Lycoming 540 vs Continental 520/550

Discussion in 'Lycoming & Continental' started by Hangar24, Jan 14, 2018.

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  1. Jan 14, 2018 #1

    Hangar24

    Hangar24

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    I am new to the forum and I am seeking some information/help on choosing what motor to power an experimental Cessna clone amphibian that I am looking at possibly purchasing. Are there any members on the forum running a modified Ly-Con motor or a Victor Aviation rebuild? Between the two, which rebuilder would you choose and why? Have there been any issues when running the higher 10:1 compression on either motor? Are the ported/polished heads offered by Ly-Con worth the expense? Which motor is lighter? Currently the aircraft has a Continental IO-520D that needs a rebuild but it has the "light" case and I do not know what crankshaft it has so it will potentially cost more to rebuild...Also I have never flew or owned a Continental only Lycomings O-320 "experimental Pacer"and O-540 "Cessna 182RG" and I have been let down by them. I have the potential of purchasing a O-540-J1A5D from a Maule that was overhauled and I have been thinking about possibly having that tweaked by Ly-Con or Victor. Ly-Con is claiming that they can get 330-340hp when its converted to FI with the port/polish heads and Sky-Dynamics non aerobatic intake. Now I would like to have a higher powered motor 300+hp but....I do not want to jeapordize the motors reliability especially when flying into and out of lakes in Canada if I go ahead and buy this aircraft. Any help/info will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2018
  2. Jan 14, 2018 #2

    airplanegeek

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    nothing wrong at all with the 520. Rebuild by reputable shop, install new factory cylinders, make sure the baffling is in tip top shape and enjoy the ride. Don't overthink this.
     
  3. Jan 14, 2018 #3

    Morphewb

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    Both engines serve the same market but have nothing in common other than they just happen to be six cylinder engines. So many differences in fact that changing one engine for the other is virtually cost prohibitive unless you know going in that anything FWF on the original installation will almost certainly not be used in the new installation.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2018
  4. Jan 14, 2018 #4

    barchiola

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    imho, Lycoming makes a better, more reliable big 6 cylinder engine. Continentals make the power but the cylinders don't make it to TBO and once you get that in your head everything you do with it is like dancing on eggshells.

    regarding HP claims by rebuild shops, get as many first hand testimonials as you possibly can. a good friend did a supposed hp upgrade which was advertised in the ABS magazine to his Bonanza's IO-470 and it was dodgy in the end. his partner had to have it.
     
  5. Jan 14, 2018 #5

    Hangar24

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    The aircraft is essentially a 172N with 182 tail and wings. FWF the IO-520D is off of a 185 including the exhaust. I realize that Lycoming/Continental parts are not interchangeable and that a mount will need to be fabricated if changing over to a IO-540. I guess I am curious to know whether the Lycoming is a better engine for my type of aircraft or hope that the Continental is rebuildable. I also want to know if it is worth bumping up the CR to 10:1 and having the heads ported and polished on either the Continental or Lycoming. Thanks!
     
  6. Jan 14, 2018 #6

    Morphewb

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    deleted
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2018
  7. Jan 14, 2018 #7

    PittsDriver68

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    Speaking from having a SES rating I will suggest that there is no advantage to either engine over the other in the type of operations that seaplanes engage in. Floatplanes may be the one type of aircraft that has more drag than a biplane. Speed is not a priority and you typically don't make rapid power changes.

    Upping the compression shortens your engine life. And since the load carried by a seaplane is more a function of wing area than horsepower, spending $$ on trying to make more power from a known reliable powerplant has very limited returns for the time and $$ spent. Better to just bolt on a bigger engine, which is what most of the STC modifiers do. Replace the 520 with a 550. Horsepower gets you off the water more quickly. Upping the compression puts you back in the overhaul shop quicker.

    There is already an engine mount out there for the IO-520 and the IO-550 that fits the 182 firewall. One neighbor owns a 182 with the 520 conversion. Another owns a 180 with a 550 conversion. So go the easy route to save engineering and build time.

    Either LyCon or Victor can make you a reliable engine. LyCon will build you a grenade if you want where Victor will not.

    Best of luck,

    Wes
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2018
  8. Jan 14, 2018 #8

    AaronS

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    So it's essentially a 175.

    Nothing wrong with Continentals, and the newer jugs last just as long as the Lycoming ones. If Lycoming cylinders were so great we wouldn't have to do a wobble test on the valves.

    The airplane was designed around a Continental, I'd stick with that. There isn't a compelling enough reason to make the change.
     
  9. Jan 14, 2018 #9

    Hangar24

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    The cockpit area and the mount to fuselage points are from a 172 N model so a 182 mount won’t work. Right now it has a custom/modified 185 mount. I agree that there is no replacement for displacement. So I am leaning towards possibly a IO-540 or IO-550 build if the 520 is no good.
     
  10. Jan 14, 2018 #10

    barchiola

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    do you absolutely have to have that airframe? it sounds like, for the money you're about to spend, you might do better just buying something that is assembled and flying.
     
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  11. Jan 14, 2018 #11

    barchiola

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    spend any time shopping for a 180/182, bonanza, etc and you don't see many engines above about 1400 hrs that haven't been topped already.
     
  12. Jan 14, 2018 #12

    Hangar24

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    It’s already a proven aircraft and has flown on floats for years. It has extended wings and 88gal tanks. Empty weight 1750lbs Gross weight 3783lbs. So it’s a capable aircraft.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2018
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  13. Jan 14, 2018 #13

    cactusav8r

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    I will second that.. I have been looking for a 185, almost none make TBO without being topped.. The exception are the ones that are owned and operated by individuals. Taken care of...
     
  14. Jan 14, 2018 #14

    PittsDriver68

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    The big bore Continentals have a sweet spot in how they are operated. Run too cool and you get lead in the intake valve guides. Run to hot and you get carbon in the ring lands. Cape Air has a specific set of procedures for running their Continentals and they last a long time. But your average operator who has a range of pilots fly their Continental does cylinders.

    Best of luck,

    Wes
     
  15. Jan 15, 2018 #15

    barchiola

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    i'd be curious to find out what their special procedures are.
     
  16. Jan 15, 2018 #16

    Hangar24

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    Thanks for all the replies! Just wondering if the Millennium cylinders have eliminated the cracking issues that have plagued the Continental 520's? Does porting/polishing cylinder heads increase the chances of cylinder cracking? Is porting/polishing worth the expense? Also is it true that by increasing the compression ratio it will actually decrease the overall engines operating temperature because of the increased combustion efficiency? Or is it better to retain stock compression ratios? To me there seems to be more tuning options for the Lycoming "Sky-Dynamics" and also tuned exhausts rather than Continental. It also seems for what I have read that the Lycoming's are more forgiving to engine management than the Continentals which seems to require more finesse. Are my assumptions correct? Lastly if you had to choose an engine shop which one would you choose? My choices are between Victor and Ly-Con right now....Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2018
  17. Jan 15, 2018 #17

    PittsDriver68

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    "It’s already a proven aircraft and has flown on floats for years."

    Have you run this project by your local FSDO or a DAR? Once the airframe is a normal/utility category aircraft, and the parts are certificated parts, the FAA will not issue an airworthiness certificate in the Experimental Amateur Built category.

    You can go through the STC process to get mods approved, but that involves a lot of paperwork that most folks do not have the stamina for.

    Best of luck,

    Wes
     
  18. Jan 15, 2018 #18

    Hangar24

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    The aircraft is in Canada, so it is registered as an amateur-built. I also own an amateur-built Piper PA-20 Pacer too that was originally built by my father and subsequently rebuilt by myself. This is not common practice anymore. At my airport there are two other amateur-built 182's. One of the 182's has a twin turbo 520 mounted on amphib floats. It's really impressive to witness it.
     
  19. Jan 15, 2018 #19

    Larry Lyons

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    Seat of the pants flying, gotta love it!
     
  20. Jan 15, 2018 #20

    PittsDriver68

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    "The aircraft is in Canada"

    Ahhhh..... Canada rules are different in interesting ways. Peter might remember an aerobatic contest that was run under a 700' ceiling. Being used to US rules I was certain that it was not possible. But the Transport Canada monitor was standing right there saying nothing. Each of us launched, found a hole to climb on top, and when a bigger hole moved over the box, the Chief Judge called us in to fly our flight program. Then we went another direction to find a hole, descend, and return to the airport. I still shake my head at recalling that.

    Have fun with your project,

    Wes
     
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