Engine cost

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JamesF

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Hi,

I belong to a car club along with a bunch of other retired old coots. We like to acquire older cars and rebuild back to new or customize them. Almost always put new engines in them. The current engine favorite is the Chevy 350 LS series. I currently have a 49 Plymouth, a 69 Torino fastback, and a 64 Ford F100 P/U truck.
I also want to build a T100D Mariah ultralight with a 1/2 VW engine. Hummel offers a nice 42 HP engine, hand start. The reason I mention this in conjunction with cars is this is that you can buy a brand new LS 350 crate engine from Summit Racing for $4400.00. The Hummel costs $4500. A new case, starter, and alternator add $1300. BTW, the 350 is not stripped. It is complete except for an intake manifold and a carb. Those aren’t included in case you want to use fuel injection.
I’m aware of the economies of scale but geez! I really can’t reconcile that in what passes for my brain, I’d really like to know what you guys think of that price difference. How many 1/2 VW engines do you suppose you would have to build to get the price down to around $3000?
James Fuller
 

TFF

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Probably quite a bit. Think of Hummel delivering you a custom race engine. Your grading it on horsepower not man hour when in fact it’s all about paying for custom machine work. That it makes 35 hp is irrelevant.
 

proppastie

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automotive engines are built in the millions, the tooling and engineering costs are spread out over millions of units, not so with aircraft engines, also there are larger liability issues with aircraft and so higher product liability insurance costs per engine. You are welcome to introduce a new engine if you think you can do better. And yes we do not like it anymore than you do but it is what it is.
There are plans for the 1/2 VW, go to the junk yard or buy a Mexican engine and build one up, tell us how much it costs when you are done.
 

Victor Bravo

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Hummel / Casler would have to get an order for about 200 engines at one time, then he could probably sell the engine for $3000. Did you want to order those using check, credit card, or money order?
 

Toobuilder

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How much do you think a DVD player would cost to have hand built? Probably a bit more than the $45 bucks Walmart charges.

The "economies of scale" issue is a HUGE, HUGE factor.
 

pwood66889

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Welcome to the world of aircraft, James! Like the three things important to Real Estate, the three things important to anything manufactured are "Volume, Volume, Volume." Oh, and the "M" in PMA stands for Monopoly.
Used to live in Roswell, so love the SW!
 

JamesF

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Welcome to the world of aircraft, James! Like the three things important to Real Estate, the three things important to anything manufactured are "Volume, Volume, Volume." Oh, and the "M" in PMA stands for Monopoly.
Used to live in Roswell, so love the SW!
When did you live in Roswell? I was born there and lived there for the first 40 years oh my life. I still miss the weather.
 

wsimpso1

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Hmm. For cost of hardware, it escalates along the scale of car-motorcycle-boat-airplane. Ever price a car or motorcycle based marine engine? They cost way more than you might expect too. When you buy a turnkey engine, you expect it to work, all you have to do is integrate it into the airplane - a non-trivial task unto itself.

Easy way to save some money is to trade sweat equity. There are suppliers out there who can help you do your own automotive conversion. Lots of Corvair and VW sedan engines in bone yards waiting for you, and suppliers out there to help you stick a suitable end bearing and hub for swinging a prop. Downside is you are the rebuilder, test run technician, and the integrator. Same thing applies to industrial engines and hot rod engines.

If you really just want to put it in and fly, you trade pictures of dead presidents for a suitable Lycoming or Continental.

Billski
 

Rik-

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While there are some truth's to the "Volume made argument" there's still a huge PINK ELEPHANT standing on everyone's toes that has answered that they seemingly ignore. We are getting Screw'd because we have been conditioned to accept it. Look at how many commentators defend it rather than rebel against it.

The Continental and Lycoming's have long since paid back their tooling cost and amortized off their engineering cost as well. The fact that they charge what they charge is just b/c you are stuck with no choice. An aircraft itself has ZERO value as an engine OH can cost more than a sales price for an A/C.

In my business I make, design, manufacture a lot of different castings in Stainless, Aluminum and Bronze. I get charged at the foundry by the pound of material, the labor and material it takes to make the negative shape in a Green Sand, an the labor and material it takes to make the core's, plus a profit on these parts and the profit on the energy to heat the material.

An engine case like these in quantities of like 50 units would be less than $300/side un-machined raw.

The hand built argument is a bit over rated as it's hard to automate much more than some bolt torquing in engine assembly. Also Continental has their "Titan Engine" line where they charge more for a "Hand Built Engine" inferring that their standard production is automated, or to some degree at least.

That being said, I know that GM pay's $17.000 per head to have the raw castings machined for a Small Block. Volume makes the price drop for certain. GM has less than $600.00 in a complete LS small block engine (minus electronics)... That's labor, machining, etc... A complete LS engine ready to go out the door.

This is why "Viking" is using a Honda engine, Aeromomentum is using a Suzuki engine and the diesel engines are a Mercedes Sprinter Van engine (which cost way more than 2 of the complete van's they come in) making them noncompetitive in the market.
 

Rik-

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Hmm. For cost of hardware, it escalates along the scale of car-motorcycle-boat-airplane. Ever price a car or motorcycle based marine engine? They cost way more than you might expect too. When you buy a turnkey engine, you expect it to work, all you have to do is integrate it into the airplane - a non-trivial task unto itself.

Billski
GM sells the small block engine (long block) to Ilmor, Crusader, Mercury and etc. for $2,500.00 and they each have to put their own intake, exhaust and accessories onto the engine, paint it and make a profit. GM is reportedly making all the marine yearly production needs in only 3 days of production time.
 

TFF

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Back to 1/2 VW. There is no automation in the volume 1/2 VWs work in. You got one guy who is able to feed his family doing this day in and out. Maybe if there was another it could sustain. Add too many and all are going hungry. A friend bought one from him and it was nice. It also took a year so it’s not like he is loafing with the tooling he has. Consumers might want it faster and cheaper but the market is not there to make money upgrading his machinery. Mom and pop business.
The simple answer is cad one of his engines and send it off to China and put him out of business with custom cheap parts. Of course there is no expert anymore. Just a pile of parts one may or may not be able to make work depending on lots of stuff.
Also low volume will kill it in the end. Parts cost to make a 2 cylinder crank vs a 8 cylinder is pretty small difference. They might chuck up six 2 cylinder cranks when they would chuck up 4000 8s. They could have made six plus one extra if they never switched the machine. When it’s a pennies game that’s how it would play.
That’s why engines like 1/2 VWs and V4 Chevy mini sprint engines Are made buy machinists who care enough to do it. They know they could be making something more profitable.
 

Chilton

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The main reason aviation stuff is so expensive is product liability insurance, probably makes 90% of the cost on an engine.
 

Vigilant1

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This is why "Viking" is using a Honda engine, Aeromomentum is using a Suzuki engine and the diesel engines are a Mercedes Sprinter Van engine (which cost way more than 2 of the complete van's they come in) making them noncompetitive in the market.
Noncompetitive?? Really, who is outcompeting them? The other major seller of finished non-certified airplane engines is Rotax, last I saw they were NOT cheaper ($/hp) than the sources you named. And, they still sell more engines. Maybe the market isn't what you think it is?
 

mcrae0104

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We are getting Screw'd ...
If you believe the aircraft engine manufacturers are screwing their customers, then it would be logical to:
  • Invest in their business, because clearly they must be making obscene profits, or
  • Enter into competition against them, because you know you can undercut their prices and still make a profit.
 

Rik-

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Noncompetitive?? Really, who is outcompeting them? The other major seller of finished non-certified airplane engines is Rotax, last I saw they were NOT cheaper ($/hp) than the sources you named. And, they still sell more engines. Maybe the market isn't what you think it is?
Well please tell me where your new $100K diesel engine is?.

Got any stat's as to how many new C172's are being sold today with the diesel?

What is outselling the Diesel are the GAS engines as even as bad as they are priced they are cheaper than the diesel engine.
 

Vigilant1

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Well please tell me where your new $100K diesel engine is?.

Got any stat's as to how many new C172's are being sold today with the diesel?

What is outselling the Diesel are the GAS engines as even as bad as they are priced they are cheaper than the diesel engine.
Sorry, I'm not understanding your point. Do you think the engine and airplane manufacturers are failing to maximize their profits given what you know about their costs and the demand for their products? Maximizing profits (preferably over the long haul) is what they are chartered to do.
 
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BJC

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We are getting Screw'd because we have been conditioned to accept it.

The fact that they charge what they charge is just b/c you are stuck with no choice.

I make, design, manufacture a lot of different castings in Stainless, Aluminum and Bronze.

An engine case like these in quantities of like 50 units would be less than $300/side un-machined raw.

The hand built argument is a bit over rated
Build 50 + Lycoming IO-360 clones with Precision Air injection, one magneto, one electronic ignition, prove them via extensive run time in a test cell, dyno time with reports showing that they are as good as the Lycoming, and time in airplanes doing unlimited aerobatics, including multiple high speed snap rolls, guarantee a long-term supply of replacement parts, establish an AD program and a technical support department and set a price. If the price is significantly lower than what currently is available, I will buy the first batch of 50.


BJC
 

Rik-

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Sorry, I'm not understanding your point. Do you think the engine and airplane manufacturers are failing to maximize their profits given what you know about their costs and the demand for their products? Maximizing profits (preferably over the long haul) is what they are chartered to do.
Which is it, they are selling or they are not? Simple answer.

As to your straw man argument, I'm clearly stating they are maximizing their profits. Why else would they be charging $100K for an IO-540...

Maybe your missing the what this post is about. Then again, if your so happy to spend the big bucks then I see why you are defending the high cost of an aircraft engine.
 

Rik-

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Build 50 + Lycoming IO-360 clones with Precision Air injection, one magneto, one electronic ignition, prove them via extensive run time in a test cell, dyno time with reports showing that they are as good as the Lycoming, and time in airplanes doing unlimited aerobatics, including multiple high speed snap rolls, guarantee a long-term supply of replacement parts, establish an AD program and a technical support department and set a price. If the price is significantly lower than what currently is available, I will buy the first batch of 50.


BJC
I never said I wanted to build an engine, volunteer yourself for your ideas. I've got my hands full with my current companies.
 

Vigilant1

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As to your straw man argument, I'm clearly stating they are maximizing their profits. Why else would they be charging $100K for an IO-540...
We can't really know if they are maximizing their profits just from the sale price per item. If they charged $2 million each and sold none, that's probably not the best plan. Supply, demand . . .
Maybe your missing the what this post is about.
I'm still not sure what solution your posts are proposing. But as far as what this >thread< was about, the OP had an observation about his perception of the relatively high price of a Casler 1/2 VW. That's a funny example because Scott Casler enjoys very little pricing power. He has no regulatory or certification "moat" to create artificial scarcity. He has no exclusivity/proprietary part/patent protection leverage: anyone can easily buy exactly the same parts he uses, and from many suppliers. The plans to do what he does are widely available at a low price--he'll even sell a copy of those plans to anyone. And he's got a long waiting list of folks wanting to buy his completed engines at the price he has set, so if anything he is undercharging for his labor and expertise. At least that's what the market says, and that's more important than what sideline snipers of any persuasion think. Me included.
 
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