14.99 Contact!

This entry is part 29 of 38 in the series 14 - Final Assembly / FInishing

So at this point, the wheels have been aligned, the fuel tanks have fuel in them, the electrical system is complete. In short, there’s nothing that needs to be done to start the engine.

So I drained the oil down to 8 quarts (I had overfilled it as part of the long-term storage), pulled the upper (desiccant) plugs and removed the covers from the exhaust and intake.

Malcolm came over to act as a pair of eye watching the engine for any problems (with the engine in back, you can’t see it from the cockpit). We pushed the airplane out of the hangar and with the mags off, I cranked the engine for about 5 seconds to get oil circulated.

Then I installed and connected the upper spark plugs, looked things over one last time and hopped in. Malcolm was positioned just by the left wing with the fire extinguisher (just in case). I primed the engine and Malcolm say fuel coming from the bottom of the engine. We looked things over and discovered the fuel supply fitting at the forward baffle was loose. Considering all the fuel fittings, I’m surprised that I only missed one.

I tightened it and tried priming the engine again. No leaks this time.

Then I turned the left mag on a cranked the engine. It tried to catch but never really started. Malcolm noticed that only one side seemed to be firing. Tried a couple more times and it finally caught and started. But it was rough. And it stalled out after about 10 seconds.  I noticed that the EGT for the #4 cylinder was non-existent. So I guessed that the bottom plug had gotten fouled due to oil getting into the cylinder from being overfilled.  When I went to remove the ignition wire, I discovered it was loose. When I checked the other lower plugs, they were all loose. However long ago that I had built the baffling and removed and reinstalled the ignition wires to route them through the baffle, I never tightened them.

So a few minutes later, they were all tight.

Back in the cockpit, and it started right up.

Run #1

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I ran the engine for about 10 minutes until the oil got up to about 320 degrees and the EGTs all came up. I noticed that the #4 EGT was still reading zero. The CHT was reading about the same as the other 5 cylinders so I knew it was making power. Once I shut down the engine, a quick check with the IR thermometer showed the same temp and the other cylinders. So it had to be a loose connection or a bad EGT probe.

But it was late and it’s always good to leave on a high note. So we put the plane back in the hangar.

The next morning, I replaced the connectors for the #4 EGT probe and we pushed it back out for run #2.

Run #2

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Engine started right up.  But it’s still not quite right. I called my A&P/IA friend and he said that it was probably going to need to adjust the fuel injection system. Even though the engine shop ran the engine after rebuilding it and would have adjusted it, he said that it’s not unusual to have to do again. So that will happen on the next trip down.


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