One of the most basic requirements for keeping any engine in good shape is an oil change. The proper amount of oil will lubricate engine components and reduce wear. There are several requirements to keep in mind when selecting an oil and maintaining the engine.
Choosing the correct viscosity for an engine’s oil can be tricky. Lubricants that are too thin don’t have sufficient lubricant film and lead to increased engine wear. However, if it’s too thick, it will cause too much friction, which will increase power requirements— and eventually, it will lead to lower fuel economy and cause overheating in the engine. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have already predetermined the correct oil viscosity based on the engines ambient operating temperature.
Oil changes are an absolute necessity. As the oil flows through the engine, it collects various contaminants, which keeps the engine clean. However, not changing the oil is similar to not changing an air filter; the dirt will continue to accumulate and be projected back into the air. The oil on an engine with full-flow filtration should be changed every fifty hours or every four months— whichever comes first. Oil filters should be replaced every oil change, so that the old oil doesn’t mix with the fresh oil.
When an aircraft is sitting on the ground, the temperatures alternate between hot and cold; the cooling process condenses water vapor and the moisture drains into the oil. The oil temperature should remain between 180 and 185 ? during flight because the moisture will boil away in this range. In turbocharged engines, temperatures can be 70 ? higher than what the temperature gauge reads, so it’s imperative to make sure that there is good airflow to cool the cylinders.
An engine should consume an appropriate amount of oil. If it’s not using enough oil, it may be indicating that the sealing is inadequate, which leads to blow-by, power loss, and increased cylinder bore wear. But, if it’s exceeding an OEMs approved limits, then there may be a problem with an unseated or broken ring.
Oil analyses is something an aircraft owner should regularly do to prevent unnecessary engine wear. When the oil is circulating through the engine, it collects many contaminants. This is normal, but if there are too many contaminants it can impair lubrication and cause the engine to wear quicker. An oil analysis may indicate engine problems which will help an owner take further actions to prevent them from becoming failures.
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