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Why not a Continental IO-360?

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wsimpso1

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I have been looking for a used IO360 engine and there are not many Lyc's out there, but it seems there are more Continentals of the same displacement and for less money too. Is this a bad idea? Why would this not be a good idea?

I am planning to IRAN the engine before flight anyway. This is not a kit, so I need to build my engine mount and cowling and cooling baffles and all that anyway. Are there reasons I really should avoid the Continental, and what are they?

Thanks in advance,

Billski
 

BBerson

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I don't know about that engine but I have owned A-75, O-200, O-300, GO-300.
I think the cranks are more brittle and break in a prop strike. That's about it.
The valves are cheaper, TBO is likely less but homebuilts don't fly much anyway.
Peter Garrison flew the Atlantic and Pacific with an old one from a wrecked Skymaster. Might ask him.
 

TFF

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They did have some problems originally. I’m sure they have been fixed. It is a heavier engine to the Lycoming. It’s actually not as plentiful, it’s just not getting sucked up by the RV crowd. It’s powered Mooneys and the original SR-20s. It will be smooth. It’s just going to be a little more complicated to install and parts if needed will not be as cheap as a Lycoming.
 

Chilton

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I have not worked on one in a very long time, (probably since I was an apprentice) but I dont remember them having any major issues, although as already said they are a little heavier and more complex than the Lycoming equivalent, but they are noticeably smoother running.
 

User27

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I had one in a 172 XP a few years ago, I really liked the engine.
Ensure you get a VAR crankshaft - there should be few non VAR cranks out there now. I can't remember how to identify, did they stamp a V on the prop flange? A new crank is really expensive and should be fitted if the case is split.
The Continental injection system is just different from the Bendix RSA, read the manual and ensure you get the correct fuel flow. The hot starting procedure is also different.
There are some very expensive parts, the starter and alternator drives come to mind.
The induction system kind of sucks! Because of its arrangement, from front to back with a common manifold that has short runners to each cylinder, the rear cylinders steal fuel from the fronts. Therefore the rears always run rich and the fronts lean. That is why GAMI injectors became popular - really beneficial on these engines.
They sound great and start much more easily than injected Lycs.
A little heavier than the equivalent Lyc, but much more smooth.
Avoid the turbo'ed variants unless you really need the turbo.

PS The 172XP engine is down rated to 195hp, but it is really a 210hp motor, just tweak up the governor.
 

Tommy222

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They are not a good idea, Continental has dropped them. As a non supported engine ,parts have gone thru the roof. There were lots of problems with them from A-Z. The O-300 seemed to do better but the rebuild cost is thru the roof. Around two years ago I rebuilt a 300 and had $25,000.00 in machining and parts no labor. Remember this is a six cylinder also. Last year I overhauled a O-360 Lycoming for around $8000.00. This really isn’t apples and oranges because the Lycoming was in better shape, which is more the point. Several years ago I was told by a person at Maule the using the O-360 Continental was the worse mistake they ever made. I could go on but the stories are the same.
 

Toobuilder

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I've flown them and worked on them but don't consider myself particularly educated. My experience with them was fine - they are a smooth running engine - but parts availability alone would probably drive me away from using one on a "serious" homebuilt like yours.
 

Twodeaddogs

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If you overheated them, they could split a cylinder around the joint in the head. I saw two in my time. I always thought they were a good engine (in Reims Rockets). The injection system is much simpler than the Lycoming version, by a country mile. I liked them and overhauled a few in my military service.
 

proppastie

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It’s powered Mooneys and the original SR-20s.
My Mooney has a Lycoming... But after 18 years of clogged injectors, and hot start problems I hope I never own another aircraft primitive injected engine. I would recommend the Lycoming 0-360 which has a carb.
 

Toobuilder

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Whatever engine he decides, the "as born with" fuel and ignition will be replaced with EFI, IIRC.

So discussion (I think) is limited to the basic architecture of the engine itself.

Please feel free to correct me Bill.

As for Bendix style injection, it certainly has its limitations, but I've been flying Lyc/Bendix exclusively for the last 16 years (across several different airplanes) and only clogged one injector and had only one failed start. Both instances were my fault.

There may be some really unique configurations that are legitimately hard to start, but mostly it comes down to technique and having an ear for it. The rote start sequence in the POH may not work in all cases, so you have to be able to understand what the engine is saying during the cranking event and react accordingly.
 
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Turd Ferguson

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Most homebuilders avoid them because of the 2 extra cylinders. Lot of one-off planes have used them. While cheaper up front, I think they are more expensive to maintain and o'haul because of more parts.
 

plncraze

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When I was an a&p Continentals with factory cylinders almost always had lower compression than the Lycomings. Continental has two service bulletins saying this is not an issue but it was different.
 

wsimpso1

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Toobuilder has it right. I am intending to do fuel and spark with SDS EFII. For a Lycoming, I was planning to run B&C starter and alternator in standard locations plus a standby alternator on the vacuum pump pad. It sounds like some of this may have to change...

Continental's website shows the IO-360 as a catalog item.

Differences from a Lycoming install seem to be:
  • Engine mounting system is a bed type;
  • Primary alternator and starter are geared install on rear of engine;
  • Intake manifold is on top of cylinders.
Many of the engines available are TSIO- versions, taking care of my concern for altitude. Any issues I should be concerned about there?

In the used market, many engines have suffered a prop strike. What are the usual issues in the Continental IO-360 after a prop strike? Teardown/IRAN before flight is part of the plan anyway, so this question largely becomes one of what to expect after the prop hits something...

My plan is to debug the airframe with a used well running base engine, then overhaul later.

Does this change any of the comments made already?

Billski
 

wsimpso1

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They are not a good idea, Continental has dropped them. As a non supported engine ,parts have gone thru the roof.
Hmm, Continental's webs site shows many versions of the IO-360 available, but not any of the O-300's. when you say "Continental has dropped them" are you saying the IO360 is also history?

Billski
 

BBerson

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Check the flange and also dye check the radius just outside the seal. Sometimes the crack can be seen with a magnifying glass. Try to price it low and assume the crank is cracked. Check the price of a used crank. The cam is on the bottom, so might be ok, just need a regrind or not.
These engines still run even when way beyond limits.
 

TFF

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The Mooney 231s had the Continental turbo. Then they stepped up to the 550s. It’s a versatile airframe. 150 hp to 280.
 

pictsidhe

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As I understand it, this is Ford vs Chevy debate. Each has their pros and cons. Both have ardent supporters and detractors...
 
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