FWF Chevy LS V8 engines and PRSU's currently installed and flying on OEM and homebuilt aircraft

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roxburg

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Jun 2, 2020
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Someone recently questioned whether any OEM or homebuilt aircraft in the USA had automotive engines installed and flying.
I can safely say YES to that question.
Not just for the USA, but a number of other countries like Canada and Australia and Europe.
Attached is a copy of the customer list that is on the AutoPSRU website.
My dad is number 3 on that list with the LS1 Chevy V8 and MT 3 blade prop installed on his Cessna 172.
He has been flying it since June 2019.
The majority of the AutoPSRU's sold are located in the USA and a considerable number are already flying.
 

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Turd Ferguson

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Lots of homebuilts have a converted auto engine of some type. Not so much for TC aircraft, which seems to be supported by the "list"

I'm curious as to the all in cost to covert a 172 as those numbers don't seem to be readily available.
 

TFF

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A Chevy on a 172 pretty much makes is equal to a 182. Not apples to apples and also to most, not certified. It’s been done, before; probably not as nice. Until it’s certified FWF, It’s going to be a small group. It would be great in a little Mustang.
 

roxburg

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Jun 2, 2020
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My dad (who is 93 years old) says that choosing to install this Chevy V8 kit was the best idea he has had in a long time. Because he was one of the first customers he got a decent discount on the package deal. I will say that it was slightly over $30K.

He says it reduces his cockpit work load by at least 50%. NO MORE MIXTURE CONTROL. No more trying to start an antique beater air-cooled engine in the freezing cold. No more worrying about super cooling the engine during decent and the list goes on and on and on.....

He just touches the starter and it is instantly running smoothly - just like his Chev truck. In a few minutes he has heat from the water cooled engine. He will rarely have to worry about adding oil - because Chevy's don't burn very much oil - unless there is something mechanically wrong. Oil is cheaper - automotive fuel is cheaper - he has twice the amount of available horsepower - a new LS1 engine block is less than $5K- especially if you watch for sales at JEGS or Summit auto parts. I fail to see too many downsides to this kind of engine installation. As far as FAA certification - who cares. Under the new Part 23 rule changes, the monopoly dynesties of the exorbitantly over priced antique air-cooled engines will disappear pretty fast.
 

Sparrow Hawk

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Joined
May 11, 2016
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Location
San Diego, CA 92109
Someone recently questioned whether any OEM or homebuilt aircraft in the USA had automotive engines installed and flying.
I can safely say YES to that question.
Not just for the USA, but a number of other countries like Canada and Australia and Europe.
Attached is a copy of the customer list that is on the AutoPSRU website.
My dad is number 3 on that list with the LS1 Chevy V8 and MT 3 blade prop installed on his Cessna 172.
He has been flying it since June 2019.
The majority of the AutoPSRU's sold are located in the USA and a considerable number are already flying.
Someone recently questioned whether any OEM or homebuilt aircraft in the USA had automotive engines installed and flying.
I can safely say YES to that question.
Not just for the USA, but a number of other countries like Canada and Australia and Europe.
Attached is a copy of the customer list that is on the AutoPSRU website.
My dad is number 3 on that list with the LS1 Chevy V8 and MT 3 blade prop installed on his Cessna 172.
He has been flying it since June 2019.
The majority of the AutoPSRU's sold are located in the USA and a considerable number are already flying.

What category is the plane in? Experimental or still certified?
I would like to do the same.
Ryan
 

skydawg

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Jul 26, 2016
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Denver, Colorado
Likewise, My V8 cessna 172 is experimental exhibition with about same operating limits as a kit plane. Its far better than old engine and my daughter is training for her private license in it for a cost it less than $20/hr compared to over $60/hr with original dinosaur O320.

There's a lot of info on converting from standard to experimental on www.corsairpower.com
 

Sparrow Hawk

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May 11, 2016
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San Diego, CA 92109
Likewise, My V8 cessna 172 is experimental exhibition with about same operating limits as a kit plane. Its far better than old engine and my daughter is training for her private license in it for a cost it less than $20/hr compared to over $60/hr with original dinosaur O320.

There's a lot of info on converting from standard to experimental on www.corsairpower.com
I am in San Diego at KSDM. Where are you located?
I would like to talk to people that have done this in person.
Ryan,
Text 858-229-4875
EAA14 Hangar manager
 

roxburg

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Jun 2, 2020
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In Canada my dad's Cessna 172 with the Chevy LS1 V8, is registered as a home built / owner maintained.
If you enlarge the above picture, it is printed right on the door.
It also says that it has 320HP.
What it does not say is that it has more than 400 lbs/ft of torque and that is more important to me.
On wheels, it has about a 10 second run to lift off.
On floats it will probably be twice that long, but dad has not installed the floats yet.
I am going down there in three weeks and will probably help him with that chore.

In the USA, if it were up to me, I would wait for the FAA to finish the updates to Part 23. It would be a whole lot cheaper and faster.
I think the FAA has finally come to realize that if they do not do something drastic to reduce the costs of owning and operating a small aircraft - tens of thousands of them will be out of a job. Who could possibly afford $500,000.00 for a new Cessna 172? Or the astronomical costs of insurance? Or up to $5.00 a gallon for 100ll?
Especially, now with Covid-19 interfering with every aspect of our lives.
 

roxburg

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Jun 2, 2020
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If you are seriously considering installing a Chevy aluminum block V8 for your aircraft - there are a number of fly-by-night companies out there offering all kinds of deals and overstating the performance capabilities plus ease of installation of their FWF kits. Please do your due diligence, check the credentials of the people behind the product. How many of their kits are actually in the air. How many have more than 100 hours of air time? How long have they been in business?

As far as I am concerned, if there is no professional engineer, licensed aircraft mechanic and licensed GM trained mechanic on staff, I would move on to the next company. These are the key people you need to develop this kind of product. You also need to have access to a good NDT inspection company to verify the quality of every part in the kit. Right from the get go, I would start with seeing the steel mill certificates for the engine mount and it better be 4130 chrome-moly steel or better. The welds must be completed by a certified AWS aircraft TIG welder. All welds must be inspected and approved. Then I would want to see the NDT inspection reports for the gears in the PSRU. Then I would want to see the certification of the NDT inspectors - etc. etc etc. There are hundreds of items that need verification - before you plunk down $30 to 40 thousand dollars.

It can get pretty complicated, but if you do not go through this kind of due diligence - you could be one of those people with a PSRU gear failure at 34 hours or a computer failure and you have no throttle control. That should never happen.

I obtained my journeyman aircraft mechanic certification in 1970 in the RCAF, my automotive journeyman certificate in 1975 and my Non Destructive Testing journeyman certification in 1978. I have spent more than 40 years inspecting aircraft, teaching others how to inspect aircraft, aircraft defect analysis, aircraft crash recovery and I have lugged more than my share of body bags. What bothers me the most about our aircraft industry is when I see totally preventable aircraft crashes attributed to mechanical failure. There are so many ways you can reduce the possibilities of failure by thoroughly researching all of these FWF companies. I have already done this research which is why I approved my dad's choice of using AutoPSRU's. The new owner is Stuart Davies and he is a professional engineer. He has implemented all of the above for his product - but don't take my word for it - do your own background research.
 

roxburg

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If I choose to install a Chevy V8 engine in the aircraft I am looking at right now - I would only buy the 1.7 to 1 PSRU and maybe the engine mount to use for duplicating. I can buy local Chevy LS3 engines with a supercharger (650HP) for the same price Stuart wants for a fuel injected. I can also change the camshaft in the engine to increase low end torque, which is where the engine will run most efficiently. The engine will rarely see 5000 RPM, so why have a camshaft that is good up to 7000 RPM. I would use a company in Calgary for the computer control unit. I would disconnect the computer throttle and install a good stainless cable or push rod system. I want physical control over the throttle. I totally agree with my dad's choice of an MT carbon fiber, three blade, constant speed prop. It has no life limited parts and never needs an overhaul. Although, a four blade might be a bit smoother at higher altitudes. They already have an STC for the four blade installed on a twin engine BN Islander and a 3 blade STC on the Cessna 337 rear engine.
 

Sparrow Hawk

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Location
San Diego, CA 92109
If I choose to install a Chevy V8 engine in the aircraft I am looking at right now - I would only buy the 1.7 to 1 PSRU and maybe the engine mount to use for duplicating. I can buy local Chevy LS3 engines with a supercharger (650HP) for the same price Stuart wants for a fuel injected. I can also change the camshaft in the engine to increase low end torque, which is where the engine will run most efficiently. The engine will rarely see 5000 RPM, so why have a camshaft that is good up to 7000 RPM. I would use a company in Calgary for the computer control unit. I would disconnect the computer throttle and install a good stainless cable or push rod system. I want physical control over the throttle. I totally agree with my dad's choice of an MT carbon fiber, three blade, constant speed prop. It has no life limited parts and never needs an overhaul. Although, a four blade might be a bit smoother at higher altitudes. They already have an STC for the four blade installed on a twin engine BN Islander and a 3 blade STC on the Cessna 337 rear engine.

Is there any failure history of the centrifugal clutch on a V8 aero conversion?
Would you use one on your project and why?
 

Sparrow Hawk

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Joined
May 11, 2016
Messages
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Location
San Diego, CA 92109
Lots of homebuilts have a converted auto engine of some type. Not so much for TC aircraft, which seems to be supported by the "list"

I'm curious as to the all in cost to covert a 172 as those numbers don't seem to be readily available.

I would also like to know how much other builders had to invest to get approved and flying in the Experimental Exhibition class.
 

Turd Ferguson

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In the USA, if it were up to me, I would wait for the FAA to finish the updates to Part 23. It would be a whole lot cheaper and faster.
Curious as to what updates you are referring to? And how that would make installation cheaper and faster. The FAA revised Part 23 in 2017 and I’m not aware of any further pending changes. A non-certificated powerplant will never be approved for installation in any normal category airplane. Not in my lifetime.
 

rv7charlie

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Nov 17, 2014
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Is there any failure history of the centrifugal clutch on a V8 aero conversion?
Would you use one on your project and why?

My opinion is that there are better, lighter, more reliable methods to couple the engine to the gearbox.

It's been awhile, but the last time I talked to these guys,
About Auto PSRU’s – AutoPSRU's
their clutch assy weighed around 30 lbs. Not the drive; just the clutch.
Lots of extra moving parts; lots of extra failure modes. And obviously, lots of weight.

Charlie
 

roxburg

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Jun 2, 2020
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My opinion is that there are better, lighter, more reliable methods to couple the engine to the gearbox.

It's been awhile, but the last time I talked to these guys,
About Auto PSRU’s – AutoPSRU's
their clutch assy weighed around 30 lbs. Not the drive; just the clutch.
Lots of extra moving parts; lots of extra failure modes. And obviously, lots of weight.

Charlie
Why would you make a statement like this - without any proof or supporting documentation? it is a waste of typing time.
 

rv7charlie

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Well, one of their representatives told me that, face to face, in the alternative engine tent at Sun&Fun, several years ago. Apologies for not having my personal videographer along at the time to document it.
Regardless, this is the internet. The next step for any reasonable person is verification. I included their website link; ask them directly about their drive's total weight, and what percentage of that weight is taken by the clutch.
edit:
I just scrolled back through the thread & saw that your dad is flying one. Perhaps you can show us, from your or your dad's measurements, what the clutch assy actually weighs. My conversation was far enough in the past that I can't recall whether it was before, or shortly after Bud Warren was killed. It is certainly possible that the rep (not the owner) I spoke with at SNF didn't know what he was talking about in regards to weight. The reason the subject came up is I was talking to him about using their drive on a rotary (they didn't yet have a functioning drive; only a mockup in the tent), and it quickly became apparent that he knew nothing at all about rotaries. Again, this wasn't the owner. I realize that vendors sometimes have to recruit help for airshows that may not be fully knowledgeable about their products.

What were your dad's measurements of the weights of various components?
 
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Air Trikes

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My opinion is that there are better, lighter, more reliable methods to couple the engine to the gearbox.

It's been awhile, but the last time I talked to these guys,
About Auto PSRU’s – AutoPSRU's
their clutch assy weighed around 30 lbs. Not the drive; just the clutch.
Lots of extra moving parts; lots of extra failure modes. And obviously, lots of weight.

Charlie
100% true. If you can avoid a centrifugal clutch using - don't use it. BTW, the first SPG-5 was installed on Subaru EJ bellhousing. No clutch. It is not necessary for 4-6-8 cylinder engines. I even didn't use it for 3-cyl G10.
 

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