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  #1  
Old 05-08-2022, 10:16 AM
Nashpdman Nashpdman is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: Nashville
Posts: 54
Default RV10 engine build

I bought a IO-540-J4A5 narrow deck engine for my RV10 project. The engine was turbo charged (8.5:1 compression) in it former application but will run normally aspirated in the 10. The engine was a prop strike, (light strike if that's possible) so it must be torn down and inspected per the AD. The engine had 808hrs on it SMOH. This is the first aircraft engine I've worked on. I've built lots of automotive & diesel engines.

First impressions, these things are built like a tank, heavy like a diesel. Heavy rods, huge pistons, impressive! I see why they are capable of running at high H.P. demands for long periods. It appears I lucked up (mater of opinion) and got chromed cylinders. I like that the rings wear vs. the cylinders.

Everything will go out to be checked and inspected. I intend to go back with the standard, new rings, mains & rod bearings, and anything required by the AD. I will not be servicing any of the other rotating accessory as I will be using the EFI II system with an automotive alternator.

Questions that I've found different answers on. 1. Re-use the through bolts or replace? 2. Re-use the cylinder hold down nuts? 3. Go ahead and replace the pistons? (they're relatively cheap) 4. Chrome cylinders, how to prepare them for the new rings?

Please don't flame the new guy... I'm learning here and just looking for advice.

Thanks!
Mike
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  #2  
Old 05-08-2022, 02:27 PM
KatanaPilot KatanaPilot is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Locust Grove, GA
Posts: 814
Default Just an opinion...

You are correct - these engines are pretty robust and overall, pretty simple.

That being said, you and your passengers are depending on this one engine to get you safely and reliably to and from your destination. If it were me, I would send the engine to one of the well known engine shops and have it inspected, assembled and test run.

Given that you are going to be electrically dependent, I would rethink the use of an automotive alternator. I think a better choice would be one (preferably two) B&C externally regulated alternators.

Of course, this is experimental aviation and you can choose how you mitigate your risks.
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Krea Ellis

Locust Grove, GA
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  #3  
Old 05-08-2022, 04:24 PM
Ironflight's Avatar
Ironflight Ironflight is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Dayton, NV
Posts: 13,026
Default Find a Good Mentor…

You’re correct that these engines are pretty simple, but there are lots of little tips and tricks that aren’t in the manual, are often things you just wouldn’t think of, and aren’t quite like non-aero engines. If I had a nickel for every time the Lycoming school instructors said “now the trick here is….” I’d be able to buy a cup of Starbuck’s coffee…..

So….if you’ve never built up a Lycoming before, I’d suggest finding a mentor, someone that has done ti more than once. Doing in a vacuum, by yourself, leaves a good chance that you’ll do something (or fail to do something) that will give you an engine that leaks, or has some other problem. I’d start with an A&P you trust, or your local EAA chapter.

Paul
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  #4  
Old 05-08-2022, 04:36 PM
Kyle Boatright Kyle Boatright is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 4,886
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ironflight View Post

So….if you’ve never built up a Lycoming before, I’d suggest finding a mentor, someone that has done ti more than once. Doing in a vacuum, by yourself, leaves a good chance that you’ll do something (or fail to do something) that will give you an engine that leaks, or has some other problem. I’d start with an A&P you trust, or your local EAA chapter.

Paul
I agree with this sentiment. Find yourself a mentor, send the parts out, and once you get 'em back, go over everything with a fine tooth comb with your mentor. If he's happy, ask him to watch over your shoulder while you build the engine. At the end of the project, a day or two's pay for that experienced guy's time will seem like a minor expense.
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  #5  
Old 05-08-2022, 08:06 PM
Little Al Little Al is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Osage, Iowa
Posts: 39
Default

Definitely new threw bolts. I broke 6 of the 8 bolts off on a cylinder once. 2 bigger threw bolts and all 4 studs broke. Cylinder was really shaking around. Made lots of bad noises and oil was everywhere. I know of one other that did the same
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  #6  
Old 05-09-2022, 07:32 AM
lr172 lr172 is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Schaumburg, IL
Posts: 7,153
Default

I have reused cyl hold down nuts. If they pass a visual inspection, I don't believe they are a required or even recommended replacement. Let Divco or whoever is overhauling your case decide on the through bolts. They will inspect them and decide if replacement is necessary. Sometimes they need to ream the holes in the case to a larger bore and that will require an oversize through bolt. They are not torque to yield bolts and interval replacement is not required. I think divco replaced three of them on my 540. Not cheap.

Given that it is going out to a shop, I would just have the case and crank overhauled. About 1K for the case and half that for the crank. Probably not that much more than an inspection and the case will likely have cracking at the web and fretting at the joint if it didn't have sleeves installed. Then you have a fresh lower end that will likely last your life time and deal with the cylinders if/when necessary.

Larry
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Last edited by lr172 : 05-09-2022 at 07:39 AM.
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  #7  
Old 05-09-2022, 08:35 AM
Bill Boyd's Avatar
Bill Boyd Bill Boyd is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Landing field "12VA"
Posts: 1,860
Default

Agree here.

I got a freshly overhauled case from DIVCO as part of the engine core I purchased. The crank passed inspection and we started the build with a box of yellow-tagged parts, a new cam and six new cylinder assemblies. It was rewarding and confidence-building having an A&P with lots of 540's under his belt literally over my shoulder guiding me through each step of the assembly process, and worth it. Including core, inspections and reman of the case, the A&P's time and the new parts, I have about $25k in my engine (2019 prices) and quite happy with the return on investment versus new.

I would not recommend attempting this on your own when getting good help is so easy and relatively minor added expense.
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  #8  
Old 05-09-2022, 08:48 AM
Nashpdman Nashpdman is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: Nashville
Posts: 54
Default RV10 engine build

"Given that you are going to be electrically dependent, I would rethink the use of an automotive alternator. I think a better choice would be one (preferably two) B&C externally regulated alternators."

My plan is to have a main automotive alternator and a backup B&C shaft type alternator. I won't have any driven accessory so there will be slot open for it. Plane will have A/C.

"So….if you’ve never built up a Lycoming before, I’d suggest finding a mentor, someone that has done it more than once. Doing in a vacuum, by yourself, leaves a good chance that you’ll do something (or fail to do something) that will give you an engine that leaks, or has some other problem. I’d start with an A&P you trust, or your local EAA chapter."

Absolutely! I will seek the guidance the experienced! Like most of aviation, everyone is very helpful!

"I agree with this sentiment. Find yourself a mentor, send the parts out, and once you get 'em back, go over everything with a fine tooth comb with your mentor. If he's happy, ask him to watch over your shoulder while you build the engine. At the end of the project, a day or two's pay for that experienced guy's time will seem like a minor expense."

Agreed! I will gladly pay to have a second set of experienced eyes. But, I want to build it. It's kind of a pride thing, I wanna be able to say I did that...I grew up with a depression-era grandfather who always taught the old adage "teach me to fish". The next one I build will be easier.

"Definitely new threw bolts. I broke 6 of the 8 bolts off on a cylinder once. 2 bigger threw bolts and all 4 studs broke. Cylinder was really shaking around. Made lots of bad noises and oil was everywhere. I know of one other that did the same."

Wow! That's certainly food for thought! I'll lean on the machine shop for their inspection and recommendations. New bolts would make me feel better!

"I have reused cyl hold down nuts. If they pass a visual inspection, I don't believe they are a required or even recommended replacement."
"I would just have the case and crank overhauled."

Understood. I'll take all items with me to the machine shop for cleaning & inspection. Great advice on the "overhaul", especially if the cost is similar.


Thanks for the advice! I am soooo looking forward to the learning curve and experience of building this engine!! I live to build!! Thanks for the warnings too! I have no preconceived notions of the danger associated with this endeavor. I will learn, educate myself, and seek out those with knowledge during the process. LOVE Vansairforce, put up a post and get ideas and thoughts that would have never occurred to you otherwise!
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  #9  
Old 05-09-2022, 09:17 AM
rongawer rongawer is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Brentwood, CA
Posts: 921
Default

I've built my own engine several times, and I applaud your venture in this. Aside from all the mystery and fear surrounding "aircraft engines", a Lycoming 540 is essentially an expensive, high quality lawn mower engine.

They're pretty simple to build, but do have a few key points I've documented in other threads, with key points being that you should have your components OH'd by reputable vendors to certified standards...IMO. Also it requires adhering to torque specs and assembly instructions - so get a copy of the Lycoming OH manual and read it until you understand it.

The hardest part in the build is putting the crankshaft into the case and joining both halves - significantly the checks and torques that go along with that, so that's a good time to have expert help. Other than that, it's just assembling, using proper torque and understanding how fasteners work.

Don't let the fears of others dissuade you from pursuing your dreams. Just be smart about it.

Also, there is a bunch of Service Bulletins, Instructions and Notices, all freely available for download from Lycoming - you need to get all of them and read them. Much like playing golf, building a good engine is done in the preparation and planning.

As for fasteners, Mandatory Service Bulletin 240W clearly states to replace all stressed bolts and fasteners at OH. Anything that has been torqued, especially cylinder hold down bolts, rod bolts and crankcase through bolts - have been stretched. As an experimental builder, you are not required to adhere to service bulletins, but common sense says it's a smart thing to do.

Lastly, don't skimp or cut corners on your engine - save money somewhere else on the airplane. You wouldn't bargain shop for heart surgeon, so don't get cheap on the heart of your airplane either.
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  #10  
Old 05-09-2022, 09:25 AM
rongawer rongawer is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Brentwood, CA
Posts: 921
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nashpdman View Post
"Given that you are going to be electrically dependent, I would rethink the use of an automotive alternator. I think a better choice would be one (preferably two) B&C externally regulated alternators."

My plan is to have a main automotive alternator and a backup B&C shaft type alternator. I won't have any driven accessory so there will be slot open for it. Plane will have A/C.
I completely agree. I purchased a B&C LX60 for my main and their BC410-H for my gear driven backup. Two batteries and two alternators to keep that "heart" beating.

Separately, I have a brand new set of superior pistons and valve covers in the box; I'll make you a killer deal...
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