Update notes to 2014 manual, 1000 – Crankshaft group

Builders,

If you are the owner of a 2014 conversion manual, below are some short notes on the 1000 – Crankshaft group section. I have written about these details in the last 3 years, but they are presented here in summary form, please update your manuals and notebooks accordingly:

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2017 Commentary:

Three most popular cranks used in engines are 8409 Gen II, the Billet standard stroke, and the billet long stroke. All of these are from the Wesemans at SPA. Very few people take a different route than this, at a typical Corvair College today, all but one or two engines will be built around one of these three cranks.  At our  finishing schools; (Corvair Finishing School #1, Video report.) Each engine is required to have one of these three crank arrangements, because the fast pace of the work does not allow for the additional time or inspection requirements of using a crank which has not passed through the Weseman’s inspection process before the event.

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1001A – The Wesemans are the only shop I use to process GM cranks. They have been doing them for many years now, and after installing dozens of them at Colleges and in production engines, I can flatly state that they have the best process on 8409 cranks. They are not the cheapest, just the best value.

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1001B – The billet cranks were just getting into high gear in 2014, today they have long since become a very popular proven park. Countless hours of  aerobatics  have been flown on them, and they are well proven, without a failure of any kind. They are still made in the USA, to the highest standards. The original 2.94″ stock stroke which went into dozens of 3,000 cc Corvairs has now been supplemented with the longer stroke billet crank that goes in the 3.3 Liter engines. Although this sounds new, it is proven and flying, and is a regular production part: 3.3 Liter Corvair, a Smooth Power House.

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1002- no change

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1003- no change

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1004- no change

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1005- no change

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1006- no change

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1007- no change

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1008- no change

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1009- no change

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1010- In the years since 2014, I have built run and inspected several dozen engines using the Clark’s in house brand main engine bearings. This have proven to be the functional equivalent of American name brand bearings.  I have used them in sizes std, .010 and .020. They work.

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1011- The commentary on Clark’s main bearings also applies to Clark’s rod bearings.

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Thank you ,

Wewjr.

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63 Days until Oshkosh 2017.

Builders:

We have slightly more than two months until Airventure 2017 (July 24 – July 30).  As always, our space will be #616, in the North Aircraft display area, across from the Zenith Aircraft display, right next to SPA/Panther.

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In the next 60 days, I have a number of stories of newly flying planes, parts, skills and events to share. I have taken the last month off from writing, but not from working. We have a number of smaller evolutionary changes and developments, and some great success stories, but the lack of published stuff was caused by my focus on physical parts and work. Sorry, I don’t have a great dramatic story, it just got to be really nice weather in Florida, and every time I thought about sitting at the keyboard for a few hours to bang out a story, I just went out to the runway and did a few laps around the pattern instead.

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Over the last five or six years, I have averaged 2 or 3 stories a week on this blog. Much of it is just opinions of Florida a grease monkey, but at least half of it has some really valid technical point, either as the main subject or a supporting element, and 20% are purely about minimum understanding of the building and operation of Corvairs to have a reasonable expectation of success.  Since the first of the year, I have quietly interviewed a great number of builders and have come to the honest conclusion that the great majority of builders, good people with good intentions, are still missing many elements of critical information, all available here, they just didn’t read or remember them.

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There is an explanation for this: Our society encourages and admires people who skim subjects rather than mastering them. I know this, but often underestimate how pervasive this is. Ever since my first week at Embry Riddle three decades ago, I have been a voracious reader, studier, and note taker on the parts of aviation that I participate in. Many of the people I know, like Dan Weseman are the same way, and I have always gravitated toward any chance to learn from any aviator who approached the subject the same way.  It doesn’t seem real to me that anyone seriously thinking about building and flying a plane would gather material on the subject in any lesser way, but I have plenty of evidence I am wrong.

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A few weeks ago, a second owner of a Corvair powered plane took off on his first flight, and the weather conditions were 50F and raining. His intention was to fly across the continent, but in a few minutes he was turned back. On approach to the airport, his engine quit and the plane was heavily damaged.  Although he had previously been given all of the manuals, he told the FAA that he didn’t use carb heat. 60 days earlier I wrote this: Critical Understanding #10 – Carb Ice, but evidently he missed that also.

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There is a temptation to think that the above story is an aberration, but it isn’t. I just had a 20 year friend, who came to Corvair colleges, works in aerospace and is a sharp guy come down to my house to run his Corvair. His engine ran great, but he had never heard about the switch in recommended plugs, nor had he heard of the “Critical Understanding” series, nor had he ever joined our private discussion group for his model of aircraft. He just has a lot on his plate in life, and he isn’t staying up with the information. He isn’t alone, I am going to say that he is actually in the majority, and this does cause me concern.

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Someone is going to say “WW writes to much” well great, I just took a whole month off from typing a word, and I am willing to bet the person leveling that charge didn’t use an hour of that month to catch up on reading.  I am kicking around a lot of different thoughts, but in the end, I come back to the fact that too few people are really making a priority of mastering the engine they hope to fly behind.  It isn’t a comforting thought.

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I don’t regard people who miss information as bad people nor the enemy, I just think they are not effectively preparing for flight.  Here is a simple example: When the discussion came up about why I wasn’t writing last month, I guy chimed in to say perhaps I was in NJ caring for my Father.  He evidently missed this story: William E. Wynne Sr. 1925-2017, and the half dozen others I wrote about memories of my father. We are not speaking of a guy who has never met me, I am speaking of a thoughtful guy I am known for 10 years, who I actually saw and ate dinner with at Sun n Fun since my father’s passing. He isn’t a bad guy, but he isn’t reading this blog often enough to stay ahead of detailed information.

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By Oshkosh, I will come up with an approach to address the disconnects in information, but in the end, it is the builders’ total responsibility to learn what he must know. I want to increase his success rate, and I am willing to adjust, but it isn’t within my power to force anyone to do their homework. I just present what I have learned, and it is up to the builder to use it.

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Wewjr.

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How many mistakes can you see?

Builders,

The name of the person who bought and flew this engine will be held confidential, because he has since learned a lot about Corvairs and their safe operation, and purchased an engine to replace this one.  While this engine did fly for the original builder, it had an intermediate owner who knew little or nothing about it, but was willing to sell it to someone else. The new owner, following some very poor advice from a 5,000 hr pilot he mistakenly believed to have good judgement, flew a very long cross country home behind this engine, with nearly no understanding of it’s operation. I submit his survival as evidence of divine intervention of a God who’s sense of humor I am yet to understand.

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Below are pictures of the engine, returned as a core to SPA. We specifically wanted it back to remove it from possibly finding it way in parts or as a whole back into the Corvair “gene pool.” By making sure it gets ‘retired’ we are preventing another person, who has not done his homework or is following poor advice, from using this as a tool to remove themselves from the human gene pool.

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Above, eight plate oil cooler: this has never been acceptable. Read: Notes on Group 2800 Heavy Duty Gold Oil Systems.

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Harmonic balancer held on with two hardware store washers, instead of the GM specifically designed washer. Read: Balancer Installation

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Distributor has a straight thread, non locking nut on it, prone to slipping and having the timing change. Read: Distributor Detail. The distributor is not oriented correctly, and it is an older dual point model, but one of the sets of points inside are a model we specifically told people never to use.

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This has never been an acceptable plug. Read: A Tale of Two Spark Plugs…… and The correct supplies for engine building 

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Half way through the trip home, one head detonated to death. Instead of trucking it home, a local car mechanic was found, a “Corvair Expert” who installed a piece of shit head on the motor. I have no idea what authority the mechanic used to justify going on airport grounds and working on a flying plane, with absolutely no training, nor any idea of what is done to heads to make them flight worthy. In case you are wondering, It is NEVER acceptable to grind on a weld on a plane to make it look “Pretty”.

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Above, notice there is no baffle between cylinder #2 and the oil cooler. Also note the pipes were welded on the heads without the correct lean in angle. Oil fill in the top cover is a bad idea, and a push in oil cap in that location is an invitation to it popping off from a clogged breather, which would result in oil being sprayed on the hottest parts of the engine.

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Another look at the missing baffle. This results in very high oil temps from the cylinder directly radiating heat onto the cooler, and it is also a serious leak in the cooling air.

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Above, the motor has no fifth bearing. The buyer of the plane really had no idea what one was, and the seller was in no hurry to explain that for the last 10 years I have been telling people to install one. Second, note that the engine has an old style FRA-235 ring gear which should have been replaced long ago. Read: Front and Rear alternators, their part in numbering system

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The junk head, installed on airport grounds by a car person: Note that it has no locking nuts on the installation, nor does it have rotators on the exhausts. The “Repair” cost $600, so you know there is nothing good inside the head either. The cost to simply produce one first class flight head is more than the total price here. The heads are bolted on with grade 5 nuts.

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Above, this is not a good location for a nylock nut, but the real issue is the number of exposed threads. When this many are showing, there is a very good chance the nut is bottomed on the shank of the bolt, not actually tight.

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Every oil pan I have ever made has had a 1/2″-20 drain plug thread. For some reason this motor gas a pipe thread jammed in the oil pan. It leaked. notice the pan washers are not locking.

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This has never been the vent location for the engine. Being that low, it will send a slug of oil into the vent line on climb. There are very specific reasons why we use the locations we do for vents and for filler necks. Read: Parts for Oshkosh .

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On the trip home in this plane, the engine first turned 3,000 rpm on takeoff.  later in the flight the owner related that the take off rpm fell off several hundred rpm. He is a pilot of very modest experience, but his companion with 5,000 hours wrote this off to it being hotter later in the day. If you don’t know this, understand it wasn’t the heat, which might have been attributable to 50 rpm but not 500, it was the fact they were taking off with one dead cylinder. The flight continued. Near the end of the day, they took off from a paved airport thousands of feet long, but were turning less than 2500 rpm. (read: Critical Understanding #4, ANY loss of RPM is Detonation. ) At no point did the 5,000 hour pilot abort the take off. The plane staggered into the air. I asked how low they were when they flew the pattern, and the owner told me they didn’t return to the airport, they just ‘flew on to their destination, 130 miles away, because they had to get there.’

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Had they crashed, who would have been blamed? I’m going to guess that the engine would be the first victim, and maybe the guy who built the plane. Do you think the family of the 5,000 hr pilot, when contacted by personal injury attorneys, would correctly blame the 5,000 hr pilot for having no judgement? Let us just go back to square number one: Who performed the required condition inspection on the airplane last? Where is the log book entry for this? If this was done, why was the plane flown with little or no understanding of the operational parameters?  Or how about this one: When a plane that should be airborne in 700′ is now passing the 3,000′ runway mark, why in gods name didn’t the 5,000 hr pilot pull the throttle back?

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Above the engine sits in a box. Want to avoid getting in a box prematurely? don’t buy and fly any aircraft or engine understanding it fully. Don’t assume that things for sale are airworthy. Don’t assume that people with 5,000 hours in their logs have any judgement.

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wewjr.

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Bob Lester’s Corvair/ Pietenpol nears 800 hours.

Builders.

I received an note from Bob Lester saying he is just a few hours from the 800 hour mark of Corvair power on his Pietenpol. He has done this in about 48 months. The airframe was built in the 1970s with a 65HP Lycoming, but bob bought it, did a lot of work to the plane, and has been logging hours on his 2,700cc Corvair ever since. Has off to Bob on this milestone.

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Above, Bob and his plane at CC #39 last month. The planes large wheels are Harley front mag wheels with smooth covers.

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For a look at some “Bob Stories”:

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Bob Lester’s 48 flight hour, 3400 mile Pietenpol adventure

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Power plant comparison:

Pietenpol Power: 100 hp Corvair vs 65 hp Lycoming

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Landing gear change:

New die spring landing gear on a Pietenpol, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

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Our Piet discussion group:

Piet Vair discussion group update, notes on joining

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Bob’s Piet and others at Barnwell:

Pietenpol Builders and Pilots at Corvair College #31.

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A look at a College where Bob gave a lot of rides:

Corvair College #33: Behind The Scenes

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Bob has been around Corvairs for a long time. Above he and Grace in 2005 at our old Edgewater hangar. They are eating ten pounds of boiled shrimp in the hangar’s “executive dining room.”

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IMG_9070

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Above Bob Lester and Steve Makish. These two old friends attended a number of early Colleges in a pair of Corvair powered KR-2s. Today Bob has his Corvair in his Pietenpol.  They have known each other through 30 years of flying.

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IMG_8733

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Above, Bob Lester’s Corvair powered Pietenpol sits on the ramp at Barnwell at sunset on Saturday night at Corvair College #31.

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Above my favorite Bob Lester photo, where he naturally strikes the “Intrepid Aviator” pose with his Pietenpol at CC#25.  He is good at this because he has seen every old aviation movie ever made. I have to coach other pilots on getting the pose right, but not Bob.

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wewjr.

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Production: #2802 – Gold Sandwich Adapter. 

Builders,

While I do put out all kinds of stories, behind the posts, production of parts marches on. Pictured below, a batch of #2802 Gold Sandwich Adapters, the fundamental part of a Group 2800 Heavy Duty Oil Cooling System.

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The #2802 goes between the #2601 oil filter housing and the oil filter. In the picture above, you are looking at the side which contacts the oil filter.

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Flipped over, this is the side which contacts the #2601 filter housing. The two blue fittings go to and from the Heavy duty oil cooler.

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Above, 26 of them being assembled in my workshop. They come with the AN fittings installed, and I hand assemble the bypass valve which is internal to the part. We have made these for more than 10 years, they are long proven to be excellent parts on hundreds of engines.

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wewjr.

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The Politics of Pouring Gasoline

Builders,

Today I went out and bought 3 new 5 gallon cans to store 100LL in. As most of you have noticed, in the last few years, we have all been subjected to “Safety” spouts and pouring devices on new gas cans. Speaking as someone who has spent a lot of days in the burn ward, these devices are stupid, and are not the way to prevent accidents. Obviously, education is. You can’t make the world “safe” for imbeciles, and I personally resent attempts to idiot proof everyone’s world, in a futile attempt to protect those who are working very hard to remove themselves from the gene pool.

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Here is something ironic: The bag above contains a normal spout that replaces the “Safety” spout. Look at the states in which this device is illegal: right at the start of the list is California, Aka: “The People’s Republic of CA“.  Notice that the actual Commies in China produce the device to defeat the pseudo-commie legislative “safety” spouts mandated in those 11 states and DC.  Yes, I own a copy of Das Kapital, and I know it is an economic model, not a system of gas spouts. I think of anything that seeks to remove an individual’s right to choose his own path in life and replaces this with forced compliance with the alleged good of the masses as, for the lack of a better term, “commie”.

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Before anyone from California or any of the other States starts typing, please understand I have been to all 50 states – (State #50, North Dakota), I love CA (just not it’s legislature Water Bomber at twilight) , I think of Albert Camus as a great man (he was a commie – Thinking of the people of France) and of course I am just an opinionated idiot –Lifestyles of Troglodytes.

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Something funny: Three 5 gallon containers, and two 30 round containers in the same picture. I don’t know who designed the gas containers, but the two others work with machines of George Hyde and Gordon Ingram (L) and Eugene Stoner and James Sullivan (R).  When looking at the list of states which forbid the use of regular gasoline pour spouts, it nearly overlaps exactly with states that forbid the mere ownership of the 30 round containers. It is all a misguided attempt to make the world ‘safe’ by removing anything that might be used by a fool or an evil person to cause harm, rather than removing the person who is doing the harm.

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One of the great things I love about aviation, is the fact it is one of the last bastions in American life, where the participants understand that it is a better investment in risk management to educate the participants rather than make a futile try to ‘idiot proof’ the machines.  While I can’t fix your gas spout if you live in a “safety” state, we should both have loud vocal objections when anyone suggests they have an idea for idiot proofing aviation…..unless that idea is escorting the idiots off the airport.

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WEWJR

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New Corvair/ Zenith 750, Vance Lucas, Canada.

Builders:

Word came yesterday that Vance Lucas flew his 3,000cc Corvair powered Zenith 750. It was a start to finish 36 month build, including Vance building his own engine at our Corvair colleges. Hats off to Vance, for a job very well done. His personal reward is amplified by being the master of his power plant, not simply it’s owner. He invested the extra measure of his own effort to achieve this. Corvairs are not for everyone, but if your individual path is driven to find out how much you can learn, not how little, you will find the engine and our program to offer a depth of understanding for those unwilling to settle for less.

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Above, Vance and his 3,000 cc / 120 HP engine during the perfect break in run. I took this Photo in Portland Oregon last year. If you are not a Corvair builder and wonder at times why we have a very strong following, this is an easy example to follow: I drove out from Florida with a trailer of tools and the test stand to cover colleges all over the west. (read: Back in Florida after 7,380 miles on tour.) The trip included a 1,000 mile extension to cover just 3 Zenith builders in Portland who were ready for a test run. Total Price I charged these builders for travel work and test run? Zero dollars. The great majority of companies in experimental aviation measure ‘success’ solely based on how much money they make. Since 1989, I have measured success by what builders have learned, and how they use this to safely operate their aircraft 

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 Vance drove down from Canada to Portland for his test run. He is a first class guy and good company. He also attended the Corvair College #30 we held at the Zenith factory in Mexico MO. For a look at the Portland story, read: A tale of three Zenith builders.

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STOL CH 750 First Flight

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From Vance: “Three days short of three years since I picked up the tail kit from the freight depot I have a flying airplane. Everything went according to plan, no surprises, thanks God.”

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wewjr.

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