Industry News

November 2009 Issue

Cylinder Replacements: Lycoming, ECI Are Tops

The entire cylinder market has been racked by ADs, bulletins and recalls. Lycomingís factory jugs have been standout performers.

One perennial rite of passage for aircraft owners is what to do about cylinders at overhaul. Whether weíre talking about top-end work on a mid-time engine, or one well past its published TBO, which cylinders to install can be a major decision. And itís not getting any easier. In fact, thereís an element of crisis in the cylinder business. Superior Air Parts was once a major supplier, but is gone from the scene. Continental and ECI have both suffered significant quality issues affecting thousands of cylinders. A recent AD impacts owners of existing Superior cylinders, rendering what was once the cream of the cylinder crop as one-run wonders. One way out of that morass, of course, is to buy a new or factory-rebuilt engine: youíll get factory jugs. But given Continentalís troubles, thatís no panacea, either. For those facing top-end work or an overhaul, the choices are more complex. And theyíve gotten even harder in recent years given the aforementioned ADs and bulletins. Lycoming owners have it a bit easier: There are no recent ADs against factory cylinders or those supplied by Superior. But anyone with an aftermarket cylinder or flying a Continental engine is probably feeling a little paranoid about all this. After the last three years of ADs, whatís going on? Canít anyone make a cylinder anymore? What do engine rebuilders recommend? And what should an owner do when itís time to replace one or all of an engineís jugs?

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