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Old 04-29-2019, 12:03 PM
gmcjetpilot's Avatar
gmcjetpilot gmcjetpilot is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 4,832
Default Viking Engines (Jan Eggenfellner)

I noticed Jan is back (since 2010 but I am slow) with Honda based conversions, but more for the lower speed end of the sport plane market.
Hummmm. I noticed the Wiki on Eggenfellner Arcraft has nothing about the Subaru business folding.

How did everyone make out with the FFW RV Subaru engines? Have they proven to be reliable, economical, good performance compared to a Lyc?

A Viking customers have had power loss for different reasons, electrical, PSRU to name two, and were followed by unhappy landings.
Missing pictures but the text points to chronic PSRU issues. Jan?
Read the video information text pop down... it spells it out.

Here is Jan explaining a recent off field incident, blaming electrical (while wearing a law firm tee-shirt, I find appropriate)

This is why I think Lycoming O-320 or O-360 (or IO with one Electronic ignition) is far simpler thus more reliable. Do Lycoming engines fail? Yep but not like this.
Raleigh, NC Area
RV-4, RV-7, ATP, CFII, MEI, 737/757/767

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Last edited by gmcjetpilot : 04-29-2019 at 12:16 PM.
Old 04-29-2019, 12:44 PM
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rv8ch rv8ch is offline
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: LSGY
Posts: 5,109
Default Viking

I suspect this thread will be deleted, but anyway.

I'm not the biggest "Jan fan" since I lost about 40k on my eggenfellner subaru, but my bad, I was an idiot, I don't blame anyone but myself.

That said, I think that if you use an electrically dependent engine you need to understand a bit about electricity. It seems that was the problem in the second video.

The first one seemed to be a guy that didn't understand the AF ratio he should have. 19:1 is pretty lean, and I am not surprised that the engine didn't like it very much.

If you are ready to invest the time, energy, and money in an alternative engine, it can work great as we've seen with a lot of conversions. If you don't have all three, and perhaps the introspection required to evaluate yourself, my advice would be to do it exactly as the kit supplier recommends. Just my $0.02.
Mickey Coggins
Old 04-29-2019, 01:15 PM
rv7charlie rv7charlie is offline
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Pocahontas MS
Posts: 3,869

It's a real shame, the never ending recurrence of this old theme of painting an entire concept with the same brush used to paint an obviously unethical vendor. Where would light aviation (including Van's) be without a snowmobile engine builder deciding that there could be an *alternative* to a small Lyc/Cont?

"is far simpler thus more reliable" sounds great, but cannot be logically supported. Pick virtually any car being sold this year, and compare its reliability to your car of choice built in 1960; obviously much simpler vehicles. Is an electronic engine controller simpler than a carb & a magneto?
Old 04-29-2019, 04:31 PM
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jcaplins jcaplins is offline
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Davis, CA, USA
Posts: 558

In my opinion the subaru package was oversold. "new" from Jan, It was no cheaper, not lighter, not as fuel efficient, not faster than a similar hp equipped Lycoming. And they weren't simply bolt on and go fly.

For those that purchased used the cost of entry was certainly a lot less than new and does make an appealing option. Most 'successful' conversions or modified packages from Jan are doing quite well with the understanding of what they have, how much work they put into it and what the limitations are.

I have a 2nd hand, Subaru 6 cylinder in my RV7.
Problems with the Jan eggenfellner package:
- Intake manifold is horribly inefficient.
- exhaust setup is most likely not efficient (I haven't done anything about this yet)
- cooling was not adequate
- radiator arrangement/position was not optimized for best drag/cooling ratio.
- gearbox issues.

Problems with the Subaru 6 cyl in general:
- Cast pistons: unable to run lean, therefore high fuel flow
- dual timing chains: lots of failure points.
- heavy

advantages of the 6 cyl:
- peak torque is around 4500 RPM. so, not running at max RPM of 6600 RPM (which is screamin' loud) or needing a turbo/supercharger.
- smooth
- sounds awesome from the ground (or so I'm told)

I seem to be burning more fuel than I should, but I can run 91 pump gas, with the cost compared to 100ll my cost per mile is about the same as a 180hp lycoming. I just have less range, and on a X-country where I have to buy 100ll, it's a loss.

Had Jan gone with a different gearbox with an offset (ie, Marcotte), he could have had the engine sitting a little lower, used a stock (the plastic one) intake manifold. Then spend a little more time with the exhaust, tested the radiator cooling and drag setup.... I think he would have had a lot happier customers. I would throw in forged pistons and upgraded valves as well.

The previous owner and now I've spent a lot of time sorting things out and I still have work to do, but for now I've still spent a lot less than a lycoming. In the long term I will switch and if I get a few hundred more hours out of the engine it will be as if I had a mid time engine that I let run out and replaced with new.

I wouldn't buy anything from Jan based on his history of abandoning his customers and using them as the initial testers. Don't bash the engines, just because of him.

(all of this is my opinion, It's worth what you paid for it)
Jeff Caplins
(started: Feb 2002 --> Completed: May 2016)

Last edited by jcaplins : 04-29-2019 at 04:38 PM.
Old 04-29-2019, 05:11 PM
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Sam Buchanan Sam Buchanan is offline
been here awhile
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: North Alabama
Posts: 4,676

It's hard to see how rehashing very old news is going to be productive. The problems with the vendor under discussion are well documented and widely circulated in the aviation community. It burns me as much as anyone to see naive builders get taken by unscrupulous vendors......but this thread isn't going to plow any new ground.

Thread not deleted but closed.
Sam Buchanan
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