Back Story

On September 15, 2000, I purchased my red 1991 Mazda RX-7 convertible. Within days of purchasing it, I was posting to the old TeamFC3S list about an idle problem I was having. Knowing what I know now about RX-7s I wouldn't have bought that car. It had all the tell tale signs of a weak engine, just I didn't know them.

The idle was the biggest annoyance, but I learned to live with it. Watching how I came to a stop, keeping my foot slightly on the gas or shifting into neutral at long lights. That brings me to the next problem. As I've said else where this RX-7 had an automatic transmission. Sometimes it would shift into 2nd strangely. Not often enough that I was worried about it, except right when it would happen. Until the night of January 30, 2001, I was driving along the highway at about 70. Went to pass an SUV, gave it a little extra gas and the transmission decided it kick down from 3rd into 2nd at that speed. I watched the tach fly right pass the redline. 2nd at 70 is doable, but would be right at the redline. Something had let go. Naturally seeing the engine overrev like that, I let off the gas quickly. So the transmission shifted into 3rd and then 4th. I got back on it, and everything seemed okay. Still good acceleration in 3rd and 4th. At least until I got off an exit and started to roll from the stop sign. 1st was fine, but 2nd was gone, just reved free until the shift to 3rd which could take over just fine. So my RX-7 needed a trip to the transmission shop.

Four months and $1750 later I got my car back from the shop, it was March 1, 2001, and I put 100 miles on my car that weekend. I was so happy to have it back and running, I won't say good, because the idle was worse than ever. But it shifted so firmly, I didn't car, plus an idling RX-7 is a boring RX-7. I was getting used to the "HOLD" mode of the transmission, shifting on my own, and keeping the revs up. With the like new transmission, everything felt so responsive, a little bit of playing with the throttle could instantly be felt. I wonder how it feels to drive an RX-7 with a real physical connection between the engine and the rear wheels instead of some donut full of fluid.

I would be quickly snapped back to my feelings of pain for my car just a week later on March 8, 2001. Come home from a night out with my friends, I struck a deer at about 60 MPH. It was a small deer and it ended up going under the car instead of over (how I'm not sure), so the damage was minimal, just pushed the nose back a centimeter or two, put a dimple in the hood, cracked some paint, and messed up the driver's side head light cover and FTP lens. Other than everything was okay.

At least I thought it was. One thing that I noticed after the run in with the deer, was it car made a strange rattle type sound every time I would start it, but it would only persist for a second, so I didn't think too much of it. Not it could be totally unrelated, and as I said the engine was acting weak since I got the car. But on March 21, 2002, just as I was starting the car in my drive way to head to see my friends, the engine died. It went to go into the 3000 RPM start, which I would always kick down. I just tapped the accelerator pedal, and pop, the engine became very rough, I still had my foot slightly on the pedal, so I gave it a little more gas, and it just shook like crazy. I let off and it died. I tried to restart, but it wouldn't, just blew a cloud of smoke.

And there she has sat since. Perhaps coasted a few feet down the drive way to allow another car to use it, and once more to get out of the way of painters, but mostly unmoved.

Last modified on Thursday, 19-Dec-2002 21:31:38 EST.