What is this?
Why Van's?
Why the -9A?

Right Elevator
Left Elevator

Spar Prep
More Tanks
Tanks Alot
Final Assembly

F-704 Bulkhead
F-705 Bulkhead
Center Section
Forward Section
Forward Assembly

Top Skins

Cabin Stuff

More Cabin Stuff

Cabin Plumbing
Panel Install
Firewall Stuff
Misc. Cabin Stuff
Slider Frame
Electrical Part 1
Electrical Part 2
Electrical Part 3
Emp. & Gear
Avionics 1
Avionics 2
More Misc.
Finishing Up

Firewall Forward
Engine Stuff 1
Engine Stuff 2

Final Steps
Moving to the Airport
Attaching the Wings

First Flight
First 10 Hours
Gear Fairings
Test Flying
Sun-N-Fun 2006
Spring 2006
Christmas 2006

Panel Planning
Panel Layout
Misc. Notes



Previous: Engine Considerations

Engine Decision Made

I finally decided that I didn't want to have to do the overhaul myself, and that I would feel better flying the plane if it was done professionally. The problem was that I really didn't get a good feeling from any of the overhaul companies I spoke with around here.


Before acquiring this engine I had planned to order an engine from AeroSport Power. One day I went to their website and noticed that they have a short list of engines they will overhaul. I called and talked to Sue at AeroSport and asked if they would work on my engine, and to my surprise she said yes. I was very excited to be able to turn my engine over to the experts at AeroSport.

Bart and Sue have been really helpful and patient with me, and I have enjoyed working with them so far.


One of the things I didn't like about some of the overhaul companies was the requirement for up-front payment. They wanted me to send them my engine so they could check it out, and they also wanted 50% of the overhaul fee up front, austensibly to purchase the parts. That didn't sit well with me, so when Sue told me that they only accept payment upon completion of the overhaul, I was duly impressed.

I crated up my engine as best I could, and AeroSport made arrangements with the freight company. There is customs to deal with since they are in Canada, but they handled the details without any issues. About a week after I shipped off the engine, I received word from Sue that they had received it successfully. She said they would let me know once they had torn the engine down and tested all the parts.

They proceeded to do all of the metallurgy and electromechanical mojo that tells them which parts of the engine are good and which ones need replacing. This took about 10 days, with the Easter holiday in the middle. Finally I got a call from Sue. She said they had gone over the engine thoroughly and had found a few things. Bart spoke to me about the details, and he suggested we replace the cylinders rather than try to have them reworked. This I was expecting. The crankshaft was good, but the camshaft needed to be reground. One of the pushrods had a crack in it. There were several ADs that had not been done to the engine. The case looked good, and they would be able to add the fuel pump as I requested. They also suggested going with a rebuilt carburetor.

I have also elected to do a few nice things to the engine. Instead of having two mags, I'm having them replace one mag with a Lightspeed Plasma II CDI electronic ignition. Also, I'm having them install 8.5-1 compression cylinders, which will make the engine produce 160 hp, and will also help fuel economy. These two modifications will allow the engine to run more smoothly, produce more power, and use less fuel. Bart claims I will save 1 gph with this setup compared to a stock Lycoming o-320.

Finally, when they're done they will put it on the test cell and run it.


* They are going to do all of the ADs.
* There's one connecting rod that was cracked.
* The camshaft needs to be reground.
* New Superior Millenium cylinders
* 160hp pistons (8.5 to 1 compression)
* Balancing of the engine components.
* One new Slick mag and new harness

* Lightspeed Plasma II electronic ignition (hall effect) in place of second mag.
* New rebuilt Precision carburetor.
* New fuel pump
* New SkyTec starter
* New paint
* Chrome valve covers
* Test run on the dynonometer
The engine will be back here in 2-3 weeks, so stay tuned.

4/8/05 - Update

Sue called me today and said that the engine was being test run. I asked her if she could send me a picture, and she was kind enough to send me five of them, including pictures of the engine being test run.

Nice and shiny! I can't wait to get it back and hang it on my plane!

Let me say that I totally recommend Aerosport to anyone needing an engine. They really have been great to deal with.


5/3/05 - The Engine is Here!

Today the engine arrived. I had been following it online using the tracking number that Sue had given me, but once it changed carriers I wasn't able to follow it. Finally yesterday I called and they said they could deliver it today, so I was all set. The driver remembered me from when he picked up the old engine. The truck had a liftgate, which made the whole process run really smoothly. He rolled it into my garage quite easily using a pallet jack. I quickly opened the box to take a look.


There are two "things" in the box. Something covered in plastic, and a white box. One of my sons said that he thought the engine had shrunk. I think it's because their crate is larger than the one I constructed. Theirs will probably hold a 540.

So, wasting no time, I quickly opened the plastic to peek at the engine. Mmmm...shiny.

Below is the before and after. The bags on top of the engine are filled with dessicant stuff to keep the moisture out.



Wow, what a difference! Everything is perfect. I had them paint the case grey but leave the cylinder heads the way they come from Superior. The bases of the cylinders are therefore black, and the fins are alodined, which makes for a nice contrast. Not that I'll be looking at the engine all that much, but I like cool looking things, and this is definitely cool looking. Maybe I'll build the cowl out of lexan so I can look at it all the time...

Here's the accessory case. It has the vacuum pump mount covered up, since I won't be using one of those. There is only one mag, because I have a Lightspeed electronic ignition that goes on the right side. I have a fixed pitch prop, so there is no prop govenor. We kept the spin-on oil filter. The fuel pump is new. There was no fuel pump on the old engine because it came from a high-wing Cessna (gravity fed) which doesn't require a fuel pump.

Right now I'm really glad I let someone else do this for me.


Here's the Sky-Tec starter. It's about 1/4 the size of the old starter, but it will turn the engine twice as fast. I will be ordering an alternator from B&C pretty soon. It will go on the other side of the case. It is also pretty small in comparison to the big ugly thing they removed.

Next, I opened up the white box. There's all sorts of goodies inside here. All of which I will need to install eventually.

Aerosport provided me with a new operator's manual from Lycoming. They also provided break-in instructions, as well as the instructions for my various options. My engine logbook is the same one that I sent them for this engine, and it contains an entry, as well as the results of the dyno test they did on the engine before they sent it to me.

As I said before, my engine will have one magneto with traditional aircraft spark plugs. So, here is a box of four spark plugs ready to roll.

They sent t-shirts! How did they know my wardrobe needed updating?! There's one for the pilot and one for the copilot.

The thing in the bag below is the carb. I decided to leave it in the bag for a while.


Here's the Lightspeed ignition "brain." For some reason I expected this thing to be bigger. What a nice surprise. I stuck a Mt. Dew can up in the picture to show the size. I should have no problem finding a location for this box behind the firewall.

All the cables and harness are included for the ignition, and there is also a hall-effect unit that goes where the right mag used to be.

Thanks Aerosport! One less thing to worry about. I can't wait to install it.

Next: Hanging the Engine