Housecall: 3,000 cc Corvair on Waiex


Last week we took a 2,350 mile tour of the East Coast. The primary purpose of the trip was a last minute decision to surprise my mother in NJ on her 87th Birthday. This meant staying up very late Friday to pack and ship builder parts on Saturday am, and then drive all afternoon and night to get to NJ by 9 am Sunday. Tiring, but it worked out. When your combined parents age is 176.5 years old, it is not smart to miss any chance to see them. I knew this, but in the last year several builders who have lost their parents have quietly reminded me how lucky I am to still have both of mine. It is wise counsel from the heart.

We combined several other stops in a 36-hour blur of travel on the way back: House calls to Phil Maxson’s 601XL, a visit to Grace’s aunt and uncle, a stop at SARCO Inc. in Easton, PA, lunch at the giant Cabella’s outside Harrisburg, a trip to the Corvair Ranch in Gettysburg, PA, and a house call on Greg Crouchley’s Waiex.

Greg has been to a great number of Corvair Colleges, and is pretty well known in Corvair building circles by the un-approved nickname “Stud,”  which is related to the point “Don’t tease Grace when she is making College name tags.” Pictured below with Greg is his co-builder Mike Sterling, who was also at Corvair College #24 at Barnwell, where they assembled the 3,000 cc Corvair for the Waiex.

I have a number of links at the bottom for further reading on this project, including video of the engine running on our stand.





Above Mike, at left, and Greg in front of the plane in Mike’s garage where the plane is being built near Martinsburg, WV. Their home airport is Green Landings, a few miles away. The plane is well over 90% done and should fly this summer. Mike is a USAF vet with an impressive 34 years of work on aircraft. Greg has several homebuilts completed in the past decade. With the Waiex nearing completion, Greg has already started a Corvair powered Zenith 750.




Above, a look at the engine showing how the reverse gold oil filter housing fits on Waiex and Cleanex/Sonex airframes. This plane also has a Group 2800 heavy duty oil system installed. Note how close the filler neck on a Sonex is to the back of the engine. The tank is plastic, which is good, but it was also criminally irresponsible for now broke companies to advocate putting a rear starter on a Corvair in this application. You don’t need an engineering degree nor one in accident investigation to understand that the engine could become displaced in a fairly minor ground accident, causing the ring gear from a rear starter, with it’s spinning exposed teeth, to come in contact with the plastic filler neck just as the contents of the tank are rushing forward. If you are one of the people who got stuck with such an engine, I am sorry, but I don’t assist people in doing crazy things, and I will not help you nor allow such engines to be brought to Colleges. There is one of these engine being dumped on Barnstormers this week, an expensive mistake one person is trying to pawn off on a stranger.  P.T. Barnum said “There is a sucker born every minute,” and he apparently has more followers in aviation than a long-haired guy in sandals who tried to popularize the saying “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”





Above, a side view from the pilot’s side of the plane. Note the oil cooler’s laid down position on a Cleanex style installation. On a standard installation, we have it turned 90 degrees from this and tilted 30 degrees. On a Cleanex/Waiex, the mount, intake and nosebowl come from Dan Weseman: the baffling is from, and we do the engine parts and the U-1 stainless exhaust.



Above, the super simple panel. Please note that some of it is from MGL, not my favorite brand. If you are going to use MGL, please read this: MGL vs Corvair ignition issue. Dan Weseman had the same issue with the panel in his Panther, and this is part of the reason why he switched to a GRT panel. If you are using MGL stuff with a Corvair, please contact Dan; there are ways of divorcing the tach from the ignition.






Above, our transportation for the trip, the 1993 Suburban and the trailer. This is actually the well painted side of the truck. It appeared in the background of a story the EAA did on Corvair Colleges. If you look closely at the printed picture, the staff artists photoshopped it to hide the sections of missing white paint. In this photo, the trailer has 10 core engines inside that we bought from the Corvair Ranch the day before.  Between CC#26 in MO, #27 in SC, #28 in TX, and this trip, the $1,700 Suburban has logged 13,500 trouble-free miles in 9 months. I gladly drive a beater truck to allow the budget to support all the tools and aircraft I enjoy. No car you ever buy will make you as proud as any plane you build with your hands.




For further reading:

Thoughts on what Greg gets out of homebuilding:

Guest Editorial, Greg Crouchley, Waiex/Corvair builder.


A look at Greg’s engine:

World’s Strongest 3,000cc Corvair, built by Greg Crouchley


A look at the parts that go into the Sonex/Waiex Corvair installation:

Corvair power for Panther and Sonex reference page


5 Replies to “Housecall: 3,000 cc Corvair on Waiex”

  1. Hi William,

    Don’t know about anyone else but I cannot view the photos as posted. It says I need to sign into AOL to view them. Just an FYI …


    PS: I agree about driving something a few years old that is reliable so as to have more aircraft money! 8~)

  2. I can remember when SARCO was a tiny operation upstairs in an old brick building on Central Ave next to the railroad tracks in Sterling NJ that sold military surplus armament items both US and foreign in origin. My dad grew up in that town and one of his very best friends from childhood owned the general store next door. How things have changed.

    1. Friend,
      I grew up about 10 miles from Sarco’s original location, and later spent a lot of time in Sterling in the 1980s. I wanted to stop in and see how different the new place was. I was pleasantly surprised to find it was just a bigger version of the old place, same kind of people running it. They obviously just moved it 50 miles west, one mile into PA to get away from NJ’s peculiar brand of legislation on hardware.

  3. What happened to the pictures?? First time in about 4 years that I miss your great comments with OUT the pictures that say so much!

    Sent from my iPad


    1. Jim,
      I had them sent to me direct from Gregs phone. I can see them on the update, but evidently not everyone can. I am going to have to enlist the brains of the outfit, Grace, into correcting this. It may take a day or so, as it may be subject to negotiation, I have not yet finished the annual on her Taylorcraft.

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