Archive for February, 2014

Parts prep

Friday, February 28th, 2014

I’ve had requests to show comparisons between the bad old internal parts of the Continental IO-470-LCK and the new ones being used in its replacement, a 260-hp Continental IO-470-N. Genesis Engines by D’Shannon is assembling the new engine as we speak, er, write, so it’s a good time to have a look. Genesis’ John Clegg put together some photos, which show the parts fairly clearly.

Clegg says that D’Shannon goes a step beyond standard practice when it comes to their engine buildups. This includes treating many internal parts with what’s known as a REM finish. “”Basically, it’s a deburring and hardening process that makes oil adhere better to gears and other moving parts,” he said. How can you tell if the parts have been REM-finished? They appear uniformly brighter.

Similarly, a process known as jet-coating is used on air-intakes. This is a heat treatment that helps prevent corrosion.

Gears, piston wrist pins and other components, old and new, side by side for comparison.

REM-finished gears, push rod tubes, rocker arms, pistons, connecting rods, wrist pins and other parts, old and new, side by side for comparison.

Jet-coated air intake manifold

Jet-coated air intake manifold, along with the new oil cooler in the background.

The Debonair's new ECi camshaft, resting in its crankcase journals. Cadmium plating gives the cam its golden appearance. Thanks again, ECi!

The Debonair’s new ECi camshaft, resting in its crankcase journals. Cadmium plating gives the cam its golden appearance. Thanks again, ECi!

That’s it for this Friday’s report. By this time next week the engine should be assembled and its first test run completed. In two weeks, the engine will be installed in the airplane and ready for first flight.

Rod-and-crankshaft action

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Rome wasn’t built in a day, the saying goes. And so it is with the Debonair’s engine upgrade. Right now, the pressure’s on to finish the job well in advance of Sun N’ Fun, so all you sweeps winners out there can see the latest improvements in person.

So where are we with the engine buildup? Most needed parts have been received, and that includes the new crankshaft and cylinder assemblies–as was reported a few weeks ago. The cylinders are from ECi, so thanks again to the folks there. Dawley Aviation of Burlington, Wisconsin is inspecting and modifying the exhaust components to fit on the new engine, Precision Hose Technology has come through with a new set of oil and fuel hoses, so thanks go out to Robert Williams for his help there.

Here are a couple of shots showing the connecting rods and crankshaft as they begin coming together at Genesis Engines by D’Shannon:

The six new ECi connecting rods being readied for installation.

The six new ECi connecting rods being readied for installation.

Putting one of the connecting rods on the crankshaft.

Putting one of the connecting rods on the crankshaft.

The plan is to ship the completed engine to Aero Engines of Winchester (Virginia) on March 10. It will take Aero Engines about three more days to install the engine in the airframe, attach the hoses, exhaust, and other components. So that makes it approximately March 14-15 when yours truly takes the new engine up for its first flight.

Sun N’ Fun runs from April 1-6 at the Lakeland (Florida) Linder Airport, but I like to get there earlier than that so the plane can be set up right after AOPA’s tent goes up. Right now I’m planning on getting there March 29 or so.

Stay tuned.

First Look: ECi Cylinders

Friday, February 7th, 2014

Time for another Friday report, Debonair fans!

This week saw the six new ECi cylinders delivered to Genesis Engines by D’Shannon, and the disassembly of the entire original engine. ECi’s account manager, Jim Ball (“JB”) explains that the new cylinders have dome-shaped combustion chambers, whereas the old cylinders have comparatively flat combustion chamber domes. This promotes the more efficient movement of the fuel/air mixture into the chamber, and the exhaust movement out. Here is a shot that shows one of the old, -K engine cylinder assemblies next to the new ECi cylinders:

Out with the old (left) and in with the new (right) cylinders

Out with the old (left) and in with the new (right) cylinders

Here’s another shot that shows the differences in the shapes of the combustion chamber domes. Notice the new valves in the -N cylinder head:

The -N cylinder head (right) is deeper than its predecessor. It's all shiny-new, too!

The -N cylinder head (right) is a tad deeper than its predecessor. It’s all shiny-new, too! The assemblies come with matching pistons (foreground). Notice how the -N cylinder’s valve seats are set at an angle; the -K valves are installed in a parallel arrangement.

Genesis is also providing new accessory-, oil pump-, and magneto drive gears:

Oil pump gears, old (left) and new. Notice the wear around the base of the old shaft.

Magneto drive gears, old (left) and new. Notice the wear around the base of the old shaft.

The crankcase for the -N engine is beefier than the old -K engine’s. It’s often called the “heavy case,” an example of which is shown below. How can you tell that it’s a heavy case?  Notice the “bumps” that surround the bolt holes along the top of the case in this shot of one half of the case assembly. The -K engine crankcases have flat-topped case halves:

The new, stronger crankcase. It's painted blue to match one of the paint scheme's color elements. In front of the case is a sample of one of the -N engine's exhaust stacks (the shiny one), which come with four holes to fit over the new engine's four mounting studs. Compare that to the -K engine's two-stud arrangement. Again, all of this makes for more strength to handle the extra horsepower.

An example of a “heavy case.” In front of the case is a sample of one of the -N engine’s exhaust stacks (the shiny one), which come with four holes to fit over the new engine’s four mounting studs. Compare that to the -K engine’s two-stud arrangement. Again, all of this makes for more strength to handle the extra horsepower and  provide extra durability.

What was discovered when the old engine was disassembled? There were signs of wear on the crankcase bearings, John Clegg said. “I don’t think it would have made it to TBO,” he added. So that’s confirmation enough for us: we made a good decision to go with an upgraded engine.

As always, stay tuned for more news as it happens. I’ll be away next week, but I’m betting that when I return, and as we close in on the end of February, this replacement engine will be well on its way to completion. We still have to obtain a new oil cooler, so that’s just one of the items on the punch list. Genesis won’t re-use the oil coolers of any engine that has experienced elevated levels of contaminants in the oil. The contaminants remain trapped in the old oil cooler, and would simply recirculate into the oil of the new engine.