Jack-o-lantern parts cleaner for HV-2000 rear cases.


One of our more popular parts is the High Volume oil pump / Rebuilt rear oil case. http://shop.flycorvair.com/product/2000-rear-oil-case-group/


In the last month before heading on the western tour, We assembled a batch of 30 of them.  Although they have super accurate CNC machined parts in them, I have a decidedly low tech solution to cleaning the years of grime off the rear oil case cores that builders send in.


50 years of baked on oil and sludge can be very tough to remove, but the fine tolerances and machined surfaces on the original case don’t tolerate really aggressive nor caustic cleaning methods without some harm. The solution I have come to over years where I have rebuilt more than 350 rear cases is to first clean them by boiling them for 2 hours in water with a very strong concentration of Simple Green cleaner. Afterward I rinse them off with a pressure washer/steam cleaner. They then go through the blast cabinet with very fine media. They are them machined followed by a trip through the parts washer, and finally assembled with the new parts.


How does one keep 30 gallons of water at a vigorous boil for several hours? With a “Jack -o-Lantern” burner of course.  While the fine details of the machining are more technically interesting, I have many more neighbors like to come over and hang out with beer and lawn chairs during a cleaning session.  For this reason, plus the esthetics of combustion at night, we tend to fire up the Jack-o-lantern at dusk and make it a social occasion as well.



For all of you childhood pyromaniacs and unrepentant troglodytes trapped in repressive gated communities, those in apartments with pleasant neighbors and  builders exiled to places with property owners associations run by yuppies, gaze upon the Jack-o-lantern cleaner and imagine horrifying all of those that would repress your most fundamental pyro-mechanical instincts.  It isn’t just a cleaning tool. When surrounded by fun people drinking beer it is a down right declaration of motorhead independence and freedom. Contrasts nicely with the forest at twilight.



Stoking the fire at 5 pm: The burner is a 30 gallon drum with strategic vent holes for the flames to bathe the 30 gallon tub on the top. It holds 16 rear oil cases cores. The drip pan lid makes it boil much faster. The tall red device is 370,000 BTU steam generator. It is very impressive, and I melted a plastic tool shed with it before I understood it’s potential. But it still will not remove solidified five decade old sludge from Corvair parts without them first getting a boiling bath in Simple Green. It does a great job after the bath, and it then leaves the parts so clean you wouldn’t hesitate to lick them on a $5 bet…..but let them cool off first.


Note to fellow environmentalists, Simple Green is not toxic and it is biodegradable, but I don’t dump it in the pond anyway, because it might make all the water moccasins vacation in my hangar. We have détente: I don’t swim in their pond, they don’t explore in my hangar.



Jack-o-lantern is fueled with any available material. Above Corvair/Panther builder and neighbor Paul Salter brings over the remains of an old 4×4 fence. This was cut into one foot sections, and then soaked in a 50/50 mixture of old motor oil and dirty mineral spirits from the parts cleaner. That might sound like it would burn as clean and a torpedoed oil tanker, but once the Jack-o-lantern is at kindling temperature, it actually burns without visible smoke.


If you look to the left of the tree, you can see the backstop for the 25 yard pistol range.  The woods behind it have no man made structure for more than 15 miles in that heading. Northern Florida has a much lower population density that people guess, particularly in rural areas.  Last week I visited with a number of old friends who live in very nice places in Southern California.  They politely try to understand the appeal of a place where I can take off from my 3,000′ “front lawn”, go dirt biking at the drop of a hat, plink in the backyard and run horrible devices like the Jack-o-lantern. I am sure they all come to the conclusion that I never grew up, which is pretty much true.




About William Wynne
I have been continuously building, testing and flying Corvair engines since 1989. Information, parts and components that we developed and tested are now flying on several hundred Corvair powered aircraft. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Professional Aeronautics and an A&P license from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and have a proven 20 year track record of effectively teaching homebuilders how to create and fly their own Corvair powered planes. Much of this is chronicled at www.FlyCorvair.com and in more than 50 magazine articles.

8 Responses to Jack-o-lantern parts cleaner for HV-2000 rear cases.

  1. Douglas Cooke says:

    Sounds awesome! Well, except the water moccasin part.

    Doug in WV

    Date: Fri, 15 Apr 2016 01:58:04 +0000 To: dbcrn@hotmail.com

  2. moperformance says:

    Sounds exactly like Port Orange fla growing up in the 60’s. A different world.
    Cherish it!

  3. Bruce Culver says:

    William, “growing up” is highly over-rated, especially living in the hi-falutin’ gulags of the HOA set. I love the Jack-O-Lantern oven, and wish I had a use for one here – it would be the talk of the block.

  4. Stuart Snow says:

    That’s a fine looking still you got there and a savory witches brew of Corvair stew.

  5. jaksno says:

    Now yer talkin’. Similar environs here in 81423 re gunning, burning, biking, etc. Gotta’ be a little careful on the burning due to proximity to BLM and the prevailing winds from 195 or so, though. Nice to hang the ‘suit of maturity’ on the rack as I walk in the door, too. {;^)

  6. Lee Forshee says:

    I live in the peoples republic of Santa Monica. If it wasn’t for 3 blond sisters who won’t let me leave I would be someplace like your airport home. (the oldest is known as “she who must be obeyed”) I dream about a place like yours. I’m the oldest of us and the only one who can fix anything so can’t leave.
    Lee Forshee

    • Lee,
      I spent some time in Santa Monica, and it does have redeeming features. I have watched the film “The Lords of Dogtown” many times as a nostalgic look at the popular culture of my early teenage years. If Santa Monica is to be the home port, the obvious solution is to build a plane and travel a lot, have the best of both worlds. -ww.

  7. at7000ft says:

    William you would be an HOA Presidents worst nightmare.

    Rick Holland

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