Understanding Pre- and Post- Aircraft Engine Overhauling
Born out of necessity and applied by professionals, the goal for an aircraft engine is reliability. Unlike other vehicles where power is their primary concern, aircraft designers focus on ensuring these machines can be relied upon in any situation without fail – which means they are not just built to move forward.
When you have an aircraft running for years, it can be hard to know when the time has come for an engine overhaul. As the person in charge of keeping an aircraft’s engine running smoothly, your goal is to make sure it never stops working. This means investing time to find out what goes wrong so you can fix issues before they cause problems for other parts or bring down the whole plane. That is why we have formulated a step-by-step guide, so there are not many surprises for you along the way.
Engine Removal Location and Airframe Storage
Let us say you have reached the TBO (time between overhauling), and a decision has been made to overhaul an engine; first choose an overhaul location for the aircraft engine removal.
Some owners have their mechanic pull out and ship them to an overhaul facility. In contrast, others take their aircraft by themselves to the location and let the specialist do all the hard work, i.e., removing, overhauling and reinstalling the aircraft engine.
In most cases, the engine can be pulled quickly enough out of the airframe, which means that a day is all you will need for the task of maintenance. Once the engine is out, disconnect components from the engine that are not needed during an overhaul process like the exhaust system, engine baffling, starter vacuum pump, and alternator. Then, secure the airplane’s tail, providing support to hold it up once the engine is removed.
Take a picture from all different angles of every engine section when the cowling and propeller are removed. This will help determine how hoses or control cables are routed when reinstalling your engine section.
After you’ve removed the engine from a plane, it is easy to see if there are any cracks or pitting on its mount. However, do not just inspect this part; check all of those attachment points as well for signs indicating that corrosion may have set in first. If there are no signs of any corrosion on your mounts and paint remains intact, you can use them “as-is.” If braces need repainting, ensure they are clean and paint them with a high-quality primer and a coat of paint. You should also clean any corroded areas on the airframe and treat or repair them as needed.
At the same time, as mechanics overhaul your engine, control propellers and governors can be serviced to ensure the engine develops maximum power without being held back by a sluggish or malfunctioning part.
To get the most out of your engine, you should have it serviced annually by a professional mechanic. This will ensure that any metal baffles or worn seals are replaced as needed and all other necessary repairs made for coolant circulation to be maximized.
When it comes to your exhaust system, you want any problematic components to be sent out for repair or replacement if they are corroded, cracked, or deformed in any way. Excessively thin or leaking pipes will cause trouble in later stages. Leaking exhaust gasses as a result of warped flanges at cylinder heads will require maintenance, some overhaul facilities recommending replacing the part whenever the engine gets overhauled.
While your engine is being serviced, make sure you replace fluid carrying hoses. These hoses get brittle over time due to constantly being heated and cooled during operation, which poses a risk of hose failure, causing a fire hazard.
The oil cooler is a critical component of your engine that prevents damage from overheating by conducting heat away from vital parts. Oil coolers have a lot of turns in them that can collect contaminants, which will eventually precipitate out and build up. Old or clogged sections can result in excess strain on other components, so it pays off to replace them when necessary. It also helps to make sure coolant flows more efficiently, so you are also keeping things running smoothly down below.
Removing an engine is a straightforward process, but installing one can take longer because it has many steps. You begin with the engine mount placed on the airframe, followed by the engine itself. Once the engine is hung, you can install the remaining parts like the baffling, accessories, hoses, oil coolers, etc. The exhaust system and propeller are usually two of the last installed items because they block access to other engine parts after installation.
Owning and maintaining an aircraft is no easy task. You have to keep upgrading your aircraft to safely keep it in the air. ASAP AM Spares is the leading supplier of aircraft engines and their components that are necessary for MRO services. Get in touch with a representative of ours for the best market quality spare parts.