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Thread: Cont: IO-346

  1. #1
    Guest
    Guest

    Cont: IO-346

    First I would like to thank everyone for the great feedback I got on my
    last post "New to the Musketeer family". The tip's are great and will
    prove to be very helpful as I get closer to Picking up my Mouse. I have
    another question concerning the engine, I noticed Beech did not use
    this long, why is this? I have read other places that simply state that
    the engine just didnt work and was replaced promptly. I would
    appriciate any input ppl out there have.
    -----------------------------------------
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  2. #2

    Cont: IO-346

    While I don't claim to have any insider info, the suggestion that "the engine just didnt work" is totally far-fetched, since they are still giving good service 42 years later. There is no consistent failure mode with the IO-0346A, most all make it to TBO and beyond, and there are substantially LESS ADs on this engine than the competing Lycomings.

    I think it was more of a supply and marketing issue. Beech has had a long standing relationship with Continental (think Bonanzas from 1947...) and when the Musketeer was designed, Continental really didn't have a suitable engine for it (the O-300 series was too long and too heavy), so Lycoming was tapped for the initial Model 23 with a 160 HP O-320. I'm sure someone brought this to the attention of Continental, and they no doubt consulted with the engineers in Wichita to see what could be done to recapture the lost sales. Just as Lycoming has taken 4 cylinder engines and stretched them to 6 so that the same tooling could make the bulk of the parts, Continental took their popular and fairly durable 520 and cut the center 2 cylinders out of it and made the 346.

    Why it was dropped 2 years later in favor of the O-320 of only 150 HP was probably more about Cessna selling a lot of C-150s to flight schools and the Musketeer trying to compete against the C-150 as a primary trainer. I flew them back in the day, my check out in a Musketeer was in 1969, and the rental rates of the Musketeer was higher than the C-150, partly because of the difference in capital costs, and partly fuel burn (8-9 gph vs 5.5-6 gph).

    So I think the IO-346A getting dropped was all about fleet sales and operating costs. The comparable Skyhawk was 150 HP and burned 8 gph at cruise. The A23 burned 9 gph at cruise. The speeds were equivalent, so the Musketeer was deemed less efficient. Flight schools didn't care about student comfort or cabin size, they dealt with the hard numbers of the cost to fly and the rental rates.

    --Bob Steward A&P IA
    Birmingham, AL

    P.S. YES, I have owned an A23 that was still running strong within 50 hours of TBO...
    -----------------------------------------
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  3. #3
    Guest
    Guest

    Cont: IO-346

    And now you know why Musketeer mail is such ann assett to mouse owners, Bob Steward!!

    Blue Skies
    Al Todd
    -----------------------------------------
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