Fuel System Maintenance
I'm in the process of putting fuel system components into my project and am curious what reliability centered maintenance says about future service. The manuals say one thing, but after watching Mike Busch's talks at OSH and online I've become skeptical of fuel system maintenance on interval. What components (if any) should actually be serviced based on time? Recommended interval? Should the filter (or gascollator) be taken apart and screen rinsed with solvent (docs say annually)? What about the screen at the fuel distributor (if injected)? Should these only be done if you suspect contaminated fuel or sump sediment (on condition)? The injectors are pretty easy to watch on a monitor, but the stuff upstream isn't as much.
What airplane? I had a new 'Steve's gascolator' put in my Warrior last year. The old one started a small leak & I wanted to upgrade. A gascolator check is included one the annual. Over time the sump valves may develop a leak. My fuel selector was serviced last annual too, new O rings & some lube. There was no leak but I did have a slight fuel smell. It moves great now.
The maintenance manual for your particular aircraft followed by any instructions for continued airworthiness for the appliance you are talking about are the primary guidance (as modified by any ADs). After that, you just follow best practices as indicated in things like 43-13, etc...
You guys sound like the manufacters lawyers! It's obiviously a homebuilt, no manufacture's maintenance regulations, no passing the liabilty manual, gobly goop talk - Matt is simply looking for good, real, and proven experience to use as guidance. Lets put that back into the mission of EAA, and its resources such as this forum! Go to a law forum, or your facebook account to spout off BS/ no help advice! In the mean time, Matt and those of us like him are eagarly wanting real advice!
You sound like the reason experimental has a bad image.
Originally Posted by LJM
A fuel system has very little redundancy. For such a simple system, it's a wonder how many people that spent years building get it wrong and have an engine out on the first flight. This is one case where following factory guidelines makes sense. If you are not paying a mechanic, why should checking the screens once a year be construed as giving into the lawyers? Isn't part of the idea behind experimental to improve on certified? You are buying a product (fuel) and blindly using it, trusting that it is free of contaminants from manufacture to the tip of the nozzle. There are some expensive parts in the system that when they stop working, you come down.
It's not worth becoming a statistic in an effort to "fight the man".
something so simple as to checking screens, in my opinion should be done on an annual basis. Who knows that's in the fuel you got from the farms, etc. What Mike Busch seems to advocate and harp on is the TBO type items, the times associated with gear boxes, magnetos, motors, etc etc. Preventive mx should not be skipped (fuel screens being one of them)
The plane is an experimental so I'm not real interested in factory maintenance manuals (as discussed elsewhere many of the steps in those manuals decrease reliability). I'm well aware of 43.13 and the other legal docs.
The reason I ask the question is that MB has stated several times that prophylactic injector cleaning is unnecessary if the plane is equipped with engine monitoring and a competent operator. Also, that the majority of injector clogging is caused by the fuel system being opened and rarely by bad fuel.
So the question is does opening the fuel system annually to clean the other bits increase or decrease reliability? (I'm trying to be more safe, not lazy). Obviously if one is smelling gas or having trouble with a valve, maintenance is in order (ON CONDITION , not time).