Above, The Cleanex of Dale Williams taxis out at Corvair College #27. The story below was written 10 months before the photo.
Back in September my sister and I drove to NJ to see my parents. Before leaving, I had spoken with Dan Weseman about Dale’s project. Because it’s a ‘Cleanex’ and a mechanical clone of Dan’s Wicked Cleanex, Dale had worked very closely with Dan on the engine installation. Because I was going to pass within 80 miles of Dales’ place I offered to divert to make a house call on my way back from NJ.
Dan had assembled Dales’ engine for him previously, long before his airframe was complete. When he was later doing ground tests the engine exhibited a slight miss. A quick investigation revealed that the engine had broken a rocker stud, and was actually only running on 5 cylinders. To give you an idea of how rare an event this is, in 24 years of working with Corvairs I had only ever seen it happen once before. Because of the Corvairs smoothness, it was not readily apparent that it was only making 5/6 ths of its power. A less observant operator might have flown it that way, and it was certainly making enough power to take off.
After confirming the issue in the house call, I picked up the engine at Dan’s request to return it to him in Florida. Dan takes standing behind anything he touches very seriously, and he told Dale that he would replace all the rocker studs with brand new ones and test run the motor on our stand at no charge. Dan also used the time to upgrade the engine with exhaust valve rotators.
You find out what people are like when there is an issue, not when things are perfect. This works both ways; Dan insisting that he correct the issue and Dale being very understanding about it. The task was done shortly, and as you can read below, Dale is very happy with the outcome.
Funny note: Just to show you that all airports have a self-appointed ‘engine expert’, read Dales letter. When we were having a very peaceful time in Dale’s hangar, the local expert pulled up and Dale knew that quick thinking would avoid a long lecture from this guy on the evils of Corvairs. Dale just introduced me as his brother from out-of-town, and the expert was soon on his way.
Hats off to Dale Williams, builder of the “Daughter of Cleanex” N-319WF.
I can verify that you do make house calls and on short notice! It was September 3rd, 2012 while on vacation that you came by St. George Airport (6J2) to pick up my 3.0 Corvair and take it to Dan for some repair/upgrade work. We spent a few hours talking in the hangar and when the local “VW engine expert” (a.k.a. “all” engine expert) drove up I introduced you as my brother so that we could be saved the time of him giving us lessons of why the Corvair was a bad idea for my Cleanex.
I want to thank you for what you did for me and commend you for giving such great service with a personal touch. Dan had the work to my engine done quickly and I have since installed it and the Cleanex I call “Myunn” now has nearly 20 hours on it. What a combination this air frame and engine make! Smooth and powerful with the sound of “authority” (pun intended) roaring out of those WW straight pipes.
I had mentioned in another reply about the “rolled on” painting process I used. It was the same one Clarence Dunkerley used on his Cleanex. Here is the nearly final result: