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...

Ultimately, your decision may be determined by simple economics or by the hassles associated with redundant inspections. Do you wish to repeatedly inspect the pump through TBO, replace the relief valve housing, or replace the entire pump and eliminate the need for recurring inspections? In some cases, pumps may be buried deep within the confines of the engine compartment and may have a difficult cowling configuration to remove. On average, most cowlings can easily be removed and reinstalled with the pump fully inspected within an hour's time. There are however a few notable exceptions. The Malibu with the TIO-540-AE2A is one such installation - where pump inspections could take several hours. Some pumps incorporate a blast shroud that may hide residual fuel stains. With shrouded pumps, it may be difficult to discern if there is a problem short of removing the pump.

Don't get torqued off!
Make certain that the required torquing or 50-hour visual inspection is performed in conjunction with other routine maintenance and oil changes. Inspect the pumps every other oil change if oil and filters are replenished at 25 hours in turbocharged engines. A simple visual inspection of the pump could cost the owner anywhere from $65 to $130 if the inspection does not coincide with regularly scheduled maintenance. This figure will vary depending upon how difficult the cowling is to remove in order to gain access to the pump. Cowling configurations and variations in hourly shop rates could conceivably drive the price of inspections higher still.

Bottom line, if your pump has already been modified, disregard the AD. However, it is always a good practice to visually inspect your pump and all your fuel componentry including the hoses for evidence of fuel leaks. Any time fuel system parts are installed or reinstalled, the hoses must be flushed and the entire fuel system pressurized for leaks.

It would be wise for every airplane owner to stay current with any service publications directly impacting the safe operation of his or her aircraft. Often, the burden of keeping current on such bulletins falls directly on the shoulders of the technician who is tasked with keeping the owner's aircraft flight-worthy. This is a shortsighted and irresponsible approach to maintaining "ownership" of an aircraft. All owners and operators should have slightly more than a vested interest in knowing whether their plane is ship-shape!

Randy Knuteson is the director of product support for Kelly Aerospace Power Systems.

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