Continuing from the last post, I share who I chose for my aircraft engine overhaul and why, and I’ll tell you about a surprise twist from Lycoming that you’ll definitely want to know about if your engine rolled off the assembly line more than 36 years ago.
I got quotes from Penn-Yan New York, Zephyr in Florida, Air Power in PA, and Poplar Grove Airmotive in Illinois. All of these engine shops are nationally known for the quality of work they do. The differences between them is the type of work they do, the components/options that are available for owners to choose during the overhaul, logistics support, and their warranties.
I chose these 4 because I was familiar with three of them and wanted to keep it within logistical reach of New England where the airplane is located.
A factory rebuild (sometimes called a factory remanufacture) came in at $32k. That’s up by $4k since April. A factory rebuild is done by the factory or its authorized representative and uses new and used parts that meet new engine tolerances. You get a zero time engine as a result of that.
Factory and field overhauls came in at $28-29K which is also up by 4K or 16% since the quotes I got in April.
An field overhaul does the same work as a factory OH but it’s by an independent shop, or even your local A&P. You get more options with the field overhaul because you’re not restricted to factory authorized options. You get a zero time engine with a factory or field overhaul too.
The final option, and one that I wasn’t considering until it was brought to my attention by Poplar Grove Airmotive, is inspect and repair as needed. This kind of overhaul is self-explanatory. You keep what’s in good condition or can be repaired and replace what isn’t with new or used parts that meet factory specifications. Unlike an overhaul in which everything is replaced with zero-time components, my engine will retain it’s current 500 hour TSMOH (time since major overhaul).
Inspect and Repair as Needed (IRAN) $13,800, up from $12,000 in April. I went this option at Poplar Grove Airmotive because my engine has only 500 hours on it, the price starts at one-half the cost of an overhaul, and Poplar Grove brought this savings potential to my attention.
For an engine that sat for a while like mine did the parts that need to be replaced will be those affected by corrosion instead of wear. That means I don’t have to pay for new components like magnetos that were just serviced and my newly installed fuel pump.
If I were to get an overhaul with a zero time logbook entry I can’t have a fuel pump on the engine that has five hours on it. This applies to the accessories too. When you get an overhaul you’ll get a new starter, new alternator, etc. With inspect and repair I can keep what I currently have as long as it’s working properly. This is Mike Busch‘s maintenance philosophy. Mike is a well-known maintenance guru with many maintenance philosophy videos on YouTube. Watch some of his videos to learn how owners routine waste thousands of dollars on unnecessary airplane engine maintenance.
Inspect and Repair Risk/Reward
The $13,800 is the starting point. I might end up paying more if other issues are discovered but the worst case scenario is bumping it up to an overhaul so there’s no risk in starting out with inspect and repair as needed. In either case, the engine will come back with everything meeting factory specifications.
I’m planning to sell the airplane once the engines reinstalled. If I were a potential buyer shopping for a Warrior and it had 500 hours on the engine and was recently overhauled by a nationally recognized engine shop I would be perfectly satisfied with the engine. The less I pay for the engine overhaul the more likely I am to recover that expense upon sale of the airplane.
That only works with a nationally recognized shop. You and I would probably raise an eyebrow for the same work done by a mechanic we had never heard of.
In the course of my phone conversations AirPower I learned that Lycoming will not overhaul an engine over 36 years old, they’ll only do a factory rebuild. So if you’re thinking about a factory overhaul you’ll be nudged up to the next level, a rebuild.
What’s changed in the aircraft engine overhaul business?
Workload, parts shortages, price increases. When I first communicated with Steve at Poplar Grove Airmotive in April he had 90 engines in the queue. As of last week that was 114 with a turnaround time of 14 weeks. Some of this is caused by workload and some of it is caused by the current parts shortages.