Firewall Forward

Build Preparation
ECI Engine Build
Fuel Injection Install
P-Mag & E-Mag Install
Hangin' the Engine
Pre-Oiling the Engine



 Description of Task   Hours
2/22/08 Today I placed my order with Jesse at A.E.R.O., Inc. for my engine.  I ordered an ECI O-360-B1J2N with 7.2:1 low compression pistons.  The lower compression pistons will allow the engine to run on 89 octane fuel (regular unleaded).  Delivery will be in about 8 weeks.  I also ordered the remaining components for the Airflow Performance fuel injection engine.

According to ECI, the manufacturer of this engine kit, the engine is rated at 175 horsepower.  Craig Catto of Catto Props, who is building my prop, tells me that with the dual electronic ignition (P-Mag/E-Mag) the engine should produce a solid 180 hp.  Craig is pitching my prop for maximum cruise and at 2700 rpm top speed is calculated to be 205mph.  Not bad.

Engine Build Preparation

2/27/08 Today I received my engine stand from Aircraft Tool Supply Company.  Some assembly required.

I also received my "high-priced" propeller shaft oil seal install tool.  Don't ask me what it's for but my A&P/Co-engine builder, Terry, tells me we need one.

3/21/08 I got a box from A.E.R.O. which contained a bag of hardware, some oil filters, a fuel pump and three rattle cans of "Lycoming Gray" engine paint.  It also had a Technical Manual and a Parts Manual.

I also got my LORD engine mounts.  For my engine and aircraft I needed the J-9613-40 mounts.  These puppies aren't cheap but they are the best mounts made.


3/28/08 I received my Airflow Performance Fuel Injection system yesterday so I took some time to inventory the parts.  I am amazed at the quality if the machining of the servo and assorted parts.

6/18/08 Engine Arrives!

This evening I went over and picked up my ECI engine components from Jim Olson, who has been holding it until we got back from vacation.

6/19/08 Inventoried the engine parts.

Terry and I have set aside July 11-12 for the engine build. 

7/8/08 Set up and ready to go.

  ECI Engine Build
7/10/08 This evening Terry and I got an early start.  We began by assembling the crank.

Next we installed the connecting rods.  Here you see we installed the nuts on backwards... After clarifying with ECI we corrected.


7/11/08 Next we installed the idler gear shaft as well as the timing gear shaft and safetied both.

Then we test fitted the main bearing and marked.

Here are the two case halves we cleaned and prepped for camshaft installation.

And after installing the tappets and the camshaft.

We then moved to installing the oil pump in the accessory case but had to stop after stripping a stud.  The ECI Hardware manual had the wrong torque value (204 in/lbs) whereas the Lycoming value is 150 in/lbs... ECI is shipping me a new accessory case and will be correcting the incorrect torque value in their manual.

We then installed the front seal on the crankshaft.  I engineered a 1x4 to act as a lever to hold the crank from turning while we slid the seal over the flywheel flange.

Lastly, we installed the front bearing on the crankshaft and placed the crank in the right case half.


7/16/08 Terry and I got back on the engine tonight.  We received the new accessory case.  We started by applying the Aviation Permatex on the case faces that will be joined and laid the double strands of silk thread on the right case half.

We then carefully laid the left case half onto the right half and tapped it with a rubber mallet until the cases were separated by a .025" gap.  We installed the bolts, washers and nuts around the perimeter of the case and finger-tightened.  We then installed the thru-bolts (4) using a block of hickory and a 2-lb hammer.  We then installed the engine on the stand and carefully torqued the case bolts as well as the thru-bolts.

We installed the nut under the tach drive and safety wired.

We safety wired the three nuts in the sump.


7/18/08 Terry and I re-checked the torque on the case bolts and moved on to installing the oil pump on the accessory case.

While I safety wired the oil pump, Terry installed the timing gear and idler gear.  We verified the timing was set to TDC.

We installed the vacuum pump bearing and gear and temporarily put the cover on the pad.  I will be installing an 8-amp alternator on this pad after the engine is installed on the plane.

Next, we installed the fuel pump and safety wired.

Finally, we installed the oil filter adapter but did not torque.  I am unsure if I will be needing an extension until the engine is installed on the plane.


7/19/08 Terry and I hit it early today and installed the oil pressure valve.

With all the accessory case items installed we felt we could that would not interfere when mounting on the plane, we were ready to install the cylinders.  While I cleaned and oiled, Terry verified ring gaps and we installed them starting with the #1 cylinder.

Two cylinders...


And finally, number four.

Next, we installed the sump but found we were short about five bolts.  Guess I will need to call Jesse at AERO on Monday.

While Terry worked on installing the hydraulic lifters, I installed the inter-cylinder baffles and alodined the pushrod tubes.

Pushrods installed as well as rocker arms.

And finally... A completed engine.

We have identified a number of various hardware items we still need in order to finish installing the electronic ignition as well as the fuel injection system.  Anyway, the engine is now ready to mount.  I still need to get the panel mounted and finish the majority of the wiring so I can install the top skin.  Then, I can install the landing gear.  Then I can mount the engine....

I will be jumping around a bit now but will be updating my status on the Home page.

  Fuel Injection System Install
7/20/08 Today I started piecing together the Airflow Performance Systems fuel injection system.  In order for the throttle body to bolt to the vertical sump, I first had to remove the studs.  The throttle body simply bolted right on.  It took a while to figure out the throttle and mixture brackets orientation but I prevailed. 

I also bolted on the fuel servo/purge valve assembly on top of the engine.


  P-Mag & E-Mag Install
7/24/08 Today I received the few sump bolts that were missing from the engine hardware and installed them and torqued to 96 in/lbs.  Next, I installed the mag gears on the P-Mag and E-Mag.  These gears are installed and the bolt has to be torqued.  I was surprised to see that the E-Mag Installation Guide failed to stipulate the proper torque value.  I was able to find the value of 180-300 in/lbs in the Lycoming Overhaul Manual.
7/25/08 I installed the mags using the Bendix-style clips sent to me by Jesse.  The nuts are torqued to 204 in/lbs.  Alignment is really unimportant with the mags as the timing is set later.

7/29/08 I had to call Vans today because I realized they had shipped me the wrong filtered air box for my AFP fuel injection system.  I was please to hear they will send me the correct component for my FAB and I can just send them back the piece I received.  All this for no charge!

I went ahead and removed the AL fitting for the oil pressure sender and replaced it with a steel restrictor fitting.  I also installed a fuel pump fitting on the outflow side as well as a steel restrictor fitting for the fuel pressure sender.

I also received my order from AERO today.  Jesse sent me a few extra cushioned clamps to help support the fuel injector lines as they "spider" out from the servo on top of the engine.  Lycoming has issued a SB on this to add extra clamps.  He also sent me a silicone grommet to install in the inter-cylinder baffle where the fuel line will be routed.  I also got an oil quick drain.

8/3/08 I removed the right inter-cylinder baffle and drilled a 1.0" hole in the center.  Next, I installed a silicon grommet over the fuel line and installed to the baffle.

I installed Adel clamps in order to secure the hoses.


  Hangin' the Engine
9/5/08 Today is the day.  I stopped by and borrowed an engine hoist from my friend Bill Martin.

I put a couple racks of ribs on the grill and loaded the fridge with beverages.  At 5:00pm, Jim & Bonnie Olsen, Jack Ryan and Stephen Thompson showed up and we set to work.  I highly recommend the Illustrated Guide to Hanging the Engine I found on Vans Airforce website.

The top two bolts went in fairly easily but the bottom two were more challenging.  The Guide was a great help here with suggestions to get the bolt holes lined up.

Anyways, an hour and a half later we had it installed.  I really appreciate all the help.

Time to eat!


9/6/08 This morning I had my Flight Review.  Vern Darley flew up from Peachtree City in a -9A (N160PW) and I was able to finally fly the model of plane I am building!  Needless to say, an hour and a half later I was elated with my choice of aircraft.

Later, I installed the correct number of washers on the engine mounts and installed the cotter pins.  I then installed the platenuts on the front and rear spinner bulkheads and primed.


  Pre-Oiling the Engine
1/11/09 Today, Terry came by to help me pre-oil the engine.  After having sat since we assembled it, I wanted to verify the oil pump works and push some oil through the galleys to help inhibit corrosion.  I added two quarts of Aeroshell 100 SAE 50 straight mineral oil and let it settle.  I then marked the dip stick.  I added two more quarts and marked it again.  I did the same for six quarts.  I bought an oil pressure gauge at AutoZone and hooked it up at the oil pressure sensor manifold.

I hooked up the battery with jumper cables, removed the spark plugs and hit the starter and let it whirl.  After 10 seconds there was no pressure.  I hit it again and the pressure began to climb.  After about 45 seconds the gauge registered 40 psi.  Good enough.  The engine is pre-oiled.

  Continued in Firewall Forward  

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