AeroVee 2.1 – Jan ’22

January 9th – I dusted off the boxes holding all the engine parts and laid them out on the bench.

Included in the engine kit is a very detailed set of instructions and a CD with one of the Sonex guys going through the majority of a build. As I took advantage of the option to have my crankshaft components installed at the factory, one of the first steps for me was to clean up the crankcases. These are cast out of magnesium and I was a little surprised at how rough they were so I broke out various files, plus different grits of emory cloth, and set about tidying things up.

This kept me busy for a while, I wanted to have a reasonable surface but had to be careful not to scratch the machined areas where various components are mounted.

I am going to paint the engine block so the next step was to wash the whole thing down with Mineral Spirits and mask off ready for spraying. It took a couple of days to get everything done, I may have gone overboard here but better that, than have paint in places that would be difficult to clean off.

Many years ago I bought a whole box of foam ear plugs which I rarely used, but now I put them to use, blocking all the thread holes in the casting.

It’s silly cold in this part of the world right now, certainly not good for spraying paint outside, so I hung drop cloths all over the shop and sprayed the block with a high temperature paint designed for refinishing grills.

I left the heat on in the shop overnight to allow the paint to set up.

That’ll do.


With the block painted, it was time to start assembling components; first was torquing up the nut holding the propeller hub on, and bolting the timing gear to the camshaft.

The next task was assembling the pushrods. As new components, it could be assumed that tolerances are all good, but on reading up a little, it seemed like a good idea to check the clearance between the bearing faces. I used a clever trick with stuff called Plastigage. It is a very thin rod of wax that gets laid across the bearing surface, when the bolts are torqued up, the wax is squished and the width of that squish is indicative of the gap between the two surfaces.

When I took it apart to measure, the wax seemed too wide, it should be around .002 Inches.

I read up a little more about using this stuff, and mention was made of the need to keep the connecting rods from rotating as it will smear the wax. I built up a jig to hold the crankshaft in place, and tried again.

With clearances confirmed, I assembled the rest of the connecting rods.

Now I need somewhere to put this thing so I took all the masking tape off the case.

Then installed bearings and the cam lifters.

I then did an initial install of the crankshaft, ready to close up the case to check for any interference.

The lifters in the right side of the case tend to fall out when joining the two case halves, so to keep them in place, I used a trick I saw on the Assembly CD. I sanded down a couple of clothes pegs to fit inside the lifter tubes and then used some locking wire to hold them open. A bit of masking tape held them in place.

Then, with Kat to help me, I did the interference check; all was good.

Closed up, interference free.

Back to work tomorrow so I’ll post progress so far…