Night Engine Run, December 20, 2014


Above, the 3,000 cc Corvair built for Zenith builder Thomas Fernandez running on the stand last night in front of our house. The Christmas Lights are on the trees in front of our porch. Grace likes them all year long.


I have often thought I should have logged how many engine have run on this stand since I built it, but I never have. The best guess I have is about 400. The stand is chained down to a 700 pound concrete block we cast into the front yard years ago. For a solid attach point I cast an old Corvair crank standing on end in it. All that is visible is the nub the harmonic balancer bolted on to. The chain is bolted to the  1/2″-20 threads that balancer bolt threaded into.



Above, the set up for a night run: Our neighbor, Corvair/Panther builder Paul Salter mans the lights and helped me set up for the run. He has been to many Colleges and has been with SPA/Panther at Oshkosh the last few years. His hangar is 500′ up the runway from us. Grace’s Taylorcraft sits on our front lawn. It was about 60F in northern FL last night. In the winter, the low temp here has no typical number, it is just as likely to be 30F as 60F on any given night.


Click on the image above to view a movie of our Saturday Night Live Engine Run. There are things that you can see at night that are not visible during the day: Watch the tape closely, and look at the bottom of the exhaust pipe on the far side of the engine. If you look real close you can see a small flame appear intermittently. Although the engine was running near perfect to the ear, and all indications were 100% normal, this condition was caused by the test stand’s #2 spark plug wire having a slight break in it, allowing an intermittent miss, sending an occasional shot of unburned air and fuel into the exhaust pipe. This condition is absolutely invisible during the day.


The test stand has it’s own plug wire set, and they are about 10 years old and they have been taken on and off hundreds of times. With the wire replaced, this issue disappeared. It didn’t come as a surprise, it did this also on the last engine we ran at Corvair College #31 in November. To see what the stand is equipped with and what you need to run your engine at a college, read: Running an Engine at a College, required items. #2 and Running an Engine at a College, required items. #1

One more look at the engine running. It ran for about 30 minutes, the length of time we use to break in the cam. This engine is equipped with one of our cam kits: 1100-WW Camshaft Group. The break in was with 4.5 quarts of Rotella and 6 oz of ZDDP. Read Notes on Corvair flight engine oils. Another hour of break in, and the engine is crated and shipped. It will not make it for Christmas, but it will be a welcome milestone on the journey to many aviation adventures.-ww.

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