So I called up "Mr. L" and drove out to his property to have a second look at the Corvair he had there. If it's the engine I'm looking for, I plan on bringing it home.
I wasn't able to glean much info last time, either from him or from the casting number on the transmission housing.
This time, I brought some tools and some printouts from my research on the internet.
Here is the engine as it sits in his "boneyard":
As you can see, it was at some point cut right out of the car it came from, so it still has the transmission, generator, cooling shroud, belts, pulleys, oil cooler and of course the ever present dirt, grime and mouse hoardings. This is typical of these types of engines, or any for that matter in boneyards across North America, a real shame. The secret is find that one that isn't completely roached.
I managed to get a 3/4" socket on the harmonic balancer nut and the engine turns over surprisingly easy. There doesn't appear to be anything more than surface corrosion and the drive belts are tight enough that it turns the cooling fan and generator as I crank it over with the ratchet. I pulled the oil dipstick and the oil seems relatively clean, not burnt and no water in it.
There are two prime production number stamps (cast into the motor parts by the factory) that I need to locate. One on the block, and one each on the heads.
Unfortunately, the location of the engine block stamping which will confirm the engine year and horsepower is buried under the generator and pulleys at the front of the engine. It is located on the block, right behind the oil filter mounting boss and fill tube, like the picture below (kind of hard to see in this example picture):
I was reluctant to start pulling off all the accesorries just to see this number, when it might be easier to find the head casting numbers. These are on the end of the heads (like the example below):
I used some advice on one of the Corvair engine forums and used some brake cleaner fluid and a rag to remove the accumulated grime from the engine and managed to find matching cast numbers on each head (which means the heads came together from the factory this way and have not been swapped out individually). My subject engine heads had this casting number on them:
So according to the printout I took with me I can deduce the following....
Knowing this, I no longer really need to see the engine block stamping. My plans require a later model block with 164 cubic inch displacement and heads that match, ideally 110 HP, no smog heads. These weren't introduced until 1964, so this motor will not work for my conversion.
I thanked "Mr. L" for letting me have a look and promised to stay in touch regarding my adventure. I'm disappointed as it would have been good finding an engine this close to home, but it's not to be this time.
I did learn some things on where to find casting numbers, what else to look for. I also met Mr. L, a real gentleman. I hope my journey leads to more people like him.
Husband, father and 911 dispatcher. Long time pilot with a licence that burns a hole in my pocket where my student loan money used to be. First time aircraft builder. Looking to fly my own airplane.