GM 3.6L variants FYI

Discussion in 'General Auto Conversion Discussion' started by maticulus, Aug 11, 2019.

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  1. Aug 25, 2019 #101

    BJC

    BJC

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    Thank you Ross and Charlie. That info shows what can be done, at least by knowledgeable, skilled people.

    Russell’s Glasair outperforms stock Lycoming Glasairs by a large margin.


    BJC
     
  2. Aug 25, 2019 #102

    rv6ejguy

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    Almost nobody gets their auto conversion right the first time on all counts without some mods being done. I know of a couple that worked really well from the get go but all the others soaked up a lot of time changing things to get it all working well. Engineers and gearheads have the best success rate. Lay people, the worst, as you'd expect. For a fair number, they have no real success and waste lots of time and money trying to make it work. Many never do and eventually give up to install a traditional aero engine.
     
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  3. Aug 25, 2019 #103

    BJC

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    Thanks; that is why I believe that Lycomings will continue to be the default HBA engine in the 180 -300 HP range, at least until someone develops a proven, complete, FWF package that is no heavier than an equivalent HP Lycoming.


    BJC
     
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  4. Aug 25, 2019 #104

    Hot Wings

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    It may take more than a FWF package to change the dominance of conventional air-cooled aircraft engines. You can only stuff so much under a cowl designed for an air-cooled engine. To take full advantage of automotive conversions I think is going to require aircraft designed from the start with a water cooled system in mind.
     
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  5. Aug 25, 2019 #105

    wsimpso1

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    Cool stuff.

    I was of the opinion that a auto conversion made sense for me, as I was willing to accept good power at decent weight and a modest increase in fuel burn over the Lycoming. I have increasingly drifted towards hanging a Lycoming on my self designed bird, mostly because I want to fly it before I die. I figure I will get in the air sooner with a Lycoming. Mark Kettering over at AeroMomentum has my attention, but he has to get a few flying before I will go that way...

    So, Ross, Charlie, and Pictsidhe, where did each of these birds come in on horsepower, weight and specific fuel burn at cruise as compared to the equivalent Lycoming?

    Billski
     
  6. Aug 26, 2019 #106

    rv6ejguy

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    I don't pound on mine like I did when I first built it but I true around 140-145 KTAS at 7000-10000 ft. on high 6 to low 7 gph. Empty weight is around 1130 lbs. which is about 50 pounds heavier than an average Lycoming powered RV6A equipped with a CS prop. I have a lot of extra wiring, patches and a heavy, massaged and patched cowling. Pretty sure with a clean build, I could make mine under 1100 pounds easily.

    The silver RV7 I'm in formation with in my avatar has a 2.5L Sti turbo engine and MT prop. I believe he's right around 1220 pounds empty which is a bit heavy but that thing moves- 200 KTAS+ (Vne) on around 12 GPH at only 40 inches. Back at 30 inches, I think he was truing around 180 KTAS at 10,000 feet on around 9- 9.5 gph which is pretty close to Lycoming numbers.

    I can talk to Russell and get some weight details on his Glasair.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2019
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  7. Aug 26, 2019 #107

    Winginitt

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    I think the important consideration here is not that the Lycoming will ever be replaced in our lifetime, but that builders who have the ability and determination can actually build a reasonably inexpensively alternative engine successfully. Many people can struggle thru the learning curve of building a home built even though they have minimal skills. They are able to do that because information on how to do it is everywhere......along with lots of support.
    When you look at the other half of the equation, the experimental engine, it's much more difficult to get that same support. William Wynne has successfully conducted a number of Corvair Colleges which have drawn builders into building their own engines cheaply. I think the idea that pervades the alternative engine world is that the engines need a reduction drive. There are successful conversions like the Subes which has proven reduction can work well. There are lots of examples like Jess Myers and the former Belted Air Power redrives that were doing well until he retired. The extra weight,complexity, and cost often causes people to just settle for the ease of installation of an aero engine and live with the expense. I do believe that if someone produced a ready made direct drive unit for LS Chevy engines for a couple thousand dollars that it would become very popular. Something similar to the Corvair Fifth Bearing only larger.

    At any rate, Ross slayed the dragon .....myth that auto engines were unreliable with information and video of the Ford torture test.

    Now he has stepped up again and put to rest the myth that it's more expensive to convert an engine . What some people fail to accept is that to equip an airplane with an alternative engine cheaply, the builder has to be willing to contribute some sweat equity and a few brain cells along with some money in order to succeed. Comparisons always seem to gravitate towards someone purchasing a ready made conversion on a silver platter. What needs to be recognized is that there are builders who actually enjoy the challenge of doing things themselves......and that creativity and willingness to tackle those problems provides them with a path to enjoying the reality of flight.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2019
  8. Aug 26, 2019 #108

    rv6ejguy

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    Two of my customers are using the Ballistic airboat drives on LS engines, one with quite a few flight hours on the P85. These are the inexpensive way to go for the LS conversions. For the lower hp stuff, many have had good success with the SPG-4 gearboxes from Air Trikes. Michael Hille's Sube conversion seen here on HBA recently uses one of those. Both are very reasonably priced.
     
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  9. Aug 26, 2019 #109

    Russell

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    I joined this forum several years ago but never followed it until about a month ago when I happened to noticed it on my favorites list.

    Thank you Ross for your kind words. To update you, our Glasair/Subaru now has 787 hours. As for racing, we have competed in 22 SARL air races. We are undefeated in our class and hold the class speed record of 261.60 MPH. The slalom type race courses are about 150 miles long and have four to ten turns. The finish line is back at the start line. When we broke the speed record, the course had seven turns, three were energy killing turns of about 160 degrees. BTW my wife insists on riding in every race … she loves to race and has been the big push in my finding and reducing drag in the quest for higher speeds.
     
  10. Aug 26, 2019 #110

    rv6ejguy

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    Nice to have you here Russell. Can you tell us about the empty weight of your aircraft and how that compares to Lycoming powered ones?
     
  11. Aug 26, 2019 #111

    Russell

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    My empty weight is 1364 pounds, this is about 50 to 75 pounds heavier that an IO-360 equipped Glasair IRG
     
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  12. Aug 27, 2019 #112

    Winginitt

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    Congratulations on your success ! That is the kind of story that can inspire others . Its nice to see that an alternative engine can be so successful. Maybe others can learn from your experiences.

    Let's see, spoting your competition 50/75 lbs and taking your wife along for the ride......and undefeated .......pretty spectacular.
     
  13. Aug 27, 2019 #113

    rv6ejguy

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    Like most others who've eventually been successful, Russell had a number of issues with various things and certainly had some trying experiences with PSRUs. He could maybe relate some of those in another thread perhaps. We're getting well off topic here on the 3.6L GM V6s.

    I'll start another general thread in Auto Conversions where people who've done a successful one can contribute their details on how they did it, challenges, failures, lessons learned etc.
     
  14. Sep 3, 2019 #114

    wsimpso1

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    I am just boiling down some of the info:

    Ross recommends 1 in^2 / hp of rad area and 2.5 in^3 / hp of rad volume, with the inlet between 1/4 and 1/8 of the rad area. This with using clean inlets that do not ingest hot air or exhaust off the engine, well built ducts with whatever flow directing vanes as needed, and clean outlets.

    Russell is using about 1in^2/hp, 3.3 in^3/ hp, inlet at 1/7 of rad area, but has a smaller one that works if temps are low... he too is using clean well designed and built inlets, ducts and outlets.

    The P85 is running 0.68 in^2/hp and about 2 in^3/hp and 1/4.5 for the inlet size....

    Other things are lots of heat protection - Ross' notes indicate firesleeve of wiring within 1 foot of pipes, stainless heat shields or foil backed silicone for stuff close to pipes, and conductive line hoses for fuel. Ross has also written about how 200 hp engines cool just fine with 3/4" tube and hose for coolant, but that oblique radiators favored by some folks work but are heavy and draggy.

    Given the success of Ross and his customers, I would listen to Ross.

    Billsk
     
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  15. Sep 3, 2019 #115

    rv6ejguy

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    Rad core volume, face area and depth plus inlet area are dependent on ground cooling requirements, best ROC speed and hp. This assumes the rad inlet is within the propeller arc, not too close to the blade shanks for ground cooling.

    A slow aircraft with X hp will require a bigger rad than a faster plane with the same hp.
     
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  16. Sep 3, 2019 #116

    pfarber

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    Why would an E/AB owner ever need to do this? Inspectors don't sign off that it is 'safe to fly' but only that the work performed was done to the proper standard. E/AB owners can do 100% of the work on an AC they built. The only 'if' is the Repairmans certificate for the annual condition inspection.

    When the DAR shows up to sign off and does the inspection, his job is not to say "this plane is safe to fly". His job is to ensure that there are gas tank vents and cap, turnbuckels are lock wired, seat belts are installed etc etc. IE the plane was constructed following current best practices and according to FAA regulations. I'm sure that there are DAR's that think auto engines are 'not safe' but still sign off because its at least installed properly and in accordance with design / manufacturer procedures.

    My 'plan b' is to buy an IO-360 that's had a prop strike and do the inspection and test/fly it. But most prop strike engines have has the expensive bits removed... making them just as expensive as buying a running high time motor. An IO-360 with out the fuel servo, exhaust, starter, alternator would cost more than a running high timer motor once you got all the parts back on it.

    Agreed that you have to know how to wrench and read a manual. AC motors ARE much simpler than car engines, but have many 'gotchas' that car engines don't (like case through bolts that keep main bearings from spinning... why? Bad design, but it works).
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2019
  17. Sep 3, 2019 #117

    pfarber

    pfarber

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    My CAPS LOCK fears no one lol (in this case CAPS LOCK is a direct quote, as my keyboard has its all caps). This is not AOL (this is an abbreviation, not me trying to emphasis anything), caps are used in electronic writing to emphasize a point. If you think I'm yelling then enjoy being triggered. I generally use bold highlight key points in quoted text.

    EXPERIMENTAL AIRCRAFT CANNOT have a type certificate?


    "A special airworthiness certificate in the experimental category is issued to operate an aircraft that does not have a type certificate or does not conform to its type certificate and is in a condition for safe operation. "

    Please, do tell?
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2019
  18. Sep 3, 2019 #118

    Winginitt

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    [QUOTE="pfarber,: Why would an E/AB owner ever need to do this? Inspectors don't sign off that it is 'safe to fly' but only that the work performed was done to the proper standard. E/AB owners can do 100% of the work on an AC they built. The only 'if' is the Repairmans certificate for the annual condition inspection.

    When the DAR shows up to sign off and does the inspection, his job is not to say "this plane is safe to fly". His job is to ensure that there are gas tank vents and cap, turnbuckels are lock wired, seat belts are installed etc etc. IE the plane was constructed following current best practices and according to FAA regulations. I'm sure that there are DAR's that think auto engines are 'not safe' but still sign off because its at least installed properly and in accordance with design / manufacturer procedures.

    Winginitt reply: I'm not talking about a DAR to sign off the airplane construction. I'm talking about the individual who bought an airplane engine and installed it on his homebuilt and should have the engine inspected every year. Though it is not a legal require-
    ment to have the engine inspected, it is the prudent thing to do. In fact it doesn't matter whether the installed engine was a new or used aero engine, if someone wants to maintain the reliability of any aero engine it needs to be inspected every year. The reason certified engines have a good reputation for reliability is because they are inspected every year and most problems are discovered before they fail. Add to that the idea that due to the broad use of these engines, problems that are discovered by other owners get documented and notifications are posted. Look at the Superior engine fiasco that prompted them to recall engines.
    Many people shy away from auto engine conversions because they don't feel competent to perform engine related work. Someone who is knowledgeable can perform their own inspection on a homebuilt's aero engine....its up to them if they want to document it or not.There are those people that do actually follow established inspection procedures with a yearly inspection of their engine. When owners don't feel competent to perform the engine inspection properly or research possible ADs that might apply...... they are going to want someone who is able to do the inspection properly. They are going to want something documenting what was done, especially if any parts were replaced. The inspector is going to want to document what he actually did so there is a record to protect himself later. Anyone using an aero engine that does NOT take the identical approach that certified owners do to maintain an engine, should not expect an identical outcome . Therefore, installing a used aero engine may be financially feasible for the short term, but if properly maintained it will bear pretty much the same expenses as a certified engine over the long term.



    Pfarber post: My 'plan b' is to buy an IO-360

    Winginitt reply: Say it ain't so..... :eek: yer jus kiddin.........right !
     
  19. Sep 17, 2019 #119

    pfarber

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    You really should read some NTSB crash reports and explain to me how these meticulously maintained engines still fail.

    The FAA does not care about GA and makes the rules based on granting monopolies to engine manufacturers. These manufacturers fail at providing the reliability they are supposed to produce with the granted monopoly.

    If you listen to the FAA they are just a bunch of poor, overworked, understaffed individuals that cannot handle the rapid pace of advancement. I mean the DPE situation is a prime example of the nepotism/cronyism/old boys club that prevails at the FAA. Should the FAA give the AOPA/EAA more leverage in the decision making process?? I don't know. All I know is that the current system isn't dealing well with advancements made in manufacturing, design, safety, etc.

    I can find at least ONE engine squawk every time I get into my clubs 172. EVERY TIME. And these planes fly 50+ hours a month.. they are not hanger queens.. so they are getting 100 hour inspections left and right.

    I'll take my auto conversion any day over the nightmare that is a certified engine.
     
  20. Sep 17, 2019 #120

    BJC

    BJC

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    That is the beauty of the experimental airworthiness certificate (as opposed to a type certificated design).

    How many flight hours do you have on your auto conversion?

    Thanks,


    BJC
     
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