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  1. #1
    canadagoose's Avatar
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    Saito FA-30 open rocker engine

    I just bought an old Saito FA-30 open rocker engine that has never been run and was wondering if others have had experience with this engine, good or bad? I was also wondering if the piston and ring from the new version will fit the old one. I heard that it might. I know that mine ( the older MKI version ) doesn't have a ring but just a small narrow groove cut into the piston about where a ring would be. Looks too narrow to be a groove for a ring though.
    I was going to use this engine on a small antique looking slow flyer but i don't know if i can bring myself to run it and risk having something break or get damaged. I think parts might be a tad hard to find for it.
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  2. #2
    FlyingPilgrim's Avatar
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    RE: Saito FA-30 open rocker engine

    If it were mine, I don't think I'd run it. I only say this because it has some collectors value, and once run, that diminishes. These are such beautiful pieces, I would display it on a stand. It will keep more of its value as long as it is not run. If you don't care about maintaining the value, I'm sure it will run great, and you could enjoy it as a working piece of art.
    I know just enough to be dangerous

  3. #3

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    RE: Saito FA-30 open rocker engine

    Goose:

    Looks real. Out it on a display stand and be proud of it.

    The early engines didn't have much power, and tended to blow the head gaskets.

    The piston you mentioned as having "Too narrow" a groove on it may have had a Dykes ring, if the outer diameter of the piston is cut back above the groove it's almost definite that it had a Dykes ring.

    Some of the later parts will fit your old 30, but the exposed fragile stuff will be a bear to replace. If you damage a rocker, or break one of the rocker brackets off you are done. As I said, display it, brag about it, but to fly get a later engine.

    Bill.
    Real Airplanes have Two Engines
    AMA 25139 - More than 40 years.

  4. #4

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    RE: Saito FA-30 open rocker engine

    I have had 2 of them. Understand that this is an old first generation engine and it will not develop much power I had my first one in a Pete-N-Pole semi scale parasol plane by House of Balsa. Fun engine run, don't expect much power . but it ran great. The educational value of demonstrating a Otto 4 cycle is fun. Muffler... not needed. For after run I would run the engine out dry of fuel then pull one pushrod and pull the lifter out and flood the crank case with MMO. Never a bearing problem.
    Sparky
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  5. #5
    canadagoose's Avatar
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    RE: Saito FA-30 open rocker engine

    The piston isn't cut back any above the groove. It's just a very narrow groove that has been cut around the piston about 1/8" - 3/16" below the crown. It almost looks like it might be there to capture and hold a small amount oil in it or something like that.
    Well i just bought a used Magnum 30 that will take the Saito's place in that slowflyer plane i will be building. I don't think i want to put the Saito engine into regular service, it's such a neat looking little jewel.

  6. #6
    canadagoose's Avatar
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    RE: Saito FA-30 open rocker engine

    Understand that this is an old first generation engine and it will not develop much power
    I wasn't expecting it to put out that much power, although i had a look at the cam timing and it is quite a bit more aggressive than the timing of my OS FS60 open rocker engine. I would think that the Saito would put out more hp/ci than the OS.
    The OS FS60 actually managed to get up enough thrust with the right prop, (APC 13x6 to be exact) to lift my 8 1/2# Flybaby on floats into the air.
    Curiosity just might get the better of me.

  7. #7

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    RE: Saito FA-30 open rocker engine

    Hello; I have a few open rocker engines, not a Saito 30 though, I would say run the engine, it's not an engine until it has run. As far as collector value goes, I don't buy anything for "collector value". I have an old open rocker Enya 40 that I recently found parts for in England (rocker adjuster and lock nut) I will put that engine in my 4 20, if it is too powerful, I'll put my HB 21 back in it and build a plane for it.

    I have a new Saito 30 in my Pixie bipe, I don't know the bore, or if the new piston and ring will work in your 30, but it seems to me that the reputation of the early Saito 30's was that they were a reliable capable engine, though not too powerful. The only early 30 I have seen has been used by it's owner for more then 20 years. It is on a Fournier glider like airplane that the owner flies on calm days. It starts with a quick flip and makes plenty of power for that plane. I ofered to buy the engine off the fellow, but he wouldn'[t part with it at any cost, not for it's collector value, but for it's ability to fly his plane.

  8. #8
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    RE: Saito FA-30 open rocker engine

    I just saw your engine and it's a beauty. I don't collect engines or planes as an investment. This engine should be kept and displayed for what it is.We all know thet any active plane it is put in will have an expiration date and time, we just won't know when it will be. If you want to display it, install in another old timer work of art. Than hang it up and enjoy. Just my 2 cents. Heck, it's yours-do what you want.
    Sunny_B

  9. #9
    canadagoose's Avatar
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    RE: Saito FA-30 open rocker engine

    As far as collector value goes, I don't buy anything for "collector value"
    I've never bought an engine before for it's "collector value" too. All my other engines are runners and I had bought this one with the intention of flying it. The way i like to display an engine has always been in the nose of a plane. The other Saito i have is an 80 that's about 15 years old with countless flights on it, and is still the best running engine i have. For now i think i'll just hold on to it and not run it, although i don't think that these older Saitos are that scarce yet. NIB examples usually fetch $200.00+ (US)
    I was thinking of trying to convert the used Magnum 30 4 stroke i bought but haven't recieved yet to an open rocker engine for use in the oldtimer by cutting off the rocker box an removing the push rod tubes. Hell i only piad $70 for it anyways.

  10. #10
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    RE: Saito FA-30 open rocker engine

    Hello Goose

    The Saito FA-30 MkI has an ABC cyl/piston setup.

    The enlarged Saito FA-40 that followed shortly afterwards has an AAC setup. Saito was one of the first companies to solve the problem of coating aluminum with chrome

    Clarence Lee gave a brief desctiption of the FA-30 Mk.I in his book "the R/C 4-stroke engine". You can read about it and several others of the early fourstrokes in his book. ItΒ΄s on sale now at RCM for $2.50 - a steal!

    http://www.rcmmagazine.com/e/env/000...book-sale.html


    I donΒ΄t have access to Peter ChinnΒ΄s tests for the FA-30, but the FA-40 Mk.I produced 0.59 bhp/lb and 1.15 bhp/cu in. (compared to 0.48 bhp/lb and 1.02 bhp/cu in. for the OS FS-60 Mk.I). Not that much of a difference, but the OS FS-60 is vastly more powerful of course (thereΒ΄s no substitution for cubic inches….)

    Saito recommended 10x4 to 10x6 props and regular 2-stroke fuel with castor oil and 5-30 % nitro.

    I have a couple of Saito FA-30Β΄s, but they are all Mk.2, with the forged steel rockers rather than the spindly cast alu type of the Mk.I

    I use 15-18 % full synthetic oil and 8% nitro. Both engines run sweetly and do 10.000 rpm on a Master black G/F 9x6 or a T/F Super-M wood 10x4.
    Safe idle is just under 3.000, and the sound is very pleasant with the simple straight exhaust pipe.

    I got both of mine used, second hand, and they seem hold up really well, the compression is great.
    One of the engines had no compression seal when I got it. This was due to a bent exhaust valve, no doubt caused by over-revving by the previous owner. After replacing the bent valve the engine was back in top shape.


    Send me a PM if you want a scan of the Saito instruction manual for the Saito


    Tomas H.
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  11. #11
    canadagoose's Avatar
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    RE: Saito FA-30 open rocker engine

    This engine should be kept and displayed for what it is.
    Well, these words helped me decide to run and fly the engine. What it is, is a model engine meant to provide enjoyment and for me that means running and flying it. I don't care that it depreciated monetarily. I just started the breakin following the instuctons that balsaworks scanned and sent to me that he still had for his Saito 30's. So far it has approx 20 min run time at a really rich setting that allowed the engine to turn 6000 rpm's. Still need 10-15 min more and then 20 min turning approx 8000 rpm's. I think this little motor is going to turn out to be one of my favorites, i plan on mounting it in an antique looking slow flying float plane. I'll just have to make sure that it won't be subjected to alot of spray, at least it shouldn't be injesting any dirt flying off water. This thing will have plenty of power for it.

  12. #12

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    RE: Saito FA-30 open rocker engine

    I bought a brand new enya 40 4 strk from Sheldons Hobbies earlier this year> I was quite surprised when I opened the box and it was an open rocker. no muffler but very quiet at an idle all you hear is a low put-put sound a little prop swish and the valve train as a very
    mild click Living in florida (sand) I will probably not put it in a plane I have a saito 40 and a couple of mag 30 4 strks in this size range
    It will be run several times a year (Ok shown off to my buddies) oiled and put back in the box martin
    *** I agree with Bill pick up a Mag or ASP little 4 stroke new or used and do not risk your "find"

  13. #13

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    RE: Saito FA-30 open rocker engine

    Hello Canada goose; Way to go. You did the right thing, exactly what I would do. I would fly it in my Pixie bipe, I have a new Saito 30 in there now. I really enjoy flying these older engines, and apperciate that other people enjoy it too.

  14. #14
    canadagoose's Avatar
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    RE: Saito FA-30 open rocker engine

    *** I agree with Bill pick up a Mag or ASP little 4 stroke new or used and do not risk your "find"
    I agree somewhat here too, but i would like to get it broken in and fly it occassionally. It's like imagine if you were old but felt really young inside but people didn't want to take you out and risk hurting you. Otherwise the used Mag 30 i have coming will power the bird the majority of the time especially when i take the floats off to fly the bird at our field which is a combination of grass moss weeds and dirt.

    dieseldan, that new open rocker Enya you bought, are they still making them or was it just a very limited run that's over now? It would be nice to see other manufacturers that have been producing engines for a long time making limited batches of they're older models like the open rocker engines.

  15. #15
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    RE: Saito FA-30 open rocker engine

    I also bought one of the Enya 40s. I haven't seen them on the website lately. I put mine on a Golberg cub, and was amazed at how well it runs and idles. I'm running an 11-6 on it. It pulls great and will idle endlessly even at 2000 rpm, you can count on it even with changing attitudes and G-forces. I have an 11oz tank in the Cub (it originally had a Saito 72 in it), and It will run 35 to 40 mins and still have a little fuel left. It has turned out to be a rewarding engine, far exceeding any expectations I ever had for it. Enjoy your 30, I think you will love it!

    Larsen
    Larsen
    AMA 93432, SPA 411

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    RE: Saito FA-30 open rocker engine

    You guys know these FA-30s. I have one that is just been broken in. It was bought in 1982. Old style rockers and everything. Does anyone know how to slow its idle speed though? The carb does not have an adjustment for this and the manual says nothing about it.

  17. #17

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    RE: Saito FA-30 open rocker engine

    Figured out the problem. I feel dumb! Guess that happens every now and then.

  18. #18

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    RE: Saito FA-30 open rocker engine

    canadagoose,

    are you still running this engine? how did it turn out for you?

    i just picked one of these up, a used one.

    txclouds

  19. #19

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    RE: Saito FA-30 open rocker engine

    Hey Texas, I picked one of these up last year on the Bay super cheap but it was seized. Turns out that it had been run on fuel with castor oil in it and it was just gummy from the residue. I cleaned it up and got it running. Mine came with the box, instructions, tools and after I looked a little further I found the stickers between the foam and the box. I have only run it twice. I'll take it out and run it once in a while just to hear it run and to watch it. It looks cool and sounds great. Here's a link to the video of it after I got it fired up for the first time .http://youtu.be/KU6brvM6LKY
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  20. #20

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    RE: Saito FA-30 open rocker engine



    hey, nice buy!

    Can I run a OS F glow plug in mine? The stock one is working fine, but who knows for how long.

    Is this fuel ok (it is what I run in my newer engines):

    15% Nitro PowerMaster Airplane 17% oil
    Synthetic / Castor Blend

    http://www.powermasterfuels.com/inde...&id=6&Itemid=8


  21. #21

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    RE: Saito FA-30 open rocker engine

    I think the "F" plug may be a little long and hit the piston but don't know for sure you may have to check. I think I have a regular 2 cycle plug in mine. As far as fuel goes I think you'll be fine. I run Wildcat Premium Xtra 15% nitro 18% castor/ synth blend oil in all of my Saitos and have no issues.

  22. #22
    Kmot's Avatar
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    RE: Saito FA-30 open rocker engine

    TC: An OS F plug will be fine. All I use is Powermaster 15% Sport Fuel, in my four strokes as well as two strokes. It is awesome fuel.

    On the old Mk.! open rockers, there is no lube that gets up to the rocker arm bosses, valve stems, and etc. I place a drop of light machine oil on all areas where there are moving bits from time to time.

    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulreUCHqlWg[/youtube]
    ~Tom~

  23. #23
    canadagoose's Avatar
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    RE: Saito FA-30 open rocker engine

    Hello TC, i did run and fly my Saito 30 in a plane about two dozen times. It runs very good. I took it out and have a Magnum 30 in the nose of that plane now. Since then i haven't flown it, i would like to build a better plane to mount it in. It sits on a shelf with my open rocker collection
    Here's a pic of my collection so far.
    From left to right: Magnum 91 (British), Saito 40, Merco 61 (Stebro conversion), Saito 30, Enya 40, OS 75, OS 60, there's another Saito 30 NIB behind the others in the box.
    My most prized one would be the Merco 61 as only 92 were made, it runs very good. The Saito 40 and OS 75 would be next. I have run all these engines except the NIB Saito 30 and they all run sweet!
    I also have the old OS 80 and OS 90 but they have enclosed rockers. They also run just as nice.
    There should be a Club "openrocker" thread.
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  24. #24
    Moderator w8ye's Avatar
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    RE: Saito FA-30 open rocker engine

    You could be the one to start such a thread?

    Start out by doing a review of each of your engines in separate posts in the "OPEN ROCKER FOUR STROKE THREAD"

    Be warned that some people have later engines that have had the rocker box milled off to make them open rocker engines.

    Others have one-off custom engines.
    Attended the CutFinger Institute of DirtNap University for years but never did graduate....
    Recipient, Mangledhand award August 2008
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    Original AMA #31261

  25. #25

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    RE: Saito FA-30 open rocker engine

    Nice collection of open rocker engines.


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