Valley Engineering VWs: Engine Reliability, and Customer Service, 11 years later....
I just had the most incredible customer service experience of my entire life, and witnessed an engine that withstood a torture test that no warranty could ever cover.
I just had to post to let people know there are folks out there, in business, who are "in it" for the fun and joy, and to spread that joy - not solely to make a buck off a faceless schmuck...
The motor I purchased, a Valley Engineering 2276 cc VW, was #2 off of the assembly line, in 1996.
11 years, 2 sets of burned jugs, 110 hours, three owners, and 3 years sitting in a crate later....
I show up at the Valley Engineering / Culver Prop shop with the greasy old engine, and they welcomed me in like a long lost brother.
First of all, gotta say that Larry Smith and his family are some of the nicest people I have EVER met.
Valley Engineering / Culver props is a family run affair, with Larry, his father, mother, son, and daughter all working on the "Backyard Flyer", building 2276VWs, 1/2 VW's, and turning out some of the most beautiful props I have ever seen.
Neat, neat people, and they took me in as as a long lost friend. I worked in their shop for 5 hours today, and was absolutely floored by their hospitality. My Boxer companion, Gorbie, got to roam the shop while they helped me...
Larry, and his son, Grant, helped me pull the engine out of the crate, and looked it over completely. Here's what we found:
No oil cooler
Holley carb has an ear broken where the fast idle screw mounts
All 8 pushrod guides bent, 2 beyond repair (poor handling)
1 pushrod bent
2 bad sparkies
valve lash settings were incorrect
Larry and Grant did the following:
Checked compression, and all cylinders were above 125psi on three cranks.
Checked electronic ignition, coils, and wires
pre-oiled the motor by hand
Adjusted the valve lash on all the pushrods
replaced 2 sparkies
reamed out the pushrod guides
replaced one pushrod
double checked ignition system
Filled the engine with oil
turned the motor over until oil pressure showed
Hooked up gas to the motor
And got the engine running like a CHAMP...
It roared to life after only 3 turns of the crank. No exaggeration.
She popped once or twice, then ran like a scalded dog. When Larry let off the accelerator, it idled like it was a new engine. And the POWER and torque that engine produced...WOW.
ALL I CAN SAY IS IF THAT IS INDICATIVE OF THE RELIABILITY OF THE ENGINES THEY PRODUCE, THEN I MADE THE RIGHT CHOICE.
(And my hat is off to German Engineering for the original VW design and American Ingenuity for extracting 100 horses out of a modest aluminum air-cooled engine)
If you think the product is great, then listen to the customer service:
The Smith family fed me free sodas, gave me a tour of both the engine and prop shop (AWESOME prop making shop, and they do EXCELLENT work), and they loved on my dog all day.
I also asked a MILLION PLUS questions, and he (all three - Larry, Gene, and Grant ) patiently answered every one. I got a firehose of experience on VWs in 5 hours...I was taking notes so fast I fear I cannot read my own chicken scratch...
Basically, an AWESOME day. And this is just me dropping in, with one day notice that I would be by with an old engine he made...
So here's the kicker:
When I asked him what I owed him for his service, Larry kind of looked at me funny, and said that he was in the business of helping people get to fly, and that it he loved to help out. It was his pleasure to help get the old motor running again...
No charge for the labor, oil, sparkies, pushrod, sodas, and experience.
Can anyone top that??
Bottom line is that I would recommend anyone trying to decide on a brand of VW to put in their airplane or gyro, to put Valley Engineering at the TOP of their list...
VALLEY ENGINEERING LLC and the Smith Family
Tomorrow, I am going back to fix some other stuff on the motor, mostly cosmetic, and between now and then I have to figure out something to repay the kindness they all showed me.
LTC Spencer W. Robinson, Little Rock, AR
Initial Taxi Run Completed.
Double-bearing RFD head swap complete
Hydraulic pre-rotator design 100%, fabrication 50%.
90% done, 90% left....
Looks like you made the right choice. Tell them they are invited to our little fly in in April. We would love to have them. Don't have too much fun and we want ya back around here.
I think I am addicted to gyros.
I fly a RAF
PRA Chapter 6
that's exactly how Gene treated me when I met him at Oshkosh.........and I had a Revmaster........He spent all the time I wanted and then many phone calls after.
he is just a great guy.....
Their Backyard Flyer is a very impressive STOL aircraft! http://mandddomain.com/culver/videos...ke-off-100.wmv
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