Monday, August 13, 2007



Well, the diagnosis is in and the prescription has been issued. After talking things over with Mattituck, we're going to ship the engine back to them for inspection and repair. They did the major overhaul in 2001, but the warranty period has expired, so I won't get any relief on the cost. They'll have to completely disassemble the engine, replacing or repairing as necessary. Estimated down time is 6 - 7 weeks, not including shipping and the time to remove the engine and reinstall once it has been fixed. I had some ambitious flying plans for this summer and fall, but everything's going to be on hold for a while. For now, it should be interesting to watch the enginectomy...

Ray the mechanic contemplates the prop. It's the first of many accessories that need to be removed before the engine comes off.

It's going to be a two-man job, so Pat comes over to help.

Without the alternator and baffles, she's looking a little bare. Apparently, all Cessna engines came in this shade of blue.

The exhaust comes next. In the foreground, assorted airplane bits: baffles, some SCAT duct, and the starter ring and spinner bulkhead.

Weighing in at around 250lbs, it's more than Ray can carry, so the Big Hoist is brought in.

From left to right: carburetor, alternator, and vacuum pump. I wouldn't have expected it, but apparently aircraft shops go through Kleenexes by the case.

After disconnecting myriad hoses and cables, the engine is free of it's mounts for the first time since 2001.

You don't get to see it from this side very often.

Lowering it into the mounts on the Mattituck shipping crate.

All snug in its bed. This will be it's seat for the journey back to Long Island

From this angle, it reminds me of the little robots from Silent Running. The droid, A1F6D.

"I come in pieces, from the planet L'ycoming!"

And this is where we end up, poor girl, sitting noseless in a corner of the hangar. She really looks sad.

Saturday, August 04, 2007



Crankcase crack on a Lycoming O-360This is what you don't want to find when you take your plane in for her annual inspection. Otherwise, she's a healthy bird, but this crack is going to have to be fixed and I fear it's going to be expensive. I'm checking into options, but the most likely resolution will be to remove the engine and ship it back to the shop that did the major overhaul in 2001.

Crankcase crack on a Lycoming O-360Here's a view from last summer when I changed the spark plugs. If you know where to look, the crack is there. To think that I've flown about 75 hours on that engine...

Lycoming O-360Another view, from 2005. You can't really see enough to tell if the crack was there back then. There does seem to be some oil on that area of the engine - that's what tipped off my mechanic. Thank God for his attentiveness and good eyesight.

Ironically, the most recent issue of Light Plane Maintenance magazine (Aug 07) has an article about cracked crankcases. I read that article a few days ago. I was thinking that it could never happen to me, not with my little low-HP four-banger...

Hmmm... are there any magazines that run articles about recent lottery winners?