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looking at race cars

Old 12-17-09, 03:46 PM
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looking at race cars

Good afternoon - having been a racing enthusiast for several years I've finally decided it's time to bite the bullet and get involved on the track. Looked at many cars and have decided than a first gen RX7 is a good way to go. Headed down to Miami from South Carolina this weekend to look at one and hopefully bring it home. Wondering if there's anything the knowledgeable gurus here would recommend I look at prior to sealing the deal. I've been around lots of cars but am new to the RX7 and rotary world.

Oh, and I'm going the IT7/ITA route in the southeast.

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Old 12-17-09, 06:27 PM
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General rust stuff on FB's, look inside the rear wheels wells where the upper links attach, this will also show up inside the car on the inner wheel arches.

You will probably find a bunch of parts from ISC on the car if its from here. That isn't really a good thing in some cases but some parts are good. Make sure the camber plates have spherical bearings and aren't just a plate with a slot cut in them. Look for delrin in the rear control arms as well, not good. If it has any G-Force Engineering parts in the suspension you know you won't have to spend money twice on those parts, probably the best stuff out there for the car within the rules.

Check the dates on the harness, sfi rated belts are only good for 2 years in SCCA. Make sure you get the log book and be sure to look through it. Any bad damage will be noted in the logbook if it happened at an SCCA event.

The more spares the better, these cars go through front rotors.
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Old 12-18-09, 07:37 AM
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If you really want feedback - which could be both good and bad - post a picture and any details of the car on www.improvedtouring.com with the same comments you posted here. You'll get an earful as to the cars history, any info on the build, illegal parts, etc. I guarantee you people on that forum will know the car you are looking at buying.
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Old 12-18-09, 11:12 PM
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The following questions are universal - not specific to an RX7 - and should be given consideration when buying a racecar.

Safety first....what does the cage look like and are the welds good?

If you can't judge this for yourself, get someone who can to go with you. I have seen allot of cars with really bad welding on the cage. This is an area you don't want to skimp on.

Was the car ever crashed?

Crashes happen in racing. If it was crashed, how bad was it and how was the car repaired. My RX7 has taken a few shots over it's life but it was repair correctly each time and it is square.

Is it a turn key racecar or is there some assembly required?

I would have no part of a project car unless you have had some experience in this area. If this is your first racecar, you want a car that is as race ready as possible.

How competitive was the car? Will you get the seller's setup information?

A race winning car is the cheapest way to go, even if the initial cost is higher. There will be less to buy and test in the long run. Since you are not in the seller's region there should be no secrets regarding setup.

How fresh is the engine?

This is critical for all cars but really important for a 12A powered RX7 because good used engines are like "hen's teeth" and some major parts are NLA. The engine is the most expensive part on the car and an engine in good condition means you will have more money for tires and safety gear. A 12A that was properly built should easily last 4-6 yrs if it was well cared for. Do your homework in this area.

How many wheels come with the car?

More wheels are better because it gives you the ability to rotate tires during a race weekend to get the most life out of your tires. I have 8 wheels for dry and 4 dedicated rains - makes life easy.

What does the car weigh?

Is it close to the classes minimum weight - with driver? A heavy car is a slower car. There are not allot of options for reducing weight in an IT car. So, if it was built heavy (oversize cage tubing or a bolt in cage) or the original car was heavy (sunroof model vs non-sunroof model) it can be hard to shed the pounds

What kind of spares package comes with the car?

I go to the race track with spare rotors, caliper parts, water pump...etc. If I sold my car all of this would go with it. What about body parts, transmissions, etc. Again, these things make racing easier.

Good luck and welcome to the club.....I love my RX7 and hope you find a good one.
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Old 12-21-09, 03:00 PM
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Do a compression check while the motor is hot.

This next one is hard to do while just looking at a race car at a guys house, but you need to see how hard it is for the engine to restart when the engine is really hot. Lack of compression on the engine will show up as lots of cranking and slow to hot start.

If you see any white steam in the exhaust, then run away.

Look on top of the engine block, and look for oil leaking from between the oil/iron layers of the housings. Oil leaking down from the oil filter is okay and easy to fix, but oil coming up out of the engine block layers is bad.

Transmission are a normal wear item on these cars; they need rebuilds just like anything else. It is hard with a noisy racecar exhaust, but try and listen to transmission bearings while idling, and while in 1st & 2nd gears. You can also put a racecar's rear axle up on jack stands, and run the tranny thru the gears and see how it shifts. If it still has a hand brake, use the had brake slightly when running it on jackstands in order to put a little load on the motor and rear end to cut down on clunking.

Check the U-joints, tie rod ends, and ball joints for looseness.
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