Author Topic: Sonerai II-LS Engine Selection  (Read 759 times)

jonfilipa

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Sonerai II-LS Engine Selection
« on: Jul 30, 2017 »
So after a long journey including moving and having 3 kids, I’ve got my S2 LS primary fuselage welded up and am starting the process of fabricating and welding tubing for all of the other bits and bobs that turn the steel cage into something functional.  One item being where to put engine mounts which means it’s time to get serious about picking an engine provider.  I was at Oshkosh Friday and Saturday and tried to attend as many forums and talk to as many knowledgeable people I could find regarding VW engine conversions.  I decided a while ago that I’d stick with the venerable VW and stay with the tried and true front drive Type I conversion.  And I’m trying to follow the mantra of stick to the plans/avoid modifications which means in my head going with an engine that fits inside the commercially available Sonerai cowling.  I am sending this out to the masses to collect more feedback regarding engine selection.  So here goes:

General Questions
Is anyone aware of a difference in durability as you go up in CC’s?  And yes, I realize an engine of any size needs to be cooled appropriately and the more horsepower you make the more cooling is required.  What I’m after is there any reason not to install the biggest displacement engine you can since there is very little change in weight in going from 2180 CC’s to new configs approaching 2400 CC’s?   And yes I read the old posts comparing 94 vs 92 mm jug wall thickness and other items, just checking for any new/fresh input.

Has anyone ever missed not having a hand prop option?  And yeah I realize dead battery scenarios are always a good reason to be able to hand prop.

Does anyone have any experience running an 86 mm stroke on a VW engine conversion?  Hummel offers this as an option now via use of Chevy journals and while I’m estimating it hasn’t been on the market that long (at least for aviation use) per Scott Casler there are no problems with the 86 mm stroke and what I am assuming are standard cylinders. 

Has anyone mounted and flown a Revmaster R-2300 in a Sonerai?  Were any cowling mods required?

Vendor Specific
At this point the most viable manufacturers I see are Great Plains, Revmaster, and Hummel (Scott Casler).  I listed Aerovee for completeness although I don’t think I’ll be purchasing one of their engines.  While I realize that there are a lot of common parts, here’s what I see as potential advanatages/disadvantages for each.  Please note I don’t claim to be an expert nor am I trying to sell one vendor over the other.  Just looking for feedback to either confirm or refute my observations.  Also, I’d prefer to purchase a kit and build the engine myself but I don’t absolutely have to.

Great Plains (likely engine choice would be 2276 CC)
Advantages: Long track record as a company, Force One prop hub is “standard” for large CC VWs, lots of configuration options (hand prop, full electrical, secondary ignition, etc), can purchase as kit or fully assembled, more Sonerai specific configs, configuration/layout/accessories designed to fit inside current model cowling, replacement parts at overhaul can be purchased from other vendors if necessary
Disadvantages: Company has changed hands 2X since Steve Bennett passed away (i.e. long term viability/stability and at least per my wanderings thru the vendor hangers I couldn’t find GPASC at Oshkosh), lowest horsepower at highest RPM  (80 hp @ 3600 RPM) although how much vendors stretch the truth is potentially debatable

Revmaster (likely engine choice would be R-2300 model)
Advantages: Longest tenured supplier in VW powered aircraft, Joe Horvath is recognized authority in VWs, crank/prop hub is supposedly more robust than GPASC force one, highest horsepower at lowest RPM (85 hp at 3200 RPM)  could potentially run a 58-60 inch prop instead of the ~54 inch standard for most VWs, Inconel hardened exhaust valve seat (don’t have to tweak valve lash as often), includes oil filter
Disadvantages: Joe Horvath isn’t getting any younger (although I was told his son works there and will take over the business), potentially have issues fitting inside cowling (likely but would like to hear from others), no option for hand propping, appears more Revmaster specific parts (potentially more difficult and more $$ to overhaul later although likely still very cheap compared to certified)

Hummel (potential choice 2400 model)
Advantages: Very customizable, largely seems to be a virtual direct copy of GPASC engine and options (i.e. Force One prop hub), Scott Casler is a recognized authority in VWs although mostly in ½ vee dubs
Disadvantages: Primary experience seems to be ½ VW conversions although I gather company is getting more into the 4 cylinder models, not sure about 86 mm stroke (see above), shortest time in business relative to competitors

Sonex Aerovee (2180 only option)
Advantages: John Monnett has lots of experience in VWs although the Sonex guy I talked to at their booth was of no help, potentially easier to get help from and swap parts with Sonex drivers
Disadvantages: Shrink fit prop hub (For me this is a deal breaker although I recognize lots of people have flown these successfully), nothing beyond 2180 cc, can’t hand prop


This post got a lot longer than expected and I realize I’m putting a lot of questions out there, some of which have no doubt been debated in the past.  Any help, input, experiences, etc you have to share are appreciated.

Jon Filipa

jonfilipa

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Re: Sonerai II-LS Engine Selection
« Reply #1 on: Jul 30, 2017 »
Should also say that I realize GP/Aerovee/Revmaster have same engine mount locations - assuming Revmaster R-2300 is same - but wanted to at least throw this out there given how fresh it is in my head from being at AirVenture.

Jon

Tom H

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Re: Sonerai II-LS Engine Selection
« Reply #2 on: Jul 31, 2017 »
Jon, I don't have many answers to your questions, but here are some comments.

I was choosing an engine for a Double Eagle, and chose GP 2180.  I chose GP because of face-face discussions with Steve Bennett.  He knew his stuff, was blunt, but had answers.  Discussions with Sonex were brief, put-offish, and I decided that they would not get my order, even though the engine may be fine.  Revmaster had a deal going for their 2300, which looks great, assembled/tested, similar in price to a GP 2180 kit, but I wanted to build the engine.  I don't remember considering Hummel at that time.

At the time, it seemed that there was little experience with over 2180 regarding durability.  I have a friend with the 2276 GP with maybe 50 hours, and all is well.  He purchased the engine from Steve just before he sold the business, and has had good support from Marty.

I had similar concerns about not being able to hand prop.  I chose the GP 2180 with distributor and magneto as ignitions.  If battery dies, I can still hand prop the mag, even though it does not have much timing retard.  You have to be authoritative when hand propping.

Scott Casler of Hummel seems to know his stuff and has the experience.  He is willing to help resolve problems, not only on his engines, but on other VWs as well.  A good source in my opinion.

Hope that helps some.


 

jonfilipa

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Re: Sonerai II-LS Engine Selection
« Reply #3 on: Aug 01, 2017 »
Tom -

Thanks for the feedback.  Your comments on Sonex match my experience in talking with their reps at a couple of the past AirVentures.  Didn't seem that interested in talking to someone outside the Sonex community, and the only guy I've been able to find with any in-depth info on the engine was John Monnett - who for reference I have really enjoyed talking to a couple times.  That being said, I'll likely be looking elsewhere when it comes time to buy an engine.

Jon

N127PZ

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Re: Sonerai II-LS Engine Selection
« Reply #4 on: Aug 01, 2017 »
Should also say that I realize GP/Aerovee/Revmaster have same engine mount locations - assuming Revmaster R-2300 is same - but wanted to at least throw this out there given how fresh it is in my head from being at AirVenture.

Jon

I am pretty sure you are 100% wrong here. They all have DIFFERENT engine mount locations and that's why you want to pick now before you weld your mounts. My only 2cts is you are only looking at the biggest engines. Ed Fisher told me that flying solo my little 1710cc would do just great. And if you read Smokyray and his story of 994SP Scott Pliscke's Sonerai (from 2180 DOWN to 1835) you will get quite a story. P.S. my engine may be for sale separate from my project if my prospective buyer writes back. -Pete
Prayer does not use up artificial energy, doesn't burn up any fossil fuel, doesn't pollute. Neither does song, neither does love, neither does the dance.
Margaret Mead

jonfilipa

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Re: Sonerai II-LS Engine Selection
« Reply #5 on: Aug 26, 2017 »
Thanks for the feedback, but after doing just a little more digging thru history on this website and comparing to info on Great Plains and Sonex's - i.e Aerovee - website the Diehl case (typically standard for Great Plains), Revmaster, and Aerovee all use the same mount locations.  HAPI and Mosler are the same but are different than Diehl/Revmaster/Aerovee.  See link and attachments.

http://www.sonerai.net/smf/index.php?topic=3479.0

Regarding engine displacement, what I was getting at is there any reason not to go with the most horsepower (i.e. largest displacement VW) you can reliably get?  Per GPASC website (link below), going from 1600 cc to 2276 cc only costs you 5.5 lbs but you get ~50% more horsepower.  Seems like a good trade to me as long as you are conscious of engine accessory weight - i.e. starter, full electrical system, etc.
 Of course, standard comments about needing to keep cool apply, and I realize the more horsepower you make the more you need to focus on cooling.  I know from reading other posts on this site a lot of guys have 2180 - 2276 cc engines and I gather have had good luck with them.  Checking to see if this holds water or not from other's real world experience.

http://greatplainsas.com/specsfd.html


Smokyray

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Re: Sonerai II-LS Engine Selection
« Reply #6 on: Aug 31, 2017 »
Jon,
I was fortunate enough to purchase the S2L pictured atop this webpage from the master builder's (Scott Plischke's) estate. I've built 2 RV's and rebuilt a Harmon Rocket previously.

  The Sonerai is literally a breath of fresh air compared to the complications of owning a high dollar EXP. One thing I did was replace the ailing GP2180 with a blueprinted GP1835. Why? Mainly availability from a master VW builder guru and weight.The 1835 weighed 143lbs compared to the 164lb 2180. Stroker cranks and F1 bearings/starters, bigger batteries, wires hardware all add weight. The prototype had a 1700cc and it's performance numbers are impressive. Lighter airplanes fly better.

  The Engine: My 1835 has a 92mm Bore and 69mm stroke with 7.0:1 compression. It has a forged 69mm VW crank with GP case and a Slick Mag, single igntion, Zenith carb, Diehl Case  and no starter. It was balanced and blueprinted and has laser etched valve seats, matched pistons and rods and teflon wrist pin buttons with total seal compression rings and Manley SS valves. The S2 cowl is tight and I have a plenum and remote EMPI oil cooler. All my temps stay cool throughout the power range and even in TX summer. It's the easiest hand start engine I've owned, including my 65HP Taylorcraft and the years towing banners propping an 0-360 Tow-Cub every morning. Plus, starters are heavy and from my experience, every ounce counts, especially when the EW is 557lbs.

Performance: My S2L climbs 800-1000 fpm solo at 100mph cruise climb and gets off my grass strip in 800'. At 2500MSL I cruise at 22"MP/3100RPM burning 3.5GPH at 120MPH. at 28"/3450 WOT it indicates just under 140mph, right in line with the higher HP Sonerai's. My Experience with RV has the same results, higher HP airplanes climb better but cruise speeds are within a few knots.

Bottom Line: If it were me, I'd consider a well built 1835-1915 with the VW forged crank and balanced internal parts any day. A starter and full electrical system add weight and complexities and deviate from the original intent (and prototype) IMHO.

V/R
Smokey

PS:Ed Sterba who carved my Sonerai 52-42 (and my RV4) propeller had an 1850 powered S2 he flew 1000 hours with little or no maintenance.  I like longevity too.
« Last Edit: Aug 31, 2017 by Smokyray »

wbpace

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Re: Sonerai II-LS Engine Selection
« Reply #7 on: Aug 31, 2017 »
There's one thing that has never been quite clear to me.  Is the Diehl case only needed for the GP engine, or does Revmaster and AeroVee also require it?

O'Bill

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Re: Sonerai II-LS Engine Selection
« Reply #8 on: Aug 31, 2017 »
O'Bill,
My 1835 came with a X casting mount from GP. It didn't match the Sonerai fuselage frame engine mounts even though I had intended to go with no accessory case to shave off even more weight. Instead I kept my Diehl Case and bolted it onto the 1835.

  The Revmaster, Aero-Vee have their own accessory cases which may or may not fit your application. I really like the Revmaster 2300 but it would require some major Firewall and cowling changes for it to fit as the AC is thicker, intake tubes taller and has a starter. The Aerovee looks like it would bolt right on, minus the starter.

I think you could bolt the Diehl Case onto any VW type block with the standard bolt holes.

V/R
Smokey

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Re: Sonerai II-LS Engine Selection
« Reply #9 on: Aug 31, 2017 »
OK, so that was both enlightening and confusing :o.

The engine mount drawing above (which has been circulating for a long time), says that all three engines use the same bolt pattern.  So does that mean AV and RM owners chuck their manufacturer's mounts, replacing them with the Diehl?  Seems excessive to me.

Which may point out a topic for a good long-form article, should someone want to attempt it.  Similar to Ed's Essays from a few years ago, an overview of engine options and configurations would surely be helpful to and appreciated by many people (especially me!).  Does anybody feel the spirit so moving them?

O'Bill

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Re: Sonerai II-LS Engine Selection
« Reply #10 on: Sep 12, 2017 »
OK, so that was both enlightening and confusing :o.

The engine mount drawing above (which has been circulating for a long time), says that all three engines use the same bolt pattern.  So does that mean AV and RM owners chuck their manufacturer's mounts, replacing them with the Diehl?  Seems excessive to me.

Which may point out a topic for a good long-form article, should someone want to attempt it.  Similar to Ed's Essays from a few years ago, an overview of engine options and configurations would surely be helpful to and appreciated by many people (especially me!).  Does anybody feel the spirit so moving them?

O'Bill

I know my RM is older, 1975, but the case seems to have the same dimensions as what they are advertising today. Mine is mounted , and cowl fitted, if time allows I will go out tomorrow and measure the distances of the mounts on the fuselage.
Prayer does not use up artificial energy, doesn't burn up any fossil fuel, doesn't pollute. Neither does song, neither does love, neither does the dance.
Margaret Mead

 

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