# Chevrolet engines

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#### org

##### Well-Known Member
From what I read on the subject, the powdered metal parts are quite adequate. The rods are also powdered metal.

The marine versions of these engines, as well as the high output models use the standard parts with no problems. Only if you're boosting the heck out of them would replacement be required, IMHO.

org

#### orion

##### R.I.P.
Although powdered metal technologies have come a long way, components made in this manner are still considered substandard when applied to aircraft engine application. The issue is not so much the properties of the properly made part but more so with the statistical quality control techniques used in the mass production climate that we see employed in the automotive industry. Unless a builder is willing to undertake his or her own inspection procedures involving X-ray or other similar technologies, powdered metal parts still represent a level of risk that most do not wish to expose their aircraft to.

Since the cost of using forged or machined from billet components is relatively small (as compared to aircraft parts), most seem to consider the extra level of durability and confidence well worth the bit of extra cost.

However the main problem with any automotive engine in aircraft is not so much the engine components themselves, but more so the conversion of that engine to the aircraft application, and the availability of a good and reliable reduction drive. The issue for the former is mainly concerned with the functioning of the various sensors in the environment of the rather tight cowl. Quite a few of the people I know that are using auto engines have spent more time getting their engines to work right, than they have on the whole engine and system installation. The frustrating part seems to be mainly that the engines seem to work just fine in testing when the cowl is off, but when everything is buttoned up, within a cowl the sensors send the wrong atmospheric signals, resulting generally in a dramatic reduction of power.

If one is purchasing a tested firewall forward package, most of this work is already done but if you're doing this yourself, and you wish to use the standard off-the-shelf parts the engine comes with, then it is very possible that you'll run into some of these issues no matter how careful you are.

Looking at the latter, the reduction drive, it is of utmost importance to find a manufacturer that really knows and understands the importance of this component and the issues that have to be addressed in the aviation application. This is much more than just designing a bunch of pretty shafts and gears - if the manufacturer does not understand the issues of gyroscopic loading, torsional feedback, cooling, oil delivery in high power conditions, etc., then anyone using that drive becomes an unwitting test pilot. In my experience and research, very few of the drive manufacturers out there really understand all the issues involved.

But all that we've discussed here before - if you use the search function herein you can find the specific threads.

#### Midniteoyl

##### Well-Known Member
According to GMPP, engine builders, and the pros, for street NA/non-NOS engines, the LS1 main caps can handle about 600HP. Over that and a change to steel caps is highly recommended to control the increased loads and bending moments. Boosted/NOS engines should be changed regardless.

Now, given that we place more of a strain on the crank even at the lower HP, it seems like cheap insurance.

.02c

#### PTAirco

##### Well-Known Member
SE5a

There used to be a full size SE5a replica in Fulton NY, which used a Ford V6 and a belt reduction drive. I'm sure you could track it down via the EAA chapters, if it is of any help to you.

#### PTAirco

##### Well-Known Member
Oops

This reply was meant for Phil Fowler on the previous page.

#### puggo123

##### Member
direct drive engines

Thought I'd add a little history to the topic.

Steve Wittman ran a direct drive inverted Buick V8 in his Wittman Buttercup too many years ago to remember. It flew successfully for many hours after sorting the installation. I've not seen plans for this installation, but it was described as using a short solid shaft attached directly to the crank, and supported with a single bearing. The inverted V8 required small steam lines to be tapped into the block to release the trapped steam and prevent the engine overheating.

The second installation (for which I've plans) is in the Beachner. The engine was mounted upright with the transmission end pointing forward. A short hollow shaft is bolted directly to the crank with only an auto flexplate and starter ring for flywheel effect. The shaft is supported by a large truck axle bearing in a small turned housing mounted into the round opening at the rear of the auto bell housing. A tapered keyed flange fits onto the end of the shaft and drives the wooden Warnke almost-constant speed 2 blade prop. This arrangement survived 1000 hours. Typical takeoff was 3600rpm and reduced to a cruise of 3000rpm.

A third installation is by LPE engines. These monterous Chevy V8's were conceived in the early 90's for large aircraft. They had inverted and upright installations with and without turbos. Apart from a few photos in my archives, I know little about their internals. Has anyone seen one flying in anyhting other than an airboat?

cheers

#### W.M.Patrick

##### Member

I have been working on my Ford project and weighing about everything
to get the weight down. I believe you should add another 50 pounds to
the chev. engine as described for a starting point. Good luck.

#### JimC

##### Well-Known Member
I like the idea of an aluminum tall deck short block. The extra stroke has gotta help the low end torque.
JimC

#### orion

##### R.I.P.
LPE was an ambitious project that promised a lot but delivered virtually nothing. The whole thing ended up with a few unhappy customers out of their deposits and LPE out of business. Good idea but bad execution and bad, or at least questionable business.

#### Leigh Scott

##### New Member
Chev Engine Project: Rebuilding Stinson 108-2 with Chev LS1

I have been working on the design aspects of this project for a couple of years. So here is basis of what I have planned.

Require some information from someone who has 2000 or equivalent Comaro with LS1 engine and automatic transmission.

-Have Aircraft - needs recover - has since 1988 - retirement project now.
-Just don't trust the 165 HP Franklin Engine. Crank is out of a 150 hp engine.
-I will do enough modification it will qualify for 51% rule under Canadian Air Regs. Will be able to increase gross weight from 2230 lbs to 2650 lbs.
- Metallize airframe. Cheaper than fabric and dope.
- I am a "bottom feeder". This is a hobby. I can't afford to invest the cost of a new aircraft engine. Keeping aircraft certified is too expensive on my retirement pension. Therefore the homebuilt route. I had built an aircraft 30 years ago. At least with the Stinson I start out with 100% of the parts.
- I have an LS1 Engine from 2000 Comaro and all the weights. I can post all this information if anyone is interested.
- Want to use the the 4L60E Automatic Transmission as PSRU. 2nd gear at 1.62:1 is perfect. I am estimating 10% slip in the torque converter. This is where I need help. To verify slip as an input for my computer calculation of propeller performance.
- Transmission requires a new fabricated steel tail cone incorporarting motor mounts to take thrust. Propeller flange and hub is 1993 GM 1500 Pickup 4X4 front wheel hub (6 bolt). I could read the Timken Bearing numbers and verify thrust and radial load capabilities. Remove inside seal. Transmission has squirt hole to lube spline shaft and hub bearings. New hub cost me $184.00 Have to grind the spline out of the hub to 1.500 " dia. for stock universal transmission spline tube to slide through. Lock on the inside to hold Timken bearing race with Feddering ($70.00) and adapter. Yoke pins through universal journals to propeller hub.
- Performance: Engine 4500 rpm @ 350 ft-lb = 300 hp. Propeller @2450 rpm. 2 blade 90" dia. x 65" pitch propeller. Static thrust 1365 lb. At 90 mph 900 lb. of thrust.
- Stinson requires approximately 118 hp to cruise at 120 mph. LS1 in 3rd gear will produce this hp at 75% throttle for cruise. Prop @ 2100 rpm; engine @ 2310 rpm based on 10% slip in torque converter. Do not want to lock up torque converter to avoid torsional oscillation at any rpm. The slip helps. Just have to get rid of heat in transmission fluid.
- Franklin engine burns 10.0 USgph at cruise. LS1 should burn 6.0 USgph at cruise. Based on Brian Robertson's cruise specific fuel consumption in SeaBee conversion information (www.v8aircraft.com). This would be 80 seat miles per US gallon at 120 mph.
- Transmission governor system will prevent engine overspeed on climb. Computer also protects engine overspeed by shutting off fuel up around 6000 rpm.
- Reprogram computer to eliminate oxygen sensors. Stand alone wiring system.
- Use stock manifolds. They are pretty good. Just remove heat jackets and provide lots of cooling air. Bought steel parts for straight stacks but these weigh almost as much by the time I make flanges.
- Thrust line will be approximately 6" lower than Franklin. Propeller is 14" longer than original. Will have to jack up Stinson landing gear with a girdle "carry through" structure for prop clearance (9"). Use original gear legs. Might replace original spring shocks with rubber springs.
- Weight and balance requires fuel tanks to be moved from wings to original baggage compartment just behind passenger cabin. Comaro plastic gas tanks complete with fuel pump and sender will work perfectly. Nice hopper tank and plastic will take the ethanol blend fuel we are starting to get now. Three tanks, three pumps and three filters for redundancy 17 US gal. x 3 = 51 US gal.. Original Stinson 108-2 had 40 gallons with 4 gallons unuseable.
- Cooling. GM Pickup Truck aluminum radiator with oil cooler and transmission cooler. Two mounted high in fuselage behind gas tanks. Bought new rad for 215.00. Need another one. LS1 has coolant gas purge lines already installed on head running to heating jacket on air throttle valve and then to rad. Route this overhead to rads possible through cabin. No carb heat required. None used on SeaBee installations. Coolant, oil and fuel lines run in under fuselage in covered raceway in case of leakage. Lines provide extra fluid capacity. - Battery moved back and forth to get balance. - Bigger tail wheel. Here is what I need from a Comaro driver. Put car on steep hill and pull some power in 2nd gear to get up over 3000 rpm. I need rpm, speed, rear end ratio and tire diameter. Same in 3rd gear. Lower rpm. This should give me an idea of 10% slip is in the "ball park". Don't get a speeding ticket! - In the aircraft there will have to be a propeller rpm read out eg. speedometer as well as engine rpm. "In and out" transmission oil readings. - Evidently there are efficiency maps for torque converters but I haven't found any on the internet. - Other modification for the Stinson: droop leading edge, new wing tips, slightly enlarged rudder, new doors, overhead glazing, new cowling, boot and streamlined windshield. Engine is narrow and should be able to get a good view along the sides of the cowling. - I am a mechanical engineer and will do a complete Finite Element Stress Analysis of the Stinson structure once everything is stripped down. I have the original version of the FAR23 Loads computer program by Hal McMaster (Beech Star Ship) to help. Also the associated computer programs detailed in Modern Propeller and Duct Design by Martin Hollmann for the propeller design. I intend to fabricate my own propeller. Another story! Much obliged for any help. As you can see this project is going to be a real education for me. I'll share whatever I learn with other interested homebuilders. Regards, Leigh Scott #### PTAirco ##### Well-Known Member Now this sounds interesting! Keep us posted about this. Last edited: #### bmcj ##### Well-Known Member HBA Supporter As long as we're on the subject of auto engine conversions, I always joked about making a twin-propeller plane with an old Volkwagen engine AND transaxle. The axles would translate through a couple of 90 degree drives to drive the props on the wings. It's not a "real" endeavor, but I always thought it would be fun to watch people's (pilots') reaction to hearing a plane shift up through four gears during take-off (yes... I do know there would be no point tho having gears). Better yet... shift into reverse and back up into your tie-down spot!!! Bruce #### PTAirco ##### Well-Known Member Regarding the fuel consumption claimed for the SeeBee conversion: They claim 3300 prm and 10 gallons/hour. At those rpm that engine is producing round 200-220 hp. That would give a specific fuel comsumption of around 0.25 to 0.27 lbs/hp/hour. That's humbug. That is close the efficiency of a modern ship's diesel powerplant, and they don't get better than that. To get 6 gallons an hour you'd need to be cruising with the Chevy engine producing about 90 hp and for the Stinson, I guess that would be fine. And it's great having those extra HP when you want them. But those figures given in the Robinson site are just hot air. Any sketches for your prop drive available yet? #### org ##### Well-Known Member Regarding the fuel consumption claimed for the SeeBee conversion: They claim 3300 prm and 10 gallons/hour. At those rpm that engine is producing round 200-220 hp. That would give a specific fuel comsumption of around 0.25 to 0.27 lbs/hp/hour. That's humbug. That is close the efficiency of a modern ship's diesel powerplant, and they don't get better than that. To get 6 gallons an hour you'd need to be cruising with the Chevy engine producing about 90 hp and for the Stinson, I guess that would be fine. And it's great having those extra HP when you want them. But those figures given in the Robinson site are just hot air. Any sketches for your prop drive available yet? I think Robinson is using a constant speed prop, so at 3300 rpm he's probably not using full throttle, or if he is it's at high altitude and the manifold pressure would be low....either way, he'd be producing lots less than 200 hp. That would make the 10 gph more likely. Anyway, I think the LS1 is probably more efficient than a Lyc, but not startlingly so. Olen #### Dana ##### Super Moderator Staff member Leigh, sounds like an interesting project, but why on earth would you want to use the auto transmission? I can understand wanting to use that ratio, but carrying around the weight, plus the losses in the torque converter (you could at least lock it up), seems to be pointless. Although... on an almost completely different subject, I converted a Kawasaki KX100 dirt bike engine for PPG use, retaining the original primary gearing as my reduction and making a new prop shaft to replace the original clutch shaft. I kept the original transmission case (since it's integral with the engine crankcase), but removed all the shifter gearing and the clutch plates (I kept the original vibration damper that the clutch gear drives). -Dana If you don't grow up by age 35, you don't have to. #### Leigh Scott ##### New Member Chev Engine Project: Rebuilding Stinson 108-2 with Chev LS1 Weights: Reference Jason Day's Website www.vesta8.com LS1 Engine 348 PSRU #### Leigh Scott ##### New Member Chev Engine Project: Rebuilding Stinson 108-2 with Chev LS1 Here is some more information. Weights: Reference Jason Day's Website www.vesta8.com LS1 Engine 348 PSRU 70 Flywheel 24 Starter 11 Alternator 11 Computer 10 Belts & Pulleys 5 Governor 10 CS Prop 70 ---------------------- 548 My Weights LSI + 4L60E Transmission 673 Includes: Alternator & Starter 12 qt. Transmission Fliud 10 lbs residual Antifreeze Prop Hub & Spline 18 lbs. Fix Pitch Metal Prop 33 lbs. Motor Mounts Wiring Harness Computer Robertson PSRU is about the same weight as Vesta. Robertson's 75% cruise fuel consumption calculates to 0.36 lbs/hp-hr. Vesta claims 0.28 lbs/hp-hr which really is too optomistic. So the Stinson at cruise will burn between 6 to 7 USgph. Remember the 90" dia. prop at 2100 rpm will be more efficient than the original 76" dia. prop. The Stinson has a lot of drag. So high hp is for take off and climb. A barn door will only go just so fast. The Stinson is a grand old lady to fly. Plastic Fuel Tank and pump weighs 32 lbs before removing the environmental canister and control box. The plastic tank has a linig which I imagine is nylon to prevent the gasoline vapour from going through. Polyethylene passes some gasoline vapour. The ethanol in the gas now I believe will attack the original aluminum wing tanks. Aluminum radiator with oil cooler and transmission cooler weighs 14 lbs. The cast iron headers are 13 lbs each. That is with the heavy steel heat shield and there is a lot of excess metal at the flanges etc. for high heat that can be trimmed. The catalytic conveters are only a couple of inches from the manifold flange. The exit is 2.5" in diameter. The transmission was designed to run with this engine. The engine to transmission alignment is as good as it is going to get. It will give very smooth power. The torque converter is a gear reduction in a sense. If things run good I maybe able to lock up the converter and provide another intermewdiate ratio between 2nd & 3rd. Direct Drive the LS1 would only produce 205 hp @ 2800 rpm. You need to wind the prop up so are limited in diameter. I want to use a metal propeller. I am working on the design of a ground adjustable prop milled from a flat blank of 6061-T6, twisted on a jig and aged at 350 - 400 Deg. F for several hours. Over aging 6061-T6 will allow blank to soften and take the set by creep as well as improve the fatigue strength. The Franklin engine had a torsional crankshaft oscillation just around 2200 rpm. You had to avoid 2150 to 2350 rpm. You could feel it as the engine traversed this rpm range. Not very reassuring. Initially Stinsons had a lot of glider time with broken crankshafts. Conclusion: There is a significant weigh penalty for the LS1 concept. Robertson's conversion with a new engine run well over30,000.00 US. I bought the used LS1 and transmission for $3,500 US from an auto wrecker in Cleveland in 2004. The engine has 70,000 miles on it. Just broken in! It was test run complete with exhaust gas analysis and warranted for 6 months. If I can fabricate and machine all my own components I should have an engine installation under$7,000 US.
I will be able to start the engine in our cold winter and have lots of heat in the cabin. It will burn premium auto gas even with ethanol in it. It will go in and out of my grass airstrip safely.

Regards,
Leigh Scott

E

#### ekimneirbo

What about a Cadillac? I know everyone uses Chevys and Fords, but has anyone ever looked at an old 500 cu in Caddy? You can buy them cheaply.
Usually somewhere between $150-$500 complete. They have low compression although a few examples are 10 to 1 many are about 8 to 1 rivaling aircraft engines. The valve train is kinda funky but if you are running direct drive and low rpms its fine. Aftermarket aluminum heads and intakes are available, and if memory serves me correctly, I believe a cast iron 500 actually weighs LESS than a smallblock chevy. Its a rugged engine and here again relying on memory, I believe the crank journals are larger. I only mention this because if someone is building a plane which can use a cast iron engine, the Caddy might be a better choice than the popular Chevy...and I'm
a Chevy guy at heart.

#### PTAirco

##### Well-Known Member
Chev Engine Project: Rebuilding Stinson 108-2 with Chev LS1

Weights: Reference Jason Day's Website www.vesta8.com
LS1 Engine 348
PSRU 70
Flywheel 24
Starter 11
Alternator 11
Computer 10
Belts & Pulleys 5
Governor 10
CS Prop 70
----------------------
548

My Weights
LSI + 4L60E Transmission 673
Includes: Alternator & Starter
12 qt. Transmission Fliud
10 lbs residual Antifreeze
Prop Hub & Spline 18 lbs.
Fix Pitch Metal Prop 33 lbs.
Motor Mounts
Wiring Harness
Computer
Without going into other aspects of such a conversion - with all of the above and sundry other odds and ends you will have a minimum of about 750 lbs hanging off that engine mount, correct? Will you have to fly that Stinson from the back seat to make it balance? That is a significant extra amount of weight up front over the Franklin. And you can't really move the engine back to any helpful degree. How will you handle the balance?

With my own Chevrolet engined project that wasn't an issue since it was designed that way.