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

This topic contains 10 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Rob Kozakowski 4 years, 3 months ago.

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  • #20544

    Sebastian Sarmiento

    Hi everyone,

    I own a shifter CR80, but I’d like to buy a kart with a Rotax engine on it, most of the Rotax’s owners seem to be very happy with them, but some also some complain about the cost of maintenance, specially now that older models have to be updated depending on the club you are in . I’m new to karting  and before considering  moving onto a CR125 I would like to see both sides of the story.  I’ve been reading and trying to figure out model differences, newer and older models, but I don’t get it 100% and before I buy something I might regret. I’d like your opinion guys .

    Looking for something with at least with 28HP, which a Sr. is about ,DD2’s are about 32hp but are very expensive. I’m not going to race it and at the same time I don’t want to spend a fortune, because I may eventually go to a CR125 if I don’t like it.

    One thing I’ve been curious about is that most the chassis with CR125 on it have front brakes, but lost of Rotax 125 (disregarding the model) don’t. Wonder why.

    Sorry for all the rookie questions.

    Thank you for your help!

  • #20574

    Sebastian Sarmiento

    Thanks for the advice Peter, I’m wonder how much does it cost you in parts/labor to do that maintenance every end of season.

    I was looking at this website http://www.accelerationkarting.com/rotaxrebuildrates.aspx on which the pricing doesn’t look bad for a rebuild (top).  I read in this forum that Rotax recommends a top end rebuild every 50hrs? is that true?. that sounds like a lot! comparing to my CR80 or even a 125. which I normally do every 4-5 hrs. (I could wait more, but I don’t like to risk the whole engine just to put a few more hrs. on it).

    Thanks again.

  • #20576

    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.

  • #20627

    Sebastian Sarmiento

    Thanks Rob! Your explanation clarifies lots of things for me. I’ve always been the kind of person who would rather spend some more, wait a bit longer if necessary, and buy the right staff. I will get an engine with the updates you are mentioning and definitively do more research and learn on the way.

    Either if I change my mind and decide to race it or sell it will pay off to have and updated engine.

    Now in this website http://www.k1racegear.com/rotax-type-125-max-sr-kart-engine.html it says that if you want the engine only (which , if you already have a Rotax engine, you could still use all your accessories, radiator, houses, etc) the price for the ENGINE ONLY (not the package) $ 1321, which is cheaper than a bottom/top end rebuild (according to these rates http://www.accelerationkarting.com/rotaxrebuildrates.aspx ) is that some kind of trade-in with your engine?. it doesn’t say anything like it on the description.

    Thank you all for your help!!

  • #20690

    Rob Kozakowski

    On the link, I think it drops the price by $1321 if you don’t need the accessories.  So $3500 (give or take), less $1321 = $2200 (+/-) for engine without accessories.

    I’ll be honest, I didn’t know that was even an option.  If you were a real bargain hunter, you could probably piece together a Rotax with a new engine for a good price.  That said, new accessories will definitely add up to more than $1321 if you buy them individually.

  • #20696

    Sebastian Sarmiento

    Hey Rob, I’m looking at  Birel M32 with a 2010 FR125. The guy bought it new and never raced it, only practiced with friends at the track, he says it only has about 15 hrs from new.

    He’s asking 2800, what do you think?.

  • #20704

    Sebastian Sarmiento

    it doesn’t have the new clutch/air box/coil. Now my question , given that this engine is a 2010 there’s no need to replace the cylinder/piston combo right? (All this questions are regarding the new requirements depending where the kart would race). I know that mechanically speaking doesn’t need it,as I mentioned in my previous comment, it only has 15 hrs. from new, so there should be plenty of life in it.

    Forgot to mention before that the Chassis is also 2010.

    Thanks for your help.

  • #20798

    Jeff Salak

    A New 2010 motor would never come with old air box/clutch/coil. Sounds like you have an older engine that was updated with a 2010 cylinder after a complete rebuild with 15 hours of use. Just my honest opinion. A Rotax dealer or kart shop would never sell an engine like that.

  • #20828

    Sebastian Sarmiento

    thanks Jeff,

    I decided not to buy the one I was mentioning before (I’m glad now that I’m reading your post). The guy was kind of flaky, so now I’m looking at a Birel ry30 20011 with 2011 rotax on it with new clutch, air box, etc.

    The guy is asking 3500, it was raced 1 day and also has 3 days of practice on it. about 3hrs. on engine, passport on it, serviced by my local shop.

    I think I’m going to go for it. It seems more expensive than average at first glance, but these engines are very particular with parts (meaning expensive) and having a 2011 engine with all the updates on it can save a lot of money and headaches.

    Thanks for the hands up.

  • #20841

    Rob Kozakowski

    $3500 for a 2011 chassis and engine sounds reasonable… At least it would be where I live.

  • #20550

    Peter Zambos

    Take this for what you will, as I road race my FR125, which keeps the revs down. At the end of our season, we have the top end freshened, which, frankly, is probably overkill for us. Apart from that, we keep it clean and monitor for wear of the RAVE bellows, fuel pump diaphragm and clutch. We’re in the hunt for our regional championship each year.

    There are always people who complain. For example, the same people who moan about the diameter of the carb being too big are the same people who would complain if that was ever changed requiring a carb change.  It would be wise that the Rotax you purchase already have the full clutch update (clutch hub, clutch drum, steel water pump/ balance shaft gears), air box and coil, so that you don’t have to incur the cost of the update.

    Front brakes are not required for the FR125. Sometimes they are flat-out not allowed: sometimes they’re allowed with a weight penalty. My advise would be that, if you are not going to be road racing or running a shifter within the next three years or so, take off the font brakes and sell them.

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