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Mon, Aug 04, 2003

Wet Vacuum Pump Premieres at Oshkosh

Airwolf's Latest Has Advantages

"Are you old enough to know what that is?" asked John Kochy, at his Airwolf Filter Corp booth, outside the big hangar at Oshkosh. Being 52, and looking on that challenge as a... challenge, I replied, "Of course, that's a vacuum pump."

John said, "...a wet vacuum pump." Oil-bathed, in fact. "The dry pumps are designed to wear out -- that's the only way they can work, the only way they can seal," he explained. "A wet pump like this, runs in oil, and lasts a lot longer. We put a 2000 hour, 10-year warranty on these, when your engine uses an oil filter."

These units were so new, the literature hadn't arrived. "We plan on finishing certification by the end of the year," his daughter, Brandy, told us.

Wet vacuum pumps haven't been produced for decades; they had some disadvantages. For instance, it's engine oil that circulates through them. The pumps need clean oil; and old metallurgy didn't always stand up well to engine oil's usual pollutants.

What if your engine was built since, say, 1953? "Continentals and Lycomings still have the port," John explained. "They just have it blocked off. Just re-open it." It's a screw-in plug.

Why reintroduce these wet pumps, if they were discontinued due to lack of interest so long ago? "They're an improvement on existing art," John said. Lubrication, filtration, machining, and metallurgy have all improved measurably since wet pumps were displaced by the typical dry pups we all know.

Unlike a dry pump, too, the wet pumps don't have to go in any certain direction -- they're ambidextrous, so to speak. (If you turn a dry vacuum pump backwards -- that is, if you can turn it -- you'll wreck it in a moment.)

So, if you'd like to try the latest in ancient technology, all brought up to modern specs and carrying a marvelous warranty, get in touch with Airwolf, and with John and Brandy. The pump will sell for $1500.

FMI: www.airwolf.com

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