Cracked Case

14 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

Bad news for the Bee...Turns out that I had a crack in my engine case that started in the rear bottom stud of cylinder #2 and drooped down and aft as it progressed.  I decided to go full "Experimental" on it and I TiG welded the bottom half of it used a MiG welder on the upper half, but on the outside only...it held for about 10 hours and then the crack reappeared right in the middle of the weld.

So the back story is that I bought this engine from a guy on eBay.  It had a fresh coat of lycoming gray on everything, and now I know why!  When I stripped it down it had a spot of something that didn't want to come off...It was JB weld.  At the time I thought it was just some build up, but after I found the oil leak I realized it was the seller hiding the crack.  So, the crack got a lot bigger and extended about 6".  After the crack came through the weld, I cried Uncle and tore my engine down and bought an overhauled case.  I'm waiting for new bearings to appear at my door and then I'll put it back together.

Here are some pics and I'll add more as I build the engine.

Ron

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This was the attempt at welding it from the outside

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the crack came back

 

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Pulled the engine

 

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Split the case and gutted it

 

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The crack on the inside

 

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Overhauled case from Divco in Tulsa, OK

 

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Painted the case first this time

 

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This is the crank gear bolt...this is the bolt that has to be replaced when you have a prop strike.  You can get at it by removing the accessory case.

 

More pics to come...

Edited by RDavidson
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Posted

I'm so sorry to hear this.  I'm glad you found the problem before the inevitable failure happened!

I'm sorry, but stories like this just reinforce my mindset on never buying anything of any importance from Scam-Bay.  A cellphone case or some LED light bulbs is one thing, but an engine case is not anything that I would buy from an auction, especially eBay.

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Posted

Did you stop drill it before welding?  DC TIG would have been a good if you could get the case clean enough of contaminates.  The weld looks a bit cold to me.

Glad if did not lead to much worse issues on you!

:BC:

 

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Posted

Leni,

Stop drilling would have been a great idea!  I thought about it, but I had no idea what was inside the case because up until now I hadn’t split a case open.  You are right, the weld was not very good, because of both contamination and not knowing how thick the case was.  Obviously the weld was too shallow.  I don’t think it would have mattered much because the crack was actually all of the way through the cylinder base, which we couldn’t get to without pulling a cylinder and then machining the face after welding.  So it wasn’t a good weld by any means.

I had a friend do the welding.  I don’t have a welder capable of aluminum welding.  I don’t know exactly what he used?

Yes, it could have turned into a much bigger problem...I pulled the engine and bought the case after reading about engine case cracks causing entire cylinders to separate from the engine!  Yikes!

Even with all of these issues, minus personal labor, I’m still way ahead in costs of this engine vs buying a freshly overhauled Lycoming.  I don’t like guys hiding things that could potentially contribute to my own death, but I also don’t have the coin to pay $30K for an engine.  So, the lesson I have to walk away with is having a good knowledge base of engines, and tear it down and get the parts inspected...it really isn’t complicated and if you shop around it isn’t that expensive either (as far as Aviation expense goes :)

 

Ron

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Posted

I hate dishonesty, I wish you could still punish people for being criminals.

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Posted

I think ebay is like anything else.  There are crooks and good people as well.  Can't say I've ever really been burned on things.  I've also sold a couple of ultralights, a kitfox project,  and trucks, and lots of smaller things there, and I know I'm not a crook.  Mostly, it's buyer beware, but that's true in everyday life as well now a days.  JImChuk

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Posted

Got my engine parts yesterday and spent the night in the hangar putting the case together...next I’ll put it on the vertical stand and start attaching the cylinders.  The only difficulty I ran into was trying to lift the crankshaft with the rods and main front bearings and placing them in the case half.  Also, using the Lycoming Overhaul manual is a cruel joke...because it splits the job up by systems, you can get yourself in a real pickle thinking that the order of jobs listed is correct! So read the whole thing first!

Ron

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Posted

Ron, save that nice engine cradle, your buddy might need to borrow it.......Good work on that engine!!!  When are you starting Super Bee Engines LLC??

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Posted

Getting closer...hope to have it back on the Bee this coming week.

 

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Posted

Going back on the Bee tomorrow!

 

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Posted

can't say the welding would not have held if done properly, but I know on cast iron it has to be heated to a dull cherry red before and after welding and cooled slowly. I have had tractor cases brazed and held up ok but the cracks were not so close to the cylinder. The expansion and contraction is what will either crack the weld or pull the weld away from the base metal. If it is uniformly heated it will be more like the original base metal. This is with cast iron. Not sure about aluminum but seems it would be somewhat similar but would think a drilled stop hole on either end would be needed . Glad you got your new cases and will be up in the air soon

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Posted

TX,

You are right about the pre heating...we didn’t do it and you can see the result, no penetration.

She is back together now...waiting to get my Catto Prop back, had to send it back because the paint was peeling off of the tips.  They said they had tried a new primer that obviously didn’t work.

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Posted

Got my prop back and installed it, then drug the Bee outside for a start.  Cranked the engine like crazy, but no start.  Gas was coming out of the sniffle valve, so I pulled the bottom plug on #1 and gas came pouring out.  I then pulled the other bottom plugs and they barley had any gas in them.  I soon realized the mistake I made...I had left the fuel nozzles in the cylinder when I took the cylinders off the engine and I flipped the cylinders over so they were sitting with the valve covers down.  This allowed oil and carbon deposits to drain their way into the fuel nozzles.  So now I had plugged nozzles.  Per Lycoming cleaning instructions I cleaned them out with Hoppe’s #9 gun solvent, then blew them out with air.

I put everything back together and tried to start her again...no start.  I ran my battery low and decided to call it a day.  The next day I headed to the hangar and spent the day checking mag timing, spark from the left mag, and inspected p-leads.  I checked all of the wires going to the mag switches, requiring me to remove the dash.  All of the electrical checked good, so it had to be fuel issues still.

With my battery fully charged I went for another start.  I used my electric fuel pump in a 3-5” burst then turned it off, and the engine rumbled and then died.  This time I turned the electric fuel pump on and left it on...the engine sputtered a little and then roared to life.  While on the ground I usually use the mechanical full pump only, so after a minute of running I turned off the Electric FP and after about 5” the engine died...After several starts and stops using the electric fuel pump switch I now know my mechanical fuel pump has gone bad.

Easy fix you would think, but the firewall interferes with the location of the fuel pump, so this might take a while.

I did run the engine for a few minutes and it ran great!  A lot smoother running than before!  It had good oil pressure and felt powerful in the cold air today.  I’m super happy with the work I accomplished, I’ll cross my fingers that fixing the fuel pump goes well and that the engine will run Great for many hours to come...

 

Cheers,

Ron

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Posted

Ron,

Quick thought. If the engine ran before the rebuild with the mechanical pump, it should now as well. Be sure to double check what ever drives that pump to be sure it is right.  Just an old mechanic thinking..........

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