Dimensional Inspection (Part Two)

in Engine Maintenance and Operation


Use extreme care in inspecting and checking the crankshaft for straightness. Place the crankshaft in V-blocks, supported at the locations specified in the applicable engine overhaul manual as in Figure 10-10. Using a surface plate and a dial indicator, measure the shaft runout. If the total indicator reading exceeds the dimensions given in the manufacturer‘s table of limits, the shaft must not be re-used. A bent crankshaft should not be straightened. Any attempt to do so results in rupture of the nitrided surface of the bearing journals, a condition that causes eventual failure of the crankshaft. Measure the outside diameter of the crankshaft main and rodbearing journals using a micrometer. [Figure 10-11] Internal measurements can be made by using telescoping gauges, and then measuring the telescoping gauge with a micrometer. [Figure 10-12] Compare the resulting measurements with those in the table of limits.

Figure 10-10. Checking crankshaft runout.

Figure 10-10. Checking crankshaft runout.

Figure 10-11. A micrometer.

Figure 10-11. A micrometer.

Figure 10-12. Telescoping gauges and micrometer combination.

Figure 10-12. Telescoping gauges and micrometer combination.

Checking Alignment

Check bushings that have been replaced to determine if the bushing and rod bores are square and parallel to each other. The alignment of a connecting rod can be checked several ways. One method requires a push fit arbor for each end of the connecting rod, a surface plate, and two parallel blocks of equal height.

To measure rod squareness, or twist, insert the arbors into the rod bores. [Figure 10-13] Place the parallel blocks on a surface plate. Place the ends of the arbors on the parallel blocks. Using a thickness gauge, check the clearance at the points where the arbors rest on the blocks. This clearance, divided by the separation of the blocks in inches, gives the twist per inch of length.

Figure 10-13. Checking connecting rod squareness.

Figure 10-13. Checking connecting rod squareness.

To determine bushing or bearing parallelism (convergence), insert the arbors in the rod bores. Measure the distance between the arbors on each side of the connecting rod at points that are equidistant from the rod centerline. For exact parallelism, the distances checked on both sides should be the same. Consult the manufacturer’s table of limits for the amount of misalignment permitted.

The preceding operations are typical of those used for most reciprocating engines and are included to introduce some of the operations involved in engine overhaul. It would be impractical to list all the steps involved in the overhaul of an engine. It should be understood that there are other operations and inspections that must be performed. For exact information regarding a specific engine model, consult the manufacturer’s overhaul manual.

Repair and Replacement

The engine components that have failed inspection, or are unrepairable, should have been discarded. The component parts that need repair and replacement are now given the attention required. The replacement components (new parts) are organized and laid out for reassembly.

Minor damage to engine parts, such as burrs, nicks, scratches, scoring, or galling, should be removed with a fine oil stone, crocus cloth, or any similar abrasive substance. Following any repairs of this type, the part should be cleaned carefully to be certain that all abrasive has been removed, and then checked with its mating part to assure that the clearances are not excessive. Flanged surfaces that are bent, warped, or nicked can be repaired by lapping to a true surface on a surface plate. Again, the part should be cleaned to be certain that all abrasive has been removed. Defective threads can sometimes be repaired with a suitable die or tap. Small nicks can be satisfactorily removed with Swiss pattern files or small, edged stones. Pipe threads should not be tapped deeper to clean them, because this practice results in an oversized tapped hole. If galling or scratches are removed from a bearing surface of a journal, it should be buffed to a high polished finish.

In general, welding of highly-stressed engine parts can be accomplished only when approved by the manufacturer. However, welding may be accomplished using methods that are approved by the engine manufacturer, and if it can be reasonably expected that the welded repair will not adversely affect the airworthiness of the engine.

Many minor parts not subjected to high stresses may be safely repaired by welding. Mounting lugs, cowl lugs, cylinder fins, rocker box covers, and many parts originally fabricated by welding are in this category. The welded part should be suitably stress-relieved after welding. However, before welding any engine part, consult the manufacturer’s instructions for the engine concerned to see if it is approved for repair by welding.

Parts requiring use of paint for protection or appearance should be repainted according to the engine manufacturer’s recommendations. Aluminum alloy parts should have original, exterior painted surfaces rubbed smooth to provide a proper paint base. See that surfaces to be painted are thoroughly cleaned. Care must be taken to avoid painting mating surfaces. Exterior aluminum parts should be primed first with a thin coat of zinc chromate primer. After the primer is dry, parts should be painted with engine enamel, that should be air dried until hard, or baked for 1⁄2 hour at 82 °C (180 °F). Aluminum parts from which the paint has not been removed may be repainted without the use of a priming coat, provided no bare aluminum is exposed.

Any studs that are bent, broken, damaged, or loose must be replaced. After a stud has been removed, the tapped stud hole should be examined for size and condition of threads. If it is necessary to re-tap the stud hole, it also is necessary to use a suitable oversize stud. Studs that have been broken off flush with the case must be drilled and removed with suitable stud remover. Be careful not to damage any threads. When replacing studs, coat the coarse threads of the stud with an anti-seize compound.

Cylinder Assembly Reconditioning

Cylinder and piston assemblies are inspected according to the procedures contained in the engine manufacturer’s manuals, charts, and service bulletins. A general procedure for inspecting and reconditioning cylinders is discussed in the following section to provide an understanding of the operations involved.

Visually inspect the head fins for other damage besides cracks. Dents or bends in the fins should be left alone unless there is danger of cracking. Where pieces of fin are missing, the sharp edges should be filed to a smooth contour. Fin breakage in a concentrated area causes dangerous local hot spots. Fin breakage near the spark plug bushings or on the exhaust side of the cylinder is obviously more dangerous than in other areas. When removing or re-profiling a cylinder fin, follow the instructions and the limits in the manufacturer’s manual.

Inspect spark plug inserts for the condition of the threads and for looseness. Run a tap of the proper size through the bushing. Very often, the inside threads of the bushing are burned. If more than one thread is missing, the bushing should be rejected. Tighten a plug in the bushing to check for looseness.