A step-by-step guide on maintaining your aircraft’s exhaust
A lot of aircraft owners spend a fortune to keep the seat covers glossy or the exterior paints flawless. Some make sure that the engines are properly maintained and are on top of its game. However, very few take time to check on their exhaust.
Exhausts have to be maintained regularly like the rest of the aircraft because it has a huge impact on the overall safety of the plane and its passengers. Should an exhaust fail, problems like engine fiasco, carbon monoxide poisoning, or fire can happen. A little terrifying, right?
Others, meanwhile, are too confident of the manufacturer’s credibility, especially for the Cessna 340 model. Cessna Aircrafts are popular because of its quality, durability, and style. But even the best aircrafts in the market are not invisible to wear and tear— even its reliable exhaust.
However, it’s never too late for you to start taking care of your aircraft’s neglected components. So here are the top 5 tips and tricks to keep your exhaust clean and safe for your next flight:
- Dissect the exhaust Before everything else, remove all shrouds and shields from the muffler and the stack. This step will allow cleaners a deeper view of the exhaust. Some mechanics would go straight into cleaning the exhaust system. However, this procedure dismisses the possibility that there might be cracks or dents in these components and dirt may have settled inside.
- Inspect all parts Once the outer coverings have been removed, check for leaks, compromised soot, or uncommon colored discharges. There are several ways to check for leakage, but the most effective would be pressure blasting. First, pump air into the system, about 3psi to 5psi. This should be followed by injecting soapy water to check for weird looking discharge. These steps are taken to ensure that there are no cracks, pin holes, or leaks in the joints and clamps because the littlest holes can cause the biggest problems.
- Repair or replace missing components After giving the exhaust a quick shower, it is best to check for missing components like plugs, screws, bolts, or nuts. For exhaust, items such as heat studs and fins are crucial because these are heat regulators or heat sensitive components. A missing stud can cause overheating. For mufflers, baffles are important. A broken baffle can cause power loss. If these are compromised, be sure to repair or replace this component immediately. It might also be best to inspect for corrosion.
- Check for exhaust composition Some exhausts are made of steel, others from inconel. Newbie mechanics might have a hard time distinguishing between the two but more experienced ones can discern. Since these two are different but can look very much identical, checking for fault indicators will be tricky. So, to be sure, it is best to apply chemical test. Stainless steel is more prone to deterioration. Early signs of problem include bulging, deformity, and stretch marks. Inconel, on the other hand, proves sturdier. This material is popular because it is a stronger metal that could withstand the heat and prevent the unit from bulging. But this material is not perfect, while its features are flawless outside, the problem starts from the inside. The metal properties of inconel are not perfectly suitable with the mineral deposits that are left behind in AvGas. This causes extreme decay from the inside that is likened to cancer. These are some of the reasons why it is important to check the composition of the exhaust, as problems are not always seen outside. Sometimes it kills from the inside.
- Report backfires Mufflers systems are mostly affected by this trouble. Backfires occur if the air and fuel ratio is not correct. This incident adds more stress to the entire exhaust system in a quick, perilous manner. When it happens, baffles can break loose or it can crack the can. Any form of a backfire should be reported to a mechanic and aircrafts should be sent to the repair house for a thorough test.
These are just basic exhaust maintenance tips. It is always best to call for a professional when the aircraft needs more than a quick look, especially since problems can come from everywhere. It’s just like how we do it in Knisley Exhaust. With years and years of experience, your aircraft’s exhaust is definitely in good hands.