Continental Recall Affects 9,600 Cylinders

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Piston cylinders produced by Teledyne Continental Motors (TCM), installed in certain Model 470, 520 (including turbo-normalized models) and 550 engines shipped since November 2007 are the subject of the manufacturer's voluntary recall. The company expects to replace some 9,600 cylinders currently in the field. According to TCM, "new cylinders will be provided at no cost to the affected customers." Owners have found cracks in the affected cylinder's head castings -- 36 cylinders so far, installed in engines with more than 400 hours on them. The company has issued an a Mandatory Service Bulletin (MSB09-1) [PDF] to direct owners in identification and replacement procedures. Affected aircraft include Bellanca Super Vikings; Beechcraft Debonair, Bonanza and Barons; Commander, Meyers and Navion aircraft; as well as a slew of Cessnas ranging from 180s to 414s. The company has traced the problem to a specific production tool and castings from that tool may be subject to cracking "at the top of the cylinder head near the fuel injector and spark plug bosses." Both new engines and those fitted with replacement parts (top-end overhauls, aftermarket sales, rebuilt engines) are affected.

TCM has established dedicated service numbers, 888-200-7565 (U.S.) or 251-436-8665 (International), and a web-based inquiry management center http://www.tcmlink.com/cylinders (which was not yet active at the time this report was filed) to help customers learn if they're affected and what steps to take if they are.