Continental Mags: Are they junk?

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Continental Mags: Are they junk?

Postby pdb » Wed Jan 06, 2021 12:31 am

I have just been advised by mechanic that both of my Continental mags have loose rotors and other parts that are failing and that the cost of overhaul exceeds the price of new mags. These mags have only 470 hours on them since they were overhauled by Continental to new specifications.

In talking to the principal engine shop here at Merrill Field, most operators are having the local engine shop open up and inspect the new magnetos prior to installation as so many “new” mags are failing. I have had trouble myself earlier on these same mags from capacitors that failed and gears that were going.

Are other operators experiencing quality control issues with these Continental mags?
Pete Brown
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Re: Continental Mags: Are they junk?

Postby GAHorn » Wed Jan 06, 2021 12:55 am

Pete, I presume you are referring to what used to be called “Bendix” mags. It’s been my experience that magneto-shops often make “repairs” rather than actual “overhauls”... and the owner doesn’t know the difference.... they were only shopping for price.
This is not too different than what many engine shops do.... and you see owners talk about the “hours SMOH” when in-fact...they had only a major REPAIR... not a true overhaul.
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Re: Continental Mags: Are they junk?

Postby pdb » Wed Jan 06, 2021 1:54 am

George,

When my engine was overhauled, the “new” mags (BL-500516-4) came directly from Continental via Aviall (now known as Boeing). Continental describes them as follows:

“Continental® rebuilt magnetos meet new standards, including all current parts and processes. They are tested 100%, with same warranty as new magnetos.”

I don’t know for sure but I suspect they are old Bendix mags but they were not overhauled by some guy working in his garage, they came from Continental. However, I know some old guys are apparently doing a better job than Continental.



Pete

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Re: Continental Mags: Are they junk?

Postby Bruce Fenstermacher » Wed Jan 06, 2021 10:51 am

I think the title should be changed too "Are all mags junk today. Oh and it is not limited to mags.

And the answer would be compared to 30 years ago, yes it seems so. And it doesn't matter, Slick or Bendix. Parts we buy, such as condensers, are dead on arrival. We've pretty much decided we shouldn't open a mag, stop doing 500 hr inspections, just replace with new or overhauled units which have a warranty. Doesn't pay to open them up, inspect them, install new faulty parts, piss of the customer and have to do it all again, not knowing if the new part you replaced for the second time is any good. It's pretty easy to talk out customers into new mags, their SR 22 was a very expensive plane they can't use with a bad mag and new mags are cheap compared to many other maintenance items on an SR-22.
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Re: Continental Mags: Are they junk?

Postby hilltop170 » Wed Jan 06, 2021 6:01 pm

Bruce has a very good suggestion about buying factory rebuilt mags.

I just had the 500 hour IRAN done on my Bendix mags by Aircraft Magneto Service in Stevenville, MT. My IA says he will not send mags for repair anywhere else but there. They test run them before shipping so any immediate failures are caught before you get them back. My engine is running great with +-50rpm mag drop on both sides. I guess I lucked-out this time!

The IRAN was not cheap and you never know what it will cost until the repairs are done. The bill this time was 2 x $873.64ea = $1747.28 and shipping was 89.14 for a total of $1836.42

A year ago, September, 2019, I bought a set of factory rebuilt Slick mags for my buddy's IO-520 from A/C Spruce. He broke down in Ketchikan so I picked them up at Spruce and sent them down on Alaska Airlines Goldstreak cargo. The shipping was $71.00

The invoice for the two factory exchange mags was 2 x 704.95ea = 1409.90 minus 2 x $250.00 = $500.00 core charge for a total of $909.90. No doubt the price of the Slicks has gone up in the past year, but even so, that is a huge difference!

So, from now on, I'll be buying factory rebuilt exchange mags.
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Re: Continental Mags: Are they junk?

Postby Bruce Fenstermacher » Thu Jan 07, 2021 12:12 am

As a followup, today I replaced 1 Slick mag with about 400 hours on it in Lycoming in an Arher and when I was leaving another mechanic was replacing 2 Continental (Bendix) mags, only one was faulty but both near the 500 hour mark. In the case of the Continental the owner of the SR-22 said just give me two new mags. Beside the mags I also replaced a high boost pump with about 10 hours since new on another SR-22.
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Re: Continental Mags: Are they junk?

Postby mit » Thu Jan 07, 2021 1:26 am

Chevy----Ford. 40 years of aircraft maintenance, I have always preferred Bendix. From P&W Big round engines, to little bity Continental's. :?
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Re: Continental Mags: Are they junk?

Postby GAHorn » Thu Jan 07, 2021 1:55 am

mit wrote:Chevy----Ford. 40 years of aircraft maintenance, I have always preferred Bendix. From P&W Big round engines, to little bity Continental's. :?


I agree... and I’ve got both types...Bendix in the 170 and Slick in the 172...and if I own them long enough they’ll all be Bendix.
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Re: Continental Mags: Are they junk?

Postby hilltop170 » Fri Jan 08, 2021 7:29 pm

Yep, chocolate and vanilla, to each his own.

But replacing factory Slicks every 500 hours for half the money compared to field rebuilt Bendix makes sense to me.
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Re: Continental Mags: Are they junk?

Postby lowNslow » Sat Jan 09, 2021 3:54 pm

hilltop170 wrote:Yep, chocolate and vanilla, to each his own.

But replacing factory Slicks every 500 hours for half the money compared to field rebuilt Bendix makes sense to me.

I agree. I may also consider a electronic mag if one ever gets approved for the O-300. With no moving parts and a 2400 hour TBO they may be the future.
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Re: Continental Mags: Are they junk?

Postby cessna170bdriver » Sun Jan 10, 2021 4:04 pm

lowNslow wrote:
hilltop170 wrote:Yep, chocolate and vanilla, to each his own.

But replacing factory Slicks every 500 hours for half the money compared to field rebuilt Bendix makes sense to me.

I agree. I may also consider a electronic mag if one ever gets approved for the O-300. With no moving parts and a 2400 hour TBO they may be the future.

This one has been around several years now: http://electroair.net/6cylignitionKit.html Scroll about halfway down the page for the O-300.
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Re: Continental Mags: Are they junk?

Postby edbooth » Sun Jan 10, 2021 4:28 pm

Have been running the Electroaire system on my 0-360 (on the RV-7) for about 15 years. Never a electronic failure. Mechanical failure was a non- replaceable oil seal on the mag timing assembly that goes in place of the mag. Had to replace the whole unit.... :evil: Note, I did purchase this back when Tom Rose had the company..... They may have changed the design by now. :?
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Re: Continental Mags: Are they junk?

Postby lowNslow » Sun Jan 10, 2021 4:55 pm

cessna170bdriver wrote:
lowNslow wrote:
hilltop170 wrote:Yep, chocolate and vanilla, to each his own.

But replacing factory Slicks every 500 hours for half the money compared to field rebuilt Bendix makes sense to me.

I agree. I may also consider a electronic mag if one ever gets approved for the O-300. With no moving parts and a 2400 hour TBO they may be the future.

This one has been around several years now: http://electroair.net/6cylignitionKit.html Scroll about halfway down the page for the O-300.

Hadn't heard of this unit yet but at $4400 I think I'll wait for the SureFly unit to be approved which is $1700 and is a much easier installation and it uses the same harness as my current Slicks.
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Re: Continental Mags: Are they junk?

Postby pdb » Wed Jan 13, 2021 9:00 pm

I got my new mags from Continental (Bendix mags overhauled by Continental to new specs). At the advice of my IA, I had them inspected by the local engine shop, Alaskan Aircraft Engines, prior to installation. Good thing I did. One mag had an extra o-ring floating around loose in the case.

Inspecting new mags prior to installation cost me $315.00 in addition to the price of the new mags. Continental is selling unairworthy parts.

When these fail, I am done with Continental and will switch to Slicks.
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Re: Continental Mags: Are they junk?

Postby GAHorn » Thu Jan 14, 2021 1:49 am

Pete, did your inspector file a Defect report? Did you communicate this to Continental?
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