Getting Started in 2013, Part #6, ‘Bob Baker’ short block


Now we get to the second engine builder, “Bob Baker.” He elects to use a Weseman prepped crankshaft with a Gen 2 bearing hub installed. He is going to keep his used gear from his crank. He is going to get a Clark’s standard cam gear that he is going to put on a re-ground cam himself.

Here is the logic in his decision making: He knows he is going to have a 5th bearing on his engine, so he wants to do it in the easiest way possible. He is also interested in condensing orders, so having the Wesemans take care of the crank prep and install the Gen 2 hub in one shot is appealing. The Weseman crank process takes care of removing the gear and replacing it for the builder, so he doesn’t have to track down a 20 ton press like Allan Able did. Later, Bob will have less work than Allan putting his 5th bearing on because the Gen 2 eliminates the most technical part of the installation. Even though Bob is looking to save the work on the crank, he still is willing to install his cam gear at home. If he changes his mind about this, Clark’s only up charges about $25 to install the gear for him.

Again, at the end I will cover some options and notes. CC stands for Clarks Corvair parts, SR stands for Summit Racing, ELS stands for Ebay Larry’s Corvair parts, and ECA stands for Ebay California Corvair parts. Lets look at Bob’s numbers:


Crank group (1000)

1000- Crank GM 8409 prepped by  Dan Weseman with Gen 2 5th bearing hub installed. ( $1,350)

1001- Crank gear (used, from core)

1002- Crank gear key (Included in crank prep)

1003- Crank gear gasket (Included in crank prep)

1004- Rear keys -2-(CC-#5858, $1.50, $3)

1005- Fuel pump eccentric (used, from core engine)

1006- Spacer (used, from core engine)

1007- Bronze distributor drive gear (used, from core engine)

1008- Oil slinger (used, from core engine)

1009- Main bearings (ELS-$88)

1010- Connecting rod bearings (ELS-$59)


Cam group (1100)

1100- Cam ( CC, part 8800R, $170 )

1101- Thrust washer (used, from core engine)

1102- Key (CC-#5858, $1.50)

1103-  Cam gear (CC- $44)

1104- Hydraulic lifter set -12 total- ( $2.99each, $36)

1105- Cam lubricant (comes with OT-10 cam)

1106- ZDDP oil additive (SR,$16)


Case Group (1200)

1200- Case -2 halves with studs- (used, from core engine)

1201- Main case bolts -8- (used, from core engine)

1202- Pipe plugs for oil galleries -2- (used, from core engine)


The total of Bob’s parts is $1,766.  A first, this seems like a really big bump from Allan Able’s $1012. But it really isn’t an apples to apples comparison. Heres why: Bob is already part of the way to his 5th bearing being done, because the Gen 2 hub is already on his crank. To complete his 5th bearing, he will need to order the $750 housing/bearing/seal from the Wesemans. Thus $1,766 + $750 = $2516. Allan Able is eventually going to get a Gen 1 bearing, and the cost is going to be $1050 for the whole bolt on kit. Thus Allan’s cost to the same point of completed case with operational 5th bearing is $1012 + $1050 = $2062.

So to get to a case with a 5th bearing Bob is only spending $454 more than Allan. He has less work, but to get to the point of closing the case Bob has to have about $750 more handy at the same stage. 

Options Bob may consider: For $100 more he can get a new crank gear.   For about $50 more he can have a “fail safe” cam gear. If Bob is looking for a running start at the next College, he can send his case to my hangar, and for a modest charge I will assemble the bottom end and put the Gen 2 bearing in place. This is an efficient process because I can pick up the builder’s crank and bearing from Dan after it is processed. Even with these options Bob can get his fully assembled case for less than $3,000. This is often the running start that makes the difference on getting an engine running at a 3-day College. We have presented builders with two options that are very different, yet we have only looked at 2 of the 5 examples. When you consider the sub options, we are looking at perhaps 50 different paths for builders to select.

Take a moment and think: How many different ways are there to buy an imported engine? In most cases, just one. How likely is this single configuration to be the perfect match for an individual builder’s budget, learning goals and project plane?  Not likely at all. Almost all of those manufacturers offer their engine in a single configuration, not because it is the best for builders, but because it has the highest total revenue to their company. That isn’t evil, it’s capitalism. Works for them, and it works for any person who is willing to subjugate their own personal goals and individual plans to the available product.

Just looking for an appliance to turn a prop? No major loss to buy an imported, single configuration, “finance it don’t build it” motor. Did you get into this game to Learn, Build and Fly? Are you an individual who doesn’t fit the cookie cutter mold that many companies, organizations and magazines project as the “right” people for aviation?  Then Corvairs are for you. … Keep reading until you define the engine that perfectly matches your goals in building and flying. Don’t ever change your dreams, desires nor plans because it would be more convenient for the large corporation to sell you something: That isn’t homebuilding, it’s consumerism, and it only makes shallow people happy for short periods of time. As an individual, you have to exercise your personal choice and will and effort to be happy for the long run. That is called being an Aviator. -ww 

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