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

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