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Pilottonny
07-13-2006, 05:44 AM
Hello fellow builders,

I just had a pleasant telephone conversation with the OEM-Manager from Thielert Aircraft engines.

He explained to me that Thielert will not sell their 135 HP diesel engine to individuals. They can only supply engines via the manufacturers (i.e. Cessna, Piper, etc.) Also for kit aircraft they would only sell if the kit manufacturer would develop a FWF-kit together with them. He told me that there have been contacts between Thielert and Vans in the past and that they are willing to work with Vans, but at the moment Vans have not taken it any further.

To develop an engine kit for the RV9 they would supply a dummy-engine and their expertise to Vans, who would have to develop an engine mount, cowl, etc. After that has been done, Thielert would change the dummy for an airworthy engine and do the testing and further setting-up together with Vans in The States. After the FWF-kit is finalized, which they reckon would take approx. Ĺ to ĺ year in total they would be able to supply complete engine kits, ready to install, within 4 weeks after ordering.

So, the only way we will be able to fly with a Thielert diesel in our RVís, is if we pressure Vans in getting together again with Thielert and develop the kit. Are there enough builders interested, who could persuade Vans to go through this procedure? Does anybody know if Vans is already talking to anybody else, regarding a Diesel FWF-kit? Wilksch is developing FWF-kits for their 120 HP and 160 HP Diesels on their own, but that will take some time yet before they are finished, I believe.

Regards, Tonny

Highflight
07-13-2006, 06:50 AM
I'm going to take a WAG and say that the cost of the Thielert is considerably more than any Lycoming or clone so Van's might be thinking that it violates their core philosophy of simple and inexpensive.

Still, it would be nice to have that option.

rv8ch
07-13-2006, 09:24 AM
Van's is very unlikely to invest the time, energy, and money into developing a FWF kit for the Thielert, or any alternative engine for that matter.

If you want diesel, the furthest along now seems to be the Wilksch(UK).

rv6ejguy
07-13-2006, 09:49 AM
I hope Van's would consider this as a step towards the future and something different but the 1.7 is much heavier than an O-320, likely much more expensive and down 25 hp at SL to boot at present. Not too attractive for most RV9 owners I wouldn't think.

control
07-13-2006, 10:23 AM
In Europe, I'm sure a combination of Thielert / RV9 would be an instant success.

rv8ch
07-13-2006, 10:25 AM
In Europe, I'm sure a combination of Thielert / RV9 would be an instant success.I'm in Europe, too, and I'm not so sure. :) I agree that a good diesel alternative would be great, but I'm not sure the Thielert is the right solution. BTW, since avgas is so cheap in Sweden, why do you want a diesel? Is diesel/jet-a even cheaper?

Pilottonny
07-13-2006, 11:16 AM
OK, although Thielert have 1700 engines flying, I know that Wilksch is well on the way to get there first with the WAM120 in an RV9. Also they are trying to get the WAM160 on the way, which would even be better (maybe even to fast, at altitude, for the RV9 with the turbo ??)

In Belgium Avgas currently costs around 2,00 EUR/ltr (appr. $ 9,-/gal) and JetA1 somewhere around 0,60 EUR/ltr.(appr. $ 2,80/gal.) With a fuelburn approx. 20% less than Avgas, the savings will be something like 75% !!! You can undertand that Avgas is no longer an option. Who cares that the engine is more expensive than a Lycoming? You get that back in 500 hours or so, but on top of that you will get: Diesel power with lots of torque (135 HP is more than enough for the RV9 and will be similar to the 160 HP Lycoming due to the higher torque), vibration free operation, FADEC, single lever operation, no shock cooling, no carb ice, easy starting under any condition, turbo power (more power at altitude than a 160 HP Lycoming), 2400 hrs guarantied, electronic instruments with indication of %power and fuel-flow etc. included, safer and better cabin heating, longer range, etc. etc.

But,..... indead it looks like the only alternative will be the Wilksch, at least for the time being. I need an engine in one or two years time and they also look promissing! I am going to see them at the PFA-Ralley in Kemble (UK).

Regards, Tonny.

the_other_dougreeves
07-13-2006, 11:47 AM
I'm going to take a WAG and say that the cost of the Thielert is considerably more than any Lycoming or clone so Van's might be thinking that it violates their core philosophy of simple and inexpensive.

Still, it would be nice to have that option.
I'd agree. Thielert and others (e.g., Audi's LeMans winning R10) have shown that diesel technology is reliable, quiet, clean and does not have a huge weight penalty compared to gasoline.

Cost will drive the adoption of diesel here in the US, and that will be driven by the issue will be the supply / demand for 100LL - supply (of TEL) is diminishing and demand isn't growing. IMHO, it will only be when 100LL costs ~ $2/gal more than Jet A that people will start to pay attention.

spooky212
07-13-2006, 12:17 PM
Hello all. I too have researched the Thielert Centurion 1.7 as a possible powerplant for my RV7 in a couple of years and have discounted it for 2 main reasons. First, there is no mechanical link between the control panel and the engine as I understand it. It is entirely through a dual channel FADEC control system and if you have an entire electrical failure or fire, the engine will quit, unlike most standard aircraft type air cooled engines. I've had a few severe electrical system failures / fires over the years requiring a complete shutdown (electrically) and although a nuisance, have not resulted in a deadstick landing. The main reason though is that Thielert will not authorize any overhauls of this engine. It will initially cost about 45000. US (26000. Euros) and after it has run out it's 2400 hours it's a throw away item. To replace it will cost about 36000. USD. At Arlington this last week I asked a Diamond aircraft rep about this and it seems to be a liability based issue from the Thielert factory.
As an aside, I hope the WAM engines work out as this may be a realistic option for me if a firewall fwd kit becomes available.

rv6ejguy
07-13-2006, 12:23 PM
[ Diesel power with lots of torque (135 HP is more than enough for the RV9 and will be similar to the 160 HP Lycoming due to the higher torque), vibration free operation, FADEC, single lever operation, no shock cooling, no carb ice, easy starting under any condition, turbo power (more power at altitude than a 160 HP Lycoming), 2400 hrs guarantied, electronic instruments with indication of %power and fuel-flow etc. included, safer and better cabin heating, longer range, etc. etc.

At 135hp, the torque is identical between the two engines. Hp is what motivates the machine (work). With the turbo, the Thielert would have the same power as the O-320 above 4000 feet or so. The other advantages listed are a plus. Weight is the biggie here. Indications are it would be 75-90 lbs. heavier than the O-320. The higher vibration of the diesel is solved through very soft engine mounts- I've looked at these on a Diamond twin- they are almost like goo but pilots report transmitted vibration is quite low.

There will always be a market for diesels in Europe where fuel prices are high but it will be small in North America for some time I think. Still, an interesting alternative...

control
07-13-2006, 12:41 PM
I'm in Europe, too, and I'm not so sure. :) I agree that a good diesel alternative would be great, but I'm not sure the Thielert is the right solution. BTW, since avgas is so cheap in Sweden, why do you want a diesel? Is diesel/jet-a even cheaper?

Because the days of reasonably prices avgas are probably numbered in Sweden and also, I fly to be able to visit the rest of Europe and I almost cry when I pull out my credit card at the pumps :mad:

Chewie65
08-29-2006, 08:20 PM
Hello all,
First post here. Being a potential RV -10 builder sometime this century..... I was excited to see the Thielbert. Even more so with their anouncement of a 230 hp version.

A friend of mine worked at Piper and saw their prototype and hear from pilots and engine folks that it was a smooth operating engine. I agree with Spooky, with out direct linkage to the engine throttle wise, what could the alternative form of control be? Is there a reg requiring a second throttle cable?

The idea of the engine being disposable is also disturbing, but in 12- 24 years when it comes up for an overhaul, who knows, Thielert could be wildly successful or gone..... Such as life.

On paper it looks great though!

Rotary10-RV
08-29-2006, 11:48 PM
You get that back in 500 hours or so, but on top of that you will get: Diesel power with lots of torque (135 HP is more than enough for the RV9 and will be similar to the 160 HP Lycoming due to the higher torque), vibration free operation, FADEC, single lever operation, no shock cooling, no carb ice, easy starting under any condition, turbo power (more power at altitude than a 160 HP Lycoming), 2400 hrs guarantied, electronic instruments with indication of %power and fuel-flow etc. included, safer and better cabin heating, longer range, etc. etc.[/font]

But,..... indead it looks like the only alternative will be the Wilksch, at least for the time being. I need an engine in one or two years time and they also look promissing! I am going to see them at the PFA-Ralley in Kemble (UK).

Regards, Tonny.


Just to be clear here, and understand this isn't intended to be a knock of the Thielert, the engine is based on a DB econobox diesel. It is no smoother than a gas engine, in fact probably worse than the gas engine they build on the same block. Diesel is no panacea. If you are fighting high fuel costs it certainly makes sense. I was on the Thielert e-mail list for a long time, but their refusal to sell to homebuilders direct is a worry. Diesels tend toward slightly more complication to get started. If they are ported engines they usually must have a supercharger to provide enough flow for starting. This is true of all the 2 cycle diesels Wilksch, Deltahawk. Just understand what you are getting into from the outset. You will need HP to fly! If your aircraft won't work with 135 HP don't think about the Thielert. In a car you can "gear up" and improve your position on the torque curve. In an airplane this isn't often possible, I know of only 1 aero engine with a 2 speed gearbox! That engine never went into production. An aircraft might swing a larger prop to match the RPM needs of a diesel, but often planes have ground clearance problems with the prop used on the original gasoline engine. High P-factor at takeoff is another thing to watch out for. Just a few things FYI.
Bill Jepson

LAMPSguy
04-19-2008, 08:21 PM
I also sent an email in to Vans and got the canned "we stick by Lycoming because that is what we designed it for...we always look at other options and respect any builders choice to experiment"

But the 135HP might be a moot point anyway. The 1.7 was based upon a Mercedes engine block...that engine model was upgraded, therefore the new one is 2.0 and 150 HP(although they are still calling it 135)...starting to come a little closer to what might be desired...and that would probably look like about 6.5 GPH.

They have the 4.0 with 350HP, but are "in development" of a 3.0 6 cyl engine with approx 200-230HP...that might be a nice little engine. This company isn't going away, certified diamond single and twin, cessna is certifying a 172 with one, etc. They are having a little of a cash flow prob right now and need some cash (like 85-ish million) to continue building to keep up with orders until the books are a little more balanced (need to recoup the development cost).

One great lesson here is I have nothing to do with this company...just call their investor relations hotline...they will spill the beans about plans for the future since they need investors!!! I just havn't taken the plunge yet!

CNEJR
04-19-2008, 09:21 PM
If you were one of the "Largest Lycoming Dealers" in the World, would you push alternatives? I wouldn't.

rv6ejguy
04-19-2008, 10:56 PM
I also sent an email in to Vans and got the canned "we stick by Lycoming because that is what we designed it for...we always look at other options and respect any builders choice to experiment"

But the 135HP might be a moot point anyway. The 1.7 was based upon a Mercedes engine block...that engine model was upgraded, therefore the new one is 2.0 and 150 HP(although they are still calling it 135)...starting to come a little closer to what might be desired...and that would probably look like about 6.5 GPH.

They have the 4.0 with 350HP, but are "in development" of a 3.0 6 cyl engine with approx 200-230HP...that might be a nice little engine. This company isn't going away, certified diamond single and twin, cessna is certifying a 172 with one, etc. They are having a little of a cash flow prob right now and need some cash (like 85-ish million) to continue building to keep up with orders until the books are a little more balanced (need to recoup the development cost).

One great lesson here is I have nothing to do with this company...just call their investor relations hotline...they will spill the beans about plans for the future since they need investors!!! I just havn't taken the plunge yet!

Until Thielert brings the cost and weight down and the HP and reliability up, I doubt if you will see these engines in RVs any time soon. I don't doubt they need investors after some recent acquisitions and the number of 1.7 engines they have replaced well before TBR. I wish them well for their vision and the need, especially in Europe, for good aero diesel engines but they have had a rough time to date. Cessna being on board will either save them or sink them, depending on how the 2.0 and 4.0 perform on the reliability front.

Rotary10-RV
04-22-2008, 12:43 PM
Just an FYI to all the diesel guys. Thielert has been having stock related troubles. Thielert himself has been forced out of the CEO position by the board of directors. There have been some durability issues but that wasn't the reason for the CEO ouster. Thielert has been successful in many other areas so I don't think this is a engineering issue.
Bill Jepson

frankh
04-22-2008, 12:55 PM
I'd agree. Thielert and others (e.g., Audi's LeMans winning R10) have shown that diesel technology is reliable, quiet, clean and does not have a huge weight penalty compared to gasoline.

Cost will drive the adoption of diesel here in the US, and that will be driven by the issue will be the supply / demand for 100LL - supply (of TEL) is diminishing and demand isn't growing. IMHO, it will only be when 100LL costs ~ $2/gal more than Jet A that people will start to pay attention.

And if ethanol free mogas (or the ETOH watered down stuff is proved to be OK) continues to be available then diesels would be a hard sell to the kit builder who does most of the flying around the patch.

Frank