didnt it ever catch on.<!-- Signature -->
  2. Re: Why didnt the wankel engine catch on?

    I think the big reason why the Rotor engine didn't become as popular is because there were alot of problems with the 3rd Gen Rx7. Like mine when I first got it, rumors said that if you drive it hard (me) it tends to over heat fast so I got new gaskets and a new intercooler to be safe. Some of these rumors were saying people dieing in there car because it would burst into flames but I dont really believe them. If they were true it might be why Rotory isnt popular...

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  3. Re: Why didnt the wankel engine catch on?

    thats horse shit. the answers simple these are reliable engines they have used them in planes before. the answer is mazda owns the patent and wont let anyone use it
  4. Re: Why didnt the wankel engine catch on?

    The rotary didnt catch on because these are harder to seal and cool than regular piston engines. This is not as much of a problem in planes because planes do not need cooling at 30000 feet and also do not vibrate as much as cars going ouver bumps.
  5. Re: Why didnt the wankel engine catch on?

    I think you guys need to ask Chris V this question.

  6. Re: Why didnt the wankel engine catch on?

    Because it blows.-literally.

    WANKELS ARE VERY HEAT SENSITIVE, and the rx-7 has pitiful cooling.

    I know a guy down the street, it was about 98 degrees F and his engine blew-brand new car with no mods. PRETTY SAD HUH?
  7. Re: Why didnt the wankel engine catch on?

    damn tiger, how old are you. when did this guy blow the motor, 10 years ago, haha. cause thats when these cars were brand new. i really doubt thats a true story by any means. yo i know this guy down the street too, he is santa claus. i saw him with his reindeer last year. get a life man.
  8. Re: Why didnt the wankel engine catch on?

    123 wrote mazda owns the patent and won't sell it and is probably right. in the 60's and early 70's when nsu and later mazda were developing the rotor they had a lot of problems with seals and as a result reliabity. this remedied after the first mazda 10 and 12A motors by coating the inside of the rotor housings with chromium so the seals last longer. when younger had an RX2 with original 12A twin dizzy ( the unreliable ones) i thrashed the hell out of the 22 year old motor and could not blow the thing, just some smoke before i sold it. people say they are unreliable and overheat but they are very reliable as long as you warm them up EVERY time and of course warm down turbos. as for overheating they do not overheat but they do however run very high exhaust gas temp compared to piston cars. if you had poured money down a hole for years developing a motor would you just give away the design? mazda japan actually imported some HJ holdens from australia in the 70's to trial but the massive weight and poor fit and finish of aussie cars meant they sold in limited numbers in japan
  9. Re: Why didnt the wankel engine catch on?

    As for the bad cooling.. Mazda couldn't help it they wanted to offer a lightweight sportscar to the market.. that's why they make aftermarket parts. Mazda sacrificed some cooling size and what not for the weight. Granted it probably wasn't a large difference, but every little bit helps.
  10. Re: Why didnt the wankel engine catch on?

    Well seeing Ford owns 33 percent of Mazda it would be hard to not share the wankel egine with them.
  11. Re: Why didnt the wankel engine catch on?

    the reason it didnt catch on is. everyone was scared away from it back in the day when the early rx7s were having problems. do you know how much money and time it takes to develope an entirely new design of engine? i just hope mazda doesnt let ford take it in the next few years.
  12. Re: Why didnt the wankel engine catch on?

    Very few people seem to know what they are talking about in this thread. To set things strait:
    Other companies did test rotary engines in the 70s, and the idea very well could have caught on (I know Chevy and Diamler had prototypes). The problem was the oil crisis of the 70s which made the inefficiency (thermal inefficiency, which means that most of the energy of the burning gas becomes heat instead of being converted into mechanical energy) unacceptable.
    Mazda does not own the patent for the engine design. That is not a reason for its lack of popularity.
    And today, it hasn’t caught on because of the cost for research. No company wants to put money on the line for an idea that, although much better than what was around in the 70s, still does not have a reliable foundation (and no, the 150,000 rx-7s or however many is not reasonable).
  13. Re: Why didnt the wankel engine catch on?

    Oh, and yes, airplane engines need lots of cooling.
    Jet enigines use lots of bypass air to keep their turbines from melting (they are designed to operate as close to their melting point as possible).
    Most prop planes i believe are actually designed with more cooling capacity then they need however, which is why pilots need to worry about shock cooling when they desend.
  14. Re: Why didnt the wankel engine catch on?

    Check Mazda's website. They ARE the only ones who are allowed to produce rotary engines.
  15. Re: Why didnt the wankel engine catch on?

    17/25 MPG!? Can someone tell me if that is correct? I thought the RX-7 engine was relatively smaller than others in the Twin Turbo class.
  16. #16 RotaryPower, Mar 20, 2004
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2016
    Re: Why didnt the wankel engine catch on?

    Mazda does not have the patent of developing all kinds rotary engines. They only have the patent of developing and constructing the rotary engine for cars.. check www.der-wankelmotor.de, there is a translation link. There you can find all info of all rotary types and patents..
  17. Re: Why didnt the wankel engine catch on?

    no,it's true...mazda does own the patent after nsu quited making rotary engined saloons..
  18. Re: Why didnt the wankel engine catch on?

    Actually the rotary thing did catch on just like disco, but I guess died out after a while(just like disco). Today Mazda is pretty much the only company that people know about when they here the words, "Rotary Engine."

    Datsun, Rolls Royce, Mercedes, Chevy, Suzuki, Citroen, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Yanmar, and many other companies played around with rotary engines.
  19. Re:

    it was too efficient
  20. Re:

    The reason why the wankel motor never caught on is a series of things. First reason is the the tooling of the engine; being a completly different motor than normal engines with cylinders, the wankel utilizes the two triangular rotors. The only places that could really work on the engines was Mazda, at first. It was a whole new platform for everyone to pick up. Next reason was the reliabliaty of the motor. Being that it was a relatively new design, the public couldn't trust it, no one really new how it worked. The third reason was its oil usage. The wankel motor never used its oil as well as normal enigines. Also, the oil helps keep the engine cool, but since the oil system wasn't the best, the entire cooling was hurt as well. Lastly, the car wasn't a practical car, as a most sports cars. The only function is to provide an excellent driving experience, not to move heavy loads or take your kids to soccer practice. The only reason someone would buy it if they had the means and money to support such a car.
  21. I've also heard that the gas miliage was deemed "unacceptable" by GM & Ford and they scrapped the ideas for thier own rotary engines. Just waht I've heard.....

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