Van's Air Force - Western Canada Wing
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Western Canada Wing
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You Can Overhaul Your Engine

by Ken Beene
Burnsville, MN

I recently completed my engine overhaul.  I did all of the wrench work myself—my first overhaul of an airplane engine, although I have rebuilt a few Porsche engines.  The only special tools required were the cylinder flange wrenches (two at $15 each).  Anyone who can build an airplane should be able to overhaul the engine if they follow the overhaul and parts manual with applicable ADs and SBs.

I wanted an engine to put in the RV-6A and fly, then overhaul later.  I found this O-320-E3D engine through our Van’s Minnesota Wing.  The engine had 2,244 hours, and had never been opened (except the accessory cover for the oil pump AD).  Both mags had been replaced at 2,000 hrs.  It was running good, but metal was found in the filter during annual.  The owner replaced it with a salvaged engine, and I bought the core from the owner.

Upon teardown, the cam and lifters were found to be the problem, as is common for these engines.  It would have been possible to replaced the cam and lifters and fly it, as the plain steel cylinders were within service limits.  I decided to do a complete major, with an increase to 160 HP.  I followed the Lycoming recommendations for replacement and inspection of items for a major overhaul.
The total cost was $7,957.
Engine: (O-320-E3D, 2244 hrs)
subtotal $3500
Material and Parts
gasket set $101
silk thread $5
Hylomar $4
engine paint $15
main bearings $144
rod bearings $52
rod bolts $139
rod nuts $19
cam shaft (new) $525
cam followers (rebuilt) $152
pistons $145
piston pin $130
comp ring (8) Chrome $352
oil ring (4) $71
exhaust valves $676
valve keepers $37
exhaust valve caps $31
oil return hose $3
intake hose $11
oil pressure spring $12
crank bolt $15
crank dowel $18
crank plug $2
exhaust studs $17
exhaust guide $52
rod bushings $10
rocker bushings $20
exhaust valve guides $58
spark plugs $63
ignition harness $147
Oil Filter $11
subtotal 3037
Machine Work 
Clean & zyglo cylinders $156
replace & bore exhaust g $108
mill exhaust flanges $108
replace studs $80
grind .010 oversize & cr $276
grind seats, valves, lap $176
clean & zyglo case $92
bore check & insp. case $72
clean, mag.flx. & insp. $55
polish crank & install p $37
repl. crank gear dowel $68
rebush & line bore rods $84
rebush-bore-reface rock $108
subtotal $1420
Total $7957

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Van's Air Force Western Canada Wing is not affiliated in any way with Van's Aircraft Incorporated. Western Canada RVator is not a publication of Van's Aircraft or any other corporation. All products reviewed or mentioned are not necessarily recommended for use by RV builders, but are described for information only. All builder's tips are presented only as a source of information and a forum for exchange and the sharing of ideas and construction methods. No responsibility is assumed, expressed, or implied as to the suitability, accuracy, safety, or approval thereof. Any party using the suggestions, ideas, or examples does so at his or her own risk and discretion and without recourse against anyone. The members of Van's Air Force Western Canada Wing, the editor of the Western Canada RVator, and all authors and contributors are not responsible for any product or builder's tips misuse, incorrect construction, or design failure, nor any other peril.

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