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Four Cycles, Three Chambers, 60 (and 50) Years: Dual Anniversaries for the Wankel Rotary Engine

Posted June 06, 2017 9:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: engine radial rotary Wankel

As the world waits on Mazda to maybe possibly announce that it will resurrect the rotary engine, the compact pistonless internal combustion engine marks twin anniversaries this year: 60 years since one first ran and 50 years since Mazda first offered its take on the rotary.

Commonly called the Wankel engine after German Felix Wankel, an early member of the Nazi party in Germany who went on to work for NSU after the war, the pistonless rotary engine we know today wasn’t actually Wankel’s design. Wankel, who conceived the pistonless rotary in 1919 and patented it in 1929, proposed a well-balanced but also highly complicated version in which both the rotor and its housing ran on different axes called the DKM. That engine first ran in February 1957.

Wankel’s colleague at NSU, Hanns Dieter Paschke, believed the DKM, due to its complications, would not make for a good production engine, so he simplified it with a fixed housing in a design called the KKM, which also first ran in 1957.

Another ode to the rotary...

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#1

Re: Four Cycles, Three Chambers, 60 (and 50) Years: Dual Anniversaries for the Wankel Rotary Engine

06/06/2017 1:37 PM

An MX-5 with a rotary engine might be a lot of fun!

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#3
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Re: Four Cycles, Three Chambers, 60 (and 50) Years: Dual Anniversaries for the Wankel Rotary Engine

06/07/2017 12:12 PM

Its been done. Actually there was not that much of a gain over the 2.0 liter used since 2006. An RX8 rotary outs out around 238 hp, the stock 2.0 around 178. Adding a supercharger on the stock 2.0 and you can get up to 350 hp and still be very street able. The tune on my 2006 NC MX5 is for 250 hp (never been dynoed) and with a car that weighs 2400 lbs it is still fast enough for me. I am at 129 K miles and still pulls strong. Rear tires appears to wear faster and i have had to replace the clutch.

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#2

Re: Four Cycles, Three Chambers, 60 (and 50) Years: Dual Anniversaries for the Wankel Rotary Engine

06/07/2017 7:54 AM

If it wasn't Mr. Wankel's design whose design was it then?

The comment that he was a Nazi is totally out of place. Everybody was forced to join the party.

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