Watch This Rotary-Swapped ATV Build Powered by a Snowmobile Engine

There’s a whole world of rotaries out there, just begging to be swapped in and revved out.

byMar 18, 2022 6:30 PM
Watch This Rotary-Swapped ATV Build Powered by a Snowmobile Engine
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When it comes to rotary swaps, we're most accustomed to seeing Mazda's 13B Wankel engine dropped into cars for its compact size and great power output. However, Mazda isn't the only company that built Wankels, and nor were they limited to the automotive world. The latest swap project from YouTube channel Build Break Repeat shows that with a tidy rotary-swapped ATV. 

The donor engine for the build is a Sachs Wankel KM24, sourced from a 1974 Arctic Cat Lynx snowmobile. The compact carbureted rotary engine weighs less than 50 lbs, not including its drive plate, and puts out a healthy 22 hp when properly tuned and in good condition. We've seen similar engines swapped into actual cars before, believe it or not.

The engine was swapped into a 1980s-era Suzuki LT230 Quad Sport frame. The frame had plenty of space to fit the rotary, though some cutting and welding was required to properly accommodate the engine where it needed to go. 

The engine was installed with a snowmobile-style centrifugal clutch and belt-drive CVT, with some headaches along the way. The driven pulley of the system was seized, and as it later turned out, was installed backwards, which meant the CVT couldn't adjust its drive ratio as it normally should. Flipping it around wasn't easily possible due to the constraints of the frame, so instead the transmission was locked out to a single ratio, while the centrifugal clutch remained operational.

Despite the hamstrung transmission and brakes only working on one wheel, the build still came together for its first proper ride. The engine chugs along with a hearty burble as the ATV rips around the parking lot. It sounds impressively healthy for an engine that's nearly a half-century old, put back together after a home shop rebuild shown in one of the channel's earlier videos.

That's certainly one way to bench-test an engine., YouTube/Build Break Repeat

It's not the quickest ATV out there; Build Break Repeat puts the acceleration on par with a souped-up minibike, providing fun if not eye-watering performance. However, with some tweaks to the transmission or even a potential turbo install, there's scope for more down the line.

It's not the first rotary swap from Build Break Repeat, either. The channel has previously built a turbo rotary minibike before, as well as a charming rotary shifter kart featuring a Mazda 787B tribute paint scheme. 

It goes to show that if you're out there dreaming of smoking out the town with oil-laden Wankel exhaust plumes, you don't have to scrape together all your pennies for an RX-7. You can always grab an old snowmobile engine off eBay and whip together something altogether more affordable instead!

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