The engine choice has been on my mind ever since day 1 of starting the project. The cost of an engine is staggering so the immediate knee jerk response, for me at least, was to just get a mid-time engine and have it overhauled. Makes perfect sense that if a new engine is expensive and you can have an old one rebuilt to be just like new and save some money then why not, right?
Well, turns out its not so clear cut. In the end Brandi and I deliberated, researched, asked around, got quotes, and thought about it a lot before we decided on our engine choice. We choose to go with a factory new Lycoming XIO-540 from Vans. The reason we went with this choice is because of a few things and as I tried to convey, was not an easy decision to come to. Under different circumstances, a mid-time engine might be fine but for our mission it made sense to just have a few more payments and get a new engine.
Here is why we decided on a new XIO-540 instead of an overhauled engine:
- The cost savings were not huge. About 15-20% cost difference between new and overhauled
- We are not very knowledgeable of engines (yet) so our comfort level for risk and the unknown is zero to none
- We heard of some success stories but have also heard some horror stories from people we know with overhauled engines
- We intend to keep this airplane for many years to come so the long term reliability is important
- No worries of modifications to get different engine models to work with the Vans firewall forward kit/mount
- Peace of mind. If Brandi is happy then Brian is happy.
The new engines sold from Vans dont allow you to change out any parts and we wanted to have an electronic ignition so we're going to have to take out one magneto and hopefully install a P-Mag if they will ever release a 6 cylinder version for purchase. The P-Mag is suppose to be available 'any day now' but apparently thats been the story for a long time (years?!). Dont really have a backup plan yet because I really would prefer to do the p-mag so those suckers better be released soon. Other than the p-mag and a second alternator, we really arent straying from stock configuration at this time. I thought for sure we would put a remote oil filter mount on until I found out they are $500+. That can definitely wait/maybe never for that cost.
We ordered the engine a week or so ago and it should arrive in the next 30-60 days.