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Thread: Vintage VW conversion plans?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jan 2019

    Vintage VW conversion plans?

    Hello to all! Newbie homebuilder from Finland calling for help.

    I have recently purchased a 40-year old Taylor Monoplane J.T.1, which I am slowly restoring to a flyable aeroplane. The engine is a typical VW conversion, 45 hp or so, 1500 cc displacement. The original build documents, which came with the aeroplane, state that the engine conversion has been done according to the instructions and plans from "Ted Barker" and "BAC". I searched for those two for a while from internet, and came in the conclusion that Ted Barker plans refers to "Volkswagen Conversion Manual" or "VW Conversion Plans" written by Ted Barker and sold by the Ted Barker Experimental Engines, California, and the "BAC" refers to Broadley Aero Concepts (, which has sold their version of the VW conversion plans also. Both have published classified ads in magazines as Sport Aviation, Popular Mechanics and so on in 1960's and 1970's.

    My question is: does anybody out there happen to have one or both of these conversion plans available? It would be nice to know how my engine has been originally converted from a factory-new industrial engine to a reliable aircraft powerplant. What modifications has been made, what parts has been used, and so on.

    All information is useful. Thank you!

    Best regards,
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    Last edited by markus; 01-22-2019 at 07:25 AM.
    EAA member #1301674

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Post this question on this forum under the VW section. There are some very smart people on this forum. Pop's is one that comes to mind. His name is Dan.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jan 2019

    Thank you for your suggestion, I will try that forum also!

    Last edited by markus; 01-23-2019 at 02:36 AM.
    EAA member #1301674

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Sep 2011

    Vintage VW conversion plans

    Markus-- I don't think I'm an expert on VW conversions, but I owned one for 5 years and went through a pretty deep learning curve with it.

    Aircraft piston engines put a much heavier load on the forward crankshaft bearing (thrust bearing) than auto usage. To my knowledge, there is only one conversion company that addresses this issue: Revmaster in California. I was able to have this mod done on a new case I bought (I will elaborate below). I believe you can buy the over-sized bearing from Revmaster, and then have a machine shop carve out your case to make it fit.

    I learned ( and discovered it is fairly well known) that standard air-cooled VW engine cases have 3 persistent weak points: the web-bracing inside the accessory area (where the stator/alternator goes or where the car's transaxle would bolt on); the center journal for crankshaft bearing; and the vertical oil galley that is near the front right side of engine (in a tractor configuration). These areas WILL crack, and because of the aluminum/magnesium alloy, welding is very difficult. In the case of the oil galley, it's impossible.

    Enter AUTO LINNEA! Since Brazil has so many older VW's on the road, a company called Auto Linnea there has taken up the challenge, and met it well. They have a re-design of that case with all of the issues addressed. It's even got a domed center area so anyone wanting to put in a stroker crankshaft can drop it right in without shaving metal from the inside. I forget the name of the U.S. distributor, but easily found. $1,000 U.S.

    If you are contemplating a bunch of machine work and money on your older case, I highly suggest not throwing that money away on a case that will develop cracks in a few years. Like I did!

    Also, several companies now offer seriously upgraded heads for VW conversions. More fins, better positioned spark plug holes, stainless steel valves, your choice of compression ratio.
    Last edited by flyrgreen; 01-27-2019 at 11:59 PM.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    While I'm just a guy on the Internet, your aircraft is really light - four hundred pounds sitting, six hundred or so loaded, with a lot of wing.

    Before going crazy with a bunch of mods, you could go with a simple direct drive VW. Heck, get crazy and put a Diehl case in the back and get some electricity!

    VW's are just dead simple to build (even I can do it), and a quick look at Great Plains will show you that it's (relatively) inexpensive. Indeed, VW's are inexpensive enough to where if you have serious doubts about the one you have, buy a new one.

    If you don't want to do that, Valley Engineering (and Great Plains, for that matter) will happily assemble a VW ready to hang.

    IMHO, the folks that get into trouble with VW's are usually asking too much out of what it is. It's a fine engine for light aircraft, but some try to make it do more work than it needs to be asked of. For example, on my little Nieuport 11, I'm taking off with RPM's around 3K and cruising at around 2200. The engine isn't being taxed and hasn't had any problems.
    The opinions and statements of this poster are largely based on facts and portray a possible version of the actual events.

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