Brake & Clutch Fluid

Check the brake fluid reservior and the clutch fluid reservior. The clutch has a hydraulic linkage and the reservior for it is located in the far left rear corner of the engine bay. The one next to it and closer to the engine is the brake fluid reservior. Unless this fluid is clean and a pale yellow or blue you’ll need to change it out. This is done by bleeding the lines. You’ll need an 8mm open end or box end wrench, a 2-ft length of 1/4″ outside diameter clear plastic flexible hose, a catch container and a partner to monitor the brake (or clutch) pedal while you do this. The procedure is as follows:

Jack the car up and place jack stands under all four jacking points. Remove all four wheels for better access to the bleeder screws. Begin with the wheel that’s farthest from the brake reservior. (On Left-hand drive cars this would be the right rear wheel; on cars with RHD it’s the left rear wheel). Then go to the next-farthest wheel, then the next and finally the one that’s closest to the reservior. Bleed the brake lines in this order.

Each brake caliper has a bleeder screw. It looks like a nipple with a hole in it and hex sides on which to place an 8mm wrench. When this screw is turned counter-clockwise (loosened) fluid can flow out of it. When it is tightened (clockwise) it seals in fluid. First, make sure the fluid level in the reservior is topped up. Then place one end of the plastic hose over the hole in the end of the bleeder screw and the other end into the catch container.

Then have your assistant pump the brake pedal 3 or 4 times and then push the pedal toward the floor and hold. At this point, use the wrench to turn the bleeder screw open (counter-clockwise). When it opens, fluid will squirt out the bleeder screw and into the container. If your asistant is still pushing on the brake pedal as instructed it will fall straight to the floor. It is important that the pedal is not lifted off the floor at this point or air will be sucked into the brake lines through the open bleeder screw at your end.

Now turn the bleeder screw clockwise until it is just past hand-tight. Tell your assistant to let up on the pedal. This will draw fluid from …


Fuel filter: It’s about $5 on 12A-powered 1st gens (ie: those with a carbureter rather than fuel injection) and located under the car on the left side just ahead of the fuel tank. Unless the person who sold you the car can produce a recent receipt saying this is a new fuel filter it’s likely time to change it. It’s a simple matter of pinching off the fuel hose leading to and from the filter with a couple of vise grips or clamps, then removing the hose clamps that hold the filter in place and finally removing the filter itself. Install the new filter, making sure the direction of flow indicated on the filter body is correct with the flow of fuel from the tank.

Air filter: If you can’t see light through it, or see opaque dark clumps, it’s time to change it out. Clogged filters cause excessive fuel consumption and lead to poor engine performance.

Oil Filter: see oil.…


Does your coolant level warning light come on under hard braking or around sharp turns? If so, your coolant level in the rad is low. Dump some water into the plastic coolant overflow tank and once the engine is cooled sufficiently remove the rad cap and top up the rad. Then keep an eye on the coolant level and watch for leaks because something caused the level to drop.

It’s a good idea with any car, rotary or not, to flush and fill the coolant system about once a year. I recommend doing this every fall, so your engine will warm efficiently and maintain optimum temperature during winter starting. If you’re in a hot climate such as Nevada or Arizona, you may want to perform the flush in the spring for better summer performance.…


Which fuel to use? Unless your car is turbocharged or otherwise boosted, 1979-1985 RX-7 rotary engines run just fine on 87-octane. In fact it is the recommended fuel for normally-aspirated rotaries. But if yours is turbo’d, use only high-octane fuel to reduce the possibility of detonation, which can destroy a rotary (or piston) engine.…