SureFly ignition ready for install (left), next to the old magneto (right).

By Jim Curns

Back in 2022, I had a magneto that was nearing its 500-hour inspection. It was at this point that I began to consider an electronic ignition installation instead of a mag overhaul.

Top Three Reasons for Consideration

  1. Starting the 0-360 Lycoming engine was manageable, but it wasn’t exactly like a car where you just turn the key and it purrs.
  2. A claimed improvement in fuel economy.
  3. The life of the new system. Instead of the 500-hour inter­vals for the mag, the electronic ignition would go 2400 hours before TBO.

As I did the math, I thought the numbers made sense to me, or were at least close enough to try it. The cost for one unit, as of this writing, is $1,755 for the 4-cylinder version of the SureFly elec­tronic ignition. It was a bit less two years ago when I bought mine.

Easy Installation

I got a deal at the SureFly booth during Airventure in Osh­kosh and the unit arrived at my house within a few days. It took a lot longer for my A&P/IA to get time in the schedule to install it. This level of work requires the proper credentials and is not a do-it-yourself upgrade. I like to assist with many of the things my A&P/IA does, so we found a mutual time to work on the installation in November 2022.

Stone Simple Installation Directions

First, replace the magneto with the SureFly ignition. We put both units on the bench to swap the timing gears and learned the first lesson: The gear can go on the shaft two ways, so if you can’t get the timing to line up, pull it back off and turn the gear 180 degrees. An extra lock nut and cotter pin are included in case this happens. We got it right on the second try.

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