Decided to go for a drive yesterday and have a look at that core engine that I missed seeing last week due to weather. Also did some shopping for workshop stuff and had lunch with my dad Jim and Barry's wife Linda.
In the afternoon, I finally made it to the home of the guy I've been speaking with on the phone on and off for a month or so. Ed is a salt of the earth retired gentleman, looking to clean out his collection of "anything mechanical" as he calls it. He is a retired machinist and tinkerer with a focus on antique tractors and building working models of late 19th / early 20th century internal combustion engines. A quick look around his barn (it was kinda dark in there) shows both his attention to unique and rare items and also lots of discarded stuff he picked up at junk sales and auctions. Unfortunately, a good bunch of it never made it to the restoration phase and now he just wants to start clearing it out. It's kind of like the places Mike and Frank from American Pickers love to go digging in.
Climbing up an old wooden ladder into the loft, Ed leads me to a corner of the upper barn floor where he uncovers the Corvair engine we've been chatting about.
Cut right from the donor car it came from, it sits still attached to it's transmission and motor mounts. Everything appears to be there, but my first glance tells me this is probably at best a 1964 model, but likely 1963 or earlier. I can tell by the generator mounted on the top front corner. GM started to replace generators with modern alternators around this time, so it's still possibly a 1964.
One of the issues that made me want to attend in person to see this core was that Ed is not online or using e-mail, so describing where to find the casting numbers verbally is an issue. He did have a look, but the only number he found was the cylinder firing order stamped on the cooling shroud. This is the same for all Corvairs regardless of year, so not much to tell from that.
Scraping under the requisite dirt and grime, we found the engine casting number:
T = Tonawanda
12 = December
18 = 18th day of December
YN = many possible blocks (damn)
According to my manual, YN engine block code was a commonly used code meaning the engine could be from 1961, 1962, 1963 or 1964. It gets even more clouded as the 1960-1963 engines were either 140 or 145 cubic inch engines. From 1964 onwards the displacement was 164 cubic inches (the block I need) but the 1964 engines have smaller head gaskets making them less suitable for conversion than later versions. Some 164 cubic inch engines were rated at 95 hp and do not have the harmonic balancer (torsional vibration dampener, also needed for the conversion). This doesn't account for cars built towards the end of 1963 that might have 1964 generation motors in them.
Although it is possible to use a 1964 block, it's not ideal.
Okay, what about the heads? Are they usable? Don't know until we check the casting numbers. Which for some reason don't exist!
I started by cleaning off the crud with brake cleaner and then used light application of a wire brush.
I don't know if the casting numbers are missing from the heads, or perhaps they've corroded away completely but they aren't visible, even with a good light source. The one in the left picture (above) doesn't seem that badly corroded to obliterate the casting numbers, but I'll be damned if I can find them anywhere.
Another oddity is a stamped number "3" that appears to have put there sometime after leaving the production line.
So this just deepens the mystery of what exactly this motor is.
I borrowed a 1/2 inch drive extension (something I need to add to my "go-kit") and tried to turn over the engine using the front pulley bolt. Solid as a rock (didn't expect it would turn).
Peeking through the cooling shroud, the fins of the heads seem clean enough, but you can't tell anything from a little peek. The rest of the engine shrouding and valve covers seem pretty roached.
I think I might offer to purchase the whole thing for scrap value alone to use as a practice engine to disassemble. Perhaps there might be some value in that or some of the internal components I can trade with or send in for core exchange.
The quest continues..... <sigh>
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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.