Some shops offer special processes with their engine overhaul to enhance performance or reliability
- Dynamic Balancing – Balancing a rotating part like a crankshaft (different from ‘static balancing’). Click here for a video explaining this option at 5:35. It’s kind of like getting your tires balanced after they shake your car on the highway.
- Nickel Plated Cylinders – It’s a corrosion/rust resistant treatment. Great for airplanes that sit for a month or more at times. Click here for some info.
- Porting – Click here for info on porting. Basically, it promises improved airflow in the intake and exhaust ports by removing some material and polishing the channels so you develop more power. There’s speculation whether this is safe and effective. Shops that do this include Ly-con Rebuilding (CA), Johnson (CA), Victor (CA), Performance Aircraft Powerplants (AR), and a few others. To my knowledge, this is not FAA approved so there may be some limitations on using this for certified aircraft.
- Cryogenic – Dunking your parts in liquid nitrogen may improve their reliability (yes I’m serious). Only three shops have this ability: Performance Aircraft Power Plants (AR), Ly-con Rebuilding (CA) and Victor Aviation (CA). PAP was the first to use it and has reported improved reliability on cylinders, camshafts, and crank cases. You might think of it as a cheap insurance policy for your cylinders for about $120 each (depending on weight). Racing pilots swear by it. Oh, and it’s not FAA approved so there may be some limitations on using this for certified aircraft.
There’s some discussion about whether these extras carry any benefit. You’ll also hear chatter from other shops disregarding some of these as ‘gimmicks’, not upgrades. It’s up to you to figure it out. Before spending extra cash, you might want to ask for a recent customer that got the extra you’re considering and see if they can tell the difference. And like I said above, if it’s not an FAA approved process, it might not be a good idea to do it to a certified aircraft. Also, if you plan on selling your airplane it might cut down on the potential buyers.
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