VW 1600cc

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bravo2aviation

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I have a 1600 VW engine fresh out of an old beetle. I am trying to determine if there are any 2 place kits available for the 1600, and how would I best modify the engine for aircraft use. Thanks!!
 

Topaz

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A 1600cc VW is awfully small for a two-seater, and much more appropriate for a single-seat aircraft. Whatever you find will be slow, with a large wing area. Think Cub-like, or motorgliders. Even then, you'd be better off with a VW that has a little more displacement. Might be best to sell the engine and Beetle hulk and use the cash to get something a little larger.

If you do find something to your liking that can fly on that motor, contact Great Plains Aircraft for a conversion kit to get your engine set up for aircraft use. They're the best at this, if you have your own long-block. They also have a list of airplanes on their home page (in addition to the Sonarai and Easy Eagle) that fly under VW power, so that would be a good place to start on your airframe search.
 

Hot Wings

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Second what Topaz had to say about the size. To a point the bigger the better.

Also used bug motors are notorious for being junk. A common history is for someone to buy a used bug with a bad motor because it is cheap. When they find out the cost of a properly rebuilt unit they buy one of the mail order engines. One generally gets an engine that has been bored oversize on the case, has reground lifters with the hard surface gone, a set of rods that have been rebuilt so many times that they are a full millimeter short and the bushing won't stay in, among other "make it cheap" atrocities. This mail order motor drops a valve after 5K miles in it's welded head and the bug is then sold. The process repeats.

If it's a later model engine with 8mm head studs and it has a case that hasn't been overheated and warped then it - might - be worth keeping for parts. The only way to know is to tear it down, clean everything and take it to someone that knows what to look for.
 

Topaz

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Second what Topaz had to say about the size. To a point the bigger the better.

Also used bug motors are notorious for being junk. A common history is for someone to buy a used bug with a bad motor because it is cheap. When they find out the cost of a properly rebuilt unit they buy one of the mail order engines. One generally gets an engine that has been bored oversize on the case, has reground lifters with the hard surface gone, a set of rods that have been rebuilt so many times that they are a full millimeter short and the bushing won't stay in, among other "make it cheap" atrocities. This mail order motor drops a valve after 5K miles in it's welded head and the bug is then sold. The process repeats.

If it's a later model engine with 8mm head studs and it has a case that hasn't been overheated and warped then it - might - be worth keeping for parts. The only way to know is to tear it down, clean everything and take it to someone that knows what to look for.
Glad you jumped in with this, HW. Very good advice.

All in all, if you want to fly behind a VW for anything but very local buzzing-around (ultralight style), then it's best to just start with a fresh long-block and kit from Great Plains or AeroVee. In the end, it'll be cheaper and easier than the rework you're likely to have to do to a run-out motor from a car.

Getting back to choosing an aircraft, I went and located that list on the Great Plains site. They've expanded it a bit: How to choose a VW powered experimental aircraft.

Please note that the two-seaters are almost exclusively flying 1835cc or larger, with 2100cc being the most common.
 

bmcj

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Or cut it down like the "Better Half VW".

By the way, the newest incarnation of the "Better Half" is to leave the case whole and use only two cylinders. I have to wonder why because you lose half the power but only save the weight of two jugs.
 

StarJar

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Topaz and Hot Wings were very accurate with their advice/comments. VW's are fine, as long as you put good parts inside and you provide proper air and oil cooling.

If you live in Arkansas, there is a large VW remanufacturing company that recently moved there from California called GEX. I used to work for them. DO NOT be tempted to buy one of their cheap rebuilds. They are very marginal in quality. Sorry we have given such stern/negative advice but there is a lot of little things that can go wrong with these engines if they are not in really good condition. It takes pretty much an expert to look at all your engine parts to see if anything is re-usable for an aircraft.
You might could re-use the case, and/or crankshaft, if they were in good condition, but it depends on how many times they have been align bored and ground, and if there is any warpage or cracks.
You might could use a 1600 in a plane like the Millholland Double Eagle, but you would have long take-off distances, and I'm not even sure you would have sufficient power to climb.
You can make it into an 1835cc for about $100 more dollars than a 1600 for a little more power. Great Plains, like Topaz said, is your best bet for getting the required parts. You would need to get at least a slip on prop hub, and some intake manifolds, carburetor. exhaust system, 009 distributor, from them in addition to all the actual engine parts.

The Double Eagle is a pretty nice plane I believe, and set up for the vw ebgine. It would be in the LSA catagory, so you would would need that type of pilot license, or higher, if you don't have it.
Good luck.
 

Hot Wings

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California called GEX

My momma taught me that if I couldn't say anything good not to say anything at all. Said too much already.
 

StarJar

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Or cut it down like the "Better Half VW".

By the way, the newest incarnation of the "Better Half" is to leave the case whole and use only two cylinders. I have to wonder why because you lose half the power but only save the weight of two jugs.
I pretty much agree with this, but it does offer an alternative to all the case machining if you just need about 30 hp, and can handle the weight. You also lose the weight of the rods, lifters, valve train, and half of the crank and cam, abeit, not much more than what bjmc said.

A couple advantages of the "better half", are you can keep more oil in the engine, with more heat sink area, and it is easier to mount, and it absorbs more of the vibration.

However it is not cheap to set up the crank for a "Better Half" or any half VW, because it takes a special balancing process. I paid about 400 dollars to have a stock crank machined and balanced for this (about 10 years ago).

It would have been less expensive to use a whole 1300/1500 (pre 1968) vw engine, and get 40 hp. With about 30 lbs. more wieght. Or use a 1600 like bjmc pointed out.

But, as far as the original thread, these are all too weak for what bravo2aviation is inqiuring about.:)
 

StarJar

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California called GEX

My momma taught me that if I couldn't say anything good not to say anything at all. Said too much already.
I agree with your mamma, and I'm not saying this about this company out of hate or resentment, I actually respect the owner, it's just that they are in a very competitive market, and they, like many other engine re-manufactures do not cater to people looking for high quality engines.
It's the nature of the game, and it's a numbers game. They keep their prices low, very low, to satisfy demands, and to compete with other companies, but they do get a LOT of return product. They know this and yet have to do this to stay in business. They are one of the largest companies, if not the largest rebuilding these engines, but they make their money on volume and large worldwide adds, not quality.
To a bussiness man this is just business, but since they moved into bravo2avaition's home state, I thought I would at least give a little tip. Nothing personal against the company, but just not a good choice for an engine to be used in an airplane, in my experience.
You can google their name, and see that they have a lot of blown up engines. They will usually replace the engine, but that's the kind of engine you are going to get for less than $2000. Nothing personal, just the way business is. That's all I was trying to say.:)
 

Sir Joab

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I'm in the process of making a 1/2 VW right now. The crankcase is largly magnisium (sp?) and extremely light. You probably only save 1-2 lbs. by cutting it. Your weight savings is coming from all those steel parts you get rid of.
 

dino

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Take an 8kg weight hit and go with a Subaru. You don't even have to open the case to convert it.

Dino
 

bmcj

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Take an 8kg weight hit and go with a Subaru. You don't even have to open the case to convert it.
Are you saying that the Subaru weighs only 18 lbs more than the 1600 VW? Is that with or without the liquid cooling system?

I've moved lots of VW engines with relative ease, but the 4-cylinder Subaru engine I have on my hangar floor is a bear to move anywhere, even with two people.
 
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