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Old 07-18-2007, 03:51 PM
mlwynn mlwynn is offline
Join Date: May 2005
Location: San Ramon, CA
Posts: 402
Default Lycoming vs ECI vs Superior: Sorting out Engines

Hi all,

I went to the Arlington flying last week with the express purpose of sorting out an engine for my RV 8. I spoke at length with the ECI, Lycoming and Superior folks regarding their products. I also spoke with several builders including Aerosport, Mattituck and Eagle. I was left wondering about a couple of issues:

1. All the above make Lycoming or Lycoming clones. What is the real (as opposed to salesmen's) differences between the parts?

I know that Lycoming and Superior take a different approach to roller lifters. The Superior rep had one of their castings and one from an unnamed (presumably Lycoming) source. The Superior was much better made--smoother, better finish. I wondered if it was really representative of the difference. ECI does not, as I understand it, make a roller lifter engine.

2. Superior does not offer flow matching in their factory builds. Other builders do. Is that of any real importance? Are there other build upgrades that I should really look at?

3. Different builders quoted me different balance tolerances. The better the balance, the smoother the engine. What tolerance represents a really good balance, what is overkill and what is not really that adequate?

I certainly got a lot more information at Arlington, but am having obvious difficulty sorting it all out.


Michael Wynn
RV 8 Fuselage
San Ramon, CA
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Old 07-18-2007, 04:55 PM
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hydroguy2 hydroguy2 is offline
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Townsend, Montana
Posts: 3,148

Me, too. I spent too many hours talking with all the engine people. Went to the engine forums, talked with owners, builders, etc. In the end, I feel all the companies have a good product, each has it's advantage and short comings. All make very good reliable power. AND all priced very close to one another. SO what did I decide?...I don't know. But I got a very good vibe from Bob H of Eagle Engines, He is going to work up a quote for several options(superior, ECI). I will then hope to make a more informed decision. Email them with your mission and what you think you may want and they will be able to help point you in the right direction.

Good luck
It's just one Dam job after another
Brian, N155BKsold
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Old 07-18-2007, 05:26 PM
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Radomir Radomir is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Charlotte, NC
Posts: 1,518

Re #3:

I have an ECI setup.. and it came with all 4 connecting rods of exact same weight, as well as 4 pistons of exactly same weight.. hard to balance it any better So, having that as an option -- why shoot for any less? Crank is also dynamically balanced.. but I forgot to what tolerance..sorry..

Re #2 - if carburated... you'd probably be wasting money on some of those "enhancements"
RV-7A sold
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Old 07-18-2007, 05:39 PM
fstringham7a fstringham7a is offline
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: St. George
Posts: 973
Default ECI for me!!

Call America's Aircraft Engines (888) 371-1371 (918) 371-3000 and talk with Phil. He was very helpful in my decision process. Also Robbie Attaway of was very helpful in my engine choice/engine builder decision.

Frank @ SGU RV7A "NDY"
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Old 07-18-2007, 05:46 PM
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LifeofReiley LifeofReiley is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Round Rock, TX
Posts: 3,776
Thumbs up ECI Here too!

Superior is dealing with too many issues. No way would I would put my money there.

I'd call Robbie...
N622DR - Serial #V7A1467 RIP Aircraft Drowned in the 05/2015 Memorial Day Flood
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Friend of the RV-1
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Old 07-18-2007, 07:11 PM
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RV7Guy RV7Guy is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Chandler, AZ
Posts: 2,804
Default ECI/BPA

Robbie Attaway built my engine at my house. Great price, excellent service and many innovations. I like the oil nozzles on the cam. I now have 240 hours and the performance is excellent. I've tried to track the oil burn and to the best of my ability I'm burning less than a quart in 25 hours.

ECI now has the tapered fin cylinders, FI system and cold air sump. I have the older sump and Precision FI. Very happy.

I would also consider having Barrett Precision build an engine for me. Their engines are hand built, reasonably priced and great performers. They do the engines from many of the Red Bull guys and a few other notables.
Darwin N. Barrie
Chandler AZ
RV-7 N717EE-Flying (Sold)
RV-7 N707EE-Building
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Old 07-18-2007, 07:57 PM
rv8180 rv8180 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Jax, Fl
Posts: 140


.......I would also consider having Barrett Precision build an engine for me. Their engines are hand built, reasonably priced and great performers. They do the engines from many of the Red Bull guys and a few other notables.[/QUOTE]

I'll whole heartedly second that! They've been great!
Roy C Lewis Jr
Jax, Fl
Lyc AEIO-390
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Firewall forward
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Old 07-18-2007, 09:59 PM
Jekyll Jekyll is offline
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Eastern PA
Posts: 625

Not an engine expert by any measure but I did sleep in, wait, I went through this last year. What I learned was that for the most part, a lyclone is a Lycoming is a... The roller lifters are different as indicated but for the most part the rest is very close except for cylinder surface treatment. All three use a different process with ECI's process being the most corrosion resistant. Some say this or that but I think you will get your best advice from someone like Mahlon at Mattituck or from Penn Yann or Monte Barrett. These guys build all the manufacturers' kits and have some insight that Lycoming, ECI and Superior might not be willing to share. The assemblers want to sell you an engine, any manufacturer will do as long as they get to assemble it, add their trademark touches and make you happy in the process. If they won't give you frank advice, take your cash to one that will.

Mahlon treated my like a long lost brother and was extremely frank. I bought a Lycoming roller kit but substituted ECI jugs.

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Old 07-18-2007, 10:19 PM
RScott RScott is offline
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Estacada, OR
Posts: 787

Mattituck charges $450 for using new connecting rods. I thought that was odd.

The ECI FI system requires installation of a return line into the fuel tanks & they say to route it thru the fuel sender access plate. Not a problem if you still have to build your tanks. I'm not sure I want to go thru the process of removing the plate & the proseal & redoing it, especially since at this point my tanks passed the leak test. This return line system was designed to eliminate the hot start problem. Some guys say that if you use the right procedure, hot starts are not a problem. I don't know.
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Old 07-19-2007, 06:45 AM
Steve Steve is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Roy, Utah
Posts: 1,069

My friend, A&P, and engine builder mentor says the ECI engine weighs 4 pounds more than the Lyc and the Superior due to thicker castings, notably around the crankshaft. Thats a GOOD thing.
ECI was experiencing supplier problems (engine case machining) last month so delivery of the engine KIT took a bit longer than hoped for. Not an issue as I'm elbow deep in the canopy.
Superior touts their German owners top quality parts (crank, cam, rods). The parts are not even inspected when received in Texas. All good things but as stated in a previous post Superior has had hardware issues.
Lycs are just too expensive for the same thing.
Both ECI and Sup use 100% PMA parts.

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