The RV Journal

An RV Engine Story

by Jim Harchanko (RV-7A)

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In late February 2002, I began my search for a Lycoming O-360 engine for my RV-7A. Used O-360 engines are scarce due to their popularity in RV’s. A new engine from Van’s Aircraft would cost about $23K, thus it appeared that a search for a used engine might be worthwhile. In checking around, I followed up a lead from Jeff Crabb and Harold McMurran. Jeff referred me to Aero Engines (Tom Schwartz) at 615 Airport Rd., #101; Winchester, VA; 1-540-678-1661. Tom Schwartz had an engine that was scheduled to be removed from a 1972 Cherokee with 1900 hours TT. It had just been purchased in Huntsville, AL and flown to Virginia. The price was 7K. It sounded like a great deal, so I called Harold McMurran (Southeastern Aircraft Rebuilders) to see if he had any knowledge of this engine. He did. It was the plane that sat unused outside his hangar at Madison County Executive for the last 12 years. He was rather amazed that the A&P mechanic who purchased the plane was able to make it to Virginia. So I kept looking. Tom Schwartz offered to assemble a Superior XP360 engine kit for $16.5K kit cost plus $800 labor (plus crating, shipping, and Alabama sales tax). This engine is supposed to be an improved equivalent of the Lycoming O-360, but is not certified. (Later, the Superior folks at Oshkosh 2002 said they no longer sell the kit to individuals although A&P’s might still be able to get the kit. The special Oshkosh price was quoted at $19,700 assembled and the regular price was quoted as $23K).

Harold McMurran referred me to White Industries so I checked them out on the internet. They had an IO-360 listed so I called for more information. It was listed for $4.5K but had a dubious history and some external damage. I told the fellow I was talking to (Rocky Strohl) that I really preferred an O-360 and he said they just got one in. It was being removed from the airplane and he would call me as soon as he had some information on it. The info subsequently provided was:

Senica (PA-24-180) prop strike engine (O-360-A1A), no external damage, no internal damage???? (this was established by the fact that the crankshaft turned with no audible clunks), Total Time Since New(Remanufactured 10/3/72)-3619 hours, Time Since Overhaul(4/15/88)-1422 hours, Time Since Top Overhaul-396 hours, oil screen OK, dial runout on crankshaft flange-0.003 with light corrosion, compression-73/73/74/74, cost- $8.5K. The price seemed somewhat high but I thought the option might exist for running the engine essentially as is for another 600 hours. Being a prop strike, it would have to be torn down for magnafluxing and dye-glo testing and Harold said the chances of a damaged crankshaft were about 10%. The engine was complete with generator, starter, prop governor, vacuum pump, and baffling. Thus, on march 7, 2002 it was a done deal and I had the engine shipped to Southeastern Aircraft Rebuilders at Hazel Green, Alabama where Leroy Trulson was available to oversee an owner assisted tear down/rebuild. My thought was to do the required inspections and reassemble as an experimental. Upon examining the cylinders, excessive wear was observed (twice the overhaul serviceable limit) and two of the pistons had exhaust blow-by on the side surface. In assessing the cost, I estimated an additional $1.5 to $2.0K might be required to get the engine recertified for 2000 hours. Thus, recertification was the route chosen and I took the following actions (with Leroy’s advisory help) directly with the indicated vendors:

Aircraft Specialties, 2716 N Sheridan Rd., Tulsa, OK 74115

Work Order: Magnaflux and dimensional check all steel parts, regrind, and recertify. Parts shipped were crankshaft, camshaft, eight cam followers, four piston pins, four connecting rods with bolts/nuts, four rod ends, three idler shafts, two magneto drive gears, one camshaft gear, and one crankshaft gear. Yellow tagged item returned were: (1) Four rods 74502 (serial number S 1221219-4)----each magnafluxed, rebushed and inspected in accordance with overhaul manual

(2) Crankshaft O360-A1A (serial number S128219-1)-----magnafluxed, inspected, polished rods and mains (.003), repair per S.I. 1111, renitride, cad plate/ baked flange, inspected and/or repaired per Lycoming SB 475 B excluding paragraph 6

(3)Camshaft 74166 (serial number S124219-2)-----Reconditioned and repaired in accordance with aircraft specialties FAA approved data and procedures (Camshaft is ground as required provided that the grinding does not go below the limits of the hardened surface. If it does, the cam is scrapped. After grinding, the surfaces are "Parkerized" or rehardened)

(4) Nine internal steel parts O360 (serial number 1221219-6)-----magnafluxed in accordance with overhaul manual

(5) Tackshaft 76121(serial number 3761)----magnetic particle inspection, pregrind, chrome plate per QQ-C-320B, finish grind to A/C spec drawing #1035

(6) Gear 61155 (serial number S1221219-3)----inspected and repaired per Lycoming SB 475 B excluding paragraph 6

DIVCO, 2806 N Sheridan Rd., Tulsa, OK 74115

Work Order: Check for cracks, dimensional check, recertify.

Parts shipped were crankcase halves. Yellow tagged item returned was crankcase O-360 (serial number 2701)----repaired and inspected in accordance with current FAA regulations, cut mating surfaces and resized bores to factory limits.

Brown Aviation, 1902 N Norwood, Tulsa, OK 74115

Work Order: Grind valve seats, check valve guides, chrome cylinders, recertify

Parts shipped were four stripped down cylinders. Four yellow tagged items returned were four cylinder stud assemblies, part number 74924, serial numbers 453, 454, 455, and 456-----Nu-chrome cylinders, rebored (we measured top .008 smaller diameter than bottom, consistant in all cylinders), exhaust studs (valve guides) and rocker bushing installed, repaired and inspected in accordance with FAA regulations.

The turnaround time with Aircraft Specialties and DIVCO was minimal, however the cylinders were out for rework a full three months. After two and a half months went by, I was on the phone daily but Brown Aviation seldom answers their phone. After a week went by with no answer, I faxed a memo stating the urgency of getting the airplane back in the air with a post script note saying that it would help if he would answer his phone. The next morning at 8 AM, Larry Brown answered the phone. The problem was with the chrome plating shops. At one time, Tulsa had 6 shops. Three of those shops had been shut down by EPA and the other three were being threatened with shutdown. (Dates on the paperwork subsequently substantiated that the problem was indeed in the chrome plating shops). Finally, the cylinders arrived and the overhaul/repair was quickly completed.

My time on this project was approximately three days for tear down, parts cleaning/painting, and packing/shipping. Another three days were used for assisting in assembly. Basically, Leroy allowed me to do everything that I wanted to and was capable of doing. The tear down was basically my task with periodic assistance from Leroy (such as separating the crankcase halves). Leroy assembled the engine and I assisted with such things as installing/torqueing bolts. This afforded me an opportunity to ask a lot of questions and learn every feature of the engine.

Things that I would do different include more question prior to purchase. The engine log book is a great source of information for revealing annual operating time. This engine had a fair recent history with 22 to 78 hours annual operating time for the last few years, but prior to that time, there were several years with only a few hours a year. This translates to corrosion. The cylinder wear is still a puzzle and suggests that the relatively recent top overhaul was not up to spec. The other area for questions pertain the accessories: generator vs. alternator, oil screen vs. filter, starter type (light weight?), mags (if Bendix, have the AD’s been complied with), prop governor, vacuum pump, baffling, and compliance with the oil pump AD. Fortunately, the Bendix mags had all the AD’s incorporated and were OK. The starter was OK but not the preferred lightweight. The generator is OK but again an alternator is preferred. An oil filter is preferred over the oil screen. The carburetor, vacuum pump, and prop governor are OK, or at least at this time, there is no compelling reason to overhaul these items. It is noted that the carburetor has a temperature sensor. The baffling appears to be new and in talking with Van’s technical folks, it should be adaptable to the RV.

New parts installed during the overhaul were: Air intake tube connecting hoses, oil return tube connecting hoses, pistons, piston rings, connecting rod nuts and bolts, crankshaft seal, crankshaft main bearings, connecting rod bearings, exhaust valves, flywheel ring gear, tachometer shaft, oil pump (for AD compliance), and gaskets. The most overpriced item was a connecting rod bolt at $40 each (the nut is extra). Next in line were the exhaust valves at $209 each. Fortunately, with chrome cylinders, chrome rings cannot be used---they are nearly 2 times more expensive than the cast iron rings ($422 vs.$179).

A summary of the costs follows:

Engine purchase $8,500

Crating 150

Shipping 262

Ship parts for repair and recertification 110

Repair and recertify steel parts 927

Repair and recertify crankcase 680

Repair and recertify cylinders 798

New parts(includes 10% shop overhead) 3,095

Labor (21.5 hours @ $35 per hour) 752

Paint, hose clamps, engine log book, weld oil return tube 44

Alabama Sales Tax (due April 2003) 340

Total engine and overhaul $15,658

Other costs:

Light weight starter 306

Oil filter adapter 230

Spark plugs 150

Alternator (35 amp with brackets from Van’s) 165

The engine overhaul was completed on July 10, 2002 with the following log book entry: " Total time in service 3619.43 Disassembled engine. Cleaned and inspected for repair/overhaul. Crankcase shipped to DIVCO for inspection and dimensional check repair order 79461. Crankshaft, cam shaft and all steel parts were checked by Aircraft Specalties and recertified R/O 1221219. All cylinders shipped to Brown Aviation for recertification as stud assemblies. Engine reassembled using the following parts. 4 ea pistons PN 75049. 8 ea SL74673A compression rings. 4 ea 73998 oil control rings 8 ea LW13521M03 rod bearings. 4 ea LW11021M3 center and rear main bearings. 2 ea LW13884M03 front main bearings. 8 ea SL75061 rod bolts and 8 ea LW12186 rod nuts. Replaced tach drive pin PN LW18667. Replaced oil pump impellers with 05K19423-S kit. Replaced exhaust valves PN SL19001A. Installed crankshaft seal LW13792. All work done as per Lycoming OH manual direct drive engine PN 60294-7. Engine bearings lubricated with Lubriplate. All new gaskets and seals kit SL75439-1. New intake hoses. Replaced starter ring gear PN SL72566. Shipping caps and plugs installed for short term storage. Signed Leroy A. Trulson A&P 4085007007IA. Note: see serviceable tags for other info."


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RV6 Home

Who is Sam? 
The Hangar 

Getting Ready to Build 
     Odd 'n Ends 

Building the Tail 
     Horz. Stab Log 
     Vert. Stab Log 
     Rudder Log 
     Elevator Log 

Building the Wings
     Wing Spars
     Wing Assembly
  Fuel Tanks

Building the Fuselage

The Finish Kit


  Flight of  Rediscovery 

  The Beat Goes On 

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