Piston engine troubleshooting

Piston Engine Troubleshooting By Thomas Ehresman March 1998 You work in a shop that specializes in turbine equipment. The few cabin class piston twins for which the FBO is responsible get their maintenance done elsewhere. From time to...

Consult Continental service bulletins for more details. Excessive blowby is almost always accompanied by higher oil consumption and slightly higher oil temperature than normal.

A not so common but serious cause of low compression is a bad crack in the cylinder. This one is a serious safety issue and deserves a little attention here. If hissing is heard outside the cylinder, make sure the source is pinpointed before you go any further. This kind of crack sounds just like an air leak (it is). A crack this bad is immediate cause for cylinder removal and replacement before further flight.

Books have been written on this subject, but my hope is this article has given you a few pointers on making the piston engine troubleshooting experience a little more hassle-free. When you get good at it, it will be gratifying and even fun.

We Recommend

  • Article

    Compression Testing

    Compression testing is a way to determine engine health. We use differential compression testing in aviation because it is a more reliable method of testing engine compression than direct...

  • Article

    Magnetos Under Pressure

    Magnetos Under Pressure By Harry Fenton July 2000 One of the fundamental problems with turbocharged piston engines that operate at high altitudes is that the ignition system requires...

  • Article

    Engine Compression Testing: Back to basics

    Engine Compression Back to basics By Joe Escobar Compression testing can be an effective tool for monitoring engine condition. Despite the apparent simplicity of the test, it can be a...

  • Article

    Primer for the LASAR electronic ignition system

    Primer for the LASAR® Electronic Ignition System By Jim Melvin, Bryan Quillen, and Harry Fenton February 1998 When you hear pilots or technicians talk about electronic ignition...