Is it possible to convert my engine?

Paul McBride, an expert on engines, retired after almost 40 years with Lycoming.

Q: I have a Lycoming O-360-A1F6D that was originally installed in a Cessna Cardinal. This engine has since been used in an Van’s RV-6 and I will be installing it into a Van’s RV-8. It does not have a magneto with it as the previous owner used electronic ignition. I have not settled on an ignition source but do not want to go back to the Bendix D4LN-2021 dual mag. I recently noted in a General Aviation News article that Teledyne (TCM), now the owner of the Bendix mags, has stopped support for the dual mag. Is it possible to remove the “D” on this engine configuration by changing accessory housing and gears? Maybe it’s possible but not economical?

DAVE PARADIS, Hubbard, Ore.

A: I really wish you had asked me a different question because I’m afraid my answer to this one is not going to make you a happy camper. Unfortunately, the cost to convert an O-360-A1F6D to an O-360-A1F6 would just be unreal in the field. Just for starters, the crankcase, the crankshaft and counterweight assemblies, in addition to the accessory housing, are all different from one model to the other. I’ve probably already ruined your day just by telling you this much, but let’s see if I can offer a way out for you.

There is an option offered by the Lycoming factory that may interest you and move you away from the dual magneto situation. The factory offers an exchange O-360-A1F6 (using two individual magnetos). It will normally accept an O-360-A1F6D in exchange for the aforementioned model with some pricing variances. As an example, the list price of a factory overhauled O-360-A1F6D verses that of an O-360-A1F6 is roughly about $2,500 higher.

There is a $3,500 charge anytime you exchange unlike models (which you would be doing). If you do the math, you’ll see that you can exchange your A1F6D model for what you really want for somewhere around $1,000, which I feel is a pretty good deal. I guess I can make that statement safely since it’s not my money being spent!

Realistically, I don’t think you could have your engine converted in the field for this kind of money considering the major components that would have to be changed to complete the conversion. And don’t forget, the factory engine also comes with all brand new cylinder assemblies and a great warranty, among other things that you may not get elsewhere.

Good luck.

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