Tuesday, March 27, 2012

2012 Annual Inspection (vi)

The "inspection" part of N631S's annual maintenance ritual has been completed. Mike the IA had the nose landing gear apart and inspected on Friday. That was the last major sub-system and it didn't provoke any squawks. Now, it only remains to complete the emergent work items and close the airplane up again.

Yesterday, the new muffler (first discussed in this post) showed up. Mike had soaked the exhaust manifold flange nuts on both sides of the engine with penetrating oil over the weekend and he set about breaking those joints so that the old muffler could be freed. Naturally, exhaust system fasteners being the way that they are, it was a bit of a struggle. But when I showed up this morning, the old muffler was out and the new one was ready for installation (see photo above).

With the old muffler out it was easy to get a good look at its innards. In the picture at left you can see how badly the flame cone is warped and cracked. This component was refurbished seven years ago and has since had over 900 hours time-in-service. In that time, on the order of 400 tons of corrosive exhaust gas have passed through it, at temperatures in the neighborhood of 1,400°F. As I said a few posts ago, it's a hard life and there's no question in my mind that it was time for a new one.

Today, a new seat roller assembly and a new magneto distributor block should have arrived. Those will get installed tomorrow as the bits and pieces start going back together. The plan is to run up the engine and test fly the airplane on Thursday afternoon, and then for N631S and I to make the trek back to the DC area on Friday.


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