Some seem a little quick to blame Cirrus and Continental for the reported problems.
I don’t think anyone is blaming Cirrus, but Continental must accept the blame for their engines.
Any new aircraft will have some teething problems.
Yes, but the IO-360 is not a new engine - it has been around for many years and used in several aircraft (Piper Seneca, Cessna Mixmaster, Mooney M20J and probably others). It’s a proven design - the problems lately are build quality issues.
Lycoming could have the same problem with cranks, how many suppliers are there of this steel?
Not many, and they probably got their steel from the same source. But it appears that both Lycoming and TCM didn’t do enough in the way of acceptance testing of the materials and components that they source from outside suppliers.
Anytime people complain about the fact that the only aircraft engines available are warmed-over 1940’s designs, others justify this by saying that at least they’re proven, dependable engines. The SR20 fleet in the last 5 months has had at least a 25% rate of engine failures or groundings - that’s a terrible record.
The compression problems with red coloration sound like the result of overleaning.
I talked to a couple of people about this, and there are several possible causes, of which overleaning is only one.
The pilots of the affected aircraft may not have known this and leaned some for altitude, though if done correctly with the EGT this would have resulted in a return to the same setting.
The plane has only 25 hours on it. 8 of those were flown by Cirrus factory pilots, who can be assumed to know what they’re doing. The remaining hours were flown by two very experienced pilots, one of whom is also an A&P. It seems most unlikely they would have mishandled the engine. In any case, I’m not convinced that 16 hours (and that’s Hobbs time, not flight or cruise time) running could cause the damage seen, and it should have affected all cylinders.
The break-in procedure in the SR20 POH is to run at not less than 75% power in cruise for the first 25 hours or until oil consumption stabilizes. No mention is made of any different leaning procedures during break-in. This break-in is to ensure the rings are properly sealing.
The issue is not whether the plane is any good (it is) or whether the engine is fundamentally sound (it is - the IO-360 has a good reputation) or even whether TCM are having some teething troubles now that they’re actually building a significant number of new engines (they are) but how they deal with the problems as they arise.
The correct approach in this case, from a customer service point of view, would have been to replace the engine so the ferry could proceed with minimum delay, then investigate the cause and decide further action without any time pressure.
TCM’s first response to the compression results was “that’s probably normal” (wrong!). Their next response was “replace 3 cylinders” followed by “replace 6 cylinders”. Not good enough.
Anyway, TCM have the bad cylinders now, so hopefully next week we will have some answers.