New Ellison Carb supplier, NV Aero.com

Builders,

While MA3-SPA’s and Strombergs are on the majority of Corvair powered planes, there are a number of Corvair powered planes that are equipped with Ellison EFS-3A carbs, including Phil Maxson’s and Lynn Dingfelders 601XL’s, Mark Langford’s KR-2S, and even some new planes just getting to the flight line like Jim Tomaszewski’s JAG-2 twin: JAG-2 Corvair Twin, running on film.

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In my manual, the Ellison is #3602-C. The Ellison is a very high quality, made in America, noted for efficient operation, no float, resistance to icing, and the ability to work at any angle, including inverted. It was designed decades ago by Ben Ellison. Although it is shaped like some other carbs, internally it is a very sophisticated, and it’s design details are matched by no other carb in it’s class.

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After many years of running Ellison Fluid systems, Ben Ellison announced his retirement. This caused a bit of a stir about his carbs, because there was no public announcement on who would take over new sales and service for the existing fleet of them. Privately it was said that Ben Ellison was deaf to large financial offers, he was willing to wait to find the right person who was willing to continue his design with the same standards he had.  While there was a list of people who wanted to buy the design, Steve Glover, our local host for the Chino Corvair College, made an extended personal trip to meet with Ben and be trained by him on the Carbs.  After months of lining up high end machine shops in the LA area to machine the parts, and setting up his own FAA level fuel system repair station and live test equipment, Steve is now getting the carbs in the hands of builders.

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When I was in California last week prepping for the College, Steve gave me a full tour of his Ellison operations, including visiting the CNC shop and watching as an EFS-3A body was being machined on a Haas 5 axis mill. The Ellison isn’t a carb design that would tolerate being slapped together with hastily made parts. It has taken some time for Steve to get the right shops and people, but he is there now. Steve sent me a short video yesterday of Corvair/Panther builder Paul Salter’s EFS-3A running in testing in California. It is being shipped to Paul today.

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If you are interested in these carbs, I have a section on them in group 3600 in the manual. We make specific intake manifolds to mate them to Zenith aircraft. ( Other airframes using an Ellison use our standard manifold. ) These carbs are not cheap, they run about $1,200, but they are new, and made in America. This is actually about the same price as an overhauled MA3-SPA, and hundreds less than a new MA3-SPA. You can also look at Steve’s website: http://www.nvaero.com/    or contacting him directly at: Email: info@nvaero.com Phone: 1-800-515-4811.

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Grace and Steve Glover, photographed at CC #28.

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-ww.

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E/P Distributor wiring notes:

Builders:

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Above is a photo on an E/P-X distributor.

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Both the E/P and the E/P-X distributors (Part #3301) we offer have very simple wiring. The E/P-X has a quick disconnect plug, but the wiring is just the same:

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The wire from the points goes to the negative side of the “B” coil. This coil terminal is also the connection for the condenser. The Condenser is part #3402 in my manual

The black wire with the yellow trace goes to the negative side of the “A” coil.  This is the ‘signal’ wire from the crane unit. It does not get a condenser, because only points use condensers.

The black wire with the red trace goes to the positive side of the “A” coil. This is the source for 12 volt power to the crane unit.

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That is all there is to it.

If you would like to read the 9 pages of illustrated distributor installation instructions that come each one, here is a link:

http://shop.flycorvair.com/product/3301-epx-distributor/

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The most common errors people make:

Reversing the yellow and red wires, even for a nano-second burns the Crane unit out.

Having a condenser on the e side

Pinching a wire under the cap

Having a poor crimp on one of the wires

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No valid technical advice below this line:

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Things that make me question the brilliance of my career choice:

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Over the weekend, I got an email from a builder who had attended several Corvair Colleges, and even ran his engine at #34.  He said he was planning on starting his engine on the airframe over the weekend, but he already knew that his the electronic ignition wasn’t working.  Mind you, every single unit we have ever sold had to be run in the distributor machine, because they have to get the initial setting. Also, there was no way for him to say the E side wasn’t working, if he had not even tried cranking the engine. But this builder was comfortable jumping to the conclusion that I had sold him something defective.

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By his second email, it was clear he wasn’t following the 9 pages of instructions. This was nothing new, I had already spoken to him at colleges about reading instructions and not jumping to conclusions.  I told him the only way that the Crane unit that worked in my shop but didn’t work on his plane, was if he reversed the red and yellow wires, and if he did this, the unit would be burned out. I added that a few people had done this, and that I had even done it once by simply letting the yellow wire brush over a positive terminal on the distributor machine. It is a split second, $75 mistake.

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Because this builder is making a KR-2, Mark Langford agreed to fly over there and figure out why he couldn’t get it started. Mystery takes Mark little time to solve: The condenser is not grounded. If you didn’t know that was needed, that isn’t a problem, because in the #3402 section of my conversion manual, it plainly states that condensers must be grounded to the coil body and to the airframe. The builder didn’t bother to read that.

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Once the motor is cranked, it turns out that nothing is wrong at all with the Electronic ignition system the builders said was defective in several emails. He writes back, but never mentions that his claim was not true.

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What he writes back to say: Although he and his son don’t know enough about ignitions to know condensers need to be grounded, or know how to read installation instructions nor my manual, they have done “Reasearch” and found out that I don’t know what I am talking about!  They looked at the website of a company selling Crane units for cars, and it says something about reverse polarity protection. So he writes me:

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So that’s good to know that you don’t damage anything by switching the wires. Because of the reverse polarity protection. “

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He never slows down to consider that I have seen these units burn out right in front of my eyes, when the red/yellow wires are reversed. The reverse polarity protection is only speaking of  reversing the red wire and the ground of the body. Although the guy can’t follow directions, nor even start his own plane, he can use Google, and he can find some words to prove that he is right, and that my experience building more than 500 distributors means nothing. Not one word about how he didn’t read directions, was wrong in his claim the ignition I sold him was defective, not the slightest doubt that he could find something on Google in a minutes that would prove I didn’t know what I was speaking of. That was his reality.

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If you are a reasonable person, and you are yet to meet me, but wonder why I sometimes seem harsh with people, it is because there are a lot of people in this world who are nothing like you…..there are many unreasonable people out there, and I have at least 100 stories worse than this.

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My Mother turns 90 in another month. She has been sparse with her commandments to her children, but perhaps foremost among them is a tenant of her faith that requires we “Befriend the friendless.” My mother instilled in us a code that required that we demonstrate our gratitude for the family and friends we have, by extending some human kindness, particularly to people who are isolated by appearance, social graces, or circumstance. My mother felt that no one should be indifferent to the loneliness of others.  In the course of my work, I am often surrounded by old friends, better people than I deserve. I remember my mothers words when into such a setting comes a different person. Over the years I have tried to welcome these people. I love my mother dearly, but she failed to mention that many people who I have extended some extra measure of understanding toward never have the slightest appreciation for it. I am sure Mother would remind me that the exercise wasn’t for others it was for our betterment, but perhaps I could be granted some understanding, as I have a hand that has been bitten more times than I could count.

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Consider that we have about 500 active builders at any given time, so the percentage of unreasonable people is still pretty low, if it is only 1 in 20, and they have two ‘issues’ a year, hardly a week goes by without one of them stiring the drama club on the internet, claiming things were defective, telling everyone they have discovered I was ‘wrong”. what a horrible person I am.  I get bored of it, because I can remember a time where less than 10% of our builders knew what the internet was, and in those years, the unreasonable people just seemed a little further apart.

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-ww.

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Air / Fuel ratios on Corvair carbs.

Builders,

Here are some short notes on the topic of carbs.  It is my hope that builders will read and think about them, consider the logic before jumping up to debate. The Comments are based on 25 years as a working aircraft mechanic and working with Corvairs since 1989. These comments are not based on a single planes experience, but take into account all types of testing, education, and practical experience.

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How Rich is right?  Recently, a builder has told people that correctly running aircraft carbs on Corvairs need to have black sooty tail pipes.  I can flatly state that this is way too rich, and there are a number of very good reasons why you should not fly a carb running that rich.

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As a logical base line for what exhausts should look like, perhaps we can all agree that an Exhaust of Certified plane, running 100LL fuel, with a correctly running engine, with by the book performance, a Certified aircraft carb running without adjustment for more than 20 years. is a standard we should use. This engine has never fouled a plug in 17 years, has never harmed the engine in any way. Notice that the inside of the exhaust pipe has a dusty light gray color, and that new paper towel was vigorously wiped on the inside of the pipe, and only produced that light stain between my thumb and the exhaust pipe. This is the correct color and soot content for any Corvair running an aircraft carb.  I know this from working with countless flying Corvair powered planes over the years.

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Why not black and sooty? A correctly running aircraft carb on an air cooled engine will have an air/fuel ratio of about 12:1 in normal cruise. This will automatically go richer, to some thing like 10.5:1 at wide open throttle, and in low power cruise at altitude, it can be leaned to 14:1 for maximum efficiency.  Any engine that is making black soot in the exhaust and can be seen to visibly smoke at 1,000 rpm is running an air/fuel ratio of 9:1 or so. I know this not just from books, and working on certified planes, but from directly reading a laboratory grade A/F meter while running an EFI Corvair on my dyno in 2007:

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Above, An exhaust evaluation as part of an Electronic Fuel injection test on a 2,700cc Corvair in 2007. It is shown running at power on my dyno. With this arrangement, a simple twist of a knob on the computer produced any A/F ratio you wanted to test. This is how I can say what A/F ratio produces visible smoke on a Corvair, and it is part of how I can speak about it’s relationship with power output.

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At any airport with a density altitude less than 3,000 feet, your Corvair should run perfectly smoothly and make good power with the mixture set full rich, just like any Cessna 150 with the same carb will do.  One of the reasons why I use MA3-SPA carbs is so they have the exact same ‘normal’ operation as any certified plane I have flown, and if the carb doesn’t work like it does on a Cessna or a piper, don’t fly it, period.

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A builder with an MA3-SPA carb reciently said his engine only ran correctly with the mixture pulled half way out. He was considering actually doing his first flight in that condition. His home airport elevation is only 516 feet. If I went to his airport, and got in a Cessna 150 and it took pulling the mixture out half way to run correctly, You could only make me fly that plane with a gun to my head. Something is wrong with it, and sane people do not fly planes with things wrong with them. It doesn’t suddenly become “O.K.” because the carb is now on an experimental. Wrong is wrong, time to correct the issue, not to find some condition where it kind of works for the first flight.

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Any guy who would consider flying a plane in that condition, has missed the point of this story: Risk Management, Judgement Error, money in the wrong place. Where Ken Lien was killed on the very first flight of his plane because he didn’t bother to correctly assemble the mixture control on his plane and it moved to idle cut off on its own. If you are in a plane, getting ready for the first flight, and the mixture has to be pulled half way out to run, please explain to me how you know that this isn’t the first sign that the mixture is assembled incorrectly.  You wouldn’t, and there is a significant chance the engine will quit.  People who want to die should step in front of busses, not fly planes that are not set correctly, as using a plane and poor judgment to end ones life only unfairly punishes those of us who practice intelligent flying.

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If the mixture was half way out on the first flight, and the new pilot had to do a go around on the first approach, most pilots would instinctively push the throttle, carb heat and mixture to the firewall.  This works, and it is the correct procedure. However if the pilot is tolerating a plane that must have the mixture half way out, when he does this, the engine will quit, he will overshoot the runway, and smash up the plane on the over run. All the local experts will then say “The Corvair quit, I told him not to use a car engine, he should have used an O-200” Neatly ignoring the fact that it is the same carb as the O-200, and it would have done the exact same thing.  If instead, the same pilot stepped in front of a bus, preferably while holding the hand of the ‘Expert’ who tells everyone not to use car engines, aviation would benefit, and the rest of us would come out ahead. Cold, but you know it is true.

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Engines running black soot are wasting fuel, prone to fowling plugs, can damage the cylinder walls, and will have excessive carbon build up. On the other hand……..wait, there is no upside.

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Anyone who says that an MA3-SPA needs to be jetted differently for different displacement Corvair engines is wrong. Think of how many different engines have run on my test stand, all with the same, untouched in 15 years, MA3-SPA. Note that I have the mixture set full rich on the stand, and it runs cleanly on all engines. And yes, my stand has both EGT and O2 sensors. Beyond this, Dan Weseman and I recently took his 3,000 cc and 3,300 cc Corvairs to one of Florida’s most respected dyno shops and ran them both is a day long session.  What carb did we use? Why the same one off my run stand. It ran perfectly on both motors and the shops very elaborate instrumentation showed that the air/fuel ratio stayed correct through out the power range on both engines, without any kind of adjustment. Aircraft carbs work like that.

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Would you like to know how aircraft carbs are supposed to be operated? Read this story: Cylinder Head Temperature measurement and learn what a Lycoming Operations Manual is.  Down load it, print it, read it and know it. This is what successful people will do.

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Conversely, You could get advice from a guy who is neither an pilot nor an A&P, who has never owned nor flown a plane with a mixture control, teamed up with a guy who has never seen a Corvair turn a prop in person, and another guy who damaged his engine by using a carb no one ever head of so he could save some bucks. Take your pick, but if someone doesn’t like the concept of listening to the professionals and people with experience, again, I am going to suggest that bus thing again, I know it sounds mean spirited, but people willfully doing dumb things shouldn’t even be called ‘accidents’ because they are not really. an accident is someone trying to do the right thing. Willfully choosing not to do the right thing is not an accident.

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This ends the technical part of this story.  No valid technical information follows.

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I am not listening to William Wynne because:

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One: He sounds arrogant, and although I have never met him, and he wrote stories about people he loved: Risk Management reference page in hopes that others could avoid being hurt, I still say he is a jerk because I found two sentences in the 855 stories that are on this site that offended me, and I refuse to learn anything from him since.

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Two: I own a Prius, and he is always mocking people who own Priuses, and I can tell he isn’t kidding, and he feels superior about this, which is stupid because as a Prius owner I alone have a right to feel superior to all other car owners because I know the best way to protest the use of fossil fuels is to buy a car that you can feel superior about.

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Three: When I was in his tent at Oshkosh pontificating about how America has been ruined because no one follows the Ten Commandments anymore, he asked me to name them, and I couldn’t. The year before I said the problem with America was no one followed the Constitution, and he asked me how many articles it had and I said 10, and he said “guess again, you are off by three” , and I guessed 13.  I don’t get the connection that I should read more before being sure I am right.  I never listen to people with long hair, even though William has essentially the haircut as Jesus and everyone at the Constitutional Convention of 1787.

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Four: I don’t listen to people who sell things, because they are trying to make money off me. I only listen to people on the net who’s opinion about how to do things can’t get them a job doing it, nor is it apparently worth money to anyone. Those are the people I trust.  Yes, I know that I should trust William because he has a vested interest in my success even if he actually likes me or not, But I would rather trust people I have never met, who write in nicer tones, who I have a simplistic childish belief are motivated to tell me the truth, unstained by their limited experience, personal bias, and ego.

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If anyone read the above for points and didn’t find them funny, you probably have good taste, and I remind you I am a mechanic, not a comedian. I have a small but consistent group of people, most who have never met me, who remain quite sure that I have a “Condescending tone” and a “Giant ego”.  Before anyone is temped to say those things, I ask that they read the two paragraphs below, which appear both on my website and in every manual we print, and please share with me how this isn’t adequately honest and frank:

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“If you have never met me, but read this and think that I am charmed with myself, you got it all wrong. I know countless humans who are better people than I. They are kinder, smarter, and harder working. I can’t sing nor dance, I learn slowly, and I can’t stand to hear my recorded voice nor see my image on film. If I was once handsome, all trace of it is gone along with my uncorrected eyesight. I can be a conversational bore, and I deeply wish I had given my parents more moments to be proud of me. At 50 I look back on my life with a very critical eye and stand on the far side of a very wide gulf from the heroes of my youth. Even our dog, impeccably honest and loyal as canines are, Loves Grace and only tolerates me.

Honest evaluation leads to harsh thoughts like this. I spend a lot of time alone and have long bouts of insomnia, which can lead to thinking about things excessively. But the secret I would like to share with anyone who at times feels the same way, is that I have a sanctuary where I am insulated from much of my self-criticism, and a have a front, where at 50, I am much better on than I thought possible in my youth. When I am building things with my hands in my shop, I rarely feel poor. Although I now need glasses to do any close work, and my hands have lost a lot of dexterity, I am a far better craftsman than I ever was in my youth. I am not a great craftsman, but over a very long time I have worked to develop these elements in my life, and I compete with no one except who I was last year. While all else fades, these things flourish. It is a gift I am most thankful for.”

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