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Old 03-13-2014, 01:06 PM   #1
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Do You Speak "Engine?"

I'm learning a new language. It's called "Engine," and I've been studying it for at least 40 years now. OK, I'm a slow learner. But what I have learned is that our engines speak to us, telling us when something's wrong. Example--about 3 years ago my port engine suddenly started spewing what appeared to be white smoke. My crew convinced me it was nothing more than the fact that it was a chilly morning and what I was seeing was condensation, much like your hot breath when it's cold out. The engine temperature gauge indicated normal, so there was some plausibility in their reasoning. About 12 hours into that day's cruise, I shut down the port engine to check its oil level. On restart, the high temperature alarm sounded. I shut the engine down immediately and went with my first impulse--check the raw water impeller (which I had replaced a few days earlier). It had only one vane left. When I replaced it with a new one, all went well. The white smoke was no more. Hooooray! Now I've learned something about my engine's language, that white smoke, actually steam in this case, can indicate a failing impeller. I was reminded of this when I recently observed whitish smoke coming from both my engines. Sure enough it turned out to be failing impellers, also recently changed (I've written of this in a separate thread). There are many, many other engine words to add to my growing lexicon. And I've now learned how important it is pay attention, to listen, to observe, and to take action when my engine talks!
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Old 03-13-2014, 01:13 PM   #2
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I'm learning a new language. It's called "Engine," and I've been studying it for at least 40 years now. OK, I'm a slow learner. But what I have learned is that our engines speak to us, telling us when something's wrong. Example--about 3 years ago my port engine suddenly started spewing what appeared to be white smoke. My crew convinced me it was nothing more than the fact that it was a chilly morning and what I was seeing was condensation, much like your hot breath when it's cold out. The engine temperature gauge indicated normal, so there was some plausibility in their reasoning. About 12 hours into that day's cruise, I shut down the port engine to check its oil level. On restart, the high temperature alarm sounded. I shut the engine down immediately and went with my first impulse--check the raw water impeller (which I had replaced a few days earlier). It had only one vane left. When I replaced it with a new one, all went well. The white smoke was no more. Hooooray! Now I've learned something about my engine's language, that white smoke, actually steam in this case, can indicate a failing impeller. I was reminded of this when I recently observed whitish smoke coming from both my engines. Sure enough it turned out to be failing impellers, also recently changed (I've written of this in a separate thread). There are many, many other engine words to add to my growing lexicon. And I've now learned how important it is pay attention, to listen, to observe, and to take action when my engine talks!
Add "feel" and "smell" to your tool box.
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Old 03-13-2014, 01:55 PM   #3
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My crew convinced me it was nothing more than the fact that it was a chilly morning and what I was seeing was condensation, much like your hot breath when it's cold out.!
If the crew is willing to pay for repairs listen to them. I'm in my ER frequently during a cruise using an IR gun to validate normal and pick up on any new things. Sometimes a crew member asks,"why so often?" My stock response is "how well can you swim."
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Old 03-13-2014, 03:33 PM   #4
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Add "feel" and "smell" to your tool box.
Yes- it requires all the senses. I smelled a bit of burnt rubber when I ran at high revs on my last outing. Checked alternator belt. Slightly loose.
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Old 03-13-2014, 06:52 PM   #5
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Sunchaser-that is a good habit to get into. I check out the ER every 60-90 minutes. I keep a clipboard on the wall for any notes (along with sound suppressors). So far, in two+ years, no major issues, but it sure makes me feel better.
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Old 03-13-2014, 08:00 PM   #6
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I placed a couple of 12V low light video cameras in the ER, hooked them to 12V power and an inexpensive RCA jack video switch box, then fed them to the HDTV which is visible aft if the helm. It allows me to continuously monitor for leaks and smoke between ER visits while enroute. Since I was repurposing old cameras from an old home installation, the cost was nearly zero. I think I have $30 into cables and the cheap chinese crap (CCC) switch panel. Making it all look presentable cost an additional $100. I call it FlyWright TV!



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Old 03-16-2014, 01:20 AM   #7
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Sunchaser-that is a good habit to get into. I check out the ER every 60-90 minutes. I keep a clipboard on the wall for any notes (along with sound suppressors). So far, in two+ years, no major issues, but it sure makes me feel better.
It is precisely because of your diligence that you have had no "major issues". Major issues usually start out as minor issues and escalate if not detected. Keep up the good work.
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Old 03-16-2014, 09:15 AM   #8
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When I was first starting out, an instructor of mine told me that one of the most valuable tool you can carry with you all day is to know what "normal" is for your engine, or whatever you work on regularly. Meaning, you will quickly know when something is amiss. It sounds as if you have the same tool. Good tip to revisit.
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Old 03-17-2014, 07:39 AM   #9
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an instructor of mine told me that one of the most valuable tool you can carry with you all day is to know what "normal" is for your engine,

The easiest way to operate Normal is to stick a mark on the needle when at Normal operation.

Just a glance will tell you or whoever if all is well.
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