Front Alternator Belt, Part #2904, new source.

Builders:

In our conversion manual, (http://shop.flycorvair.com/product/conversion-manual/) , The front alternator group is #2900, and the belt itself is Part #2904.  In the manual we specified a Continental AVX10-710 belt. A number of people have asded about another source, as Conti, now lists their number as obsolete, and people had a hard time at their local auto parts store getting an interchange.

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The issue is that most countermen don’t know enough about the parts they sell. Conti is a German company, and the “10” in their part number is 10mm wide, and in the US that is a 25/64″ width belt. “710” is the pitch length in mm’s, which is pretty close to 28″. The belt pictured below, available from any NAPA store, is a valid interchange. Please write this note in your conversion manual.

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Above the correct replacement belt.  This has been verified to work on a Gold hub, with a Front Alternator bracket set and a front alternator.

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Corvair Case sale, 36 available, $100 each.

Builders:

Below is a picture of 36 Corvair Cases I pulled out of my hangar over the weekend.  I gathered these is the last three years without even trying, just picking them up by running an occasional ad on the Jacksonville Florida Craigslist. I have moved these to the Shop of Dan and Rachel Weseman, where they will be available for sale to supply our builders with an option for getting in the game or making progress on their project.

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Above, thirty-six 1964-69 Corvair Cases pictured on the patio between our hangar and house. They have since been moved to the SPA/Panther factory.

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Here is the idea: The cases sitting in my hangar don’t support my mission of getting people building Corvair engines. They only do this when they are part of a builders active project. Since Dan and Rachel already process 8409 cranks and offer Billet cranks, and also supply the finest remanufactured Corvair flight heads, having the cases at their shop allows them to coordinate a number of different build options, and integrate these cases into their plans.

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Let’s look at a few build scenarios these cases might serve:

Picture a guy who wants to build a 3,000 cc Corvair (3,000 cc engines and parts going out the door.), but has not yet found a core; He could start with one of these cases, have the Wesemans prep the case and bore it, he can pay the core fee on a 8409 crank ( The Wesemans have a number of these on hand) and get things in the works so he can assemble his case at home or at a College.

Picture a builder who wants to get started on a 3.3 liter stroked Corvair (3.3 Liter Corvair, a Smooth Power House): he needs a case, but because all 3.3 engine have a new billet crank, he doesn’t need a crank nor does he have a core fee. Just having a case available gets him started with a 3.3 liter crank order and a group 1300/1400 piston-rod-cylinder kit.

Picture a builder who wants one of the Wesemans new “Engine in a box” Kits, (https://flywithspa.com/product/corvair-engine-box/)  these cores can support those engine kits.

Picture a builder who sends his case to the Wesemans for modification to a 3,000 0r 3.3 liter, (https://flywithspa.com/product/corvair-3-0l-case-machining-service/)  but it is found to have an issue that is uneconomical to repair. Such a builder can simply get one of these cases from the Weseman’s rather than go back out and look for another core.

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Keep in mind that for $100, the cases are not “mint”, they are serviceable. Most of them need at least some studs replaced. Good news is that the Weseman’s are experts at this. They can prep any of these cases to make sure it is ready to be the foundation of your Corvair Flight engine.

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There are many ways these cases can serve a wide variety of builders plans and needs. If you have questions about how one may serve your building needs, please contact the Wesemans : https://flywithspa.com/contact-us/

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Just in case the guy at your airport who has an opionion on everything but obviously knows nothing, has a comment about Corvair cases, let me share a little factual data: Both Continentals and Rotaxes are good engines that work, but they have astronomical prices on parts by comparison. Neither of them have a spotless record on case issues, and when they have one, it can cost an astronomical amount of money to solve. For example, ten years ago, Rotax 912’s an engine that is relentlessly fictionally  portrayed as always going 3,000 hours between overhauls, has a serious case issue, where a great number of them fretted the case to needing a replacement in less than 1,000 hours. The case on these engines is more than $5000. Read the thread below to understand that it was an issue that could be caused by issues as slight as excessive prop pitch or even unsynchronized Bing carbs. It was not usually covered by warranty. Rotaxes are fine engines, but they are not for people on a budget:

http://www.rotax-owner.com/en/rotax-forum/3-4-stroke-technical-questions/2271-rotax-912-uls-fretted-crankcase

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Lest any expert claim that Continentals are “inexpensive” Look at the two adds below, the used case on barnstormers is $1200, the one on Ebay is $2,000. These are not rip off prices, they just represent market values for a high demand, limited supply item:

TELEDYNE CONT’L O-200A CASE • $1,200 • OFFERED FOR SALE Excellent first run case for O-200A • Contact Stephen E. DunbarVIKINGOK, Owner – located Broken Arrow, OK USA • Telephone: 918-568-8880 . • Posted August 24, 2016 • Show all Ads posted by this AdvertiserRecommend This Ad to a FriendEmail AdvertiserSave to WatchlistReport This Ad

http://www.ebay.com/itm/TCM-Continental-O-200A-Crankcase-P-N-643250-W-Data-Plate-915-24-/141878151225?hash=item210898c839:g:IAYAAOSwQTVV8dkN&vxp=mtr

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The next time anyone wants to tell you about magic engines that have no issues or how inexpensive other engines are, please understand they are just speaking of unicorns: Unicorns vs Ponies.

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3.3 Liter Corvair, a Smooth Power House

Builders:

Dan and Rachel Weseman, the SPA/Panther people, Will have their flying 3.3 liter (3,300 cc) Corvair on display at Oshkosh 2016.  This displacement Corvair is achieved by using an American made billet crankshaft with a 5/16″ stroke increase, along with the large cylinders of a 3,000 cc Corvair. The engine has had more than a year’s development and testing, including extensive ground runs, professional dynamometer testing, and now flight testing, conducted on a Panther airframe. The engine has proven to be an outstanding powerhouse with very smooth operation.

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Above, Dan Weseman’s #.3 Liter Corvair getting dressed out with baffling just before it was installed on a Panther airframe. The best way to understand this engine in a nutshell is this: It is lighter and more compact than a Continental O-200, yet dynamometer tests show it can match the power output of high HP Lycoming O-235, at the same RPM.   For more pictures , get a look at this story: Baffling on 3.3 Liter Corvair .

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The heart of this engine is the new, billet, made in America crankshaft. A standard Corvair has a 3.437″ bore and a 2.940″ stroke, yielding a 2.7 Liter displacement. Increasing the bore to 3.620″ with larger pistons and cylinders increases the displacement to 3.0 Liters.  When that is combined with increasing the stroke by .312″ with a new crankshaft, the displacement becomes 3.3 Liters. Externally, the engine remains the same size as all the Corvairs we have made for the last 27 years, but it is actually substantially lighter because the new crankshaft is lighter than the original GM crank, as are the new cylinders.

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“There is no Replacement for Displacement” is a time proven axiom of American automotive performance. It has been the traditional method of power increase.  To increase the engines’ displacement, rather than try to get more work from the same size motor. The fundamental logic of this approach is it keeps the engine stress and rpm low, the keys to reliability. The same logic has always been used by American aircraft engines. The same way Continental developed the 177 cubic inch/65HP  A-65 into externally same sized 200 cubic inch/ 100HP O-200,  The 3.3  moves the Corvair from a starting point of 164 cubic inches/100HP to 200 Cubic inches (3.3 Liters) and 125HP, without increasing the external size of the engine.  This isn’t a new aviation idea. A Lycoming O-235 is nearly identical in size to the engine it later evolved into, the O-320.  The engines that emerged from this process, the O-200 and the O-320 have outstanding reputations of reliability primarily because they were good designs to start with, and they raised their power output my increasing their displacement, not asking a small motor to work harder.

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The 3.3 is the most expensive Corvair flight engine ever built, but it still is less expensive, in some cases by half, than other engines in it’s class. At Oshkosh, all the tire kickers want to compare price tags, but any serious builder understands he is in search of good value, which in a serious subject like aviation, is not synonymous with cheapest price. Consumer culture has conditioned people to obsessively seek out the cheapest price on things. That mentality may work when comparing blenders at Walmart, but an Aviator selecting a power plant for his home built needs a mindset driven by value. By this measure, the 3.3 and all Corvairs stand up as proven, well supported options for homebuilders. I have said many times, Corvairs are not for everyone, but they are an excellent choice for builders who understand their value. The quote “Most people know the cost of everything but understand the value of nothing” still holds true about most of our society.  My work with Corvairs and their isn’t going to change society’s short comings, it is just to provide individuals with good options that make sense when examined closely. The 3.3 Liter engine from the Wesemans is a further extension of this concept.

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Is this a New Engine?  Yes: The only parts in a 3.3 liter engine that were ever in a Corvair automotive engine are the two case halves, the bare cylinder head castings, and the rear accessory case casting, and these parts have been carefully inspected,  extensively machined, and completely remanufactured. All the other parts in the engine, The Crankshaft, connecting rods, pistons, cylinders, valve train, gears, bearings and accessories are all new. Nothing in this engine was taken straight out of a salvage yard.  More importantly, the new parts are not just new automotive parts, they are components specifically designed and tested to work as parts in a flight engine, a much more rigorous standard.

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The 3.3 liter Corvair uses all the same installation components as our other Corvairs use, the same mounts, exhausts, cowls and intakes. It is also fully supported by our builder programs like Corvair Colleges and Corvair Finishing Schools, and our private on line builders groups. A builders selecting a 3.3 Liter Corvair is part of the same community of Corvair builders that we have developed and supported over many, many years.

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 Above, Dan and Rachel stand on either side of their 3.3 engine at Oshkosh 2015. The engine is a further development of many years of previous work with Corvairs.  It has been carefully developed and tested before being offered as an option for builders.  To see a video of an early test run, check out this 2015 link: SPA / Weseman 3.3 Liter Corvair now running.

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Above, Dan Weseman and I in 2012 at the test run of his 3,000 cc Panther engine. No person flies a Corvair harder than Dan, this fact combined with his mechanical talents and conservative approach to development, make him the right person to develop a large displacement engine.    His 3.0 liter performed flawlessly through a full years of aerobatics, and this itself built on many years of flying a 3,100cc engine in his Sonex airframe. The 3.3 is a further development, made of the same materials and processes as the 3.0 Liter, tested with the same methods. To Learn more about 3,000 cc engines read these links: Why Not the Panther engine? and The Panther’s engine, worlds strongest Corvair flight engine.

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“I know all your tests” …..Well, maybe not all of them.

Builders:

I got an email from a guy today saying he knew “all” of the testing I had done, a bit of a conclusion to jump to for a guy who has never met me, nor owns a copy of my manual.

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The guy had a statement about cam gears, a subject I know pretty well, that was made as if I had never looked at them in the last 27 years. In reality, we do all kinds of testing, and a lot of it never reaches the point of being an interesting story. Less than a third of the testing we do becomes a story, but all of the data is integrated into the products and processes we promote.  On any subject on the Corvair engine, it is a good bet to say “ww probably looked at that, you could write him about it rather than jumping to a conclusion.” But people who jump to conclusions just want their opinion validated, and writing me isn’t guaranteed to do that.

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Above, the underside of the 3,000 cc Corvair that has been flying on the Panther prototype for several years. Look closely at the front of the oil pan, in the cam gear section.  The silver part is a removable cover plate.  It allows the cam gear to be inspected on an assembled engine while it is still in the airframe. We made several of these oil pans during a period where we were evaluating different cam gears. Not all tests have been written about.

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Look close: No, it isn’t Dan Wesemans Panther. This is Paul Salter’s. This plane will be at Oshkosh in a few weeks. It is getting the engine compartment finished. The 3,000 cc Prototype engine has moved to this airframe, and the prototype airframe has now been re-engined with Dan’s 3.3 liter stroker motor.

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In the history of the modern Corvair flight engine, there have been just 3 broken cam gears, two of them on the same plane. These happened many years ago, and neither aircraft had substantial damage, both are still flying today. When considered against the great number of flying planes that didn’t have a cam gear issue, this isn’t a large number. Below are listed factors that builders should understand, these come directly from our processes and literature.

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(1) When the crank is processed, it should have a new steel gear put on it.  All cranks, both billet and 8409 cranks processed by the Weseman’s all have new gears installed. Problems with cam gears often start with Crank gear issues.

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(2) 10 years ago, we left crank gears in place when the cranks were nitrided. Although none of the 3 gear failures were attributable to this, we have not done this in many years. It is not as good as replacing the gear. Some builders who had their cranks nitrided at alternative shops failed to clean the gear teeth after the process. Inevitably this would cause someone’s cam gear to fail.

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(3) Most crank shops never grind cranks that have gear driven cams.  They fail to remember, unlike chain or belt driven cams, there is almost no tolerance for eccentricity on the gear. You can take a crank that is ground perfectly straight when measured in Vee blocks, that will still have run out on the crank gear. This will produce two tight spots on the cam gear, and if the run out is bad enough, it will eventually cause a cam gear failure. All the cranks done by the Weseman’s are done by grinder who spends the extra time to zero in the crank before it is ground. This can be seen on assembly, as the gear backlash is uniform in all positions.

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(4) Any prop strike is a cause for cam gear replacement. This may not have been the cause, but it is a common factor in 2 of the 3 previous cam gear failures. If you like to gamble, I can point to 6 people who prop struck a Corvair and then flew 200 more hours without replacing the cam gear.  Saving the hassle of pulling down the engine and the cost of a $70 gear is what they gained against the potential of a fatal accident. Place your bet as you like, just understand the wager on the table.

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(5)  One of the comments forwarded to me included a note from Joe Goldman saying he was going to use a “delta” cam in his soon to fly plane. Delta is a budget cam grinder whose dubious claim to fame is regrinding cams without removing the original 50-year-old aluminum cam gear, allowing the builder to ‘save” $70. Although there are several of these flying, I have said for more than 10 years that this was a very bad idea for many reasons. I know Joe, he is a great guy, but that isn’t an endorsement of his decision-making on cam gears. Watch any conflict between money and known better practice, and you will see the moment when one person makes the statement ” It will be alright.” That is the moment the wager is laid on the table, and if they were actually 100% confident they were right, they wouldn’t hesitate nor verbalize their evaluation. But they do, and what you are witnessing is a persons laziness or cheapness overpower what they know to be right.  People almost always get away with this. Almost.

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Junk you should not buy.

Builders,

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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”.

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 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.

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

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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.

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-ww.

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E/P and E/P-X Distributors, #3301

Builders,

I drove up to the SPA/Panther shop today, to drop off four E/P-X distributors that I had assembled and test run yesterday.  These are among our most popular conversion parts ever, in the last 10 years I have made hundreds of them. E/P series distributors I have built are in 90% of the flying Corvair powered planes in the world.  These are proven parts, they are the standard of what works, and for these reasons they are enduringly popular.

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George Carlin pointed out that the terms Rainforest and Wetlands had to be invented because no one was particularly interested in saving what was formerly known as Jungles and Swamps. “Enduringly popular” is a pleasant euphemism for “back ordered.”  However, today was a magic day, because when I drop off the latest four, Lisa, the inventory manager at SPA told me ……I was actually slightly ahead. I had not been in this position for the last 2 years.  I have another 12 distributors in the works right now, so I have finally reached the point were they should be ‘on the shelf’ from here forward.  This is progress, largely made possible because we now use SPA to distribute and support our product line: Outlook 2016, New order page and distribution method.

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Above, an E/P-X running in my distributor machine. For 20 years I used a 1950 Allen distributor machine. The one above is actually older, it is a 1947 Sun. ( Notice the volt meter only goes to 6 volts, 12 volt cars were yet to be sold in 1947 ) The orange arrows are projected onto the degree wheel by a spinning strobe under the center green disc. There are actually six arrows projected, the camera just didn’t catch the top three. I actually inherited this machine from a Florida gentleman who passed last year. He was a very competitive guy in offshore boat racing in the 1970s and 80s. I didn’t know him well, but was one of the few people who toured his machine shop who knew what the distributor machine was. His facility was sold to friends who told me to take the machine and put it to good use. Next year it will be 70 years old and still in fine shape.  As you go through your day today, ask yourself which mechanical device you see for sale that will still be useful in 2086. People can talk all they want about “green” things and “recyclable”, but there is a good argument that making things that last and don’t need to be endlessly replaced is actually less stress on the environment than disposable appliances, even if they are allegedly “green” and “recyclable”.

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To learn more about E/P-X distributors:

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

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 To learn more about E/P distributors:

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

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-ww.

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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