Chapter 23: The Engine


Engine Selection

The plans recommend an O-320D or O-360A series engine for lighter weight and because they fit within the cowls made by Featherlite.  These series of engines are hard to find because they are the most popular choice for homebuilders.  Good, used engine of these types don't stay on the market very long.  So, if you're going to buy used, the advice is to plan ahead and always be on the look-out.  Don't wait until you get to Chapter 23 to start looking.

Fortunately for me, I had my heart set on the IO-360 series engine.  I wanted the fuel injection and the extra 20 horsepower.  So I purchased an IO-360-A3B6D.  It's nowhere close to the recommended O-360 series.  It's 30 pounds heavier, so I'll have to have more nose ballast for solo flying.  It is wider and I'll have trouble getting a set of cowlings to fit.  But, the right deal came along at the right time.  So I snatched it up.

My engine is one of those "Call Lori" engines from Modworks.  "Call Lori" is in reference to the advertisements you used see in the Sport Aviation classifieds.  I don't think Modworks is in business anymore. however.  The engine, which was is perfect flying condition, was removed from a 1978 Mooney 20-J.  The Mooney owner simply traded up for a larger engine.  A Cozy builder in Florida bought the engine and had it rebuilt to zero-time by Dumont, a reputable, licensed Lycoming rebuilder.  In what can only be called a tragedy, the Cozy builder succumbed quickly to a cancer he didn't know he had.  His widow sold the engine, and that's how I ended up with it.  So I feel like a transplant patient who received someone else's heart.

The engine is a zero-time engine with a new top end.  It came with all the accessories, including the starter, alternator, dual-pack magnetos, and starter ring.  All I have to do is connect the fuel line and go.  But I'm replacing the starter and alternator with the B&C lightweight components.  I'm also removing the dual-pack mags and installing dual electronic ignition.

Here are some particulars:  

I reviewed the engine logbook before I bought the engine.  Unfortunately, the logbook really didn't say too much.  The engine has an acceptable ervice record with the exception that the #1 cylinder loses compression sooner than the others.  At 960 hours the engine was sent to DIVCO to repair a crack that developed on one of the crankcase bolt holes on the crankcase centerline between the #2 and #4 cylinders.  The #1 and #2 cylinders and the #1 piston were replaced at 1100 hrs.  There doesn't seem to be any evidence of a prop strike or engine damage.  So I believe the trade-in story.


Changing Sumps

I changed sumps from the A-sump that the engine came with to a C-sump.  As you can see from the pictures, in the A-sump configuration (pictured on the left) the intake pipes bend toward the prop as they enter the cylinders.  This causes the intake pipes closest to the prop to poke through my lower cowl.  In the C-sump configuration (pictured on the right), the pipes don't have the bend.  They enter straight and vertical.  Thus, the pipes clear my lower cowl!  Woohoo!  Now I don't have to do the major surgeries to add blisters and fairings to my lower cowl.  The C-sump also relocates the fuel servo toward the firewall.  The A-sump had the servo pointing toward the prop.  With the servo moved, I now have all kinds of room to mount the oil cooler aft of the oil pan!


So officially, my engine is now an IO-360-C3B6D experimental.


So, how did I get the C-sump?  I traded Aerosport Power for it.  They sent me the C-sump for my A-sump, which are VERY popular with the Van's RV crowd.



A-Sump Configuration


C-sump Configuration