Getting Started in 2013, Part #13, Basic piston/rod/cylinder combo.


If a basic builder wanted to go shopping a Clarks Corvairs for base line 2700cc Corvair pisron/rod/cyl. components, here is a break down of what the parts look like. I have rounded off some of the numbers slightly, but the cost is + or – only a few dollars.

I have seen a lot of very poor work come from local machine shops, so even on a basic engine it makes a lot of sense to get all the parts and machine work done at the same place. Make your life easier, don’t be the 100 th guy that found out this is the wrong place for a ‘local expert,’


Piston and rod group (1300)


1300- Piston set with wrist pins

The basic set of Sealed power forged pistons with rings from Clarks is just under $60 per piston, this includes the wrist pins.  $360 for the set. These are the pistons flying in  80-85% of Corvairs today. These pistons are available in several over sizes, most of the engines I have built over the years have been .030″ over and .060″ over. The price is the same. The .060″ engine will be about 2 pounds lighter and have slightly more displacement. 

1301- Ring set

The rings that we recommend for the above pistons are Hastings Chrome. These sell from Clarks for $120. Consult the catalog to get the correct number for your overbore size.

1302- Connecting rods -6-

The most common Rebuilt connecting rod in flight engines is the Clarks C-9203ww set. Clarks has several different options, and I had Mark their General Mgr. set up this suffix years ago so builders calling in an order always got the correct choice. I want to assure every one that I don’t make any money or kick backs on your shopping, the number is just to make communication easier. 

Years ago, a West Coast Corvair car parts supplier named Lon Wall saw these numbers and went on an internet rampage for 3 or 4 years, telling everyone that there was some secret connection between Clarks and myself; Confession time…There is a connection; I want to have people build Corvairs, Clarks offers normal service, and no one from their organization spends all day on the internet telling people how evil I am. Thats the connection, no money, no deals, just normal sane people. 

I use Lon’s name here because all the things he wrote all still exist in internet archives, and I want people who stumble over them to understand who the axe grinder was. Lon is still around, and 10 years later he still has rotten things to say, but not like his really good years 2003-2007 where he would post gems like “WW tells people things that will get them killed in planes, I know it, but I can’t say what it is..” notably, I am pretty sure that he has never flown in a plane in his life. Do you think I have a negative attitude about the un-restricted things that are said on internet? Google Lon’s name and ‘Corvaircraft’ and you can read 100 joyous posts. It wasn’t the kind of thing I imagined  I would be confronting when I got started developing an affordable flight engine in 1989.  The man didn’t deter many people, but it was a waste of time. In the end Clarks normalcy got all the business, we taught hundreds of people to build engines, and Lon went bust.

The 9203ww rod set is $411, but you get $150 bucks back/off for sending in your core rods, so the net price is $261.


Cylinder group (1400)

1400- Cylinders -6-

On a base engine, you just send your cylinders in to Clarks as a core, and get bored cylinders that match your piston oversize. Basically after the exchange of your cores, the bored and honed set of cylinders costs $150. The finish for the chrome rings is #220.

1401- Base gaskets -6-

The base gasket that I prefer for all Corvair engines is the all copper Clark’s part number C-1180. As a part number for an individual gasket, you will need to order six of them for a complete engine. We install them in the engines dry, with nothing on them. We built engines for many years with the stock steel gaskets, but they are less forgiving than copper base gaskets. A set of six is about $42.

1402- Head gasket set

For all 2700 the standard head gasket that we recommend is a .032” solid copper gasket. These are available from Clark’s, part number C-3946 for 1965-69 2700s. Engines with 1964 heads need part number C-3945.  We install copper head gaskets on engines dry with nothing on them. Ignore anyone who suggests coating the gaskets in any type of sealer or anti-seize. The head gasket set is about $30.

Totalling up the above numbers comes to $963. If you add $32 to this you can send your old rods in with the pistons still on them, and Clarks will return your rebuilt rods with your pistons already mounted on them, moving the total to $995. The assembly of these parts are all covered in our engine assembly DVD #2. In the next instalment we will get a comparison on the cost to upgrade to a 2,850 cc engine.-ww

Calling All “Zenvair” Flyers……601 / 650 / 750


I just spoke with Sebastien Heintz, President of Zenith, and we would like to have a Corvair powered Zenith in the Zenith aircraft display area at Sun n Fun. We have a long tradition of doing this going back to 2004.  Sebastien always likes to see affordable examples of his families designs prominently displayed. In the last nine years, between Sun in Fun and Oshkosh we have had about a dozen of our builders planes in their booths. We are not looking for show winning aircraft only, regular examples of traditional builder craftsmanship are actually prefered.

My Commercial display comes with a number of full week passes. Anyone with a plane in the Zenith booth will be an informal rep for Corvair power, so I will cover the pilots of the display aircraft with complementary commercial acess passes. Even if you are able to stay just part of the week, we are looking to cycle 2 or 3 Corvair powered Zeniths through the booth. The Zenith display is in the middle of the broad taxiway, so there is no difficulty moving aircraft midweek , after hours. We do not need a guarantee of being on hand, I just need to hear from Zenith pilots who are planning on attending Sun n Fun so we can do a little coordination and planning.

Below are som photos of  “Zenvairs” in the Zenith booth in past Sun n Fun’s:


Above, Phil Maxson (Left) stands by his 601XL in the Zenith Booth at Sun n Fun 2006. Read Phil’s story at this link:  Guest writer: Phil Maxson, flying a 3100cc Corvair in his 601XL


Above, Rick Lindstrom’s 601XL in the Zenith Booth at Sun n Fun 2007.


Grace, Chris Heintz, and myself with our Zenith 601XL  at Sun Fun 2005.


Our  701/Corvair test bed aircraft in the Zenith booth at Sun n Fun 2010

To read about many more examples of Corvair powered Zeniths, get a look at this link:

List of Corvair Powered Zeniths

Fly Corvair at Sun n Fun 2013, Starts April 9th. (Booth N-66)


Grace and I have decided to return to Sun n Fun again this year. This will be my 25th consecutive year at the event. We will have a full commercial display, in booth N-66, which is on the row in front of building “C”, the third of the four main display buildings. This is one row over from where we were last year. Sun n Fun is the second largest air show in the US, and it has been held every spring in Lakeland Florida for many decades. It is a big event, and it draws thousands of planes.

Dan and Rachel Weseman are bringing the Corvair powered Panther prototype to the event, and they have an adjoining commercial display space, so we will have a place for all the Corvair builders to congregate. Just as we did at Sun n Fun and Oshkosh last year, we are going to work together to have a Corvair Cookout for all builders and fans of the Tonawanda master piece.

There will be a one day gap between Corvair College #25, held April 5-7th in Leesburg Florida (more info later this week) and the start of Sun n Fun. We expect to see many builders at both events. We are tentatively planning on having the Cookout on the first night of the show. We will keep every one posted as we get a little closer.

We will do all the regular stuff, parking lot tours to look at builders cores, have every catalog part on display, have short blocks for sale, etc. If you are going to attend the event and have a specific question or would like to pick up something special, just drop us an email or call.

Above, Sun n Fun 2012. old friends left, Roy Shannon, and center, Steve Bacom Jr., both VariEze builders. On the right is Arnold Holmes, long time Corvair pilot and host of Corvair College #17. Arnold is president of EAA  chapter 534, the local hosts of Corvair College #25. If you would like to see some of the events from last years sun n fun, get a look at this link:  Sun N Fun 2012 

For more info on Sn n Fun :