Q: Paul, I read your brief discussion on narrow versus wide deck Lycoming O-360s. While this is true, my need is perhaps a bit different.
I am building a Velocity and am approaching the engine phase of the project. The Velocity is a pusher configuration and it’s generally recommended to use an IO-360 or equivalent engine.
I have found a nice mid-time engine IO-360-A1B6 wide deck (900 hrs SMOH, no prop strike and good compression). I certainly like the 200 hp, fuel injected engine, but want to know any drawbacks or advantages to standard IO-360s.
A: Terry, maybe I can put a smile on your face and tell you that if the engine is as you described, it should be a real winner for your Velocity RG project.
All Lycoming engines may be installed either in a tractor or pusher configuration.
I can’t think of anything that would steer me away from using an engine like this, and there is no doubt the 200 hp will make it a rocket ship.
Let me just mention a few things that you might want to check before putting your money on the table.
With no known prop strike and good compression, you’re starting off with some good signs of a decent engine.
However, I’d suggest you check the actual calendar time or previous service life of the engine to be certain there were no extended periods of inactivity during its time in service.
It’s always a good thing to review the entire engine logbook to see just what kind of maintenance this engine had. Positive things like frequent operation and regular oil and filter changes are all good indicators that it has been well cared for in the past.
Also, check how many calendar months this engine has been in storage and what the environment was where it was stored.
My reasoning behind this is we want to make certain there is no internal corrosion in the cylinder barrels or elsewhere in the engine.
Since I don’t know why or how this engine was removed from service, I’d encourage you to remove and cut the oil filter can open and inspect the elements for any signs of contamination, and also inspect the oil suction screen in the oil sump for the same.
Let’s say after doing a borescope inspection we find indications of slight corrosion in the cylinders. Probably, in most cases, this situation could be corrected by removing the cylinders, having them honed at a good cylinder repair facility, and installing a new set of piston rings.
If the cylinders must be removed for this condition, it’ll provide an excellent opportunity for you to carefully inspect the camshaft for any corrosion too.
Of course should all of these things look good, the seller may demand a higher selling price, but if all looks good, go for it.
Some may say I’m going overboard in some of my recommendations, but I’ve seen and heard too many stories where people think they’ve found the perfect low time engine only to find out it had a checkered past with little or no real logbook history. Once you’ve paid the money it’s too late, and I hate to see anyone taken advantage of when their heart and soul is being put into probably the biggest undertaking of their lives.
Maybe the old carpenter’s rule of “measure twice, cut once” is really a great rule to follow when it comes to buying a used engine — check everything twice to avoid coming up short of what you expected.
Terry, I hope my thoughts regarding your project did not dampen your enthusiasm, but help you understand how to make a better decision regarding the purchase of any used engine. If this should all work out, I’m certain your Velocity RG will be one beautiful aircraft.