ARTICLE: What engine is best for my Long-EZ?

TennesseeLongEZPilot <tennesseelongezpilot@...>

What engine is best for my Long-EZ?

Q: I’m finishing a Long-EZ and want to put a reliable high-horsepower Lycoming engine on the plane.

I’m leaning towards several things:

  • CD Ignition;
  • High compression (I will be doing a lot of high altitude and this seems to be the best bet in lieu of a turbo);
  • Fuel injection;
  • Cold air induction; and
  • Ram air induction.

I have heard that people are taking the 320 series and beefing them up, opposed to doing the same with the 360 series as they are lighter.

Any thoughts?

Brian Ashton, via email

A: Glad to learn you are just finishing up on your Long-EZ project and I hope you’ve enjoyed the build process. Now you can get ready for the next step with hopefully the end in sight.

As far as which engine is the most reliable high horsepower Lycoming engine for your plane, it’s a little difficult to name just one.

The big factor, of course, is money or just what your budget might stand. Your choices run from a factory new engine to a used serviceable engine and practically everything in between.

Long-Ez (Photo courtesy EAA)

Long-Ez (Photo courtesy EAA)

I will caution you, however, that any “used engine” or “used engine core” may end up costing you more than a good engine with a known history. I’ve seen this happen where a person stumbled on a great price for a run-out core with the plans of having it overhauled in the field, only to find — after it was bought and paid for — that the crankcase was cracked and the crankshaft was worn beyond limits. The result is horrifying and very expensive.

I’ll assume you’ve already done your financial homework and have set aside a reasonable amount of money for your engine. So, since you asked the question, I’ll offer my thoughts regarding which engine might be best for your chosen flight envelope.

First, I’d consider the O or IO-360 series. You may choose either a 180 horsepower O-360-A series or an 180 horsepower IO-360-B series. The O-360 utilizes a carburetor and the IO-360 is fuel injected. The weight for either one of these is approximately 290 pounds dry weight.

There is also a 200 horsepower IO-360 series that is fuel injected, but the dry weight climbs to approximately 325 pounds. It also is a slightly wider engine by about an inch, but about 6 inches less in height than the O-360 because of the fuel injection system versus the bottom mounted carburetor.

The other choice would be the O or IO-320 series engines, with most models running from 150 to 160 horsepower. Probably the most popular 320 series engine would be the 160 horsepower versions at around 285 pounds dry weight. Again, be prepared to pay more money for the IO series because of the fuel injection system.

Brian, I have a suggestion that may be of some help for you. I’d try to contact other Long-EZ owners to see what engines are the most commonly used in the aircraft that would meet your flight envelope.

One more very important question that should be answered before any engine choice is made: Exactly which engine mount is being used?

I think we can eliminate the old Conical type engine mount (maybe), but is the mount going to be a Type 1 or Type 2 Dynafocal engine mount? Here again, I’d ask this question of present owners and builders. My guess would be that you’ll probably find the Type 1 Dynafocal mount the most common mount used.

Dynafocal engine mount (Photo courtesy Aircraft Spruce)

Dynafocal engine mount (Photo courtesy Aircraft Spruce)

All of the aforementioned was based on stock, FAA certified engines, but since you’ll be in the Experimental Category, you’ll have lots of options that you may want to consider.

All of these options are only restricted by safety, commonsense, and money.

People buy horsepower, but they must also remember that the more horsepower they take out of the engine, the more fuel must be put into the the engine to support the horsepower that’s taken out.



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