Inspection and Replacement of Aircraft Powerplant External Units and Systems

The engine nacelle must be cleaned thoroughly before it is inspected. The design of an engine nacelle varies with different aircraft. Basically, it is a framework covered with removable cowling, in which the engine is mounted. This assembly is attached to the aircraft and incorporates an insulating firewall between the engine and the airframe. The interconnecting wiring, tubing, and linkages between the engine and its various systems and controls pass through the firewall.

Inspect the complete engine nacelle for condition of the framework and the sheet-metal cowling and riveted plates that cover the nacelle. The engine mounting frame assembly should be checked for any distortion of the steel tubing, such as bends, dents, flat spots, corrosion, or cracks. Use the dye penetrant inspection method to reveal a crack, porous area, or other defects.

The engine mounting bolts are usually checked for condition by magnetic particle inspection or other approved process. While the bolts are removed, the bolt holes should be checked for elongation caused by the movement of an improperly tightened bolt.

Check the outer surface of all exposed electrical wiring for breaks, chafing, or other damage. Also, check the security of crimped or soldered cable ends. In addition, carefully inspect connector plugs for overall condition. Any item that is damaged must be repaired or replaced, depending on the extent of the damage.

Before installing an engine, inspect all tubing in the nacelle for dents, nicks, scratches, chafing, or corrosion. Check all tubing carefully for indications of fatigue or excessive flatness caused by improper or accidental bending. Thoroughly inspect all hoses used in various engine systems. Weather checking (a cracking of the outside covering of the hose) sometimes penetrates to the hose reinforcement. Replace any length of hose that shows indications of the cover peeling or flaking, or has exposed fabric reinforcement. Replace a hose that shows indications of excessive cold flow. Cold flow is a term used to describe the deep and permanent impressions or cracks caused by hose clamp pressure.

Always replace a control rod if it is nicked or corroded deeply enough to affect its strength. If the corrosion cannot be removed by rubbing with steel wool, the pitting is too deep for safety.

On older aircraft, check the pulleys in the control system for freedom of movement. It is easy to spot a pulley that is not turning freely, for both it and the cable are worn from the cable sliding over the pulley instead of rolling free. The bearings of a pulley may be checked by inspecting the pulley for excessive play or wobble with the tension removed from the cable. The cable must also be inspected for corrosion and broken strands. Locate any broken strands by wiping the cable with a cloth.

Check bonding for fraying, loose attachment, and cleanness of terminal ends. The electrical resistance of the complete bond must not exceed the resistance values specified in the applicable manufacturer’s instructions.

Inspect the exhaust stacks, collector ring, and tailpipe assembly for security, cracks, or excessive corrosion. Depending on the installation, these units, or parts of them, may be mounted on the engine before it is installed in the aircraft.

Check all air ducts for dents and for the condition of the fabric or rubber anti-chafing strips at the points where sections of duct are joined. The dents may be pounded out; the anti-chafing strips should be replaced if they are pulled loose from the duct or are worn to the point at which they no longer form a tight seal at the joint.

Thoroughly inspect the engine oil system, and perform any required special maintenance upon it before installing a replacement engine. If an engine is being changed at the end of its normal time in service, it is usually necessary only to flush the oil system; however, if an engine has been removed for internal failure, usually some units of the oil system must be replaced and others thoroughly cleaned and inspected.

If the engine has been removed because of internal failure, the oil tank is generally removed to permit thorough cleaning. Also, the oil cooler and temperature regulator must be removed and sent to a repair facility for overhaul. The vacuum pump pressure line and the oil separator in the vacuum system must also be removed, cleaned, and inspected. Internal failure also requires that the propeller governor and feathering pump mechanism be replaced if these units are operated by engine oil pressure.