Cam Washer, looking for a gray area

Builders:

On the surface here, the issue is the fit of the cam gear washer, part number #11o2. I have covered this topic in my writing for 10 years. I have always told builders that this washer must be held tight between the cam and gear.

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In a nutshell, they were always tight, but Clarks, the supplier of our specified cam switched from using US made washers to Chinese ones, and they didn’t catch that Chairman Mao’s fan club forgot to put a critical bevel on it, and if you now tried to clamp it tight, it offset and ruined the cam gear. So they decided that it was OK for the washer to be loose. Working in my shop, I solved the mystery, and showed everyone that putting a small chamfer on the washer, which took 2 minutes in a late solved the issue. Clark’s corrected this, and things went well for years, but they have recently slipped back to using non beveled washers and loose gears. If you want to avoid the issue and have a cam that is 100% made in America you can get it from us: 1100-WW Camshaft Group

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To demonstrate that I have been covering this for years, read these stories, and note that they have pictures and stories in them that were first published on FlyCorvair.com 10 years ago. This isn’t a new issue. If you are building a Corvair, I suggest spending more time reading my website than internet discussion groups. Read: Getting Started in 2013, Part #3, The Camshaft Group (1100) and Jump Start Engines – part #5.

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NOTE: although the pictures show a cam in a press, UNDER NO Circumstances is it acceptable to press a cam gear on cold, or EVER press down the length of the cam. The pictures are showing how the cam is held when the gear is heated and seated under pressure, but it isn’t being pressed cold. If you press the gear cold, and it moves, it IS JUNK, because you wounded it. If you press down the length of the cam, I will assure you that you cracked it (Cams are cast iron, not steel, find a junk one and hit it with a hammer and watch it break in half) Anyone who suggests hitting the gear with a hammer or pressing it cold, is suggesting you to crash your plane.

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The Issue Today:

A builder is Australia read my story after he bought the cam from clarks with a loose gear. The solution is to remove and throw away the gear, chamfer the washer, and put a new gear on. But evidently that sounded expensive, so he went to the internet looking for a second opinion, a gray area, where other people could tell him it was OK to have it loose, or come up with some cheap fix. He wrote the following letter to the “CorvairCraft” group, which I am banded for life from for being intolerant of people who offer advice there, having never built a flying plane before. Here is the letter, and the response he got from Lon Wall, a Corvair car guy who has never flown in a plane in his life, the same guy who sold cast pistons to aircraft builders for years telling them they were better than forged. Read “Local Expert” convinces builder to use cast pistons. Lon’s business is basically over, but he is still around on the net to give advice. Follow it, but make your peace with God first.

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On 2/18/2015 6:30 AM, John Woods via CorvAircraft wrote:

Guys,
I need some practical advice regarding a recent post on WW blog regarding
the washer on the cam shaft.
I have the OT-10 from Clark’s and the washer is not clamped tight in place
as William recommends.
The washer can be rotated but there is very little side movement. I can’t
get a 0.04mm feeler gauge between the washer and the cam gear.
I’ve rotated the cam together with the crank shaft and there is no binding.
Is this acceptable to use?
I’ll email WW also, but wanted the view from his who are flying with a
similar free turning cam washer.

Thanks.

John Woods
Perth, Australia

Reply From Lon Wall:

Hi John – This is an issue that just won’t go away!

Of course the washer must be tight. Put it in a press and press it back tight – Note – if it takes very little pressure to get it tight then you have a loose cam gear and that’s the kiss of death. To those who have said that a loose washer is ok – Then where is the published specs on allowable tolerance (looseness)?

A new cam gear is REALLY cheap insurance for the last part to fall out of the engine and a part that sets timing. Lose the gear and you lose your engine.

Lon Wall

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Note that Lon is saying it is OK to press the cam gear cold, That if it moves this is OK, note how he agrees that it needs to be tight, but his “method” of “Fixing” it is something I would expect from a car guy with a marginally existing business. He has been on CorvairCraft for 15 years offering this kind of advice, and I am pretty sure he has never seen flown in a light plane of any kind. I have covered his problem in many stories like this: MA3-spa carb pictures, Wagabond notes. 

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It’s your life, take your pick on where you get advice on flying Corvairs carefully, If you constantly look for gray areas, rethink that as an approach to flying planes. You will not always get a “Do Over”, and you can be certain that no one who offered unqualified advice on the net will show up to assist you in building another plane or help your family with the cost of your burial.  -ww.

1100-WW Camshaft Group

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Builders,

In our new manual numbering system, the camshaft group is #1100. Below are the numbers in the group. This story is about buying our cam package that includes all the parts listed below, ready to drop in your engine.

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Cam group (1100)

1101- Cam

1102- Thrust washer

1103- Key, hardened

1104- Cam gear

1105- Hydraulic lifter set -12 total-

1106- Cam lubricant

1107- ZDDP oil additive

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IMG_0193

Above, the elements of the #1100-ww Camshaft group package. It contains every required part in the 1100 group in the new manual numbering system. Everything in this picture is made in the United States.

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I have put the cam that Harvey Crane designed for us in 1997 put back in production, because I have found a respected national manufacturer who can grind the pattern on original GM cam cores.

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The cam is Parkerized, checked for straightness and magnafluxed after processing. These cams come with  a new billet made in the USA gear already installed (#1104). The gear is correctly mated so there is zero play in the thrust washer (#1102), it is clamped tight and will not rotate.  A new set of HT-817 sealed power lifters (#1105)  The moly lube (#1106) and a bottle of ZDDP (#1107) all come wrapped up in one box that a builder can buy, and then just check “Camshaft Group 1100″ off his list.

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We extensively flight tested this cam pattern more than 15 years ago. In performance testing, this cam has a slight edge on an OT-10. I was motivated to do this because we kept having builders show up at colleges with cams they paid to have the gears put on which has the thrust washers sloppy loose. None of them wanted to hear that their brand new gear had to be trashed and a correct thrust washer and new gear had to be installed. Having the whole 1100 Group done, correctly and available precludes this from happening.

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I have had this project in mind for more than a year, and have had the actual cams here for several months going through testing and verification of the grinder’s ability to get the pattern right on the money. I had them independently magnafluxed here. I assembled about 10 of these into engines so far, and they work very well. They will be in every production engine we build from here on.

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To illustrate how long I have been having an issue with car parts suppliers who don’t put the cam gear down tight enough to capture the thrust washer as GM designed it to be, below is a 2008 post from our traditional website. It shows that the reason why car people could not put the thrust washer down tight is that they substituted a Chinese made thrust washer, that didn’t have the required bevel on it. It took about 60 seconds to correct this on a lathe, but if you don’t do it, and try to press the gear on tight, it knocks the gear out of alignment. I pointed this out to car people, they corrected it for a while, but in the last two years the problem has come right back. I am done with trying to have car people take this seriously.

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Discovering and solving that single issue and being able to type that short sentence about it cost me about $500 in cam gears and four days in the shop to learn, almost ten years ago. If you spent a weekend in my shop, I could literally show you 100 more items about Corvairs like this, all of which went into the knowledgebase in the new manual.

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At Oshkosh this year I had a guy stand in my booth and tell me he was part of an on line discussion group about Corvairs, and they were using an idea called “crowd sourcing” to come up with “new answers.” Because of my superior anger management training, I was able to calmly explain that 50 people who have never built a running Corvair speaking to each other on line is a form of the blind leading the blind, and it doesn’t work any better in Cyberville than it does in reality. I also said that Cyberville may seem great because everyone gets to have their own unicorn, but he should remember that even if he brings a lot of he video game “extra lives” from Cyberville when he heads to the airport, “Game over” has a different meaning in reality than it does in his pals in the Sony Play station world. He made a hurt face when I said “You can go ahead and press “reset” but me and my friends Physics Chemistry and gravity will still be here. Reality works like that.”

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(2008) Above are two cam thrust washers for a Corvair. On the lathe, I’ve cut a slight bevel to provide clearance on the side of the washer that touches the cam. My research into building Corvair engines is continuous and ongoing. The unbeveled washer is an aftermarket part supplied by several of the Corvair parts houses. When pressing on a new cam gear, this will make the cam gear walk slightly out of square at the last moment. After years of installing countless cam gears without problem, we’d recently had trouble getting several of them to seat on their cams and hold tight their washers. Ignoring this problem, people selling cams with gears on had been leaving the washer loose as a really poor fix. It took a while to determine what was causing this issue, but a slight relief on the washer makes the difference.

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(back to 2006 ) Cams are made of cast iron. They should never be subjected to compressive forces down their length. This tool holds the cam by the first bearing when the heated cam gear is pressed in place. In our shop, we always make sure the thrust washer is clamped tight by the cam gear. This requires holding it under pressure while it cools. I had a recent tech discussion with the staff at Clark’s Corvairs about this. They said that many car people prefer the thrust washer to be loose and rotate on the cam. I explained to them that for every aircraft engine, I want the washer tight.

 

 

All about Dipsticks, Part #2206

Builders,

Here is a topic that I have covered before, and it is covered in some depth in the 2014 conversion manual. The part number we assign to the dipstick is #2206, in the #2200 oil pan group.

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The dipstick itself is an after market model for a 289-302 Ford V-8. You can get it in the Mr. Gasket brand from most auto parts stores or SummitRacing .com. Discard the stock mounting clamp that comes with it.

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Before I put the two case halves together, I run a .375″ drill down through the hole in the case. This makes it from a hard drive fit to a light tap in place item. The bottom part of the dip stick tube below the shoulder is 1″ long. If you rough this part up with 40 grit paper, you can then bond the dip stick tube in the case with Ultra Gray Permatex RTV. This is a better sealed installation than a dry driven in tube in the stock case hole size.

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The stock overall length of the tube is about 12″. Use a tubing cutter to neatly reduce the overall length to 8″. This is 1″ below the shoulder and 7″ above it. After using the cutter, run a Unibit stepped hole saw into the tube to clean out the crimping left from the tubing cutter. Test fit the dip stick.

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Put the tube in the case, with the RTV smeared over the last 1″. Put it in the case so the bend in the tube brings the tube closest to the top cover on the case. It should be about 1/2″ away. Later if you wish to make a small tab to stabilize the tube to the top cover bolt, you can, and it will be short and neat. We call this part #2207, it is just a light tab with a 3/8′ hole on one side and a 5/16″ on the other.

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Before putting the oil pan on, after the lifters are adjusted and the oil pick up #2202 is in place, test the dip stick in the engine. YES, it is aligned with the top of the pick up, so the dip stick must be trimmed off not to strike the top of the pick up.

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YES, this will preclude having the dip stick long enough to tell when the engine is down to the last quart in the pan. Have a cup of coffee and think this through: When will you need to know the difference between having one quart or two in the pan? Never. The only thing you will need to know is when the engine has 5 quarts in it and when it has four. That is the operating range. A well built engine will use none between 25 hour oil changes. No one needs to know when their engine is down to 3 quarts.  Having the pick up where it is better for oil suction to the pump. Dip stick location to tell when the oil is down to one quart does not take design precedence over having the pickup in the best location.

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Do not mark the dip stick! Test run your engine with 4-5 quarts in it. If you are on a level test stand and have no cooler for the test run, use 4 quarts. If you are running it with a cooler or on a tail wheel airframe, use 5 quarts.

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After the test run, drain the oil. With the airframe in the position it will sit in on the ramp, ie  tail wheel on the ground, or tri gear normally loaded, pour in  4 quarts of oil. put the dip stick in, note the oil level and mark it. I generally drill a 3/64″ hole. Then, add one more quart, recheck, and make the top mark. This defines the operating range of the engine.

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Number of running engines that I have personally done this to, and had it work perfectly with no leaks; About 80.

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The total length of time to cut the stick, de-bur the end, sand, drill the case hole, bond it in, cut the stick and later mark it: About 10 minutes. 

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Total expense involved for this system: About $13

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Alternatives: People can go on the internet, pose the question to discussion groups, get 8 ideas, all of which take longer, cost more, and have not flown. One can then read 26 responses in favor of/ totally against the 8 ideas, all written by people who have never built a flying Corvair engine. Spend a week fretting over which idea is the best. Pick the one that involves driving the oversized tube in place on the assembled motor. This pulls off a tiny sliver that falls in the pan. It fits through the screen size, gets drawn into the pump, stuck to the tooth, and gouges the walls of the WW-2000HV oil pump housing, causing low idling oil pressure. Get back on same discussion group and ask about the low pressure. Same guy named “Flyboy26″, who suggested driving in the dip stick tube like it was The Golden Spike at Promontory Point comes back and has a long diatribe about how ww sells defective oil pump housings, and he learned a much better way when he was a factory-trained, Renault Le-car lug nut service specialist in Canada the 1970s. (complete with a side bar on why wheels only need 3 lug nuts.) This starts a long discussion on why 1969-73  4WD Ford F-250s has left handed threads on the right front hub only. Guy chimes in to say this isn’t true, and BTW, Elvis is alive, Oswald was acting on orders from Hoover, men never landed on the moon and orange marmalade cures cancer. Two people write back to say that is preposterous, it is actually raspberry jam that cures cancer. Guy from Ghana writes into say that trucks built by Holden in Australia had left handed lug nuts on every hub except the right front, because they were used in the southern hemisphere. Another guy writes in to say that the safety shaft threads should be left handed. Ghana guy writes back to say Yes, but only in the northern hemisphere. Third guy writes in to agree, but points out that some engines will be used in pushers. Fourth guy offers to write a giant Excel spread sheet covering all the possibilities. Guy from Equador writes in, but it takes a day for someone to translate it: Says that when he drives is car over the equator, he has noticed the lug nuts get looser going north, tighter headed south. At which point it turn out that he is actually driving the last Renault Le-Car in south America. He should be great friends with guy in Canada, but they have an argument because guy in Equador innocently asks why the queen of England is on Canadian money. Last post on the story is about using an MGA carb on a Corvair, but the heading on the post is still “Dip stick tube alternatives.”

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1981 Renault LeCar [5]

1981 Le Car in movie “Totally Awesome

“Beautiful” Garbage from a bankrupt source

Builders:

At Corvair College #31, one of the builders on hand brought an engine he had waited 5 years for.  He had originally ordered it in 2009 from a Washington state outfit named “Magnificent Machine LLC”. They have long been bankrupt, but the former owner tried to make ‘good’ on a $10,000 paid order. When the engine came to the college, I got a good look at it, and even called the builder, to ask questions about it.  To cut to the chase, the engine is junk, it might have $1,000 in useable parts in it. It was a long time to wait and a lot to spend on trash.

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IMG_8803

Above, a simple shot of the head of the engine in question. Can you instantly spot the issue? Yes, the motor has junk lock nuts on the valve train and no exhaust rotators, but that isn’t the big one. Look at the top of the push rod tubes: see how the flat guide plate is crushing the top of the push rod tube? This head actually had over 1/8″ milled out of the head gasket area, so much that the pushrod tubes no longer fit, and the rocker arm geometry is a mile off. This will destroy the guides in short order; the compression ratio on this engine is far too high; it can’t even have simple future maintenance such as a heli-coil put in a spark plug hole ever. I spotted this because the engine only had 6 fins on the head instead of 7.  The heads were junk anyway because the intake logs were milled off for a dubious special intake that ‘looked cool’ but had no actual testing or logic. The builder told me the engine was run for a few minutes, but confessed it was plagued with oil leaks. He didn’t see that they were from the push rod tube O-rings no longer contacting the correct part of the head.

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The engine had many other issues. The cylinders were not bored on a boring bar, they were clamped in a lathe, and cut with a fixed tool. No rational person would do that. The crank was nitrided at a shop with no magnflux equipment. It had no harmonic balancer; it had a starter on the back of the engine which loads the rear of the crank. And that is just what I could see looking at the outside and under one valve cover for 4 minutes.

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The builder’s name is Brady McCormick. I do not critique the man without knowing him. I held a Jr College at his shop in Paulsbo WA in 2009. I was friendly with him and had him at CC#13. I have stayed at his house before. Brady had ambitions of being a major player in Corvairs, but he actually didn’t know much about planes nor automotive engines. He had never built a plane, had never had a single hour of A&P training, was not a pilot, had no significant flight experience, had never soloed a plane, had a weak high school understanding of physics and chemistry, and he had never rebuilt engines nor been employed in the automotive world.  He actually didn’t understand the extent of things he didn’t understand.

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After the Jr. College I met with Brady and his father. Brady was close to broke, and they appeared to be open to ideas. I and counseled him to stop trying to ‘develop’ new ideas, such as their own 5th bearing  and just work toward becoming a west coast build center that worked with proven ideas. I pointed out that I had my own flight proven 5th bearing design, yet I build motors with Weseman bearings. Brady listened with folded arms and said he could design better things than anyone, this in spite of the fact my visit had revealed he had not yet built one single running engine. His wager on this turned out to be his company, his house, marriage and his fathers savings. He lost.

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Below is a picture of the final phase of Brady’s attempt to be recognized in Corvairs, and to prove that my values of education, testing, quality control and simplicity were antiquated and stupid. One of the elements of this phase is his attempt to bring Chinese cranks to the market, with no testing. To read how the very first one failed, read this link: Chinese Crankshafts

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CH 601 XL B with Corvair

Above is a 2011 photo from the Zenith Builders site. It is an engine that Brady built for a guy, (it was not Brady’s plane, he didn’t have one.) Many people were impressed, thought of this as something great. It never flew nor ran. Bray was a good welder and a fair machinist, and could make things that looked good to amateurs. Problem is that planes need to be good not look good.  To people who don’t know better, this is impressive. If you understand modern EFI, this is wired like a Christmas train set, has no redundant ignition, and no design in airflow. More practically, this engine has no harmonic balancer, no cooling baffles, no Safety Shaft, and the big one, no 5th bearing.

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Below are a sample of the comments from other Zenith builders that the above photo brought out on the Zenith site. This is a good lesson: Many new builders without appreciable experience in aviation think that they can read websites and make valid evaluations of products, like they were reading a copy of consumer reports. I am sorry if this offends, but it doesn’t work that way in aviation. It is a highly technical subject, and the same way that Brady didn’t have the experience to make the stuff, the people below didn’t have a clue about that they were complementing. When I collected the comments, I took a few minutes to look at the pages of each of the commenters. None of them ever finished their plane. Want to avoid ending up in the same boat? Focus your time, attention and funds on proven products from people who value education, testing and quality control. -ww.

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If you would like to learn more about how fuel injection is actually done, and see it on running Corvair flight engines, read this: Fuel Injection – Corvair flight engines reference page

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Comment by Greg Walsh on February 15, 2011 at 4:05pm

Beautiful looking installation.  What is the total engine (FF) weight??

Comment by Andre Levesque on January 28, 2011 at 2:44pm

Hi Brady !I have been on your site many times. Beatiful work…. Just didn’t realize it was you -:)Now I understand the cleanness of your install….you’re a PRO.So nice to see craftmanship.  It Keeps us inspired  -:) and standards to adhere to….LOL

Comment by Brady McCormick on January 27, 2011 at 11:26am

Thanks :) I Like to keep things clean. :)Steven: you can check out my website for more info if you like? www.magnificentmachine.comI build parts & engines. :) 

Comment by Jesse Hartman on January 27, 2011 at 10:39am

That is seeeeexxxxyyyyyyy

Comment by STEVEN and TARA SMITH on January 26, 2011 at 8:10pm

Hi Brady. I have been trying to find how to build a corvair with a rear flywheel like yours. please send me in the right direction. Your airplane is gorgeous.

Engine build mistakes: people who don’t like help.

Builders,

I was cleaning up the shop today and came across an junk orange oil cooler. It reminded me of a few photos of an engine that came through the shop a while back.

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The engine’s second owner brought it by to see if I could ‘update’ it. He had bought it from the original builder, along with a Flybaby airframe. The original builder was an older gentleman who had bought a hub from us many years earlier. Although he had a manual from us, when the original builder found out that the guy who wrote the manual had long hair and didn’t project the right appearance, he decided that he had nothing to learn from my work.

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He went on and finished the engine but never ran it. He explained to the second owner that it was a perfect overhaul, ready to be flown. I took the whole engine apart, it was essentially junk and bad ideas.

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Disliking my appearance is not a valid reason to discard what I know about Corvairs. The Pilot in Command of a plane has an ethical obligation to his passengers to utilize all available information, not just the stuff from ‘pleasant’ sources. If the ghost of Chairman Mao knew something that would measurably reduce risk to a passenger in my plane, I would not hesitate to use it. Being too proud to accept help is not an asset in the Arena of flight.

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c37590

Above: Note the valve cover clamps are on upside down; the heads are from a 140, with the second flange welded shut, but the stock seats in the heads ready to fall out. No washers under the head nuts, no lube on the threads. Heads torqued over 35 pounds. The cylinders were standard with a thick ridge. Cast Pistons were in the bores.

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c37597

Above, pushrods painted orange not white. Spray paint down in the lifter bores and all inside the case. Note the cut out in the stock oil pan for mounting. This is a leak. Bernard Pietenpol made something that looked like this, but his plans showed a reinforcement welded back in place. No safety on oil pan bolts.

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c37601

Above: Never paint an oil cooler, it prevents it from cooling the oil. There is no sheet metal baffle behind the cylinders. Heat from the head will directly radiate on the cooler, baking it.

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c37604

Above, a record: four different plugs in the same motor. Note “Jack and the Beanstalk” dipstick tube.

2400-L Starter

Builders,

Below are several views of our #2400-L starter. It was an idea I actually had in 2007, but only developed in detail and production this year. The starter actually weighs 3 pounds less than our regular model.

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IMG_0184

Above is the front view. Although the starter brackets are related to our standard #2402 brackets, these are dimensionally different. All other parts of our starter system, the top cover, the ring gear etc, remain the same. The cylindrical motor is about the size of a 12 ounce soda can.

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IMG_0185

Above, the copilot side view. The starter actually cranks the engine faster on less amperage than out standard starter. The prototype of this starter was flight tested on the SPA Panther in the spring. We have since installed about 10 on running engines. We have given builders who had a standard starter on order the option of upgrading.

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IMG_0188

Above, the rear view of the starter, the main plate of the design in a CNC machined 3/8″ thick 6061T-6 aluminum plate. because it is very stiff, the design does not require a tail bracket. The pilot’s side hole in the mounting plate is  slotted, allowing quick adjustment.

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The pricing information on our webpage is correct, but we are still reworking the description and the photo. We will amend this shortly.

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2014 Conversion Manual Upgrades.

Builders,

In the last few weeks we have sent out a great number of 2014 manuals to builders who chose to upgrade their information, which I highly suggest. Grace and I were working from a list of builders that sent in a email request.

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However, I suspect that we have missed about 6-10 builders who sent in a request, but we didn’t send a manual to. If these were placed through our regular order system, we have excellent automated records, but most of the requests for an upgrade were simply sent as a request, not into the normal system. Making the tracking more complicated is the fact that Grace and I have not been in the location for almost a month. Right after CC#30 I headed to NJ to care for my parents, and just before I got back Grace left on a long scheduled trip with her family to Europe.

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Grace will be back shortly, and we will get things into high gear for the prep leading to CC#31. But, I am headed to the Post office at 11:00 am Saturday 10/18, and I will be glad to send a new 2014 manual to any builder we missed. If you put in a request or an order, and it has not made it to your door yet, please send me a direct email to:

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WilliamTCA@aol.com

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And please include your full USPS shipping address. and any notes on your order, and I will get it out in the morning. If you miss the chance, send the note anyway, I will get it out Monday.

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Please note that we are asking. Owners of older manuals who original purchased them from us to send in $50 to cover the printing and shipping costs on the new manual. If you would like a manual upgrade, just send me the shipping info and your old manual number. I will gladly send the manual right out, builders can send the payment when the manual gets there. -ww.

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Blast from the past, 2006:

Above is a photo of Grace Ellen, high in the Andes at Macchu Picchu. Her T-shirt is from Corvair College #4. Once a year, Grace takes time to spend it with her parents abroad. 1,600 years ago St Augustine pointed out that the world was like a book, and people who do not travel consent to read only one page.

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