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Author Topic: ECI Titan Cylinders  (Read 7856 times)

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SkyPilot

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ECI Titan Cylinders
« on: April 16, 2010, 06:04:01 PM »
At Bellingham today I lost my #4 cylinder on takeoff in my '73 Skyhawk, but I was able to land without bent metal or injuries. 

The entire cylinder head cracked into two pieces four fins up from the connection point.  When it blew, it ripped the baffling apart but did luckily it did not impact the cowling.   

I have ECI Titan cylinders with less than 350 hours on them. The one that blew was not within the serial number ranges of any the ADs, including the AD that just came out last month.  But given what happened today and the fact that the FAA has been alerted, that is probably about to change. 
 
From searching on the Internet, I see a handful of reports where the heads break off just as mine did.  Has anyone else experienced any problems with ECI Titan cylinders? Anyway, if you are flying with this type of cylinders in your engine, I strongly urge you to get them carefully checked and soon.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2010, 08:52:45 AM by SkyPilot594 »
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Piper PA-38 Tomahawk
KBLI - Bellingham, WA

Klaus

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Re: ECI Titan Cylinders
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2010, 08:39:23 PM »
Jeff,
   Could you post your cylinders serial numbers and manufacture date?  I am maintaining a number of aircraft that use ECi cylinders. (outside the AD's s/n range)

Klaus Marx
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1956 Tailwheel Piper Pacer PA-22/20-150
Juneau, AK (PAJN) & East Wenatchee, WA (KEAT)

SkyPilot

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Re: ECI Titan Cylinders
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2010, 12:48:37 AM »
Here is the press release on the Feb 2010 expanded AD.  The problem described fits what happened to my plane today to a tee...

Airworthiness Directives; Engine Components, Inc. (ECi) Reciprocating Engine Cylinder Assemblies

December 31, 2009 - 74 FR 69252 - Download Full Notice: Text | PDF

The FAA is superseding an existing airworthiness directive (AD) for Lycoming Engines (formerly Textron Lycoming) models 320, 360, and 540 series, "Parallel Valve" reciprocating engines, with certain Engine Components, Inc. (ECi) cylinder assemblies, part number (P/N) AEL65102 series "Titan," installed. That AD currently requires initial and repetitive visual inspections and compression tests to detect cracks at the head-to-barrel interface, replacement of cylinder assemblies found cracked, and replacement of certain cylinder assemblies at new, reduced times-in-service. This AD requires the same actions, but for an expanded population of cylinder assemblies. This AD results from reports of 10 additional cylinder head separations since issuing AD 2008-19-05, on cylinder serial numbers not listed in that AD. We are issuing this AD to prevent loss of engine power due to cracks at the head-to-barrel interface and possible engine failure caused by separation of a cylinder head, which could result in loss of control of the aircraft.

Agency Contact: Peter W. Hakala, Aerospace Engineer, Special Certification Office, FAA, Rotorcraft Directorate, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Fort Worth, TX 76193; e-mail: peter.w.hakala@faa.gov; telephone (817) 222-5145; fax (817) 222-5785.

This rule is final. Its effective date is February 4, 2010.
Aviation Law Attorney
Piper PA-38 Tomahawk
KBLI - Bellingham, WA

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Re: ECI Titan Cylinders
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2010, 09:49:07 PM »
Bite the bullet and get rid of the ECI's do a top overhaul and install Lycoming cylinders.  ECI has a bad track record starting with the Classic Cast cylinder then they produced the ones you've got.  I got caught up in this latest.  Their customer service was lousy.  I bit the bullet and instead of going with ECI discount to purchase replacements I bought Lycomings and feel better when I read about the problems people are still having with the non effected AD cylinders.

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gwhite

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Re: ECI Titan Cylinders
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2010, 06:51:23 PM »
Jeff,

Could you describe the condition (power setting, climb, power reduction, etc) when the cylinder failed? Thanks.
Gary White
1969 Aero Commander Darter
Spokane Valley, WA

SkyPilot

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Re: ECI Titan Cylinders
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2010, 08:39:48 PM »
I was taking off at KBLI on runway 34 with two passengers aboard my Cessna 172. We planned to fly to BFI. The engine was running at 2525 RPM, and we were climbing rapidly at 1200 Feet per minute.  I had just turned left cross wind and was entering the left downwind for departure as instructed by the tower.  Three seconds into the downwind leg, I head a thud, sort of like it sounds when you hit a car with a snowball. Suddenly, the engine and the cowling were rattling and my RPMs were down to approximate 1500.

At this point, I was at 1,800 feet, so I pulled back on the throttle and told the tower that we would be returning to the airport immediately.  I made two full 360 degree turns directly above the runway 16 threshold.  On my third turn, I hooked it in for a downwind landing on 16.  Once I was comfortable with the approach rate and angle, I pulled the power off as much as I could, to approximately 700 RPM and the prop was windmilling much more than normally.  Once the three wheels hit the ground on the runway, I pulled back the mixture and killed the engine.  I know that's not really checklist, but we were okay by then and I did not want the engine to keep running any longer than necessary. 

The whole thing from the beginning of the takeoff to the cylinder malfunction lasted maybe 5 minutes. The preflight, taxi, run up were all normal. The take off and climb were normal until the loud thud.  I had no indications of any trouble before it happened.  I flew the plane two nights before with no issues. 

The engine had about 350 hours TSMOH and I thought it was preforming quite nicely before this happened.  Pat Heseltine of Avian Aeronautics at Bremerton National is working very hard for me to get this resolved with ECI.  I have confidence in him.





« Last Edit: April 20, 2010, 08:54:38 PM by SkyPilot594 »
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SteveG

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Re: ECI Titan Cylinders
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2010, 08:40:23 AM »
Thanks for the update Jeff - glad it worked out.  Keep us posted on this - I'm curious as to how Avian handles this as I am in the market for an overhaul shop.
74 Piper Warrior
S43 Harvey Field
Snohomish, WA

gwhite

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Re: ECI Titan Cylinders
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2010, 08:33:09 PM »
Jeff,

Thank you for sharing your story. I too am flying behind Titan cylinders (150 hrs SMOH), also by Avian Aeronautics. I've had one replaced since it was within the AD SN ranges. The others are above the range in the latest AD.

Your account is important, and I hope the FAA is collecting data from your event and others that are likely out there.
Gary White
1969 Aero Commander Darter
Spokane Valley, WA

Domenick

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Re: ECI Titan Cylinders
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2010, 07:41:11 AM »
Thanks for the update Jeff - glad it worked out.  Keep us posted on this - I'm curious as to how Avian handles this as I am in the market for an overhaul shop.

For what it's worth, Tom Downey has recommended Avian to us for an overhaul of the O-320.
Domenick
PA-28-161
Snohomish, WA, Harvey Field, S43
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gwhite

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Re: ECI Titan Cylinders
« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2010, 04:27:45 PM »
I've been completely satisfied with Avian Aeronautics. Pat and Gin are very responsive and want to do things right.
Gary White
1969 Aero Commander Darter
Spokane Valley, WA

SkyPilot

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Re: ECI Titan Cylinders
« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2010, 07:01:50 PM »
For those of you following this thread:  Avian and Pat are standing behind his work and their products.  Pat just told me that he will be replacing the problems parts and I should be flying again by next week!  This is great news and takes a big load off of my mind. 

Back when I purchased this engine from Avian, Pat's work was highly recommended by everyone in the local industry and Pat has always been available and willing to help me and give me any information I needed.

It's a fact that sometimes engines break - it's just the nature of airplane engines.  But true test of any business is how they take care of you once something happens.  I want everyone to know that Pat went to bat for me with ECi and ended up hitting a home run. His work on my engine issue has been highly commendable!
Aviation Law Attorney
Piper PA-38 Tomahawk
KBLI - Bellingham, WA

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Re: ECI Titan Cylinders
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2010, 03:08:36 PM »
Jeff:  Are you going to be forking out money for this?  When you say they will take care of you, they went to bat for you,  just what does that really mean?  Are you getting a replacement free of charge or prorated for the hours that were on the broken one?  Is ECI going to pay for the labor to remove the broken one and install the new? 

When I got caught with the last ECI cylinder AD.  I spoke with the NW rep at Arlington Air Show.  In front of many people around his booth he promised ECI would pay for the expense for complying with the AD.  Later when it came time to take ECI at their word he back peddled and began denying his statements.

John

John S

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Re: ECI Titan Cylinders
« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2010, 08:32:08 PM »
I see a Walker Air/Oil Separator on the firewall.  I'd get rid of it.

My first C182 had one on it when I bought it.  When we were installing a new engine in it about eleven years ago, I found the oil return line completely full of water.  The separator will condense any vapor from the breather system and return it to the crankcase.  There is plenty of water vapor in the crankcase vapors leaving the engine.  I'll take a slightly oily belly any day.

SkyPilot

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Re: ECI Titan Cylinders
« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2010, 12:54:44 PM »
Hello John, I asked my mechanic about the concerns you had with the Airwolf oil-air separator.  He explained to me that the water issue was something that existed in the earlier ones.  He showed me the air line into the unit which came off he back of the vacuum pump and said that the air in the line was heated to over 240 degrees F.  He said that given the relative temperature of the air, all of the water would be evaporated off and I would not have the same issues you had in your engine.  I am not mechanical, but this sounded reasonable to me. 
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KBLI - Bellingham, WA

John S

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Re: ECI Titan Cylinders
« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2010, 08:03:11 PM »
"He said that given the relative temperature of the air, all of the water would be evaporated off "

I hope that is correct.  Engine corrosion can be a costly problem.
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