Lear Romec Fuel Pumps: Pressure to perform

AD2003-14-03 marks yet another effort by the Crane Manufacturing Corp. and the FAA to eliminate the persistent fuel leakage problem associated with the Lear Romec engine-driven fuel pump. At first glance, this most recent AD appears to be a simple...

Figure 3: If the P/N on the Lear Romec data tag ends with the suffix "M," the pump has already been modified and no further action is required. Note:The new style relief valve body is silver or goldanodized.

A terminating action or options?
You decide

As specified in the body of the new AD, the accepted terminating action requires the outright replacement of the relief valve housing with Lear Romec's new modified housing which may be ordered direct from the factory. All Part 135 operators who previously complied with Textron Lycoming Service Bulletin 539 have already followed this directive.

A second option that remains is to perform initial and follow-up torque checks. These recurring inspections must be performed within 10 hours time in service (TIS), or 30 days after the effective date (Aug. 14), whichever occurs first. Follow-up torque check inspections are to be performed every 50 hours thereafter. If the torque remains within the specifications found in SB529B for an accumulated 100 hours, then a simple visual inspection is required at 50-hour intervals until the pump has been modified with Crane's kit. If the pump is simply overhauled or repaired, the entire sequence begins anew.

Buried in the text of AD2003-14-03 under the heading "Request for Additional Alternative Methods of Compliance" you'll discover yet another option to consider. The text reveals a request by a commenter for an alternate means of compliance. Specifically it reads: ". . . fuel pumps (Kelly Aerospace pumps) installed under the STC are not subject to the inspections required by this AD and may be installed without an AMOC." In 2002 Kelly Aerospace received FAA approval for two new fuel pumps designed as direct replacements for the Lear Romec RG9080 and RG17980 models. The Kelly Aerospace pumps are currently being installed on all Lycoming factory-remanufactured engines and have never had an AD issued against them. The pump is an FAA approved direct replacement to the Lear Romec pump although it uses different part numbers to help differentiate it from its Lear Romec counterpart.

Like their Romec predecessors, fuel pumps manufactured by Kelly Aerospace Power Systems Inc. are of the eccentric, sliding vane, positive displacement style. The pumps provide an uninterrupted flow of fuel to the fuel injection servo or carburetor and are capable of producing pressures well in excess of engine demands, thus fulfilling the directives of FAR23.955(c). Though similar in design and function, each Kelly pump in the 200F and 201F Series is tailored to meet the exacting requirements and demands for their specific applications. The Kelly designed pump utilizes fewer parts while incorporating carbon/graphite vanes and bearings, an improved shaft seal, and a proprietary relief valve body seal that will not creep or leak.

Careful consideration should be given to the value of buying a new direct replacement pump over dealing with as many as 30 to 40 inspections of the existing pump to TBO. The new Kelly Aerospace 200F and 201F Series of fuel pumps could be an attractive alternative to repetitively inspecting the unit for leakage since they are priced significantly less than the Lear Romec pumps.

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