Cylinders in the Teledyne Continental Motor IO-550 engines are well-known for not making it to TBO. This includes both turbocharged and normally aspirated airplanes with this engine. So plan your operating budget accordingly.
In an airplane shared ownership you should decide on a reasonable pre-TBO cylinder reserve fund. You have three planning options for cylinder overhaul: budget nothing, budget something, or budget all cost.
How do you budget for cylinder replacement?
What’s a reasonable reserve fund? To answer that question you’ll need to set an expectation for cylinder replacement. It’s different between turbocharged and normally aspirated TCM IO-550 engines. Excluding outliers, here’s one budgeting method.
Turbocharged Cylinder Operating Budget (TCM IO-550)
In turbocharged Cirrus SR22’s, cylinder replacement usually begins around 800-1,200 hours, but it depends on how the engine has been flown. Consider a reasonable operating budget to be replacement of six (6) cylinders before engine TBO.
Our work order cost at an authorize service center (including parts, labor, shipping & tax) was $2,837 for each new Teledyne Continental Motor cylinder (overhauled cylinders are about $400 less each). You can translate that cost into your hourly flying rate using the following formula: Direct Variable Operating Cost $2,837 x 6 cylinders = $17,022 / 1,800 hours = $9.46 per flight hour.
Normally Aspirated Cylinder Operating budget (TCM IO-550)
In a normally aspirated Cirrus SR22’s, cylinder replacement is not uncommon toward the end of 2,000 hour TBO. Consider a reasonable operating budget to be replacement of three (3) cylinders.
You can translate that cost into your hourly flying rate using the following formula: Direct Variable Operating Cost $2,837 x 3 cylinders = $8,511 / 1,800 hours = $4.73 per flight hour.
Additional information on the topic of TCM IO-550 cylinder replacement include:
- Cirrus Owners and Pilot Association (COPA) website. Review discussion treads on cylinder maintenance for normally aspirated and turbocharged Cirrus SR22’s.
- Mike Bush, Savvy Aviator website
- Cirrus Authorized Service Center A&P’s
This is a budgeting opinion weblog. Your cost experience may vary. This is not a discussion on when to perform engine maintenance. If you need maintenance guidance you should seek advice from an appropriate professional.
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