Maintain your Better Half VW Engine

The Better half VW engines are easy to maintain.  I have one I have been flying for over 25 years. It still has good compression and runs very strong. Recently we ran a wood bar test on this engine, and it produced 30 hp. That I had been claiming it was.  This engine only has 92 mm cylinders. This is a mild hop-up and is the easiest to do.  Just bore the case and head to use 92 mm cylinders, leave the crank stock, and have a nice dependable engine that will last many years.

Of course, some maintenance is required when you finish your engine and start it for the first time. Run your engine for a few hours, drain the oil, and check for metal flakes.  If you find a few flakes, don’t panic. All engines make metal a little bit at first; just put in fresh oil and continue to run the engine chances are you won’t see any more metal flakes. I bought a new car recently, and there were instructions to run the engine slow for a few hundred miles.  All engines need to be broken in.

The VW engines are slow to break into, and they will turn over free and easily.

My engines don’t loosen up till I get about 50 hours on them. I always thought that honing the cylinders out a thousand or so would make them break in quicker, but I have never tried that.  

I change the oil every 25 hours or every six months, whichever comes first.  I use Shell Rotella oil.  And while you are changing the oil, check the valve clearance; I am setting mine at 10 thousand, yes, both valves.  Then check the point clearance along with the timing to be sure it’s still firing at the top dead center for starting.

Back to the valves, if you notice that the valve clearance is changing it may be a sign that the valves are sitting deeper in the head seats.  Monitor this more often.

This is also a good time to check the motor mounts.

Do a good preflight before EVERY flight! The Legal Eagles have a good record, and we need to keep that.    Happy flying, all.   

– Leonard