Home Forums TaG Rotax Max New to Rotax engines. Please advice on model/cost of maintenience Sr./FR/ etc. Reply To: New to Rotax engines. Please advice on model/cost of maintenience Sr./FR/ etc.

Rob Kozakowski

First, you say you don’t plan to race it…

With that in mind, an older Rotax without updates would be fine – and it should be a lot less money.  If you don’t want to race it, you don’t have to worry about the seal or passport either – meaning you could do your own “major” maintenance – or you could have it done by anyone.

If you do that, you need to keep in mind it becomes harder to sell, unless it’s to someone else who doesn’t want to race it.

If you think you might want to race it, I’d advise getting a complete up-to-date engine.  Best bet to ensure that is to buy from a dealer who has a reputation to maintain, or do your research and understand what it is you need to look for.  Basically, anything 2009 or newer should be pretty safe, but do your research first.

There are 3 perceived big costs with the Rotax…

First comes from the fact that it is sealed for racing purposes.  Rotax has set up an authorized dealer network of shops that are allowed to work on and seal the engines, in an effort to ensure that the engines are kept relatively equal.  In theory anytime a seal is broken, the dealer will need to spend time checking to ensure that everything is legal before re-sealing because if the engine is ever teched, and found to be illegal, the last dealer to seal it is held responsible and sanctioned by Rotax.  The extra time to check things, and the fact that only authorized dealers can do the work means that “scheduled” maintenance costs are generally a bit higher than with some other engines.  In other words, it’s not an engine for guys who have to feel they save money by being the DIY’er.

The second big cost can come when Rotax issues updates.  New airbox.  New clutch and steel gears.  New cylinder.  Carb venturis.  Etc.  Normally the updates eventually become mandatory, and because everything has to be genuine Rotax parts, the costs can be higher.

Third, a new engine isn’t cheap to buy.

Make no mistake, all these costs are real.  That said, the engine is very reliable, so when you really to a total cost of ownership comparison to most other engines, I’d say almost all of the TAG engines are pretty equal in terms of cost.  And unlike some other engines that are totally re-designed and become “boat anchors” and need to be completely replaced, the updates avoid that problem that some other engines have.  You could literally use the same base engine for 10+ years with the Rotax, which is not very common in kart racing.

If you don’t want to race, or you just want to do club races, you should be able to get 2 full seasons on the top end.  Yes, you could even push to 50 hours if you wanted to at that level.  That said, most club racers will do a top end at the end of every season, and then every other year you’ll do top and bottom.  More for preventative purposes than anything.

I stayed away from the Rotax for a long time, and I regret it because it’s been surprisingly inexpensive to run it.  That said, I got a good deal on an up-to-date engine and avoided a lot o the headaches that come if you don’t do that.