Junk you should not buy.


A recurring problem with some Corvair builders is they try to “save money” by purchasing things for sale on the internet, in hopes that one of these bargains will jump start their project. Countless times I have seen people throw away money on things ranging from the set of pistons pictures below, to entire engines for $9,000. In many cases these parts are advertised as “to William Wynne’s specs” but they almost never are.


The damage is four fold: First, it is a direct waste of money; second, the buyer is often let down or embarrassed when I inform him that the item are useless, and believe it or not, a lot of them quit over this; Third, many builders who have been taken, refuse to admit it, and try to develop elaborate ‘work arounds’ to allow them to use the parts; Fourth, a depressingly large amount of people actually resell the stuff to other people to get some of their money back, even though I have told them the part or engine is not airworthy. The box below will demonstrate that I am not kidding on this last point.



Friday is trash day, and I am cleaning out the hangar. Into the can goes a brand new set of forged pistons, which were made incorrectly, but sold any way, by a defunct company called “Magnificent Machine LLC” For a little background read: “Beautiful” Garbage from a bankrupt source. These pistons were made 8 years ago, but the seller was not a mechanic, and had never built engines, so he didn’t notice they had several times the allowable limit of clearance between the pins and the pistons. By the time somebody wanted to use them, Magnificent Machine was already bankrupt and gone. Today, I commit them to the landfill, but tomorrow someone will be ‘bargain’ hunting on the net, and come across a ‘good deal’ on something else, and the process will start all over again.



Above, the top of the box. Note that it has the names of four different people on it. That’s right, these pistons were resold several different times. Just so no one feels hurt, I am not going to point out who the bad people are here. There is one good guy listed (It isn’t Brady), and he is the last guy; He showed these to me at a College, when I explained they were junk he handed them to me and asked that I throw them out for him. In doing so, he was demonstrating that he has integrity, and the buck would stop with him, he would pay for the lesson, but not resell the junk to another builder. The man has my admiration for that. That is a trait of an actual aviator.


This is an old story in many forms: Read this: Built by William Wynne? Built according to The Manual? it has more examples of junk people bought in search of a bargain. It is written about engines, but we also see a lot of components like mounts, starters and distributors which are counterfeit junk billed as “WW parts”.


 Dan Weseman and I have dealt with the issue a number of times this year. People buying engines that were partially built by other people often miss that heads that were “rebuilt” by an “expert” automotive machine shop, are often ruined and can not be used as cores to make a good set of heads from. In some cases, engines that people paid $5K for had less useable parts inside than a good $400 core.  Before buying anything other than a core coming straight from a car, please check with either Dan or myself and send us pictures. There are occasional fair deals, but the majority of stuff is not worth buying. Don’t sabotage your progress.




The best story I ever wrote on the subject of bargain hunters in experimental aviation, a must read: Homebuilding, Mt. Everest and Sherpas.




For further reading, get a look at: Engine build mistakes: people who don’t like help. and “Local Expert” convinces builder to use cast pistons.








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.

5 Responses to Junk you should not buy.

  1. Larry Nelson says:

    William I had a similar experience with a $100 carburetor that was sold to me as “I flew with it and it works as good as a MA3” Only problem was when i showed you, you laughed at its size and weight, and lack of mixture control. I still have the boat anchor and am looking for a non aviation project to use it. or it may just end up in the dumpster.

  2. Guy B says:

    It turns out that my original core (a 102hp) was junk. A quick look at the manual sorted that out. The other core was unusable but incomplete. All conversion items were purchased through recommended channels (at the time) or from The Corvair Authority Himself. It was for this reason that I have not had to, thankfully, re-purchase anything (except for a Hi-flow oil pump that Clarks…which I sent back).

  3. Amos Vinyard says:

    I can’t stress the importance of going to a Corvair College enough. I brought the cores that I had purchased and as it turned out i had a pile of usable parts. I also had several pieces that i could not use but were valuable to the car market. This information alone was worth the trip. There are a few ways to save money in aviation, the biggest of which is to follow the path blazed by the resource that we all have at our disposal in William Wynne. His efforts to see us all succeed in the pursuit of our individual dreams of flight are backed by 25+ years of continuous testing and refining of products that work.

  4. Sarah Ashmore says:

    It may be to late to bring this up but were the pistons “De-Mil’d” prior to disposal ? If they were dumped as is I would hate to think that someone digging trough a scrap pile and finding a great set of brand new Corvair pistons. Maybe a stretch but those things do happen. Better to drill a hole through the head so that they are totally unusable and will end up melted down for beer cans.

    • Sarah,
      I watched the truck drive off with them, and our county has automated metal sorting, so we will only see them again as a beer can. I understand your point, and go to lengths to make sure things that shouldn’t fly get out of the gene pool. The first moment I know that something is not good, It gets an orange strip spray painted on it, even if it gets put right next to the trash can. Other items get an “X” stamped in several places on them. Stuff that is part of tooling, like the cams that we use to validate cam gears, are painted red, (these cams were new, but have the gear area polished down so the cam gear is a light slip fit) so they don’t get mixed in with other cams ever. No one can remember everything in the shop, you just have to have the system and discipline to stay up with ID’ing unairworthy stuff when you find it.

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