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Store That Engine Properly

Eustace Bowhay, Blind Bay, BC

The long term inhibiting question  has come up occasionally in the past. What is the best way to protect that big investment while getting ready to bolt it on the front end?

Over the years this has really never been a problem for me as the engines were usually installed shortly after purchase—either new or overhauled. However, all that changes when we decide to build a homebuilt. Ten years ago you could wait until you needed one, with the result that the engine didn’t sit idle for long.

As we all know that is not the case anymore with the scarcity of good engines.  So we buy when a opportunity arises and, in a lot of cases, long before we actually need it.

Bart and I got together last week and discussed what would be the best way to take care of them.

In the case of a new engine one should follow the manufacture’s recommendations. Bart’s engines are run with inhibiting oil before delivery and would normally be okay for up to two years.  However, this would depend a lot on how and where it is stored, and what the climatic conditions are.

This is what we came up with:

Plug or secure all openings that oil can leak from:  breather, oil filter adapter, exhaust ports, oil pressure and oil temp ports, governor pad, vacuum pump pad, spark plug holes, and any other openings I have missed. You can still expect some minor leakage because all the seals are cold.

Add 8 quarts of aviation oil. Place a suitable sized tire on a drip tray of, say, 3 feet by 3 feet and with enough help roll the engine around and lay it upside down on the tire. For those of you with all the fancy stuff—chrome and pretty colours—maybe put some disposable protection between the engine and tire. Then every few months (the more often the better) return engine to the upright position and roll around again and then back upside down on the tire . Do not turn the crankshaft when the engine is stored in this condition.

For engines that are used and have not been inhibited, do it as soon as you can.  The same for overhauled engines that have not been test run and inhibited. For new and overhauled, properly test-run and inhibited, you will have to be the judge depending on each situation.

When the engine is installed, pull the lower plugs and sump drain and let all the oil drain out.  Then slowly rotate the prop by hand so that you can stop and back it up if you feel any unusual pressure.

I know this is a bit of a pain but like a lot of things in life doing it right doesn’t come easy.

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