Engineer Ted's How to Make Your Engine Last (ground)

Discussion in 'Maintenance Bay' started by Ted DuPuis, Dec 13, 2012.

  1. Alexb2000

    Alexb2000 En-Route

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    The one I use is ~$3 every three months. For cellular I think it's a good deal.

    http://switchboxcontrol.com
     
  2. FORANE

    FORANE Pattern Altitude

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    Want the terminals WIFI to reach your hangar? You might buy one of these and ask the FBO manager to install it:
    http://www.amazon.com/Ubiquiti-UniF...?ie=UTF8&qid=1382660251&sr=8-3&keywords=UNIFI

    I bought a number of these for apartment buildings I own and their range is quite impressive. Not knowing how far your hangar is...hard to say but these are supposed to reach 200 yards.
     
  3. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    Hmm. That's much better than I thought it would be. I'll have to look into it further. That might end up being a more independent solution than what I have right now. I like the idea of plugging in a cabin heater as well, but I don't like the idea of an unattended space heater running.

    That's another good option, although if it's only $12/year to do the cellular, that's worth considering as well.
     
  4. JoeSelch

    JoeSelch Pattern Altitude

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    Oh, Engineer Ted! Would you please enlighten me as to the use of a Reiff on an O-320-H2AD (hollow crank)?

    Things I've been hearing have me thinking I'd be best off just starting it cold (which isn't too too cold in my insulated but unheated Michigan hangar).
     
  5. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    Hello Mr. (uhh... Miss?) Selch! :)

    No issues that I can think of. What have you heard? Pre-heating is still good for it, and you should still do it per my recommended guidelines.

    Is this engine in an RV? If so, the laws of physics are exempt, as we all know. :D
     
  6. gismo

    gismo Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The cellular switches are closer to $3 per month. You use a prepaid use as you go service that requires a minimum payment of $15 which provides service for 3 months. Then you put another $15 into the account and go another 3 months. Reminiscent of the IFR currency rules, if you let the account go dry and stay that way for more than another 3 months the sim card goes inactive and you have to buy a new one but if you time it right you can go a whole year for $45 since you can do without service over the summer.

    The one that Phillip Angst sells can be used (on only one of the two outlets) without extra charges by setting it up to toggle on and off each time it's called (it doesn't answer in that mode so there's no airtime charge). Alternatively you can send a SMS text to it for $0.10 a pop. After 150 texts in a 3 month period you need to add funds to keep using it but who's gonna turn their heater on or off 30 times per month?

    But if you have a clear line of sight to the FBO lobby and it's within 300-500 ft one of these might work from your end:

    http://www.amazon.com/Engenius-ENH200-Business-Wireless-Outdoor/dp/B004SBG48E

    Put one on both ends and you can get a decent connection at 1-2 miles (clear line of sight required). I have a network with several of them at my airport.
     
  7. kyleb

    kyleb En-Route

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    Given time, the Reiff sump heater will warm the entire engine compartment to summer like temperatures if you have a set of foam cowl plugs and throw a mover's blanket over the cowl.

    The best practice is to avoid sub-40F cold starts.
     
  8. tmyers

    tmyers En-Route

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    Liz. Did you get bands for the cylinders? I use an old sleeping bag on my cowl. It is large enough to cover most of the prop as well
     
  9. Chip Sylverne

    Chip Sylverne En-Route

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    Fear is the poison of our lives.
    That presumes this rig would drive case temps high enough to vaporize whatever water might be suspended in the oil, and allow the interior of the engine to cool enough to enable what water vapor to condense. With the cowl insulated, and the heater switching on when ambient inside the hangar at 50deg or less, I'm not sure either is going to happen. My guess is the oil probably won't get much warmer than 90-100 deg.

    Besides, I plan on flying at least once a week.
     
  10. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    Lance, thanks for the feedback on the options.

    In our case, I think the hangar is probably somewhat on the border of what would work for the 300-500 ft range. I'll have to measure. We also are borderline on line of sight. So given that, I might just stick with my old system of calling.

    I will say that the full-service FBO where I used to be based was nice in that regard.
     
  11. Alexb2000

    Alexb2000 En-Route

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    Here is a service that is $10 for 120 days. Each text cost 5 cents. I don't think you can go wrong with this kind of pricing:

    https://www.pagepluscellular.com/plans/10-standard-pin/
     
  12. JoeSelch

    JoeSelch Pattern Altitude

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    So, I've been hearing horror stories about crankshaft corrosion in engines with pre-heaters.

    I "know" it's a crime to heat and then not fly (letting it cool).

    I "understand" it's optimal to heat thoroughly (hours?) and then fly.

    I "thought" it wasn't bad to leave the heat on. Venting might help (open dipstick OK, in absence of dessication system).
    Confession: This is what I did last year after installing the pre-heater.
    How much worse an option is this, than the optimal pre-heat? (Local yokels just about fain at the thought.)

    FWIW, I have only the bands; also use a blanket and cowl plugs. Perhaps I should wrap the prop, too (heatsink, blah, blah)?
     
  13. tmyers

    tmyers En-Route

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    Does your wiring harness have the connector for a sump heater?
    I think on all the time is ok.
     
  14. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    Liz, don't believe the horror stories.

    You don't need something to cover the prop, although you can spend plenty of money on it if you so choose. A blanket is all I use, and stuff it into the cowls for a psuedo-cowl plug. Engines are warm and happy.

    I would suggest adding a sump heater to the bands if you don't have one. That will help get you more uniform heating.

    Leaving the heat on all the time is fine if you can't do the "optimal" of turning it on the night before you fly. The main reason I don't is out of courtesy for the airport authority - electric bills.

    Lots of old wives tales, ironically mostly from old husbands.
     
  15. JoeSelch

    JoeSelch Pattern Altitude

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    Thanks, Ted!

    This time around it started as my mechanic and I were on the phone with another mechanic about doing the crankshaft inspection AD. Guy on the phone said the worst corrosion he sees is in engines with pre-heaters. Followed up later with my guy who said my way may be second best, but it's really bad ...

    His recommendation is to fly it all the time and a multitude of sins will be forgiven.

    I concur. But, it doesn't always happen that way.
    With the airport 45 min away, I'm not going out the day before to plug it in. And, even with a remote, well, those "tomorrow" flights don't always go off as anticipated.

    I'll keep on keeping on. (Hoping that Monday's inspection doesn't put a huge crimp in my plans.)
     
  16. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    Liz, I know how it goes since I don't fly as often as I used to, either. What I also do to help prevent corrosion is add CamGuard to the oil. That definitely helps. I also have all the parts except for oil caps for my engine dehydrator (still looking for those...) which will help.

    If you're running straight Phillips for oil, it's corrosion protection is about zero. But adding CamGuard gives it excellent corrosion protection.
     
  17. azure

    azure Final Approach

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    Liz, have you considered a text-activated cellular switch? I haven't used one personally (yet), but the flying club I belong to (I think you know which one that is) recently started using this system. According to the club member who did the work of installing the system, it is very easy to set up and also very flexible. On cell service, he says the best way to go is a text-only account. He recommends T-Mobile as the carrier and says they charge $10 to set up the account and then the fee is $10 per 90 day period plus $0.10 (yep, 10 cents) per text. You program the device to switch on or off in response to specific text messages, which he says is simple to do. I'll probably go that route too this winter since it's a royal pain to drive out to VLL the night before (though I've been doing it, and of course when it snows, there's no other way to keep the snow removal service from burying the hangar door :().

    There will always be times that you can't fly for one reason or other. In that case I guess the question is whether it's better to use the "off" command occasionally, or just leave it on until the next time you fly.

    BTW my club has had a policy of keeping the preheaters plugged in from October through April until now, and have definitely NOT had problems with engine corrosion through many years of ownership.
     
  18. JoeSelch

    JoeSelch Pattern Altitude

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    Thanks ... Using Aeroshell 15W-50. (It's an H2AD, after all ;-) ) No need for CamGuard with that, is there?





    I've considered the remote ... With the same thought about then needing to leave it on. Also, about not making the go decision with enough time for an adequate pre-heat.
    Ultimately came back to, "I wanna be able to go when I want to go." Reality is, I often change my plans - go or not. Figured always-on is the best solution, if I can do it without hurting my plane worse than cold-starting.
     
  19. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    AeroShell and Exxon have good anti-corrosion properties. The official tests I think say that they're pretty much equal to CamGuard in corrosion preventatives. Some unofficial tests I've seen seem to indicate that CamGuard is still a little better, but I would say that 15W-50 is "good enough."

    I agree that AeroShell 15W-50 or Exxon Elite makes the most sense to use since you actually do have the dreaded H2AD.
     
  20. Jaybird180

    Jaybird180 Final Approach

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    Been a long time since reading this thread. What are your thoughts about draining most of the oil after a flight, putting it into a sealed container and heating it to about 400F before flight and putting it back into the engine?

    I saw something like this on one of those Artic flying shows.
     
  21. Skylane81E

    Skylane81E Final Approach

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    400 would be way too hot,

    I don't see why you couldn't do it, (to a lower temp) but it sure would be a lot of work and offer greater opportunity for contamination or other mistakes.
     
  22. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    Duncan hit the nail pretty much on the head.

    400? No way. 200 would be more reasonable, but still hot.

    Keep in mind that means that you'll have hot oil that you put into a cold engine - not very nice on the metal. And so when you go to start it the oil will be hot, but the cylinders won't. It's better than nothing, but it's probably one step below Red Dragon heaters.
     
  23. Skylane81E

    Skylane81E Final Approach

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    Likely what I would so if I was in the bush with no other means to preheat short of a pot with a camp fire or a stove, otherwise, not so much
     
  24. Kiddo's Driver

    Kiddo's Driver Cleared for Takeoff

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    And for an inexpensive prop cover...gun socks! Silicone treated cotton gun socks. $5 each at wally world. They work fine in a hangar. Not sure I would keep them on out in the rain.

    Jim
     

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  25. Jaybird180

    Jaybird180 Final Approach

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    Hmm...I was thinking that thermal transfer would work and there would be a point of thermal equilibrium and that it would be easier on the metal than friction and combustion pressures.
     
  26. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    Yes, that will happen. But not very much, also 400 degree oil is very bad.
     
  27. Skylane81E

    Skylane81E Final Approach

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    Yep, 20lbs of oil trying to warm 200-400lbs of metal...
     
  28. Chip Sylverne

    Chip Sylverne En-Route

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    Fear is the poison of our lives.
    That's a great idea! I was going to cut up a moving blanket and use velcro tape for closures, but I like your version better.
     
  29. DutchessFlier

    DutchessFlier Line Up and Wait

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    From my A&P, who is actually much much older than my old plane, his advice is:

    Use multi-weight oil (I use X-C 20-50 with Camguard)
    The issue is to warm the oil so it flows easily to the cylinders on a cold start. He uses 40*F as the point at which preheating begins. OWT regarding condensation and corrosion from preheating oil. Flying the plane and getting the oil hot enough to "boil out" any moisture is the key.
    Oil sump pad systems to preheat are the best (as has been said here many times). Heating the cylinders alone and then throwing cold, thick oil at them is useless.
    Don't rev the engine on a cold start thinking that you're gonna "warm it up faster' that way. Get it running then keep the RPMs reasonable and give it time to warm up thoroughly before you go fly.

    Works for me.
     
  30. Dr. O

    Dr. O Pattern Altitude

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    The absolute best way to make your engine last is to run it - often.
    Flight school engines typically go well past TBO because they are run daily.
    Personal use airplanes generally do not equal those times.


    Use a semisynthetic oil in cold weather so that you get immediate flow from the oil pump as the engine rotates during startup - whichever brand you prefer.
    I don't have a dog in the my-oil-is-better-than-yours fight. Been using 15W50 since it came out.
    Will change brand in a heartbeat if given objective evidence that some newer formulation has 'significant' improvement that makes 15W50 inferior (none so far)

    Remember, the oil pressure gauge is on the other side of a very tiny orifice and out on the end of a rather long tube and with cold/thick/sludge oil in the tube it will lag in showing rising pressure. With the semisynthetics the pressure rise at the gauge is much more prompt.
    If using conventional oil you might have a warm engine with good oil pressure internally and not show much at the gauge because the tube running to the cockpit is still full of molasses.

    Preheat is good. Engines start better when warm.
    I normally do not preheat until 20 degrees (or lower) in the hangar.
    My engines have always made TBO and longer.

    When you do a preheat do it for enough time. I generally run the forced air blower (large, noisy, power hungry) for one to one and a half hours. My cylinders are toasty and the oil temp gauges show a small rise when I remove the heaters.
    I just hang around the pilot lounge and shoot the bull while it is warming up.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2013
  31. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    I had a lengthy conversation with Ed Collins on oils, get rid of the Aeroshell, the synthetic component is just horrid with AvGas (Exxon Elite is a copy of Aeroshell). Best to use the Phillips XC 20-50 and Cam Guard.
     
  32. el con

    el con Line Up and Wait

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    On oils-here's my 2 cents worth( note, I'm not a A&P or a Petro Chemist, but I play one on TV:yes:)

    Research that I've done (Mike Busch Article on Piston Aircraft engine oils), speaking to manufacturers.

    Phillips XC 20W/50 - For those who don't fly frequently this is a best choice as it is a multi grade no synthetic oil which clings to parts better than synthetics.
    Didn't recommend Camguard ,but I would think it would help.
    Oil molecules on mineral oils are larger with sharper edges that's what make them cling better than synthetics.

    Aeroshell 15W/50 is a combination of multi grade strait oil + synthetic oil, good choice for airplanes that fly every day as the synthetic reduces friction,very slippery. The Bad- it runs off the parts faster than straight oils so probably shouldn't use it for the flyer who fly's one ,two or three times a month.
    Oil molecules smaller,more slippery, less sharp,run off faster.

    I think he said Exxon Elite was about the same as Aeroshell 15-50.

    I didn't go into detail on this ,you can google up his article,seems to make sense to me.
    I use Phillips XC 20W/50
    I make sure I use my winterization plate when below 35F. Operate oil temp at above 180F
    Preheat overnight when below 35F overnight.( electric forced convection)
    Use a sleeping bag over the cowl.
    Put a light bulb ( protected trouble light) under the dash to give a little heat to the old steam gauges.
    I think having to heat your oil in winter to 80F or above might be a little overkill ,won't hurt ,but if you think about it in the summer in Michigan the oil is probably not 80 more likely 50-60's overnight and nobody preheats then:dunno: you tell me.
    Question to Henning /FLA flyers . What do you guys do for the high humidity
    all year down there?
     
  33. Jeff K

    Jeff K Pre-takeoff checklist

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  34. el con

    el con Line Up and Wait

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  35. tmyers

    tmyers En-Route

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    Someone also makes a pan heater that goes on the cabin floor to provide heat to the cabin space anytime the engine pre-heater is plugged in. The personal heater at Staples looks pretty sweet though, and I am sure much lass expensive.
     
  36. David

    David Pre-takeoff checklist

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  37. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    And that is exactly why I haven't done any sort of cabin heat with my engine pre-heat. I just let the cabin stay cold - it warms up fast enough anyway.
     
  38. el con

    el con Line Up and Wait

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    Not doing it for me, I've heard a little heat on the Gauges (steam) when it's cold extends their life, not having them fail may extend my life:wink2:
     
  39. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    I moved to warm climates and got glass...:D
     
  40. Skylane81E

    Skylane81E Final Approach

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    Cheater