William Wynne

"The Corvair Authority"
5000-18 HWY 17 #247
Orange Park, FL 32003 USA

What's New

October 20, 2005


Here's an update on the Corvair Calendar. It's a short update because we're busy preparing for the upcoming College, Nov. 11-13. Hope to see you there.

Above is a photo of boxes and boxes of catalogs. These have been shipped in compliments of Clark's Corvairs and Summit Racing. I called to request these on behalf of the builders who will attend our College. We're well know at Clark's Corvairs, but this was the first time I requested literature from Summit. I was prepared for a lengthy explanation and decline, because Summit is focused on auto racing; however, the conversation was short, as the director of marketing at Summit had recently paid a visit to the EAA museum at Oshkosh and was totally impressed. After I explained the catalogs would be distributed to homebuilders, a few days later boxes of them arrived in the mail. This year's event will be held at our hangar, 735 Air Park Road, Hangar A-3, at Massey Air Ranch in Edgewater, FL 32132. The identifier for the airport is X50. We're about 15 miles south of Daytona Beach. There are numerous local motels in Edgewater and New Smyrna Beach. If you'd like a visual idea of the College, check out The Corvair College #8 Pages. You do not need reservations to come to Corvair College. You need only bring yourself, your desire to learn and willingness to have a good time. Make plans to attend now. Orlando is the closest large airport, but Sanford and Daytona airports are also nearby. Within a week, we'll have an update with specific recommendations of tools and equipment to bring. The event is about building and flying Corvairs. It's a technical seminar, and also a fly in focused on the friendship of builders. A common refrain of people who go to Oshkosh is that it isn't like it was in the good old days. While this contention may be true (you'll have to debate this with our test pilot Gus, who has attended the past 33 Oshkosh events consecutively), we have complete freedom to form the Corvair College we choose. Before there was Oshkosh, the EAA's annual gathering was Rockford. Rockford was characterized by little commercial activity and a great exchange of enthusiasm among homebuilders. The model of Corvair College #9 is Rockford 1958. We'll have learning, building, flying, laughter and friendship. This is your opportunity to be part of your own Golden Era. Don't miss it.

While preparing for the Corvair College is important, we still have our regular production schedule to keep up with. Last week saw the completion and shipment of almost all the backordered Oil Pans. I'd like to thank the builders who patiently waited for these. Their reward is the best set of Oil Pans ever produced for flying Corvairs. As an evolution of our flight proven design, these pans featured 100% inside and outside welding. This improves the Pan's ability to withstand minor damage and abuse (not recommended). Pictured above is engine #17 for the year. It belongs to 601 builder Bill Howerton of Colorado. Bill collected all the parts, but opted to have us do the assembly and test run. This is unusual because we normally either assist you in your build or build the engine for you. But Bill had visited the shop before and is a very persuasive guy. The engine incorporates several upgrades. It has one of our Deep Nitrided Crankshafts, and features ARP case studs. The engine is built utilizing virtually every one of the parts from our Conversion Catalog. After a 2-hour break in, the engine turned a very impressive 3,165rpm with our ground test prop set at its standard pitch. This is a very impressive number for a standard 2,700cc engine. We're going to do some more break in work and give it a full spectrum dyno run in the coming week.

After hours, Dave the Bear and Steve Upson have been burning the midnight oil to finish Dave's Wagabond. We received a lot of positive feedback about our previous update, which featured a lot of details on Dave's installation. Here's a few photos of what the whole airplane looks like. To understand the scale of how big this airplane is, notice the 601 on the right side of the photo. It is not a small airplane, but it is dwarfed by the stance of the Wagabond. If you're a larger builder with some good skills, you may want to consider this airplane as your Corvair powered project. The plane is about a week away from running up and down the runway. It could be done in two days if we could work on it day and night. An impressive statistic: The weight and balance showed the plane weighed 837 pounds empty (we weighed it with everything in place). If you don't have perspective, consider this: a builder sent us a weight and balance form for a Kitfox Model V, a design of similar construction, but with much less interior space and a gross weight of 1,400 to 1,550 pounds. The Kitfox had a Subaru EA-81 installed, and had an empty weight of 936 pounds. That's correct, an empty weight 99 pounds heavier than Dave's Wagabond. The Kitfox is certainly a good plane, but when it comes to tube and fabric airplanes, the engineers and designers at Piper are the kings. The Wagabond is an experimental design, but it is the direct descendant of the Piper PA22-108. It is built like a tank by comparison to most experimental aircraft in its category. Gross weight on this design is 1,650 pounds, and I would not hesitate to perform a full range of maneuvers with confidence at this weight.

Dave's airplane has a 3-piece windshield, like a Fairchild 24. The wing root fairing shown above is not yet cinched down. Steve came up with this design. It's two pieces, and the joint is based on running a bead roller over the outside part to smooth the intersection. It would have been easier out of fiberglass, but Dave avoids fiberglass - it's just not his style.

Dave's airplane has external aileron cables, like a J-3, PA-15, -16 and -17. This may look like a factory part, but Dave made it by hand. Aileron action on the rigged plane is smooth as silk. Dave hand made the ailerons, and carefully made perfect geometry so the cables maintain even tension throughout their full range.

Dave's plane has a door on each side, unlike Pipers, which sported only one. His doors are made of carbon fiber panels with Nomex honeycomb cores 1/2" thick. The edge trim is done in spruce. The door latch mechanism shown above is made from very thin material, but is very strong with positive action. The doors are roughly as strong as if they were made of 1/2" marine plywood, yet they weigh just 2 pounds each, hardware included.

A glance inside Dave's cockpit, above. The black tubing is the dual handstick controls Dave fabricated. A close look reveals many of the details in the control and fuel systems. PA-22s have adjustable seat mechanisms that Dave incorporated into his plane. The aircraft was weighed with an Odyssey 680 battery. This is the battery we use in all of our aircraft. It weighs 14 pounds, is available from Van's Aircraft, and is spillproof.

This week brought very somber news. KR builder and pilot Steve Jones of Venice, Fla., was killed in an accident while flying his KR-2 out of his home airport in Venice. Steve had visited our hangar a few times, but was best known for his fabulously finished KR-2. This was the first airplane he had built. He brought it to Sun 'N Fun in 2004, and it immediately won recognition with the judges. It also was the subject of a lengthy article written by Jack Cox in Sport Aviation magazine. Barely a month ago, Steve flew it to the KR Gathering in Illinois, where it was again recognized with the People's Choice Award, a compliment from his peers in the world of KRs.

The story of Steve's accident was covered in newspapers across Florida. Surprisingly, it was reported without judgment or editorial comment. The writing mainly focused on his achievements in his brief four years in aviation.

Word of his accident was sent to us by e-mail. A number of the people who had briefly crossed paths with Steve and were impressed with his workmanship and personal style called to express their feelings. Impressive was the diversity of people who were moved to share positive memories of Steve, however brief their contact with him was.

When I hear people commenting or sepculating on accidents of aviators they never knew, I normally take the time to explain that this is a normal temptation, but extremely poor form that all real aviators refuse to engage in. In the case of Steve's accident, two sentences in the newspaper report from a questionable eyewitness prompted some Internet personalities to speculate on the nature of the accident. Normally, this sort of uncouth behavior makes me lividly angry. But having known Steve personally, I have to say hearing some of these comments just made me feel tired and disappointed. I did not know him well, but he was a good guy and his accomplishments are certainly above this type of tasteless commentary.

In time there will be an NTSB report that will offer the facts, which in my experience always show early speculation to be a bad joke. None of this will matter to Steve, for he's long gone now. In the end there may be some lesson for the rest of us, who will fly with his memory. Either way, the lesson I will take from him is to make the most out of your time. In four short years, Steve learned to fly, built an airplane, gathered national attention of the highest order, damaged the plane in a landing accident, rebuilt it to an even higher standard, built one of the most technically challenging engine installations, and safely flew it to a distant gathering of builders who truly appreciated his work, as well as a few brief hours spent in his company. Had he taken 25 years to do this, it would have been noteworthy. In his brief time with us, his achievements seem more than remarkable. He was only 50. Tonight, my last thoughts will be wondering what he would have accomplished with another 20 years.

October 6, 2005


As a follow on to our large October 1 update, here's a few photos that are important additions to the previous material. Enjoy.

Final mounting of the ignition coils, above. Steve made a little bracket to hold the two standard Corvair condensers on Dave The Bear's Wagabond. Condensers go on the negative side of the coils. The little wire off the bracket is a secondary ground. Steve is a belt and suspenders kind of guy. Condensers need to be grounded. Four wires come through the grommet to the coils. Corvair Flyer #11 contains this wiring schematic. The high tension leads are not yet down all the way. The positive leads are on the outside of the coils. The thin phenolic sheet insulates this terminal from the remote possibility of the box contacting it.

Here's a photo of the completed box closed on Dave's firewall. The 1.25" scat hose enters the box on the far side near the top. He's going to run this hose from the baffling on top of the engine. The box cover is held on with #8 Tinnermans and PK screws. Note that there's a hole cut for the fuel line, and the primer hole has a small grommet. The installation is very clean in appearance. The gascolator can be accessed from below the box, and there are no moving parts inside. Thus, I'd expect to take this off maybe once a year. The John Deere regulator can be seen on the firewall next to the box.

Here are the basic elements of good wiring for experimental airplanes. Tefzel clad wiring is available from all the aircraft supply houses. This jacketing is many times tougher than typical insulation, especially at elevated temperatures. Real aircraft grade terminals have soft insulation, which does not crack when it's crimped. The crimpers in the photo above are available from mcmaster.com. They're just under $50, and worth every penny. There are many good books on aircraft wiring, and some discussion groups about it. Unfortunately, most Internet discussions devolve into giant debates about massive redundancy, counter EMF, diodes and bridges, and how the letter i represents the square root of -1, which can be used to describe the behavior of alternating current. Perhaps you, like me, get sleepy reading this stuff and wonder what it has to do with your airplane. Answer is: not much. But do not wholesale cash in all of aircraft wiring. The basic materials and tools are important to incorporate into your own project. Don't let the complex discussions completely turn you off.

Above are things that should not be in your aircraft workshop. Typical automotive store wiring has very soft, poor insulation. The crimpers do a terrible job, and the terminals have hard insulation that cracks when crimped, and is then prone to falling off. Wiring like this is one of the first things that catches my eye when inspecting a project or scanning a photo. Your DAR, when inspecting the airplane, will notice this also. Many DARs I know are very reluctant to sign off airplanes with this type of wire. Five minutes of exposure to the right stuff and you'd never consider using the wrong stuff again.

Above is the skylight in the top of Dave's airplane cabin. This is all Dave's handiwork. None of this was in the plans. It is made from 25/1000" 6061 T-6, and 1/8" thick plexiglass with a light green tint. The frames are simple bent sheet metal, and it's all held together with Avex pulled rivets. Note the hand fashioned aluminum trim crank with lightening holes. Dave has no intention of installing an interior beyond seats. Very nice work.

A dozen of our custom Flight Weight, Deep Sump Oil Pans, most of the way through production, above. I do all the welding in our shop, and this represents 12 or 13 solid hours at the table. They still need drain plugs and interior and exterior corner welds. Then comes inspection, testing, packing and shipping. If you're one of our customers who's patiently waited for a Pan, they will be on their way shortly.

In the photo is the jig made from a Corvair case, which I use to weld the Pans. The basic element of the Pan is the CNC hydrocut rail shown at the center of the photo. The location of the holes is actually adjusted to account for the shrinkage of the Pan when it's welded. Over the years, I've made more than 100 of these Pans, and there have been small adjustments to improve the fit and durability. Each new generation was flight tested on one of our own aircraft. The Skycoupe was the first test plane we flew with the prototype. Since its conversion to turbo power, the Skycoupe has used the latest generation of Pan. The delay in delivering Pans was a difficulty in getting the rails produced. All of our CNC work is done by two of the best aerospace shops in Florida. These companies both have landed priority DOD contracts in recent months. When I negotiated the price for our parts, it was with the understanding that our work might take a back seat to Defense items. The delay has passed, and we currently have a good stock from which we're filling back orders.

It was brought to my attention that bogus imitations of our Pans were being sold on eBay. I contacted the seller who innocently admitted that he'd seen our stuff at Sun 'N Fun, met us, and had tried his hand at making some pans. He even added that he was looking forward to attending our next Corvair College. Let me remind people that we're here to help you build your engine, not support occasional amateur efforts or imitators. If my moral appeal to you not to buy an imitation is not enough, consider the fact that the first four prototype pans I made years ago passed all leak tests in the shop, and promptly leaked like sieves at operating temperature with oil in them. It took a change in material, welding style and filler rod before they were consistently leak free. Over the years, we've had virtually every part we make, from Conversion Manuals to Prop Hubs, counterfeited. Most of it was by good people who just weren't thinking; some of it was greedy, malicious people. Most of the imitations and completed engines for sale showed themselves to have major flaws or be junk. Follow the path of success of all of our flying customers: Either build it yourself or get it directly from us.

October 1, 2005


At the suggestion of 601 builder Scott Laughlin, we put together this overview of many engine installation details. Many of our newer builders tend to think of me as the host of Corvair Colleges, or the source of conversion parts. While both of these are true, in reality, my primary mission is teaching. Our motto has always been the original EAA motto: Learn, Build and Fly. Here are a collection of installation details for builders to follow. They are a good indication of how in depth my knowledge of the Corvair is. This isn't because I'm a genius, it's because I've had professional training and I've spent 15 years relentlessly pursuing the most useful, reliable, affordable conversions that can be shared with amateur builders. The popularity of the Corvair today is our reward for an incredible amount of R&D. I welcome you to become one of our builders and make my hard work also work for you.

In this update, we'll note the sources of parts with the following abbreviations: AC - Aircraft part available from Aircraft Spruce, Wick's, Wag-Aero, etc.; SR - Automotive part available from SummitRacing.com; WW - Available from us; C - Clark's Corvairs. All of the details shown here are flight proven on planes we've built and flown. Although there are many ways to skin a cat, we've probably tried almost every way of doing details, and the methods here have proven to be clean, simple and trouble free. Enjoy.

An 8-tube motor mount on the front end of Dave The Bear's Wagabond, above. This motor mount style is my preferred design when the datum to firewall distance exceeds 15". Weight and balance calculations placed this distance on Dave's mount at 17.5". For comparison, a 601 is 14.5" and a KR-2 is 10.5". The Skycoupe has been flying for years on our first 8-tube motor mount. Its datum to firewall distance is about 16.5".

Above is the proper orientation of the motor mount hardware. The bolt is an AN6-35 with a castelated nut and a cotter pin. The Energy Suspension urethane swaybar bushings are available from Summit. The length of the bolt is appropriate for any mount or tray built by us or built to the plans in the Manual. The nut should be tightened until the bushing expands to the same diameter as the plated washers that come with the bushing kit. We use a piece of 3/8 i.d. tygon tubing about a half inch long around the bolt where it passes through the case to align it. When assembled, the engine will seem very tight to the mount. In operation it will perform flawlessly. At the recent Livermore, Calif., fly-in, a video was shot of a Corvair engine running on the ground. Its excessive motion was caused by the bushings not being tight, and primarily by the engine running very poorly because the condensers were rigged on the wrong sides of the coils. Properly installed and wired engines run smoother than most aircraft powerplants you've ever seen. Motor Mounts we sell now come complete with all the bushings and hardware.

Above is a first class fiberglass reinforcement for the motor mount, inside a Corvair powered Dragonfly. It is patterned after the same style mount in a Lancair 320. The Dragonfly is an all composite airplane, with fairly light mounting points designed for VW powerplants. If you're installing a Corvair on one, you should seriously consider this style of load bearing structure. This applies only to designs like the Dragonfly and the Vision.

We brought the Turbo Skycoupe into the hangar for a cowling change. I removed the old cowling and put all the sharp PK screws in a plastic shoebox on top of the wing. Whobiscat promptly settled in for a six hour nap, above.

Dave's oil filter housing, above. This is the recommended installation for any airplane with a gravity feed fuel system. Airplanes that use fuel pumps will have a slightly different variation. The oil filter is a K&N 1002; the housing is a Transdapt 1045; the line fittings are AN-6 to 1/2" pipe, made by Aeroquip. The pressure bushing is also Aeroquip, 1/2" to 1/8" pipe. The oil lines are Earl's 90 degree -6 swivel seals. All of this is from SR. This installation shows my preference for mechanical oil pressure and oil temperature gauges. The temp gauge sending unit will thread right into the housing. The little clamp on the line is a No. 3 Adel, from AC.

Dave's airplane uses a Stromberg NAS-3 carb from a C-85, an excellent choice for a gravity feed airplane. 85 and 90hp versions of this carb have a 1 3/8" venturi. The fuel line shown above is a 180 Earl's swivel seal -6 from SR. Note the simple cable hookups. AC also has carb to manifold gaskets. Just order one for a Cessna 150. The hardware holding the carb to the manifold is AN4 with NAS reduced size, all metal locknuts.

A top view of Dave's carb installation, above. The manifold is one of our CNC bent stainless tubes. Note that the only joint in it is where the carb tube is welded. Dave made this carb tube from a 2" piece of .049 4130. Thus, it's painted to prevent it from corroding, while the rest of the manifold is bare. The main mount for the manifold is the plate above the carb, which grabs the two lower 3/8" studs on the engine case. I greatly prefer the carb to move with the engine at all times. Carburetors mounted on the engine mount and connected to the intake manifold with rubber hose are an invitation for trouble. The one and only certified airplane that mounts a carb that way are certain Mooney models. There's a good reason every other plane has its carb move with the engine. The two braided -6 lines in the foreground are on their way to the oil filter housing.

Dave's MSD 8210 coil switcher, IC-675 coils, and gascolator are all mounted in a box on the firewall which will be fed cooling air through a 1 1/4" scat hose. The two side walls of the box are riveted on the firewall, and the cover is removable with PK screws going through Tinnerman nuts. The IC-675 coils are available from NAPA. They do not require a ballast resistor. Recent testing by Gus and myself reveals that these coils will power your engine at voltages down to 9.6. Thus, if your generator was offline, your motor could run off the battery that started the engine for a long, long time. The bracket holding the two coils is a C shape. They're held in place by the wedge block and angle clamping them down with an AN3 nut in between the two coils. This plane needs a primer because the Stromberg carb does not have an accelerator pump. The primer pump works off the fitting on top of the gascolator.

The above photo shows Dave's carb heat box/air filter arrangement. This is referred to as a J-3 airbox, although it appeared on most light aircraft with small Continental engines. It bolts right onto a Stromberg or MA3 carb. New ones are available from AC. Used ones should be inspected carefully because the shaft bushings are usually shot. A 2" carb heat hose connects to the side, and the front face mounts a Bracket air filter assembly. This is the easiest way to mount carb heat and an air filter on a Corvair engine. In this photo, also note the two Adel clamps holding the -6 fuel line. All motion on the fuel line will take place between this clamp and the 180 degree fitting. You can see the finger reinforcements welded on the bottom tubes of the mount, and the 1/8" pipe primer port welded into the 2" intake pipe at a 45 degree angle. The gascolator and carb on this aircraft are above the level of the bottom longeron. You want to be sure that if you ever wipe the gear off the plane, you're not going to open up the fuel system.

Dave's ultra simple panel. It is cut from a sheet of .060 6061 T6 aluminum. The lower knobs, left to right above: primer, carb heat with lock button, large throttle with knurled lock, vernier mixture. These are all different sizes and shapes so they can be differentiated by feel. A big mistake in installations is builders putting in a throttle and mixture of the same style but different colors. When you reach for them, your hand is going to i.d. it, not your eye checking the color, especially on landing approach. These cables are available from AC. Resist using lawnmower cables because they do not have quality operation nor locking features. Dave's airplane is essentially brand new and first class, yet he has only $8,000 in it, including the engine. This is because Dave is a good scrounger, but notice he didn't waste money on things like worthless electronic engine instrumentation, nor expensive radios. The point is to get the airplane flying now and add the radios later when and if they prove necessary. Complicated panels are the biggest waste of money in airplanes, and if you choose to delay the completion of your project because you're saving for avionics, I will assure you that you won't consider that a wise choice that day in the future when you lose your medical.

Dave's plane will be outfitted with a 601 nosebowl. Here, we borrowed the one from the 601 for a test fit. The plywood ring on the front holds the nosebowl in place and centered. It's an installation tool we use that could easily be duplicated in your shop.

The throttle, carb heat and mixture cables coming through Dave's firewall, above. The blue AN collet style cable clamps are available from AC. The throttle cable exits the firewall at a 45 degree angle. We fabricated the bracket from a piece of 1 1/4" 4130 tubing with a washer welded on the end. The throttle on the panel and the carb line up with each other perfectly, and this aircraft has very slick throttle operation.

This is the MSD to distributor cap high tension wire. It passes through the firewall box lid, runs along the upper motor mount tube, jumps across to the intake manifold and goes on to the distributor cap. It is Accel spiral wound wire. We've flown this style of wire for years, and have never noticed any radio interference, despite the fact they have very low resistance. Notice that there's a grommet where it passes through the box top. This grommet lines up with a very heavy duty piece of heat shrink. This heat shrink is made by HILINE. HILINE electrical products are available either direct from HILINE or from a number of distributors. Their heat shrink tubing is the world's greatest. Two Adel clamps hold the line rigid to the mount. A -12 goes around the 3/4 mount tubing and a -6 goes around the plug wire. Note the heat shrink under the -6. They're held together with a 10-32 screw and an all metal locknut. Proper security on this line is crucial because if it falls off, the engine won't run. You can have a plug wire or one of your coil to MSD lines fall off, but not this one. I'm against having your alternator on the back of the engine because if the alternator belt falls off, it could take this line out. If this seems unlikely to you, consider that my friend John Blackburn was killed within sight of his own house by exactly this event in his Ford V-6 powered Mustang II. My opinions about doing things certain ways are colored by bitter experiences like John's accident.

Above is the other end of the same high tension wire. There's a tab welded on the intake manifold supporting the wire with the -6 Adel. Again, the heat shrink underneath. When restrained like this, all of the motion of the engine moving is resolved between the two Adel clamps, and none of the motion is trying to pull the wire off the top of the cap or out of the box. If I want to look under the distributor cap, I merely unplug this wire, unscrew the cap, and fold it out of the way without undoing any of the plug wires from the cap.

Top view of Dave's engine, above. Note the little tab holding the top of the dipstick still. On the back of the starter motor is an aluminum angle formed into what we call the tail bracket. Our Starter Kits include these. If you're building your own version of our front starter system from plans, this bracket will make it rock steady. Note how well the front starter tucks underneath the nosebowl.

Side view of the Dynamometer. We've recently done some work on it, like the permanent mounting of the oil filter housing, some new instrumentation, and a safety switch. An engine built with our standard configuration of welded on head pipes and Rear Oil System can be mounted on the dynamometer by Kevin and myself in less than 10 minutes. At the upcoming Corvair College, we intend to run as many engines as possible. Dynamometer priority will be given to standard configuration engines. Please note that some rear starter configuration engines cannot be mounted on the dyno. We're going to try to have a second test stand available for odd configuration engines, but our primary focus will be test running engines built according to the Conversion Manual. Shown on the dyno here is Dick Proos' 601 engine. It is the 16th engine we've built this year. Kevin and I primed it, wheeled it outside, and turned the key for literally one second before it started and ran perfectly smoothly for an hour. This is the type of experience that you can expect from your own engine if you build it carefully.

Above is an overhead shot of The Turbo Skycoupe. It's undergoing a few airframe modifications, like a new cowling and hydraulic brakes. It has lived at our place the past six months, and will remain here through Corvair College, where builders can inspect it closely and see flight demos of it.

This T-shaped item on our Front Alternator Bracket is the tachometer sending unit. This is a magnetic sender that counts the teeth on the flywheel. It's available from www.contrexinc.com. It's .375" in diameter and 1.38" long. Above, it's mounted in two intersecting pieces of 4130 tubing I've welded into a T. There's a 3/8" hole drilled in the alternator bracket. The leg of the T has a bolt threaded into it from behind. The 3/8 sender is a light press fit down the T of the tube. It's held .010" away from the Ring Gear. This provides rock steady tachometer information to the Stewart Warner tach we use. It's ideal because it's 100% divorced from the ignition system. Perhaps my greatest argument against using most electronic instrumentation is that the tach portion of a system like the Grand Rapids unit is directly wired into your ignition. There is no guarantee that if the unit fails, it will not fry your ignition and shut off your engine. No one I spoke to at Grand Rapids expressed any interest in this possibility. I would rather fly with no tach at all than with one that could cause the engine to shut off.

This is the rear baffle on our 601 engine. The sparkplug wires pass through a sheet of 1/4" thick polyethylene. This material is commonly called UHMW. The holes for 8mm sparkplug wires should be drilled at 5/16". If you have a reason to remove the sparkplug wire harness, the four screws at the corners of the UHMW block can be removed, and the wire set, including the boots, can be slid through the hole. The block has to be put in while the sparkplug wires are being made. As you look at the block from this side, the plug wires across the top, left to right, are 1, 4, 5; the bottom is 6, 3, 2. This yields the cleanest layout. The wire set is my recommended Accel 5041, available from SR. If you want the wires in black, put a K suffix on the number, or R for red, B for blue. We sell prefabricated wire sets with the block installed for $100. If you're going to build your own wire set, you absolutely must use the MSD crimping pliers to put on the terminal ends. We've had several builders bring wire sets to us that I could disassemble by pulling with less than 10 pounds of force. Poor crimping on ignition wires is very dangerous.

Above is our 601's version of the high tension lead security. The 601's MSD 8210 and coils are inside the firewall. This firewall pass through is an MSD unit, available from SR. Notice how all the motion of the engine will be resolved on the wire in between the two clamps. This wire is covered in red fiberglass braided cloth made by Mallory, also from SR. The 1.25" scat hose is used to cool the gascolator. Gus and I faced 100 degree temperatures the whole way to Oshkosh this summer, and installed it as a precaution against vapor lock. In the foreground is the sending unit for a JPI fuel flow meter. The 601's engine compartment still has more instrumentation and plumbing than I would consider necessary in a builder's airplane.

Here is the oil filter housing on the 601. It differs from Dave's plane in a single detail: The oil pressure line is T-d into a connection for a Nason SM2C20F switch. This is a requirement on a 601XL or any other airplane which runs the fuel pumps the full time the plane is flying. Typically, this would be a KR-2 without a header tank. Any highwing airplane or plane with fuselage mounted tank should be able to use gravity feed, and be exempt from this switch. In normal operation, the fuel pump will only run when this switch senses oil pressure. Thus, if you had an accident with the plane, the engine would stop, the oil pressure would go away, and the fuel pump would automatically shut off, even if you were not awake to turn it off. The backup fuel pump does not run through this switch. I am adamant that airplanes that do not need fuel pumps, such as Pietenpols, should not have them. The Skycoupe engine can produce 130+ horsepower, and yet it is fed by gravity out of its fuselage tank. If you have a 601XL, we have this system perfected and proven in 250+ flight hours. Please use it just as shown. The red line is Mallory fiberglass jacketing with the wiring inside. This is zip-tied to the Mount, and is highly resistant to abrasion and heat. It is much cleaner than a bunch of individual wires.

This is a motor mount bolt on the 601. Again, it is an AN35-6. It is using a spring clip in place of a cotter pin. The wires zip-tied to the mount are the alternator output and tach signal wires. These are jacketed in HILINE heat shrink tubing.

Top view of the 601 engine. The main line for the starter runs down between cylinders 2 and 4. It is in a piece of steel tubing, and protected by heat shrink. It has two layers of heavy duty heat shrink sleeving. Although it's a clean installation, most builders would be better served by the starter line passing through a phenolic block on the back baffle. Almost all of our starter wires are done by the latter methodology.

The cooler above is a folded fin. We've done back to back flight testing with the folded fin vs. the 12-plate. A slight edge goes to the folded fin. The welded on low profile aluminum intake pipes also can be seen in this photo. The rubber hose connecting these pipes to the intake manifold is 1.5" fuel filler hose from NAPA. Never use radiator hose on an intake manifold; it will disintegrate. Kevin and I saw this on an O-235 engine built by somebody who knew better. His defense? Radiator hose was cheap and available. With a nod, we wrote him off. I don't abide cheap, dangerous people. The proper stainless steel hose clamps are also available from NAPA, Balkamp part no. 705-1062.

This is the top view of the 601's intake manifold and MA3-SPA carb. The intake is one of our stainless one-piece models. Note how the throttle cable approaches from a vertical position. The small braided line is a -4, which runs to the manifold pressure gauge. The large braided lines in the foreground are the oil lines. The harmonic balancer is a Dale brand rebuilt model we use on every engine we build. It's available from C. The dual fuel pumps are also visible in the photo. Again, these would not be required on a gravity feed airplane. This intake manifold does not have a primer because the accelerator pump built into the MA3-SPA functions as an excellent primer.

Above is a $29 set of engine instruments straight from Discount Auto Parts. If you think I'm joking, I'm not. These mechanical pressure and temperature units are cheap, accurate and reliable. Every other week or so, I hear from someone who paid $1,000 for a Grand Rapids electronic instrument package. My very first question is: What kind of carburetor do you have? Often, the answer is a $200 non-overhauled aircraft carb or some unit salvaged off a motorcycle. This is insanity. If you have $1,200 to spend for instrumentation and carb, spend the lion's share of it on the carb because it's going to make the engine actually run. Besides the fact that the electronic units have unreliable sending units and questionable performance, no piece of instrumentation is going to make your engine run better. I can watch a $15 mechanical oil pressure gauge and see a flicker in the needle caused by rough operation of the bypass valve. You can never see this on a digital gauge. Additionally, if your generator goes offline, and the voltage coming out of your battery drops, mechanical pressure and temp gauges will still read accurately while electronic ones will shut down as voltage drops. I have spent the past decade teaching people how to build reliable powerplants on a budget. You don't have to read between the lines to tell that I believe the video game stuff is a big waste of money.

Two tools from the Precision Engine Building Department. On the right is a surface plate that Kevin developed to allow precision machining of the cylinder head gasket area. He spent a lot of time studying the procedure for milling heads, and decided he wanted to torque this plate to the head to allow greater accuracy when milling it. It paid off with precision repeatable results. On the left is the crank bore tool. This is a solid piece of 4140 that was turned down near the case bore diameter from a 3" piece of round stock. Dave did this by making a zillion passes on the lathe. We then had it heat treated to a very high level of hardness. Next off to the crank grinder for an absolute precision grind. A Corvair case placed in an assembly jig without bearings can have this tool laid into it and when the case is torqued, this tool forces it into alignment. The case can then be held in place by ARP case studs. The case is then disassembled, cleaned and assembled with the actual crank. We do this on almost all of the engines we build. This tool cost nearly $1,000 to develop. Sharp eyes note that the end of it is larger in diameter. This end of the tool is to align a fifth bearing placed right behind the prop hub. The September 2005 Hangar Update discussed this project. We'll have more details at Corvair College.

Here's the beginning of Dave The Bear's exhaust system. The starting point was a set of our Exhaust Stubs and Clamps. The stubs are 1.25" pipe. Here, the front elbow is 1.25", the first step up is 1.375", and the elbow is 1.5". Only the center clamp is in place. If you want to make your own exhaust system like this one, let me suggest tack welding it on the airplane, and then clamping it to a spare cylinder head for the actual welding. Early model cylinder heads have the same exhaust spacing, are worthless, and can be used here. We have a very heavy duty jig that performs the same function. After welding, the head pipes can be tapped lightly to align with the exhaust system. Dave's setup will be sent to Landshark Coatings in Valdosta, Ga., for ceramic coating. Landshark is a family run business with an excellent combination of price and service. Check in your local area, because there are many ceramic coaters in the country who do good work. There are high end shops like the Moore Brothers and Jet Hot, but they are expensive and perhaps overkill. Our original 601 exhaust was done by the Moore Bros. It was a fantastic job that really held up, but cost almost $300. Remember, do not ceramic coat the area of your exhaust system you want to use as a heat muff because ceramic really resists any heat transfer.

Above are two deep nitrided cranks from our second batch through the process. A very important point about nitriding: The items in my hand are the slinger ring, fuel pump eccentric, spacer and distributor drive gear. These absolutely need to be removed before the crank is nitrided. The nitriding makes the spacer more brittle than glass. If it is nitrided, it could easily be shattered by reinstalling the balancer, and you wouldn't know it till the parts went through your engine. These pieces are easily removed and replaced. We are now having our third batch of nitrided cranks processed, and they are due back at the end of this week.

This breather is the one we use on all installations. It costs $40 from AC and works as well as units that cost 10 times as much. The size of the hose connections is 5/8" and 3/8". We modify the left hand side valve cover by welding in tubes to match these dimensions for vent and oil return, respectively. The fittings in the foreground are Earl's 120 degree swivel seal -6s. The Marvel Mystery oil can is Dave's stylish brake fluid reservoir.

An overview of the 601 baffling. Although it looks large in this photo, it all tucks inside one of our sleek Nosebowls. This style of baffling and the round inlet style cowling we have pioneered for the Corvair has now been proven on our own 601, as well as a customer KR (now flying with our new KR cowling), and on Dan Weseman's Cleanex. All three of these installations run cool. It is hard to argue with success like this. By making cowlings and nosebowls available, these are easy systems to duplicate. I understand the attraction of duct style baffling, but it's nowhere near as practical or flight proven. Almost all builders would be best served by making a system just like the one above.

Above is how we install rocker arms today. At the beginning of my Conversion Manual, I state that I reserve the right to get smarter. While there is nothing wrong with the previous ways in which we secured the rocker arm nuts, here is how we build every engine these days: The NAS nuts are available from AC, the grade 8 nuts are from your local store, the grooved balls are from C. We have a tumbler set up with ceramic media to clean and polish GM rocker arms. None of the replacement rocker arms, especially not the ones made by Pioneer, have the correct geometry to use stock length pushrods. Thus, we use reconditioned stock rockers. The rocker studs we also tumble and inspect to ensure they're not bent and have no nicks or grooves worn in them.

Above is a special tool I made to check the torque on the lower row of studs with the rocker arms assembled and in place. This is not commonly used in our shop. In general, it is not necessary to retorque the heads on a Corvair. In a conversation with a builder recently, he discussed relaxing the torque on the upper row of studs only. This is a very bad idea. It is a tremendous invitation to blow a head gasket or warp a head. If you loosen a single one of the head studs, you absolutely need to go back, untorque the whole head, and go through the whole torque pattern in stages again. The history of Corvair autos is filled with stories of blown head gaskets following people replacing the O-rings in the pushrod tubes without retorquing the whole head. The above tool lets us retorque a head without losing the rocker arm adjustment. This is something you'll likely never need, but the main point is do not untorque any of the head studs individually.

What It's All About

Maybe you just read all the above details and said "Those hose ends are too expensive, and my hardware store doesn't have Adel clamps." And then thought, "I'll just use automotive fuel line, hose clamps and barbed fittings." Let me show you the real reason why all the above details are worth incorporating in your plane. This photo is what my left leg looks like above the knee. This is a four-year-old skin graft. It actually looks fantastic compared to how it appeared the first year. Of course, my right leg, my right arm from wrist to shoulder, and right ankle match this photo. Besides this, another third of me got it also, but there weren't enough grafts to put everywhere. Although my accident had nothing to do with the mechanical setup of the plane, you want to avoid at all costs putting yourself in a position where a rubber fuel line in an engine compartment provides you or your passengers with an opportunity to have bodily ornamentation like I do. Flying is a lot of fun. Creating airplanes is one of the great joys of my life. It will always involve some risk, but it need not involve stupid risks and poor craftsmanship. Everyone reading this can afford to do this stuff the right way and make quality parts that will serve you well. That's what it's all about.

We'll have an update with a lot more info on Corvair College #9 soon. Until then, Learn, Build and Fly.

Thank you.


Now At The Hangar

June 2011 At The Hangar

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December 2006 At The Hangar Part 1

December 2006 At The Hangar Part 2

December 2006 At The Hangar Part 3

December 2006 At The Hangar Part 4

November 2006 At The Hangar

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At The Hangar In July 2006

June 2006 At The Hangar

At The Hangar In May 2006

At The Hangar In April 2006

At The Hangar In March 2006

At The Hangar In February 2006

At The Hangar In January 2006

At The Hangar In December 2005

At The Hangar In November 2005

At The Hangar In September 2005

At The Hangar In July 2005

OSH, Illinois and SAA June 13, 2005

At The Hangar June 13, 2005 Part II

At The Hangar In May 2005

At The Hangar In April 2005

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