Continental IO-360

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Continental IO-360

Postby wa4jr » Tue Apr 29, 2003 2:59 am

After thinking that I had solved the "convert or not convert" question with regard to engines, my last trip to San Antonio has put me back in the "convert" camp. Time to climb to 6500' with full fuel, full bags, and two adults/two children was miserably excessive. Any climb beyond 6500' is pure torture and requires going well below the minimum 500 fpm benchmark or else doing a step climb. I have only once made it to 8500' with my family on board and consider this to be the ceiling of the aircraft as level peformance was a joke...especially in turbulence. With present performance of my O-300 powered 170B, any thought of travel in the western US is out of the question.

Neither do I want to put a Lycoming in my airplane. Don't care for the four cylinder design and all the problems Lycoming has had recently in their manufacturing process. My 170 came with a TCM engine using 6 jugs and I want it to stay that way. Only practical option ("practical")? is to go with the IO-360. I know it has been done, now I need to hear from those that have made this conversion. My O-300 is still in good condition with as much as 900 hours still on the clock, but I want to start the research/education process now and start looking for a good engine at a good price. I'll appreciate any guidance in this venture :)
John, 2734C in Summit Point, WV
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Postby gahorn » Tue Apr 29, 2003 4:44 am

Horsepower is always welcome! If I were to want more, the TCM IO-360 is what I'd do also. But some things to keep in mind is:
1. You'll have less endurance due to increased fuel conumption. (You may want to consider adding aux fuel tanks.
2. You'll have significantly better takeoff/climb but not as much gain in cruise speed.
3. You'll be a committed 100LL avgas user. The IO-360 is not approved for autogas.
4. You may have to relocate your battery aft of the baggage compartment to adjust the new Wt/Bal.

A 170 is very sensitive to weight. Over the years they gain a few pounds. (Don't we all?) If you can get rid of old wiring, old inoperative/obsolete radios, unneeded "junk" you've become accustomed to carrying under the rear seat that you've forgotten about,...you might be surprised to see a significant improvement in your rate of climb. Some 170's have empty wts nearly 200 lbs more than others, simply due to weight gains that have been allowed to accumulate. It makes a big difference on those high density altitude days, and it's a lot cheaper to put the ol' girl on a diet than give 'er a sex-change (high-testosterone engines.)

But I understand the desire. Like one of my buddies was once heard to remark,....(although specificaly he was referring to boats, ...the idea is the same.)
"Engines are like anchors and bilge pumps and bikini tops..... The bigger the better!" :P
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Postby zero.one.victor » Tue Apr 29, 2003 5:17 am

No offense to Dave,Dick,or anyone else who's done an engine-upgrade--and I do love 170's---but....
John: first,figure out what the engine conversion project would cost,be sure and talk to a few people who've done it to get a real-life figure. If ya hire it done,using a good lowtime engine & prop,my guess is somewhere in the neighborhood of $30K,maybe more. Second, estimate how much you could sell your 170 for. Third, add the two together. Fourth,get a copy of Trade a Plane--Cessna came up with the answer to your problem in 1953,it's called the 180.
:wink:

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Postby blueldr » Tue Apr 29, 2003 5:39 am

John.
Email me your phone number and a good time to call you and I'll call you and tell you all about converting to the continental IO-360 engine.

Dick Lemmon----blueldr@earthlink.net
BL
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Postby Dave Clark » Tue Apr 29, 2003 3:15 pm

Well having just returned from our first cross country test of the new 180 Lycoming conversion I can throw in my two cents. We went to LA from central AZ for a weekend visit to our daughters and her husband. About a 350 km trip each way. Loaded up with 55gallons of fuel (Javelin) and other bags we were probably just 100lbs below gross weight.

I used to believe that the 180 Lyc would be plenty of power for the airframe but now I can see some arguements for the IO-360. Climbing out of El Monte directly toward the nearby 8500+ high moutains at 10 degrees higher than standard we went from near sea level to 9500ft in 12 minutes or about an 800fpm climb rate at 24 squared. Just barely could avoid a deviation from straight line over the ridges. We leveled off Eastbound and saw 150 knots on the GPS for the first hour and then slowly dropped off for the remainder of the flight. The airplane feels like it would easily go to 15,000 ft. and has no problem at all maintaining 9500 through moderate sinkers and lift. There is no walllowing around like it did with the old engine at any altitude over 7500'. Our true a/s at 7500 to 9500 at 60-65% power is about 114 knots or about 14 knots faster than the old engine and burns 9 gph. That's a little less in miles per gallon than we got at 7500 with the old engine. It's a significant speed difference though especially in a headwind. Going over we had about a 10k headwind and yet groundspeed was maintained better than the old engine no wind.Yes it shakes a bit but not that much and you get used to it fast. The o-360 Lycoming has probably the best reputation for durability in its horsepower class. Some call it bulletproof.

Eric is right to look for a 180, especially now because prices are way down on planes in general and it's a very good buying opportunity. But if you like the feel of the lighter, more docile 170 like I do you'd like it a lot better with any horsepower increase. I also like burning 9gph instead of 11 or 12. And I like the Lycoming better. I feel I'll have a lot less cylinder work to do on it. Maybe you should look for one already converted as that's a lot cheaper than taking a good plane and adding the cost of a new conversion.
Dave
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Postby wa4jr » Wed Apr 30, 2003 3:33 am

All good points to ponder. I was indeed thinking that the numbers alone would indicate a C-180 to be a better way to go...but then it does use more fuel and I my price range would put me in the lower portion of the C-180 market...the area where you find the beaters and birds in need of a lot of TLC before loading up my family. After what I found with the "mother of all annuals" on my 170 this year, I would hate to buy a beater 180 and stand by it as it goes through it's first annual with me. The $4500 I spent on my first 170 annual to catch and repair all the things the other owners didn't has me really scared about making another airplane purchase. Converting my 170 means that I do not have to worry about the ADs or the condition of anything else for that matter...all I have to do is find a good engine.

As for the fuel burn, part of the reason of going to a higher HP engine is to quickly climb up to an efficient altitude where I can throttle back and get a fuel burn comparable to the O-300 slugging it out at high power settings at lower altitudes.

I've seen some IO-360s in TAP for fairly low prices. Trouble is I believe them to have prop strikes, but are advertised to be dial checked. A basic teardown for inspection purposes only should not cost too much as I will be doing it myself under the supervision of my IA in his shop as a project for my A&P practical experience requirements. This could be a really good educational project for me and produce a nice performing 170 that I can take into the western half of the US.

Now I just have to start working on the STC for autofuel in the IO-360. I'm assuming the high compression of the 360 would be the hurdle here.

BTW....am I the only one that is getting some really spooky links embedded in George's postings? Actually I LIKE where they took me, but changing gears from airplane thoughts to naughty thoughts caught me off guard 8O
John, 2734C in Summit Point, WV
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Postby funseventy » Wed Apr 30, 2003 11:43 pm

Look at the install time on the IO-360!! Yuck!
Look at the overhaul Cost!!

Now compare to the Franklin 220 that the Swift Group thinks is great.

Cheaper, easier install, no cowl modification, lower STC cost, More Power, New Engine. Wait a second. What was the comparison again? I forget. Ha, Ha!!

If I was going to change engines it'd have to be a deal on a used one, and I mean "DEAL". Or I'd be going back to a 180. I got out of the 180 because of my flight profile. Most of the time by my self, and short trips. The cost of up keep, and fuel consumption made my decision for me. Plus I'm no longer operating on floats.

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Postby rudymantel » Thu May 01, 2003 8:03 pm

Dave, actually, the 180 is even more docile than the 170.
As for the Continental IO-360, it's a lovely engine and in the Skymaster at least it's the easiest fuel injection engine to start when hot.
Just my $.02 worth-
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Postby Dave Clark » Fri May 02, 2003 1:47 pm

Well Rudy I've owned three 180s' and they are a great bird. What I like in the 170 is the lighter feel and the lack of required massive amounts of elevator trim with power and airspeed changes. My trim doesn't change a bit on the 170 from cruise to landing or didn't with the old engine. Now I have to make a small adjustment. But there is no huge amount of forward pressure required for a go around. I used to have a Champ and a 180 or for a while a 195. That would allow me to play with the little one and go somewhere with the big one. I find the 170 to be a great compromise as it can be and fly slow and simple like the champ at least before my conversion. Now there's more to mess with.

There is no perfect airplane.
Dave
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Postby rudymantel » Sat May 03, 2003 12:39 am

Dave, there's no perfect airplane but our 170's and 180's come close.
I too have owned three 180's and a 185 but never had the pleasure of flying a 195. I did operate a Stinson V-77 for a while, which was fun.
But that was long ago and now I enjoy my 170.
I hope you and all the guys will come to the Wilmington function in July-
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Cont 145 vs Lyc vs O360 vs Cessna 180

Postby Harold Holiman » Sat May 03, 2003 6:37 pm

I loved my 170A and although it was lacking in climb performance, it was a very smooth running and great flying plane. My next plane was a 172 with 150 hp Lycoming. It had about the same performance as my 170 but the engine was not near as smooth. (My wife talked me into that swap because she wanted a tricycle). A friend of mine had a 172 XP with the O-360 derated to 195 hp that I flew quite a bit. It was a very smooth running plane and had about the same, or slightly better, performance as the 172 with a 180hp Lycoming that I later had. The 180 hp Lycoming was not near as smooth running as the O-360. When I started looking for another plane, I was basicly looking for another 170A or B with either the 180 Lycoming, a O 360 Continental, or a Franklin, as I decided after owning the 180 hp 172, I would not be satisfied with the 145 hp. After looking for over a year, I finally bought a 1953 Cessna 180. (I call it my overgrown 170 with a funny tail). Generally speaking, the extra climb performance and speed makes it worth the extra fuel burn and maintenance costs. The older 180 costed about the same as some of the higher priced higher hp 170s. However, when I am just "burning holes in the sky with no particular place to go", I wish I had the lesser fuel burn of one of the mentioned conversion engines on a 170. For my personal choice for the 170, my first choice would be Continental O360 followed by the Franklin, then the Lycoming 180 hp. I would personally pick the Franklin over the Lycoming because of six vs four cylinders, but lots of folks would chose the Lycoming over the Franklin because of parts and service availability. Any of these make a great 170 even greater in my opinion. If I were just primarily local and short crosscountry flying, I would stick with a 170 with the Continental 145. I'll see ya'll in Wilmington in my "Overgrown 170 with the funny tail" 180.

Harold Holiman
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Postby Dave Clark » Sun May 04, 2003 1:01 pm

I heard that you can get the Franklin in an 8/1 or 8.5/1 compression ratio and 210? hp. That would end my objection to that engine. I had rebuilt a 220 Franklin for a Stinson 108-3 that I had for a short time. (bought unknowingly with a bad cam due to rust ). After my rebuild it was a great engine to fly behind with turbine like smoothness and LOTS of power. I sold it to get the 170 because I like the feel of Cessnas, better baggage room, it's outside all Summer and metal is better, and I didn't like the 10.5 to 1 compression ratio being an old round engine guy.

I think I'd look very seriously at the Franklin if I were to do a conversion from new parts. I wouldn't worry too much about the spare parts issue as I think they'll be around for some time to come. The guys up in Colorado are great to work with.
Dave
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Postby wa4jr » Tue May 13, 2003 3:34 am

Yes, as one of the other fellas said, it's going to have to be a real good deal for me to begin the conversion. This logic is driving me to a used IO-360. I'll even take one with a prop strike as in this case I will provide the labor to tear down, inspect, and rebuild under the supervision of my IA and use the project to satisfy part of my A&P practical experience requirements. BUT, I've been reading a lot about the new diesel engines coming on the market for under $20K. Initial price sounds good, and I like the ability to burn cheap diesel, but the refit in a 170 would probably be a nightmare especially since the engines are liquid cooled. Wonder how they did it in a C-182? At any rate, it is going to be a fun project in another two or three years. I'm also going to enjoy watching Lycoming and TCM start to sweat bullets as Superior enters the certificated aircraft piston engine market as well along with the European deisel engine makers! Hear those prices coming down....FINALLY :lol:
John, 2734C in Summit Point, WV
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Postby gahorn » Wed May 14, 2003 5:35 pm

(tongue-in-cheek)...And I'm sure a 4 cylinder diesel will have no vibration problems in a 170... :wink:
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Postby wa4jr » Mon May 21, 2007 2:07 am

Well here we are a few years later and I'm still sittin behind my trusty O-300A. Still wishin for more power for a respectable climb to 9500 or so. Was still considering a C180 right up until I heard of autogas causing problems with the fuel bladders. I am a dedicated mogas user when I can find it, although on my last trip through KY, I got 100LL for $3.15/gal which is less expensive than premium mogas....go figure :? I still want more power, and I still want to stay with the 170, and I still want to stay with Continental. So my question is has the IO-360 ever been granted a mogas STC? If not, why not? Is it a high compression engine or is it due to the fuel injection? Franklin is a long shot, I have heard nothing about them in the last few years. Are Franklins still being produced and if so, can they run on mogas? No sir, not going with a Lycoming....it's just not natural in a 170 and I don't want to hassle with all the crank problems and shoddy Lycoming service.
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