The Importance of Proper Installation for Zero-Time Engines

Everyone knows it is vitally important to keep your expenses as low as possible, but I would like to encourage you to “hang the expense” when it comes to engine installations. To let things slide or try to get by cheap in this area only provides a false sense of economic security, and can actually cost you in many other ways.

Following are a few suggested priorities to follow when installing a fresh engine on your plane:

  1. Find a knowledgeable mechanic, who knows the particular engine being installed, even if you have to take the plane to him or pay his travel expenses to come to you. It will be worth it! (Note: “A & P” is not always equivalent to “Good Engine Mechanic”)
  2. Use all new hardware, especially where fiber lock nuts are utilized. They really are intended as a one-time use lock nut. Everyone hopes to get the most hours possible out of a fresh engine, which is reason enough to install fresh mount rubbers with each zero time engine. And remember: no two engines will run or feel exactly alike.
  3. I feel strongly that fresh engines should have fresh accessories, especially the primary engine accessories such as carburetors/fuel control units and fuel pumps. Spend some time checking around to find which manufacturer’s accessories are the most resilient, as well as the cost of the product.
  4. There are several publications available to you as reference material. The Pratt & Whitney Maintenance Manual is one of the best available. Keep up with news articles and service bulletins from your airframe manufacturer. This material will save you time and money, while also providing more accurate information than you “buddy up the road” could ever hope to give you!

Properly monitoring and servicing of your fuel and oil system will eliminate many headaches with a freshly overhauled engine. This is especially important on engines installed on aircraft that have experienced a previous engine failure, and therefore, have generated a lot of metal contamination. Overhaul your accessories and flush any system that may have been downstream of the area making metal.

zero-time engines

You now have a fresh engine with a clean fuel and oil system. All new “LORD” mounts and installation hardware are in place, everything is hooked up properly, and all control linkages are checked for full travel (hopefully with some “cushion” allowed). Service the engine with the appropriate weight oil, and you’re ready for your first runup.

Engine Installation is not always just a simple plug and play operation.  It pays to have experienced personnel doing the work.  Take the time do replace the needed components and pay attention to the little details such as packings and hardware.  Do not scrimp in this area of operation.  Yes, labor can be relatively expensive, but the value added from having expert hands doing the work will reap a payoff in reliability and lengthened worry-free performance.

Need help with maintenance, repair, overhaul, contact Covington Aircraft today!

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