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Vega Cosworth

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DarylP

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Mar 22, 2010
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352
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CO
Hi all, :grin:
I was thinking about the Vega engine for aircraft use, and specifically the Cosworth which was a die cast aluminum cylinder and case assembly and an aluminum, 16 valve cylinder head. They were really light weight, and developed 110hp. (1976)
It was fuel injected and developed max power at 5600 rpms, which should be good for an aircraft right? I think that it may be hard to get parts for, but seems that for a conversion it would be a decent option. I don't know why, but I was curious, nor that I will make a project out of this.

DP
 

lr27

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Joined
Nov 3, 2007
Messages
3,822
Did the Cosworth Vega engine warp as easily as the regular Vega engines? They had a terrible reputation.

A redrive will be required, of course, so at that point almost any rpm would be usable, I'd think.
 

Dan Thomas

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Sep 17, 2008
Messages
5,398
Vega engines had high-silicon aluminum blocks, with no steel cylinder sleeves. The block was cast, then machined, and the cylinder walls were acid-treated to remove a microscopic layer of aluminum and expose the silicon, which was supposed to be hard enough to resist the wear of the pistons and rings. This is nothing new; pistons are (and have been for a long time) high-silicon aluminum,. but they are not expected to take the sliding action of sharp-edged rings against their sides. In the Vega, the silicon wore away much too soon and it started to burn oil at a ferocious rate. I was a young buck when these cars hit the market, and within a very few years they were a national joke. Resale value? How much will you pay me to drive it away?

I don't know if there's enough aluminum wall to allow boring and pressing in steel sleeves. Problem there, of course, is getting them tight enough that they stay tight. Aluminum expands a twice the rate of steel, and sleeves can come loose if they aren't in there good and tight to start with.

Dan
 

DarylP

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Mar 22, 2010
Messages
352
Location
CO
Yeah...I have come to find this out, that you needed two of them. One to poo on and the other to cover it up. :gig:

I remember though, that the vegas were all over the race track. They must have put real engines in them. Oh well, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. :roll:

:uzi:Bad thread....

I might get aluminum poisoning from this one.
 

DaveK

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Apr 21, 2007
Messages
357
Location
Northern California
I think this engine got a lot of bad press that blamed it on the aluminum block, but it was other issues that caused most of the problems. I know the valve stem seals were redone because the original ones cracked and lead to excessive oil consumption, there was also a problem with the cooling system that lead to coolant loss. Add low oil and low coolant and you get scuffing and warping. The aluminum block wasn't the problem. There are reports of people who used these cars for long distance traveling (sales people) that had very good reliability. The typical around town only driver who never checked their fluids had problems with the car.
 

DarylP

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Mar 22, 2010
Messages
352
Location
CO
The typical around town only driver who never checked their fluids had problems with the car.
This true...I never really knew this, as being a huge mustang fan, I always took care of my car. But I read that most cars in this era hit the junk yard with the same oil that came from the factory. The engine was really a good idea, in theory, but I don't think that DeLoreon was a good choice to run the show. In another time this could have been an aircraft engine, but it probably would have been thought through a little better if it had been.
 

DaveK

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Apr 21, 2007
Messages
357
Location
Northern California
I guess what I was trying to say was this engine was actually a pretty good engine, but you had to treat it well for it to live up to its potential.
 

TFF

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Apr 28, 2010
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13,400
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Memphis, TN
If you have a need for a engine that size, look at the Alfa Romeo 4 cylinder. It is an engine that has been in production sense the mid 50's so there are a bunch around and they are reliable.
 

DarylP

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Joined
Mar 22, 2010
Messages
352
Location
CO
I guess what I was trying to say was this engine was actually a pretty good engine, but you had to treat it well for it to live up to its potential.
Yep....that's what I got too.
 

WonderousMountain

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Apr 10, 2010
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2,015
Location
Clatsop, Or
My friend drives a Vega, not certain if it's a cosworth or not. Never thought much of the car myself, always thought it sounded funny. However for such an old vehicle it took punishment well and is still on the road. Actually, it has a specialty paint job now so even if it quits running he has to get it fixed for advertising!

The tangled web we weave,

Wonderous Mountain
 

RacerCFIIDave

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Joined
Feb 8, 2008
Messages
412
Location
Asheville, NC
I generally love ANYTHING that says Cosworth on it...

But..that Cosworth Vega engine was absolutely the worst piece of crap ever to carry the Cosworth name!

I wouldn't drive one across the street...and certainly wouldn't fly one...!!!

Now...an engine out of a late-model Ford Focus RS Cosworth would be absolutely sparkling...!:gig:

You're gonna have to call a British junkyard to get one....but WOW!

Dave
 

DarylP

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Joined
Mar 22, 2010
Messages
352
Location
CO
I have backed up on this engine after finding so many negative things on it. However, the Yamaha Genesis 120hp snowmobile engine (from another thread) that seems to have promise for a decent aircraft engine.

DP
 

catalysth2o

Member
Joined
May 12, 2010
Messages
12
Location
Wendell, NC/USA
I actually had a 1973 Vega, put almost 280,000 miles on it... and it wasn't burning oil when i sold it either. Maybe not a great engine for aviation, but the one I had lasted longer than most cars today will. It might still be running for all I know!
 

Utah Smitty

New Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2011
Messages
3
Location
Layton, UT
I know this is a late post to the thread. The Vega engine were real oil-burners, both the basic and the Cosworth... HOWEVER, in 1985 while an Army Ordnance Officer, I toured the Jasper Engine and Transmission overhaul plant in Jasper, IN looking at some of the innovative processes they used in engine overhaul. They sold rebuilt Vega engines with a steel cylinder liner... solved the problems with wearing out the cylinders.

I also had a 1985 BMW R65 bike with the Nikasil treatment on the cylinders... it apparently works very well.

FWIW,

Utah Smitty
 

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