There has never been, nor is there legal grounds for a liability suit in selling an experimental aircraft, I have consulted an aviation attorney on this. Destroying a good airplane out of fear of liability is being ignorant of the facts.
There isn't anything "old" or "outdated" in the kits installed in either Trent's or Hal's engines. They are the same as the kit that I have as far as piston design is concerned. What could be considered "sub-standard" would be the use of the older 80 hp crankshaft. The older crankshafts had a different design wrist pin and rod bushings from the newer engines which has proven to be a weak spot when "hot-rodding" the engine. Combine this with case fretting/main bearing problems and crank failures are the result.
Edge performance now makes/sources their own big bore kits, having started by buying kits from Hal. I do not argue that they offer very high quality parts and engine assemblies. Also important to note, they assemble all of their 912 engines from brand new, "in the crate" engines from Rotax. Most of Hal's kits are "budget projects", fitted to used, much older engines which may or may not have been treated the best throughout their lives.
Yes, my big bore kit is the most "mild" version of the kits. It is the low compression version. I started with an early ('96 model) 80 HP engine. Since installing the kit, I have added the slipper clutch and changed the ratio in the gearbox to the 2.43:1 set. Since my engine is an early version with the lighter crankshaft and lacking the through bolts of the later engines, I wanted to keep it mild. Again, thus far I have been extremely happy with the engine and how it runs. Fretting of the case is a common issue with 912 engines. It is most commonly caused by lugging the engine, high manifold pressure with low rpm. This is why the new maintenance manuals all include a test to be done annually (100 hr) of rotational torque. This tests if the bearings are "pinching" the crank case. Trent had commented at one point that he thought the engine seemed "stiff" to him prior to the failure. If you look back at some of he's old videos, you will see he took his original engine (which was a mid-90's 80hp 912 case) to Hal's shop to fix an on-going oil leak issue. Hal exchanged to him a case he had in his shop. This new-used bottom end had very limited (if any) history documentation to it's condition and usage, but was known to have at least 1000+ hours. This case set was also from a older 80hp engine, as it lacked the more robust newer crankshaft assembly and through bolt improvements. It was then assembled with high compression cylinders and larger cam (creating even more case pressure) and turned out 120+ HP. IMO, failure was inevitable.
**RUMOR CONTROL** Trent and Hals engines were **NOT** Edge Performance kits. They were/are both Zipper Kits designed and produced by Hal.
Trent's engine failed due to case fretting and closing of the main bearing clearance. Hals engine failed at the wrist pin due to running in excess of 120 hp through a first generation STOCK 80 hp crank and rod assembly. The first gen cranks had inferior design bearings at the wrist and rod. I have over 400 hours on my Zipper with no problems. I know of several with over 1000 hours on them now. This is Rotax engineers throwing the aftermarket under the bus.
Allen there is nothing "wrong" with the early planes when they are properly maintained, operated and cared for. A light A model Avid even with a 503 in it, is an awesome performer! The newer models have more "refinements" that most people seek, but are not required to have an enjoyable little plane that is very affordable.
A dear friend of mine passed away recently. He had a Kitfox IV-1050 Speedster and this beautiful RV6. Another friend (and his son) bought the Kitfox. Here's a LINK to the ad for the RV on Barnstormers. It's a really nice IFR legal RV6 with a strong O320. We are looking to get $65k, serious inquiries only, so please no tire kickers or lookie-loos.
The plane is located in north central Wisconsin. If you're interested or maybe know someone who is looking for something like this let me know...