Maintenance

I haven’t had any unexpected wear or breakage issues on anything, so I haven’t really had a place to document any ongoing maintenance procedures. The following items are intended to be things found outside inspections that should not have happened, and a brief description of their repair. Since I am already past my fourth annual condition inspection, I may eventually tax my memory a bit and backfill this log with items I remember from the past as well.

The maintenance items are broken into two general categories – major and minor. The major items each have their own page; the minor items are simply listed below.

Major Items

Minor Items

June 2009 – 270 hours

From what I have read, it was not a question of “if”, but of “when”. Yes, the mounting stud for my alternator snapped off flush with the engine block. What was really interesting is that I only noticed this problem when I took the top cowl off and happened to notice the alternator belt was a little loose. It took me a few seconds to realize it was because the bottom stud was gone. The top mounting bracket was tight enough to provide just enough tension to keep things turning, so I never noticed a low voltage warning or any other sign.

Fortunately, the repair is fairly straightforward. To extract the bolt, I first drilled a hole in the center of it. This allowed me to use a screw extraction tool, which is basically a left-handed bit designed to act as the new bolt head and allow you to turn the bolt out of the block. Fortunately, there was no corrosion, or this would have been a painful process.

With the old bolt out, I measured the depth of the hole, the thickness of the alternator mount, and ran off to Ace hardware for a replacement. Upon returning and attempting to remount the alternator, I discovered that the alternator is not actually mounted flush to the engine block. Having never had a reason to look more carefully, I never realized there was a spacer there, which obviously departed the aircraft with the rest of the stud when it broke. Back to Ace for a longer stud. Fortunately, they are a decent source of grade 8 metric bolts and other hardware you don’t normally find anywhere else.

Total repair time (without the 2 trips to Ace) – less than 1 hour.

Update:  After the stud broke a second time, I finally drilled out the hole and tapped it for an M10 sized stud.  The hardest part was getting a drill between the engine and the firewall in order to drill the hole out.  I ended up buying a 90 degree drill head attachment to do it.

Aug 2009 – 299.4 hours

On the way back from Airventure ’09, my pitch trim became somewhat intermittent. Finally had a chance to tear open the floor and debug the relay box I built five years ago. Turns out the Ray Allen relay deck seems to be flaking out. So much for solid state relays.

Update: The only other electronic item in the plane that has gone Tango-Uniform is my Ray Allen elevator trim indicator LED…

While I was under the panel, I also noticed a small trace of brake fluid. Apparently there is a tiny leak at the plastic firewall pass through fitting. Going to have to address that at some point, but maybe this fall when it cools down a bit.

Update: Fixed by replacing with brass fittings in early 2012.