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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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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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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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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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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Selecting an engine for your experimental aircraft

Builders,

The designers of experimental aircraft have an incredibly wide difference of opinion on the rights of builders to choose their own engine once they buy the plane. I know this personally, I have been in the alternative engine business for the last 25 years, and the designers names I use below are people I have met in person, who directly said these positions to my face.

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Moreover, I have done a lot of work over the years on advisory boards and sat through a lot of closed door meetings. I have directly heard many things that were later diluted by PR people until they were non-offensive. I have heard countless well intentioned, but under informed builders relate positions that their favorite designers supposedly held, positions which I know from personal contact, not to represent the designers actual beliefs. I have tried to correct misconceptions, but it is a usually a waste of time to try to expand the understanding of people who are absolutely sure they already know everything.

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Examples; Burt Rutan does not like builders using auto engines on his designs, and actively didn’t want anyone doing so to be able to use his name for the plane. On the other end of the spectrum, Randy Schlitter, the founder of Ran’s aircraft told me “They buy it, it belongs to them, they can put a car engine on it if they want, or make a yard decoration if they want, to argue otherwise is to be against private property.”

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Between these extremes are all many other companies. Zenith aircraft has been very successful by stating that builders have the right to use any engine they want, just strongly suggesting that the engine be in below a specified all up weight. This is a position very close to Randy Schlitter’s. Richard VanGrunsven, founder of the RV series of aircraft is much closer to Rutan’s position. He was vocally against any engine other than Lycomings. (until he designed the Roxax powered RV-12, which he is vocally against anyone using any other powerplant on.)

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VanGrunsven is the largest Lycoming dealer in the country, but I think his adamant insistence on their use is driven by an combination of his belief they are good engines and his attitude that he should be able to say how people use “his” planes, even though these people own them as their private property and are consider the plane’s manufacturer by the FAA. There are many things I admire about the man, but this kind of heavy handed control of others lives while working to be perceived as a ‘nice guy’, isn’t one of them. I actually preferred Rutan’s direct and blunt, ‘do as I say because I am smarter than you and I don’t care if you like me’ approach. I prefer unapologetic dictators over those that seek to be perceived as benevolent.

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Between these positions are many companies that like to promote the use of their “Approved” engines for the sole purpose of making money. Most people have no idea that when a builder buys a kit, and later buys a Rotax (or many other imports), the person who sold the kit makes a several thousand dollar kick-back off the engine company. Walk into many kit company’s booths at Oshkosh and tell them you are planning on using a Corvair, and the most common line is “I have met WW and he knows engines, but …(Insert: “Corvairs weigh 350 pounds, they don’t really work. they don’t use 72″ props, they..”) so just do the smart thing and get a Rotax, here I will call lockwood on your behalf”. Look at the math on this; The airframe guy invests 10 minutes having this conversation with a builder six times, one hour total, and then makes a $2,500 kick-back. Yes, they do this not out of the goodness of their hearts, it is for the 2,500 dollar per hour pay-off.  The fact that the kit buyer does not understand the system is what makes it deceitful, and he is unaware of the kit sellers motivation. This system in one of the largest single reasons why conversion engines are not more popular.

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If you have ever wondered why we have so many Corvair powered Zenith’s flying, it is not just that it is technically a very good match and that we have done our homework starting with buying a kit for ourselves and building and flying it personally, but the attitude of Zenith is a very big factor. Sebastien Heintz, president of Zenith, has always believed that the builder, as an individual and owner of the kit, has the right to select his own engine. I find it humorously ironic that a guy born in France and raised in Canada turns out to be a much stronger champion of the personal freedom individuals making an educated decision for themselves than many kit company owners who would rather make a buck off builders obediently doing as told while these men try to polish a public image of respecting the freedom and individuality of builders.

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Photos from Zenith Aircraft Company's 23rd annual Open Hangar Day & Fly-In at the kit factory in Mexico, Missouri. September 19 & 20, 2014

 Above, the Engine Selection forum from the 2014 Zenith Factory Open House. From the left, the panelists represent, Rob from Rotax, Robert helms from UL power, Corvairs (myself), Pete Krotie from Jabbaru usa, Kim Winner from Continental, and Jann Eggenfelner from Viking. Sebastien Heintz is the moderator, standing by the wing.

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In keeping with the Zenith Aircraft perspective, the forum allows builders to directly ask questions to be addressed by the panelists who all represent proven power plant options on Zenith airframes. This approach speaks volumes about how the company views it’s builders; they are seen as adults, capable of making informed choices for themselves. This is very different from companies which dictate to their builders what they will do.

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Zenith is an actual dealer for many of the brands of engines that work on their aircraft. They make mounts and cowls for some of these. But this is not a consideration, the goal is to match each builder to the right engine. Each builder is provided with opportunity to get to know many engine providers and make the selection that best matches their goals, budget, time line and philosophy.

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I have heard every possible argument for the dictatorial approach, but in the end, traditional homebuilding and real flying, at their very core, are all about learning building and flying, and these are things that are best done as an alert individual, not someone blindly following orders. -ww.

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3,000cc Corvair parts for sale in Canada

We received word today that these parts sold in 12 hours. For many years it was accepted that alternative engines had low resale value; and the parts for them even lower. Here is evidence that this does not apply to the Corvair parts we sell and the conversions we teach people to build. I thought Trevor was offering a very good deal, it sold fast enough to say it wasn’t just a good deal, but perhaps an excellent one.

Not all Corvair projects work like that. A few months ago a guy was selling a Corvair on Barnstormers; the guy had come to CC#18 with an engine with a planetary drive, 140 heads and a large car carb. He had big plans and a ‘Local expert’ he was working with. Evidently he had some type of awakening, and had the engine for sale for $7,500, maybe half of what he had in it. I hope no one bought it for that. At Oshkosh 2013 there was essentially the same engine in the flymart, and it sold for $900. I took it apart for the guy who bought it he later felt he might have paid $900 too much for it.

I genuinely hope that every single part we sell goes flying with the guy who bought it, but it doesn’t always work out that way. It is good to know that the parts bought from us hold value, and aircraft built using them carry value.

In early 2008 we sold our simple 601XL for $51,000; When Dan Weseman sold his ‘Wicked Cleanex’ four years ago, it brought $37,500. Chris Smith’s ‘Son of Cleanex sold to it’s second owner for $37,500 also. These are simple examples that well built planes powered with quality Corvair engines, built from good parts, hold their value. On the other side of the coin, there are plenty of pieces of trash floating around, particularly junk that came from now bankrupt LLC’s , that has no value today.

There will always be people who shop with trash peddlers and other building something ‘special’, guided by a ‘local expert’. People going those routes are often trying to ‘save money’, but in the end it is often the most expensive route possible.

 

Builders:

We got word from one of our Canadian builders in Northern Ontario that he is unable to continue with his airplane and 3 Liter Corvair project. He is selling the engine parts below, which is a very good start on a 3,000 cc engine.  It still needs the heads done, (but cores have already been shipped to Falcon), it needs an Oil system, a starter a distributor and some small items. The total spent below is about $6,500US, the builder is looking for a quick sale at equivalent of $5,000US. I have met the man in person and can verify that all the items below are from us and the Wesemans.
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This is a good opportunity for a Canadian builder to get a strong running start, because the parts are already past the point of import tax, but the sale offer is open to any builder on either side of the border.

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The owner of the project is Trevor Leslie he can be contacted directly at his email address:

trevorleslie@hotmail.com

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“Engine has been assembled to the short block stage.

The asking price DOES NOT include rebuilding of the heads!”

  • Original block which is from a 67’ (T0326RH) Machined to accept 3000CC cylinders

  • Original Crank GM 8409 prepped by Dan Weseman with Gen 2 5th bearing

  • New  Federal Mogul main bearings (0.10) and connecting rod bearings (0.10)

  • New OT-10 Cam with thrust washer, key and “fail-safe” cam gear.

  • New Sealed Power HT-817 hydraulic lifters

  • New Piston set with wrist pins, ring set and connecting rods

  • Flycorvair.com  3000CC kit,  pistons cyls.  rods

  • New powder coated pushrod tubes(flycorvair.com)

  • Short gold hub (flycorvair.com 2501(B))

  • Hybrid studs (2502)

  • Safety Shaft (2503)

  • Modified ring gear (2408)

  • Oil Cooler Block Off kit

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