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Author: Subject:  Corvair & 2 speed auto for IRS Kombis
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posted on April 28th, 2010 at 04:47 PM
Corvair & 2 speed auto for IRS Kombis


Hi All, shortly I will be supplying 2.7 ltr Corvair motors with 2 speed powerglide transmissions that fit like a glove into any kombi with IRS suspension. Heaps of smooth power, no more tappet adjustments to worry about and No radiators!! these packages will be supplied as a fully fitted set up or as in kit form for the do it yourselfer. These horizontally opposed flat six engines take up less room than a type 4 pancake engine, stay tuned cheers Frank



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posted on April 28th, 2010 at 11:24 PM



I thought about trying to arrange something like this for my Kombi, six or seven years ago, when I was planning a new engine. I could only find a kit similar to this at the Clark's Corvair website - http://www.corvair.com/user-cgi/pages.cgi?category=vw  Out here in Australia, it all seemed too hard and too much $$ and I never proceeded with it.

Yes doing the combined engine/trans saves the problem of the reverse-rotation Corvair engine. In the old days the guys used to flip the ring gear in the VW trans, but that can't be done on an IRS Kombi gearbox. Therefore you either rebuild the Corvair with a 'reverse rotation' kit to make it turn the other way, or use the Chevy gearbox. I wonder how useful a two-speed auto gearbox in a heavy Kombi would be? I know that's what the Chevy Greenbrier van had, but I have a '63 road test that reports 32.2 sec for 0-60 mph and a 25 sec qtr mile for the Corvair van.

If I had lots of $$, I would try to use my Kombi's existing 3-speed auto gearbox, and fit a reverse-rotation freshly-built Corvair engine. Then again, I have only heard of Corvairs fitted to manual VW gearboxes (usually with Crown kits), not to Kombi 003 auto boxes. Dunno if that can be done.

Are you supplying fresh, rebuilt engines, or good used motors? Can you specify what year model Corvair? As you say, you wound want to avoid the early 1960-63 140-145 ci engines, and stick with the '64-67 164 ci (2.7 litres). This was available in four versions - the Standard (95hp), the Powerglide (110hp), the High Performance (140hp) and the Spyder turbo (180 hp). The basic engine left off the harmonic balancer, while the High performance had bigger valves and four carburettors. Turbo probably not a good idea for a Kombi. After '65 they had alternators instead of generators, better head sealing and a better enrichment system in the carbs, so I'd only want a '65 on HP engine. Compression is high, though, at 9.25:1. Better O-rings for the pushrod tubes are now available too (they are very similar to VW Type 4 tubes).

What are you doing for the heater, to match up with the Kombi channels and controls? What exhaust are you considering?

If the price is reasonable, it might be a goer for the next engine project.
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posted on April 28th, 2010 at 11:51 PM



Can you really get a kit so the engine goes the other way???

early Holdens and Falcons only had two speed automatics..
fordomatic and hydramatic ?

any pics of the Corvair engines??

I've always been interested in them, but thought all the engines and cars would have been scrapped by now..
after the Book... unsafe at any speed...

You see Corvairs occasionally on "Bewitched" TV shows..

I read where they were also oil droppers... lol

LEE




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posted on April 29th, 2010 at 12:55 AM



Hi and wow you have done your homework, I have built many reverse rotation corvair motors and have gone the extra step of re-grooving the crank journels to improve oil pick up with the opposite rotation. Reverse rotation motors mounted with an adaptor plate to VW trannies were the popular choice in my earlier days, standard rotation with a flopped vw crown wheel was also popular but early transmission failure was always a problem, you could flop the crown wheel in an IRS bus tranny but the reverse idler gear needed to machined to half its thickness to allow clearance of the flopped crown wheel, hence early reverse gear failure. fitting a fresh 2.7 ltr 110 HP motor with the 2 speed corvair powerglide tranny into a Kombi would surprise many with smooth power and sit on the speed limit with low rpm and climb hills and pass cars or going into a head wind becomes a problem of the past. If you wanted fast take offs, well play with the ratios or change tyre size. most parts in a corvair powerglide transmission are interchangeable with the millions of powerglide transmissions in most aussie cars. the early corvair rampsides (ute) & greenbier vans had the small 2.4 ltr engines with tiny valves and only produced 80 & 95 HP. never pursue an early corvair engine! the only engines I purchase have the engine number suffix ending in either "RX or RH" meaning that these motors came after 1965 were 2.7 litre with 110 hp, had non smog cylinder heads and were mounted with powerglide transmissions, my logic here is that the motors with auto trannies were not as flogged as a motor with a manual trans. The only 140 Hp I buy has the engine suffix ending in RN for the same reasons as the above mentioned motors. There is a bit of metal fabrication to plumb the corvair heater outlets to your VW, and an extension from your heater cables to the corvair heater flaps is all that is required to have good heating and yes all my motors are fully reconditioned by me and I only use Viton seals for the pushrod tubes as leaking tubes result in a burnt oil smell coming through your heater ducts. Another trick if you want to kick arse with a vair motor is to obtain two sets of Cima VW 92mm piston & barrell assemblies, modify 6 of these barrells to fit the corvair engine and now you have I think, around 3.2 litres. but in all seriousness, I think a stock factory 110HP or 140 HP are the best for those long trips around this great land of ours. In my younger days, yeah I loved sooping up the vairs for those wheel standing take offs, but soon tired of breaking things, maybe I am just getting old. I'd love to know where all those corvair powered kombis I converted in the early days have gone, any way, thanks for the lengthy reply cheers Frank



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posted on April 29th, 2010 at 01:08 AM



Hi Lee, yes you can buy a reverse rotation camshaft & distributor drive gear, then all that is required is to press the pistons off the con rods and re - install upside down, modify the oil baffle plate on top of the motor so that the oil doesnt get thrown into the crankcase breather, re- position your plug leads for the new firing order and thats basically it !! ready to go into your V-Dub ( with an adaptor plate) oh, and modify the oil grooves in the crank, but most early engines didnt get this done and they still worked but hey, improvements are what engine building is about , and dont forget, corvair engines have hydraulic lifters, yeah no more clacketty clacks and no more valve adjustments to worry about. I will see what pics I can come up with soon cheers Frank



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posted on April 29th, 2010 at 07:38 AM



I bought the 'How to Hot-Rod Corvairs' book by Bill Fisher years ago (he also wrote the How to Hot Rod VWs book) as I was interested enough to see if this was a possibility. I also bought the GM service manual (and yearly updates to '67) that are in my library alongside the VW manuals!

Yes I read that the Greenbrier was only the little 145 ci engine, so no wonder it was slow. My stock auto 2.0-litre Kombi is quicker than that! The HP four carb 164 ci engine is a different beast and it sounds like it would be OK in a Kombi with a Powerglide 2-speed. However I'd still like to keep my 3-speed VW auto - if the Corvair could be mated to it with drive plate and torque converter, of course.

The Corvair fan sits horizontally on top, like a Porsche 917 fan, and the aluminium blades are all vertical. It will therefore run backwards with no problem. Yes Corvairs could be oil drippers - but no more so than VWs. Type 4 Kombi pushrod tubes leak just as much if you use low-grade seals. Do it properly - no problem.

This is a good site that describes how a guy reconditioned and rebuilt a Corvair for a light aircraft application. Lots of photos, so you can see how the engine is designed and put together:

http://www.hainesengineering.com/rhaines/corvair.htm 
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posted on June 6th, 2010 at 02:04 PM



I have a book somewhere about turbocharging Corvairs :dork:

I was looking to use a corvair twin carb engine at one point but never followed through, would definitely be a good option.




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posted on June 9th, 2010 at 11:17 AM



Not trying to be too sceptical but a 2 speed auto with a 2.7L 6 banger would suck fuel like it was going out of style. How can you keep revs down at highway speeds with a 2 speed gearbox? Plus the high revs would surely kill the poor air cooled motor?

If it was geared the other way - how would you get moving on a hill start with a kombi full of people and camping gear on a big trip?

140HP is not that much.




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posted on June 9th, 2010 at 11:37 AM



Quote:
Originally posted by Scottkombi
Not trying to be too sceptical but a 2 speed auto with a 2.7L 6 banger would suck fuel like it was going out of style. How can you keep revs down at highway speeds with a 2 speed gearbox? Plus the high revs would surely kill the poor air cooled motor?

If it was geared the other way - how would you get moving on a hill start with a kombi full of people and camping gear on a big trip?

140HP is not that much.


I have wondered this as well.

The Corvairs I have driven, 2 different versions, 1 a 140hp(?) 4x carb in a bus and 1 a twin carb 110hp in a manx, not being rude but I thought they were gutless, a vw powerplant is lighter and can out perform the stock Corvair without too much effort. Obviously the hairdrier will help, but I would have concerns with heat in this country especially with that tranny.

It'll be interesting to see how it goes.




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posted on June 9th, 2010 at 12:04 PM



Plenty of weight being hauled around by these. Will go great in the Kombi. The 2 speed will be very similar to the Holden powerglide. So long as the motor has plenty of torque, it will do it easy.

http://alamedarides.com/chevy-corvair-van/ 

I remember some guys in Vic in the late 80's who were running a Corvair motor in their squareback. They kept on throwing fan belts because of the twist from the pulley up to the flat fan. Do you still find that being a problem?
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posted on June 9th, 2010 at 08:00 PM



The Powerglide is immensely strong and was often used in dragsters in early days and was modded to take 1500HP.

Have seen them used in very modded 6 & V8 Holdens.

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posted on June 10th, 2010 at 12:44 AM
corvairs in kombis


Okay folks, my main reason for fitting a factory stock 110HP 2.7ltr corvair with a 2 speed PG auto into a kombi van is to achieve smoother & better hwy driving characteristics, hills & head winds dont become an issue, sure with the 2 speed, you have a slower start and no tyre shredding performance, and sure, throw a heap of bucks at your vw engine & get it cranking, but reliability gets reduced and you find yourself spending more time with a 17mm spanner in your hands. All you younger generation folk want wheelstanding performance and dont worry, I was young once too, grinding the insides of 1600 crankcases for stroked cranks, monster cams that you could absale over, over sized barrell assemblies that didn't leave much meat for case savers, big valve heads etc etc. spent a fortune and sure, big ego trip but allways had to throw money at it. Why is it that vw crankcases & heads are allways cracking in kombis?, its because they are not suitable for hwy driving, how often do you find that you are driving at wide open throttle? nearly most of the time!! and its this that takes its toll on the poor vw engine. My logic of using the vair coupled up to its 2 speed auto does away with being restricted to the vw gear ratios, cruise the hwys on the speed limit with your pedal only half way, climb hills and not worry about back changing gears and hey you can even pass other vehicles with some degree of confidence!! As for fan belts, yeah they are a bit tricky, but if adjusted correctly they work good. Most inexperienced corvair owners "Over tighten their fan belts and that causes the belts to flip. When my 79 micro bus is completed and on the road, I invite anyone who owns a kombi to take it for a drive down the hwy and over some hills. cheers Frank



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posted on June 10th, 2010 at 11:11 PM



Still very sceptical - to me 2 speed = revving the nuts of it at highway speeds and not take off power with a yank built old technology low efficiency donk.

Not for me.




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posted on June 10th, 2010 at 11:42 PM



Life is full of decisions.

If your late bay bus has a stuffed 1700, 1800, 2000. Then consider your options, one more of which is now added.

Back to original style with a $4000-$5000 original style engine rebuilt. Giving an original 70hp, maybe go for a few extra hp. Original reliability as it was. Engine spare parts availability as per 70's VW. Fuel efficiency about 10litre per 100km. Standard bus transmission.

Subaru EJ series 2.2 litre with all mods and engineers report etc required. You will end up spending $8000 to $11000. Dont forget how many extras and adapters are required. 140hp with Japanese modern reliability, fuel injection etc. Engine spare parts as per common 90's Subaru. Fuel efficiency about 10litre per 100km. Preferred bus 2.0 litre transmission

Corvair 2.7 air cooled with powerglide. Price it up, it will need an engineers report. Giving about 110hp. Can always go for more power. Reliability of large air cooled. Engine spare parts are cheap USA 60's Corvair. Fuel efficiency I don't know?




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posted on June 11th, 2010 at 04:38 PM



Old Yank technology low efficency donk?, so do you say the same for old german technology 6 cylinder porsche engine? its old technology but NOT low efficency so why is the corvair low efficency? Only major difference being that the porsche has 6 individual cylinder heads where as the corvair only has two, most porsche engines run a pair of tripple down draft carbies, the 140hp corvair runs four but 2 are primary carbs for normal hwy driving, want to put the boot into it and the secondaries come into play and then fuel efficency becomes an issue, just like any engine, your foot dictates the consumption. The 110 hp only has the two carbs, hmmmm, 1700/1800 & 2 ltr VWs all have 2 carbies, oh similar in physical size too. Corvairs are a bit heavier but they dont need a radiator and they have hydraulic lifters, so regular tappet adjustments become a thing of the past. But hey, lets not let this get into a vw versus chev thing, everyone has preferences and what ever power plant you have in your pride and joy, as long as you enjoy it, nothing else matters.



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posted on October 14th, 2015 at 06:04 PM



Did you get any of these transmissions in ?

Would like to have a chat if you have a moment.

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posted on October 14th, 2015 at 08:06 PM



Don`t drink the cool-aid.Mike give me a call!


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