Monday, March 07, 2016


Proper maintenance of aircraft tools is necessary.  If tools are used daily you generally will not have any issues.  Basically, all tools need a light coat of oil to preserve them during storage.  There are many environmental elements that can make tools rust.
1.      Tools are designed to use daily.  Without daily use you need to take some special care to prepare them for storage.  Most builders of Vans aircraft need to take preventative action to protect their airplane tools from rust.
2.      Clean and wipe down your tools with a light coat of oil before putting them away.  Keep an oily rag handy for that purpose.  A light coat of oil will remove the moisture from your hands and protect the tools during storage.  WD-40 is a good preservative for tools.
3.      If possible, store your tools in a controlled environment.  Without temperature control your tools will sweat and rust.  If you heat your storage area with a propane or kerosene heater you will cause tools to rust.  Both of these heaters produce water vapor and the cold tools will collect this moisture until they reach room temperature.  The main prevention of rust on tools is to control humidity.
If your tools do rust clean them as soon as possible.  There are several methods of which any will work.
1.      Use a Scotchbrite pad to remove surface rust and wipe the tools with a light oily rag.  WD-40 would be a good oil to use.
2.      Very fine steel wool will remove the rust. 
3.      For round tools (rivet sets, die sets, etc.) you may want to place them in a drill and polish them with a polishing wheel on a grinder.  Use a light buffing compound to make them new again. 
4.      For flat surface tools (bucking bars, flush rivet sets, back rivet plates, etc.) use fine steel wool to clean the rust.
5.      In all cases, wipe and coat with oil.  Check them occasionally if not used. 
All aircraft tools need to be protected against rust.  Here are some:
1.      Rivet bucking bars, rivet squeezer yokes, rivet gun springs, rivet gun sets, back rivet sets, countersink bits, rivet squeezer sets and dimple dies need to be wiped with an oily rag.
2.      Clecos need to be continuously dry.  Keep them in a protective bucket with an air tight lid.  Each time you store them spray a little WD-40 in the bucket before closing the lid.
3.      Hand tools such as tin snips and deburring tools need to be wiped with an oily rag.
4.      Air tools need to be oiled with a few drops of oil at the end of the work shift.  Also, wipe the outside surface of unpainted tools with an oily rag before storage.
This should help keep your tools in great condition so the next time you use them they will be free from rust.

Saturday, March 05, 2016


Hopefully, this post will help others with Lycoming 0-360 engine issues that cause a rough running engine.  We have been through the mill on this one so I thought I would post a sequence of possible issues for a rough running Lycoming aircraft engine.

First, check to make sure your engine primer is closed and locked.  If the primer is not locked it can allow fuel to pull through the system.  Each time the cylinder draws on the intake stroke the primer will leak extra fuel into the cylinder.  This results in two symptoms.  One, the engine will run rough.  Two, the engine does not want to die when you pull the mixture back all of the way.  This is because the cylinder with the primer is sucking gas into the cylinder with each stroke.

Second, check for intake leaks.  Places prone to leak are the gasket between the cylinder head and the intake tube flange.  These are very inexpensive.  Also, check the short tube that runs into the engine oil pan intake.  If these tubes are loose they leak air into the intake.  A special aircraft tool is required to tighten these.  Lycoming has one that costs around $8,000 and you can rent it.  I also found rental is available at other places.  Our local engine shop loaned us their Lycoming tool.  It is very easy to use and reseals these intake tubes correctly.  As an added bit of protection we put a bead of Permatex Ultra Copper around each tube where it enters the engine just to make sure there was no leak.

Third, check for a broken spring on the cylinder.  It is difficult sometimes to see.  Our engine had a broken exhaust valve spring.  We did not find it until we pulled the cylinder and took it to an engine shop to get the valves re-seated.  The engine shop called and said the spring was broken.  According to the mechanic this is not very common, but does happen once in a while.

The above assumes you already know your mags are good and you spark plugs are good.

Hope this helps.  If it does, please post a response.