Corvair Oil Analysis


One of the smartest things you can do with your Corvair engine is run a continuing oil analysis program on it, this is a very valuable tool for monitoring your engines health, and we as Corvair people have a ‘secret weapon’ in oil analysis, and it is called Larry Nelson.


Larry has a flying Corvair powered Zenith 601, and he has been around Corvairs and Corvair Colleges for a long time. He knows oil testing very well, and he works at the Yuma Proving Grounds. No, he isn’t an “internet expert” on this, he is an actual expert.


Larry’s business can be found at , or you can call him direct at 928 304 9848.  Each sample costs a mere 15 bucks. You are paying for the test in advance by purchasing the sample cup and coupon, which you mail in when you test, and Larry emails you the results, or you can call and speak with him about it. I keep about 10 kits handy here for our various Corvairs at the airport, but buying 4 at a crack makes sense for most people. Keep in mind, it’s main benefit is trend monitoring, it isn’t nearly as valuable as a one shot deal.


Larry suggests every 50 hour oil change, or at least ever 6 months, and points out that there is logic to spot testing  before a long cross country. The fact that Larry is a Corvair builder and pilot, and flying Corvairs are his focus, gives him a very good comparative data base. I send him samples from standard engines we build and use here, so we have a pretty good evaluation for “normal” which you can’t match by looking at tiny flakes in your oil filer element.


Here is the hardest part of oil analysis for most people to understand: Reading Larrys site, and planning on doing this ‘one day’ offers the exact same level engine data and understanding as doing nothing at all. Yes, hard to believe, but this is true, to actually get any benefit from this tool, oil samples must be sent in! Once a builder gets this critical element of the program, it can start to work for him. When you speak with people, many people are familiar with the concept, but too few follow through with action.


If you have a flying plane, or an engine you are planning on running this year, make a plan now to have it on oil analysis for this years operations. By choosing this, you are adding a serious professional tool to your operations, and setting yourself apart from the crowd who justify all their inactions with the phrase “it will be alright.”



Above, oil kits as Larry ships them. The item at the bottom is an optional pump which allows taking a sample through a dip stick tube in the middle of the run. Not required for most analysis programs, I just have one because of our test programs.




Yes, Larry is the same guy who paid for his corvair parts in ammunition at CC#34. He has personal style which makes average Rotax owners and models for the Sporties polite catalog uncomfortable. The operative question of the day was: Would you like to trade benjamins, plastic or lead?  Above, Larry Nelson’s engine on the bench at Corvair College #34.  Read the story here: Acceptable methods of payment for Corvair parts.


Its nice to know that you are getting a quality service while supporting a family man who is working to make sure aviation still has character.  Full Disclosure: I make nothing off promoting Larrys efforts, it is just a good idea, but he did promise me that if I get to his neck of the woods we can have an afternoon of full-auto with at the range. In Larry’s part of AZ, this is simply referred to as “Hospitality”.




Above, a picture of the coupon which comes with every one of Larry’s test kits.




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 and in more than 50 magazine articles.

4 Responses to Corvair Oil Analysis

  1. dan-o says:

    cool, i’ll order 4 kits this weekend

  2. Early Builder says:

    I am a BIG fan of oil analysis. Got one directly after my break in run. The report came back “normal engine break in”. The Rottella and ZDDP additives showed up in dramatic fashion-EXTREMELY HIGH PPM in the chart.

  3. David Swann says:

    Hi William thanks for all the good info, I intend that once I get my engine flying I will do an oil analysis every oil change. I read the Bearhawk forum everyday and a lot of what I see there is anecdotal as far a engine operation. I intend to follow your recommendation as far as engine operation when I get my airplane flying. Thanks for all you do.

    David Swann

  4. Edi N says:

    Helpful info!

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