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Feb 24th, 2006
Little was accomplished on the aircraft this week but this was offset by a visit to www.airtrikes.net and the owner Vassili. In spite of my being late to our appointment, Vassili was very welcoming. He took the time to answer my questions and gave me a tour of his shop. I gratefully took full advantage of his obvious expertise and experience and came away a little less ignorant. The following pictorial is made up of some pictures I "borrowed" off of his site and some pictures I took myself. I am very grateful for Vassili's hospitality and kindness.
The SPG-2 redrive has gearbox conversion kits for Subaru EA-71 EA-81 EA-82 EJ-18 EJ-20 EJ-22 EJ-25 Honda Nissan MA-12, Suzuki G10, G13A, B, BA, BB, K, and the BMW 1100S and 1150RS engines. With 500+ gearboxes sold, some of them having accumulated 1000+ operating hours, this system is well proven.
Vassili also offers engines for his gearboxs:
Suzuki G10#1 carburated model - about 60 hp
Suzuki G10#2 Fuel injection - about 62-64 hp
Suzuki G10#2 Turbo - about 90 hp
Suzuki G13BA (8 valves SOHC) - over 80HP
Suzuki G13BB (16 valves SOHC) Multi Point Injection (or TBI) - more than 90HP
Suzuki G13 GTI Twin cam (16valves DOHC) more than 110HP
My personal experience with the Suzuki engine is excellent and weighs heavily in favor for this engine. I've owned a Pontiac Firefly, and a Geo metro. Both used the G10 engine. The Firefly frame rusted out after 435,000km while the engine was still pulling strong. The Metro now has 325, 000km and is still on the road. The only issue with the early G10 engines is the burning of the exhaust valves. The Firefly burnt its first set valves at 150,000km. I removed the head and had it rebuilt at a local head shop for $225. While the head was off, I dropped and re-ringed the pistons ($60). Add the cost of a gasket kit ($145) and the car was good for another 200,000km. The valve problem seems to have been solve in the later Metros because mine still has the original valves. (PS - I live in Ontario, Canada and we have emissions testing - the Metro still passes)
While the G10 turbo is lighter and has about the same horsepower as its big brothers (G13), I am a little concerned with the long term reliability of pushing an engine this hard. I have not heard of any such problems and Vassili flies one on his personal aircraft (a pretty good endorsement in itself!) so it is a contender for my aircraft.
The G13BB would also seem to really fit the bill.
My first concern with both of these contenders is the height of the engine and the position of the thrust line. The following renderings show the Falconar F11A engine firewall and a model of the G10 engine.
The engine does seem to fit, and the thrust line seems close but additional measurements are required to confirm. I've asked Vassili to take the measurements and I will provide an update with the results as soon as I get them.
UPDATE - Vassili tells me that the engine thrust line is 12" (-305mm) from the top of the engine. The F11A thrust line needs to be 292mm from the top of the firewall. I believe the 13mm (1/2") will not be difficult to manage (reduced height valve cover, speed bump on the cowl, engine installed on a slant, etc). These engines should fit.