Update notes to 2014 manual, 1100 – Camshaft group

Builders,

If you are the owner of a 2014 conversion manual, below are some short notes on the 1100 – Camshaft group section. I have written about these details in the last 3 years, but they are presented here in summary form, please update your manuals and notebooks accordingly:

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2017 commentary:

In the last 3 years we have sold about 150 “1100-WW cam kits”, (Group 1100 cam kits on shelf.) they also went into every complete motor I built and into all of the Weseman’s “EIB” (engine in a box) kit engines. Buying one of these gets you every part from Group 1100, but it also makes sure your thrust washer on the cam is tight. In the last 3 years I have had 7 or 8 builders come to a college thinking that I was going to be OK with them assembling a motor with a wobbly thrust washer. They were not correct. Engines at Colleges and events I host,are assembled to my standards, because it is important to make things better, not good enough.

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http://shop.flycorvair.com/product/1100-cam-shaft-kit/ is the link to the products page.

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1101- an OT-10 is still a good cam, and it works, but our dyno testing in 2016 at a professional shop confirmed that our 1100 cam was a slight edge in an aircraft motor.

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1102- in 2014, I had some tolerance for thrust washers which rotated on cams. In the time since, I have concluded that since we know how to make them tight, and they undoubtedly left the factory tight, we should always make them so now. If they are tight, it precludes any conversation about “how loose is too loose?” which is exactly what I don’t like as an attitude about building engines.

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1103- no change

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1104- Clark’s standard gears are still acceptable for use, and their timing marks remain consistently accurate. Their “fail Safe” gears were once made in the US and were billets, but they are not made here now, and they are no longer from billet material. They still work, but I pushed about 10 off cams with loose washers in the last 3 years, and they don’t grab a cam much tighter than a stock replacement gear, and they are apparently made of the same material. My preferred cam gear is the California Corvairs US made billet gear.

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1105- Some HT-817s are now made in Mexico. I have seen no quality difference, but to stay with American products our 1100ww cam kits come with Summit Racing lifters, which are made in the US.

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1106- no change

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1107- no change

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Thank you, wewjr.

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Update notes to 2014 manual, 1000 – Crankshaft group

Builders,

If you are the owner of a 2014 conversion manual, below are some short notes on the 1000 – Crankshaft group section. I have written about these details in the last 3 years, but they are presented here in summary form, please update your manuals and notebooks accordingly:

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2017 Commentary:

Three most popular cranks used in engines are 8409 Gen II, the Billet standard stroke, and the billet long stroke. All of these are from the Wesemans at SPA. Very few people take a different route than this, at a typical Corvair College today, all but one or two engines will be built around one of these three cranks.  At our  finishing schools; (Corvair Finishing School #1, Video report.) Each engine is required to have one of these three crank arrangements, because the fast pace of the work does not allow for the additional time or inspection requirements of using a crank which has not passed through the Weseman’s inspection process before the event.

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1001A – The Wesemans are the only shop I use to process GM cranks. They have been doing them for many years now, and after installing dozens of them at Colleges and in production engines, I can flatly state that they have the best process on 8409 cranks. They are not the cheapest, just the best value.

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1001B – The billet cranks were just getting into high gear in 2014, today they have long since become a very popular proven park. Countless hours of  aerobatics  have been flown on them, and they are well proven, without a failure of any kind. They are still made in the USA, to the highest standards. The original 2.94″ stock stroke which went into dozens of 3,000 cc Corvairs has now been supplemented with the longer stroke billet crank that goes in the 3.3 Liter engines. Although this sounds new, it is proven and flying, and is a regular production part: 3.3 Liter Corvair, a Smooth Power House.

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1002- no change

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1003- no change

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1004- no change

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1005- no change

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1006- no change

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1007- no change

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1008- no change

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1009- no change

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1010- In the years since 2014, I have built run and inspected several dozen engines using the Clark’s in house brand main engine bearings. This have proven to be the functional equivalent of American name brand bearings.  I have used them in sizes std, .010 and .020. They work.

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1011- The commentary on Clark’s main bearings also applies to Clark’s rod bearings.

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Thank you ,

Wewjr.

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Group 1100 cam kits on shelf.

Builders,

I just got in another round of our camshafts, and have assembled them with new made in the USA gears. We now have them on the shelf at SPA/Panther ready for delivery. They come as a complete kit, with lifters, lubricant and ZDDP oil additive, every component in Chapter 1100 of the conversion manual is included. If you are planning on assembling your bottom end in the next week or month, it would be a good idea to have one of these shipped to you. If you have been good this year, maybe someone will buy you one for Christmas, but if you are in what I call the “Bag of Coal Club” , maybe just order it for yourself:

http://shop.flycorvair.com/product/1100-cam-shaft-kit/

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Above, three cams with new gears sitting outside my shop. We now have 7 kits on the shelf. The entire assembly, including raw materials and processes, is made in the United States. To learn more about cams, read this:  1100-WW Camshaft Group .

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-ww.

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How tough are Corvair engines?

Builders,

Below, two photos of damage inside core engines from running cars (not aircraft). The top was a motor run without oil, and one with finger tight rod nuts, the bottom was run with the belt off the cooling fan.

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The damage shown in the pictures didn’t happen in a second, nor in a minute either, and the engines still ran, very poorly, but they were not locked up.

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Over the years I have seen perhaps a 1,000 core motors, and very few of them had this kind of issue, almost all of them were simply worn or tired, but still capable of running acceptably when the car was parked. The major problem that makes some core motors unusable is being stored outdoors and getting water inside. You can check this easily when looking at a core engine by making sure it rotates 360 degrees before buying it. Ones that have had water inside, will not turn.

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The examples below are from cars, but I have plenty aircraft examples also; An engine run for 11 minutes turning a prop at 2,200 rpm (about 45 hp) without any oil in it. It stopped but only did $700 in damage; The guy who’s ‘local expert’ set the timing for him, but thought the 0-8-16 timing marks were 0-3-6, so he set the timing for about 60 degrees advance, which blew out 3 head gaskets. the static rpm dropped from 2,700 to 2,000 rpm but the builder actually flew it 2 more times because he had a long paved runway at his airport; the 30,000 hr airline pilot who flew a cross country with a bad enough oil leak that the pressure went to zero, twice, and he felt comfortable adding a “quart or two” and proceeding. This doesn’t even touch on the several dozen people who damaged engines by never setting the timing, but thought they were getting away with it because their engine didn’t stop abruptly, it just tolerated the blown head gaskets and broken rings without quitting. The list is endless, but let it be said that the intelligent Corvair builder has a very robust engine to work with.

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Above, two rods from car engines; the bottom was run for more than 10 miles with no oil in it. Notice that the rod bolt and nut are still intact. The bearing melted, and took out the rod, but the motor did not stop, the driver just reported it “made a lot of noise” on the drive back home. The top one was from the shop of a “race car builder” who rebuilt the engine and it lasted long enough to leave his shop, where he claimed no further responsibility. Without question, the “race car builder” forgot to torque the rod nuts on these bolts. The driver reported it ran poorly, but he drove it around for a while that way. The piston was just jammed at the top of the bore, and the engine kept going.

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Damage tolerance isn’t a primary engine selection criterion in experimental aircraft, the way it was when the US Navy specified that it would only accept air-cooled radials for combat service in WWII. Many newer engines cease to run the first moment any small piece of material gets loose in the engine, but the Corvair has more in common with the damage tolerance of radials than it does with modern engines.

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The majority of the general public when looking at photos like these will say “I would prefer to have an engine that will never break” much the same way that children have a decided preference for unicorns despite a historic supply problem that suggests the perfect engine and the unicorn will be delivered on the same day hell freezes over.

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For people into a higher level of discussion, I can point out the design features of the Corvair that give it an extraordinary resistance to stopping when damaged. First and foremost, go look at your core engine and see that the cam and crank timing gears, the only part of the engine where a chip of metal can not be allowed to pass, live in their own part of the crankcase, and don’t share the same compartment with the rest of the parts in the case. There are many other elements, like forged components which are not brittle, and particularly being air-cooled and having no possibility of loosing coolant into the engine, etc. If you like machines, it is a very interesting study.

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Above, a core engine that came to our shop in 2005, from a person who drove their Corvair for a week with no cooling fan belt on it. Both the valve seats in the above cylinder have been beaten into the ports and broken up, yet the engine continued to run on the other bank of cylinders. Notice that neither valve head come off the stem. The rusty bits imbedded in the head are broken up valve seat.  While your engine will obviously never look like this inside, it is a very desirable characteristic of aircraft engines that they be able to sustain some damage without complete failure. The next time somebody points out to you that a Corvair engine is slightly heavier than a VW, Jabbaru or Rotax, tell them that you accept this because there are robust qualities to the Corvair that you appreciate.

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ww.

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How many Corvairs are left?

Builders,

The title of this story is a perfectly acceptable question, and one I frequently place an educated estimate on.  It doesn’t bother me, even if it is asked many times a day at Oshkosh.  I do however contrast this with the person, who walks into my booth at Oshkosh and pronounces, “There are no Corvairs left. “ or “They don’t make parts for Corvairs anymore.”

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I was just about to type “It takes a special kind of idiot to say such things in the face of demonstrable evidence otherwise” but that isn’t correct. Statements like that are not the utterances of special idiots, they are spouted by common idiots. I have actually had a guy flatly say they don’t make parts for these engines while leaning on a stack of new boxes of pistons that was 4 feet high. I pointed out to another person who said their are no engines available, the dozens of pictures on my website of recently finished Corvair powered planes, and asked him where he thought those engines came from. Ironically, no answer from the same guy who knew everything 2 minutes before.

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It has been my experience that you can’t use budget, prior experience, age, nor outlook to predict is a guy will be successful in homebuilding, however, I have noted that the guy who likes to start every conversation in homebuilding with a statement that he absolutely ‘knows’ to be true, is the guy least likely to enjoy learning, and therefore least likely to be a guy who finishes a plane. Be aware that common idiots are not just found at Oshkosh, they are at nearly every airport in the country. For a laugh, I highly suggest getting a look at this: A visit to the insane asylum .

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Above, a very heavy box in the back of my 3/4 ton truck in the front yard this morning.  It was 48″x 40″ by 40″ and packed solid with Corvair cylinder and connecting rod cores being truck shipped to Clark’s Corvairs in Massachusetts. the rear suspension is compressed about 8″.

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The box has about 50 engines worth of cylinders and rods, and these are all going back to Clark’s for reboring and rebuilding. I collect them up over time, and send them back in a large lot. Think this is a big amount? I have been to Clarks shop, and this isn’t 5% of what they have on hand, and I strongly doubt that Clark’s is holding 5% of the remaining Corvair cylinders….Oh, by the way, 2,850, 3,000 and 3.3L Corvairs are all based on new cylinders and rods, so everything in this box can be applied to 2,700cc Corvairs.

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There are probably less than 5% of the original 1.8 million Corvairs left. If that sounds small, it is 90,000 cars. We live in a nation of 250 Million registered cars. Any reasonable person can look at those numbers and understand a ratio of 2,778:1. and probably on the order of 20,000:1 in a daily driver comparison, why you don’t see a Corvair driving down your street everyday. But only the common idiot looks at those numbers, the giant box of cores, the fact I have been doing this since 1989, and Clarks has been doing Corvair parts for more than 40 years, and still is sure enough to say there are no Corvairs left.

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Automotive production numbers dwarf anything aviation has ever made: The Jabbaru 3300, the Rotax 912 and the Continental O-200 are all good engines that serve particular builders. These engines have been made for 20, 30 and 60 years respectively. Corvair were produced for just 10 years 1960-69, but consider this: They made more Corvairs in the first 10 days of production in 1960 than Jabbaru has built 3300’s in the last 20 years; To match 30 years of 912s took GM till the third week of production in 1960; To match 60 years of O-200s took the GM engine plant about 50 days in 1960. And from there GM went on to another decade of engine building. It is my educated estimate, that there are more Corvair core engines remaining in the US, than the entire combined production of 3300’s 912s and O-200s. Give that some thought the next time someone tells you there are no more Corvairs.

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-ww.

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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-ww.

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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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-ww.

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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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-ww.

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