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Engine O/H Report

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Well-Known Member
Oct 30, 2017
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We've recently put our '69 Cherokee 6/300 back in service after about an 8-month engine overhaul saga. From local mechanic availability, to COVID delays at the overhaul facility and their subs, to humorous minor delays it was a true test of patience. That said, we couldn't be happier with the results from Power by Blueprint's work on our IO-540K1A5 and highly recommend Ed and his shop.

The engine was installed in our airplane in Feb 1991 as an overhauled unit and was field overhauled at our local airport in 2015 after about 1630 hours. Between 1991 and 2015, 3 cylinders were changed to chrome jugs and the engine had various work done on cylinders in terms of re-ringing and honing. We purchased the airplane in 2017 (from a seller on the field) with 74 hours SMOH so it had not flown much since the 2015 O/H and the mechanic who did the work cautioned that he had recommended to the previous owner to put new jugs on but he declined. We anticipated getting 6-800 hours out of the jugs before a presumed Top O/H.

However, in 2019, with 330 hours SMOH, we noticed a rough engine and the mechanic discovered a broken exhaust valve guide on #4 so we replaced that jug with an O/H assembly. A couple of months later, after the engine continued to be an oil pump and with low compressions even after following Lycoming's break-in procedures, we re-ringed and re-honed the remaining 5 cylinders. Unfortunately, our oil consumption problems continued right at Lycoming's limit, so we bit the bullet and decided to do a top O/H in late summer 2020. REALLY unfortunately, when our mechanic (not the one who did the O/H in 2015) pulled the jugs to install the new factory Lycoming ones we purchased from AirPower, he found a spalled cam lobe behind #4 so we now took an ever bigger chunk off the bullet and sent the engine out for an O/H since we had lost faith in the field O/H's quality.

We sought quotes from Penn Yan, Don George, Triad Aviation, Zephyr Aircraft Engines, and Power by Blueprint. 1 vendor didn't return our request, and the others all clustered around the same price and turnaround time estimates, with the biggest differentiator being warranty length. Taking all the info into account and after speaking with another Piper Forum member who had a lot of great things to say, we went with Power by Blueprint even though Ed's quote was actually the highest.

We shipped our new Lycoming cylinders to him and he began the process early last fall. He installed a new (not reground) cam and sent the crank off to a sub for work in addition to replacing 4 of 6 fuel lines and our idler gears. He kept us up to speed on the progress through the winter of 2020/2021 and we finally received a beautiful engine from him in March. Ed clearly takes great pride in not just the internal part of the engine being in "better than new" shape, he also goes over and above on the exterior by powder coating the rocker covers and intake pipes and using all gold hardware. We went with his color suggestions of black covers and silver pipes, but he sent me a couple of pics of an engine he was doing for a customer with red rocker covers and blue intake pipes...it looked sweet! He also painted the case a bluer gray than Lycoming's stock color and installed a gasket after CNC machining the case joint instead of using silk thread. I almost (not really...) didn't want to fly the airplane and just leave the cowl off for folks to admire. Best of all, his final bill came in right at his quote.

The engine's performance has been excellent in the 20 hours since we've received it back. It runs much, much smoother than before and is definitely putting out more horsepower based on climb rates. I'm using Aeroshell 100 for break-in and have added 2 quarts in 20 hours to keep the oil level at 9 on the dipstick. Ed states that they do a further process even for factory cylinders so wasn't surprised at our low oil consumption and well behaved CHT's. We have an EDM-900 engine monitor, and watched as the CHT's came down to normal levels in about 2 hours. They haven't exceeded 400 deg other than the first flight and, in fact, remain below my personal limit of 380 deg even in the hot climate of south Louisiana. All but #2 cluster around 330 deg in cruise, and #2 initially started about 35-50 deg higher but is now trending down to about 20-25 deg higher than the rest. (Orest has a good thread about how to remedy that within these pages).

Our confidence in Ed's O/H is high and we will continue to break-in the engine per Lycoming's instructions and I anticipate that to come to an end within the next 10-20 hours. Our cost for cylinders (from AirPower), Power by Blueprint's O/H, and my mechanic's R/R is $49k. The R/R is inclusive of a new baffle kit, exhaust headers and muffler, O/H prop governor, O/H alternator, new oil coolers and Type D hoses, and new Berry engine isolators so effectively a firewall-forward effort. Those remaining components added about $6900 to the total cost for an all-in price of $55.9k. That is a lot of cash no doubt but for me, when I've decided to be an airplane owner who almost exclusively flies family, friends, and for charity, the confidence in my powerplant is worth the cost. YMMV.


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