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Rotary Engines: Would it work in a boat?

Old 10-10-2003, 03:51 PM
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Default Re: General Motors tried it:

Originally posted by wannabe
Back in the days when GM was trying wankel (rotary) engines (mid 70's) before they abandoned them, they had a custom built Donzi 28 CC with two 4 rotor wankels tied to Mercruiser outdrives. The thing went like stink, the motors took up hardly any room, and used about the same amount of gas as v8's. I know, I drove the boat.

Then GM scrapped the wankel program and EVERY motor that was built was pulled in and scrapped. There may be one surviving block somewhere in Warren, mich.

They replaced the rotaries with twin Merc 188's based off of the 302 Ford v8. They had to increase the size of the engine cover hatch, lost 10 mph top speed (weight), and the 188's were a DOG of an engine (no response).

The boat was named the "pflueger fun", Pflueger made fishing tackle.

Rotaries are light weight and have great power/weight ratios. They are dirty from an emmissions standpoint and that's what killed them from the Automotive market. Mazda only produces the RX8 for it's unique marketing of the wankel. They are not practical and are expensive with the emmission requirements of today. Otherwise everyone would be building them.

The Wankel has the ability to be marinized and I think would be great in personal watercraft and lighter smaller boats. You can tune them to make the all the power that would be needed at 6000 rpm or less.

Wannabe in Motor City
(OSO's peudo automotive historian)
This is really nit-picky, but I believe the 188 was based off the 460. Like I said, pretty nit-picky.
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Old 10-10-2003, 04:09 PM
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There was an add in a magazene a while bach advertising a marinized rotary. I'll try to look for it.
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Old 10-10-2003, 04:13 PM
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I dont remember when, but i saw something on TV a long time back about rotary's....they said the engines have unlimited rpm potetioal due to the fact the have no valves to float or anythign liek that! Would be cool for marine but it still woudl be limited by gearing in the drives

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Old 10-10-2003, 07:43 PM
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When the R&D work was being done in ventura Rotory Marine
was located in Seattle Wash.
And Mazda North America is in
the Irvine CA. area.
I have a number of photos of
Mr. Kobayakawa Pres. of Mazda
riding in a Rotory powered
Scarib at Ventura Harbor with
Warren Robbins VP Scarab and Scarib doing the driving.
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Old 10-11-2003, 12:23 AM
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Yep, 170/188 Mercruiser was half of a 460.
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