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Safety Officer

You know you're having a bad day when......

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You know you're having a bad day when the engine starts to run rough, rpms drop to 3600, EGT's on one side fall to half the other side and you aren't over your own field.

When the affected cylinder plugs are pulled they will be black, wet and oily.

This was a 2006 912ULS.

 

Most likely cause is a lifter gone bad. It lost its hardness coating and was ground down. The engine is not repairable and time to get a new engine. Rotax does help out here and the engine new price is determined on your hours on the old engine.

magnetic plug side view.JPG

magnetic plug top view.JPG

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When you eat a lifter metallic dust goes into every orifice and bearing in the entire engine and it can't be saved or rebuilt.

I know of four. Two personally and two others through email. These have been 2006 and early 2007 engines. It is a metallurgy issue on the face of the lifter. The hardness coating breaks down and then it's soft metal against hard metal. There is no warning and most engines will never be affected. A new engine is around $18K. Rotax has stepped in to help, but things need to be documented well. All maint. needs to be up to date, maint. done on a regular schedule and the logbook well documented of which a copy will be sent in to Rotax with the report and or pictures if warranted. Then Rotax has been pro-rating the new engine. For example if you have 500 hrs on a 2000 hr TBO engine you would pay 25% and Rotax 75%. If you have 1000 hrs. then it is half and half. Other incidental cost may be covered too. The only people that will have a hard time are the ones that don't document well. This has been brought up many times on forums yet many owners and mechanics still refuse to do a good job with logbooks. They have those 2-4 line entries in a logbook for an annual. They never do oil analysis. They never replace anything because they refuse to do it unless it breaks attitude and or they don't follow any Rotax time tables. It doesn't necessarily mean they won't cover it, but your chances may be an uphill battle or slim. You will need to fill out an CSIR, copy the logbook, get a Rotax authorized mechanic to look at the engine and determine what is wrong. If you have done the right things with the engine up to this point and then fill out the paperwork correctly and send it through your closest Rotax distributor then you can many times get an answer back within 72 hrs. I would not use Lockwood's CSIR on their website because when you hit the submit tab it goes through Rotec in Canada and that is third party and will cost you weeks to months in time. (unless that has changed in the last few months) Lockwood should really handle their own. You should send these reports through Leading Edge, Lockwood or CPS. If you ever have to fill out a report don't leave half of it blank. Spaces get an answer or an N/A. If approved an new engine will be shipped to you. They will want the old engine back. The process really isn't bad when things have been done right along the way, but if you want to fight the system it is more than willing to add to your frustration.

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I purchased my 2010 CTLS from a dealership, it was used by them for demo and training. The log books show no oil analysis. Is it a Rotax requirement? (I don't believe it says that anywhere.)

Can you tell me if any incidents of someone doing any repairs or changing how they do anything because of oil analysis without there being noticeable metal in the filter or on the mag plug, or some other indication?

And what are Rotax's recommended permissible levels of microscopic metal in the oil before action is taken?

I have yet to find these anywhere either.

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You can't look at an oil analysis as all inclusive and totally definitive problem solver. It is just one tool to add to your many to make an informed and educated decision.

 

Oil analysis is recommended in for the 2000 TBO, in an SB and taught in Rotax classes. Certain metals in the engine will not be picked up by a magnet. (brass, nickel, ect...) Levels of iron based metal can show up before they are big enough to show on the mag plug and some are so fine they never show up on a mag plug. We are talking PPM not chunks. It will show minute trends. Here is an argument for some: Why ever check the mag plug because it always looks clean and others say theirs is clean? The answer is because it's smart maint. and you may find something one day and fix the engine before it totally fails or it isn't fixable because you allowed it to run longer than it should have. It's just one tool in your toolbox. Oil analysis can show fuel contamination in the engine (internal leaks or diesel in the fuel on a cross contamination). Several people I know have had problems that they could not figure out, but the oil analysis showed diesel fuel in the fuel. The labs , like Avlabs, has a huge data base on the Rotax at all engine hours. At different hours you may see different readings. They run each sample 3 times. Oil analysis can find an acute problem which shows up marked in red on the report and if it is serious enough they will call you. How are you going to detect excessive valve guide wear, brass journal wear, leaking piston ring, ect... Many things other inspections won't pick up or the mechanic won't find.

An oil analysis is only one tool in your toolbox for watching the internal situation within the engine. It can be a for warning, but it is not all inclusive, it's just one tool. Doing an analysis once a year won't break the bank. It's about $20-$25. It can and does make life easier if you have to file a Rotax claim to show due diligence on taking care of your engine. This again is only one tool to show that.

Would it make you change the way you run your engine, probably not, but it isn't designed to do that. It usually will show unusual signs of internal wear areas and let you know things are okay internally. If you have a bad oil analysis then they may advise you to take another sample or watch this trend on a specific abnormal find.

 

It's like good documentation in the logbook. A 4 liner entry in a logbook for an annual might be legal, but it's garbage, incomplete and lazy work. Some owners look for excuses not to do certain things, but we should be looking for logical reasons to do them and relying on others experience to guide us and not trying to re-invent the wheel.

 

See the picture attached. How would you discover any of these items if they had a problem without an analysis especially the one I marked. None of those metals would show up on the mag plug except iron and it wouldn't show up at all unless it was chunks or at least a course dust. We're looking for PPM. If you have chunks it's all over, but the crying.

 

 

 

 

 

Not trying to be a jerk here, but would like to hear your opinion, so let me ask:

What's your aversion to doing an oil analysis once a year? Do you have good reasons why this may be harmful to your engine, cause you any grief or why thousands of other aircraft owners and labs are doing it wrong? Why after many decades of doing oil analysis are people doing them and why are they recommended in aircraft engine training schools?

Oil Analysis.jpg

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A 4 liner entry in a logbook for an annual might be legal, but it's garbage, incomplete and lazy work. Some owners look for excuses not to do certain things, but we should be looking for logical reasons to do them and relying on others experience to guide us and not trying to re-invent the wheel.

 

 

You critiqued my logbook entries as being on the short side.

 

I did this only for brevity's sake.

 

But I further reference that the annual condition inspection was done in accordance with the checklist provided by the manufacturer, and that the completed checklist is on file.

 

Here's an example:

 

11171433594_ec2463913d_o.jpg

 

The first part is wording required by my Operating Limitations. The second part seems to comply with the thoroughness you want documented. I could even staple those completed checklists into the logbook to make them part of the permanent record if requested. For now they're in a file box in my hangar.

 

Is that not good enough?

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Hi Eddie,

 

"Is that not good enough?'

No

Documentation has always been a soapbox for me because of time spent in court either on the defense side or the prosecution side for poor performance and the documentation is what usually sank them.

 

Where does it say you did anything in your entry. Did you change oil, plugs, tighten any thing, check for SB's, fix anything. check clamps, check filters, perform a compression test, carb sync, check the mag plug as required, ect.. ect... What about the on condition hose inspection people say they will do verses the hose change. That isn't documented. What if part 43 isn't enough for your specific model aircraft. Which by the way isn't enough since it's generic and you have more specific items to look at.

 

You must have done something so why didn't you write it down? How would anyone know what you did or what you didn't do and either skipped over it, forgot it or didn't know to do it in the first place.

 

It just leaves you wide open and sitting down for 20 minutes and writing down what you did pays off in the long run.

 

 

Who's do you want in you logbook? Which ones will help retain your aircraft value better at re-sale? Which will protect you better in court? Which will protect you for Rotax engine claims? Which helps track trends with your plane? Which help you or the next mechanic know what was done in the past? Which tracks SB's better?

 

You pick from the ones below. Even the better ones may not be your exact wording or even all inclusive, but they are a 100% better than the poor examples.

 

These are only examples, but who do you want working on your plane? You don't have a clue what the poor example mechanics did. IAW is a lazy cop out catch all phrase without the rest of the documentation.

 

We all have choices in what we do. I always look at peoples performance in percentages.

Do you do it 100%, or 80% or 60% or less. Some go the extra mile and do well over 100%. So it boils down for each person, what's your performance percentage? Do you want the doctor, lawyer or mechanic that only performs at 40%-60% working for you? How about the guy who finished last in his class when you are on criminal trial or a doctor that performs at 40% when you have a serious cancer.

 

 

We all get to make a choice.

Log7.doc

log1.jpg

log2.jpg

log3.jpg

Log6.pdf

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In my defense, here's the engine logbook entry from that annual:

 

11171892223_a11320e6db.jpg

 

And in the airframe logbook entry, I document anything done above and beyond the checklist items.

 

I really do try to document everything in one form or another and think I do an OK job.

 

But there's always room for improvement!

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Technically it's an illegal entry. The last sentence is wrong for LSA. For an annual LSA condition inspection it should be found in a safe condition for operation.

What were you compression test findings? What will show the a trend? What was your friction torque? How do you track that trend? You said you gapped the plugs? To what? I find people who gap them at .032 and we should know that is wrong. With what is listed are these the only things you checked for the annual? Did you look and or find any SB's or are they all up to date.

 

See it leaves a lot open for interpretation or lack of and has no meat to what you really included in the inspection. With this entry it is possible like I find on annuals from some A&P's that many things were never looked at.

 

 

 

Sorry I need to leave. Another hose change. The third in three weeks and another next week.. Time to take a break from looking at hoses. Blah

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I paid 18,500 for my new engine, if they are crediting based on hours, probably a few thousand less.

 

My engine only has 150 hours on it. If mine ate a lifter tomorrow and they credited me back based on hours, I'd expect more than a "few" thousand in credit...

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Safety Officer and Roger...

 

When Ed did my annual before he delivered the airplane, he did a "boilerplate" entry in the log similar to what Eddie shows, but also provided the manufacturer annual checklist with notations where needed for clarification and signed at the bottom by the rated mechanic. This is kept in a binder with the airframe and engine logbooks. Would this be sufficient?

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Technically it's an illegal entry. The last sentence is wrong for LSA. For an annual LSA condition inspection it should be found in a safe condition for operation.

 

Are you referring to the engine logbook entry?

 

I'm confused.

 

My Operating Limitations require this wording (scanned from the document):

 

11172328434_a6b7d430e1_o.jpg

 

What were...

 

All clearly answered on the Inspection Checklist.

 

Let me just add that this points out to me one of the reasons general aviation is suffering. Even a conservative and conscientious and detail oriented owner like myself has to be worried about "illegal entries".

 

Right on the line of taking the fun out of the whole endeavor.

 

But That's Just Me!™

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What does a new set of lifters cost? Might be relatively cheap insurance.

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What does a new set of lifters cost? Might be relatively cheap insurance.

 

When an engine shreds like that, insurance doesn't cover it. They only cover if an accident happens after.

 

You can't just replace the lifters either. As safety officer said, metallic bits get ingested into other engine parts, and eats it alive. The engine is a boat anchor now.

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When an engine shreds like that, insurance doesn't cover it. They only cover if an accident happens after.

 

You can't just replace the lifters either. As safety officer said, metallic bits get ingested into other engine parts, and eats it alive. The engine is a boat anchor now.

 

I think he meant to replace the lifters BEFORE the engine takes a dump.

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If you answered my questions, I might conceivably change my mind. You site a situation where oil analysis was used to look for a problem that had already been detected. I would do that. You have yet in this or any other conversation site a situation where oil analysis actually changed what was done with an engine without other indicators.

Brian Carpenter does not believe in their value, and, it was not mentioned in the maintenance class I took. So all Rotax classes are not created equal.

I do not believe in doing things " just because." Even if it is inexpensive. So I'll ask the questions again, what do you change in what you do based on oil analysis? You show what the oil analysis folks say is a high amount of copper in the oil. Who set that standard, and what does Rotax say it actually means? Where does Rotax publish these numbers? Answer those questions and you might convince me.

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Hi Doug,

 

I can't convince you, you have to do that.

They are recommended. You'll have to make up your own mind. It's like presidential candidates. That $20 a year saved me $K's in the long run.

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Hi Doug,

 

I can't convince you, you have to do that.

They are recommended. You'll have to make up your own mind. It's like presidential candidates. That $20 a year saved me $K's in the long run.

 

I'm willing to accept that, but I am also curious...HOW has it saved thousands? What did you see in the analysis, and what action did you proactively take that saved thousands of dollars? Just "it showed stuff was wearing" doesn't save the money unless some action was taken to fix it before the presumed major failure.

 

I'm not doubting what you are saying, just wondering how the information gets translated into saved money.

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Roger, how exactly did it save you money? Maybe that will answer my questions.

You know when I vote I try to have my vote make sense and I sometimes change my mind if candidates say what makes sense to me.

You still didn't answer my questions.

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I think he is saying that doing the oil analysis and good documentation saved money, because Rotax stepped up and helped with the engine replacement when the lifters failed.

I think oil analysis can be a good tool to track down where some metal came from in an engine, but by the time it shows a problem you already have someting that needs fixed. What it can do in rare cases is tell you that there is a problem before you have a catastrophic failure.

The only document that I have seen about oil analysis regarding Rotax engines is from ROAN in Canada talking about using it as a tool to go beyond TBO. This was before Rotax went to the 2000 hour TBO.

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I think he is saying that doing the oil analysis and good documentation saved money, because Rotax stepped up and helped with the engine replacement when the lifters failed.

I think oil analysis can be a good tool to track down where some metal came from in an engine, but by the time it shows a problem you already have someting that needs fixed. What it can do in rare cases is tell you that there is a problem before you have a catastrophic failure.

The only document that I have seen about oil analysis regarding Rotax engines is from ROAN in Canada talking about using it as a tool to go beyond TBO. This was before Rotax went to the 2000 hour TBO.

 

That makes sense.

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It makes sense, in a way, so did cold fusion, but can anyone site an instance when it has been true that oil analysis has done anything but verify a problem?

At what point does oil analysis tell you to tear down or replace your engine? What are the numbers?

And, why is it so difficult to answer these questions?

 

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When an engine shreds like that, insurance doesn't cover it. They only cover if an accident happens after.

 

You can't just replace the lifters either. As safety officer said, metallic bits get ingested into other engine parts, and eats it alive. The engine is a boat anchor now.

 

What I meant to say is "what would it cost to replace the lifters in my engine, which have not failed".

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