Engine Installation and Testing (Part Three)

in Engine Maintenance and Operation

Manifold Pressure Indicator

The preferred type of instrument for measuring the manifold pressure on reciprocating engines is a gauge that records the pressure as an absolute pressure reading. Absolute pressure takes into account the atmospheric pressure plus the pressure in the intake manifold. To read the manifold pressure of the engines, a specially designed manifold pressure gauge that indicates absolute manifold pressure in inches of mercury (“Hg) is used. The red line indicates the maximum manifold pressure permissible during takeoff.


The manifold pressure gauge range markings and indications vary with different kinds of engines and installations. Figure 10-37 illustrates the dial of a typical manifold pressure gauge and shows how the range markings are positioned. The green arc starts at 35 “Hg and continues to the 44 “Hg. The red line on the gauge, at 49 “Hg shows the manifold pressure recommended for takeoff. This pressure should not be exceeded.

Figure 10-37. Manifold pressure gauge.

Figure 10-37. Manifold pressure gauge.

Tachometer Indicator

The tachometer for reciprocating engines shows the engine crankshaft rpm. The system used for testing the engine is the same as the system in the aircraft installation. The tachometer, often referred to as TACH, is calibrated in hundreds with graduations at every 100-rpm interval. The dial shown in Figure 10-38 starts at 0 rpm and goes to 35 (3,500 rpm). The green arc indicates the rpm range within operation that is permissible. The red line indicates the maximum rpm permissible during takeoff; any rpm beyond this value is an overspeed condition.

Figure 10-38. Tachometer.

Figure 10-38. Tachometer.

Turbine engines use percent rpm indicators due to the high rpm that the engines generally operate. Each rotating assembly in an engine has its own percent rpm indicator. The 100 percent position on the indicator is the highest rpm the engine can operate. Red lines and green arcs operate the same as with reciprocating engines.

Cylinder Head Temperature Indicator

During the engine test procedures, the cylinder head temperatures of various cylinders on the reciprocating engine are normally tested. Thermocouples are connected to several cylinders and, by a selector switch, any cylinder head temperature can be indicated on the indicators. When installed in the aircraft, there is sometimes only one thermocouple lead and indicator for each engine installed in an aircraft.

Cylinder head temperatures are indicated by a gauge connected to a thermocouple attached to the cylinder, that tests show to be the hottest on an engine in a particular installation. The thermocouple may be placed in a special gasket located under a rear spark plug, or in a special well in the top or rear of the cylinder head.

The temperature recorded at either of these points is merely a reference or control temperature; but as long as it is kept within the prescribed limits, the temperatures inside the cylinder dome, exhaust valve, and piston is within a satisfactory range. Since the thermocouple is attached to only one cylinder, it can do no more than give evidence of general engine temperature. While normally it can be assumed that the remaining cylinder temperatures are lower, conditions such as detonation are not indicated unless they occur in the cylinder that has the thermocouple attached.

The cylinder head temperature gauge range marking is similar to that of the manifold pressure and tachometer indicator. The cylinder head temperature gauge is a dual gauge that incorporates two separate temperature scales. [Figure 10-39] The scales are calibrated in increments of 10°, with numerals at the 0°, 100°, 200°, and 300° graduations. The space between any two graduation marks represents 10 °C.

Figure 10-39. Cylinder head temperature gauge.

Figure 10-39. Cylinder head temperature gauge.

Torquemeter

Most torque systems use an oil pressure output from a torque valve to indicate actual engine power output at various power settings. The torquemeter indicates the amount of torque being produced at the propeller shaft. A helical gear moves back and forth as the torque on the propeller shaft varies. This gear, acting on a piston, positions a valve that meters the oil pressure proportionally to the torque being produced. A change in pressure from the valve that is connected to a transducer is then converted to an electrical signal and is transmitted to the flight deck. The torquemeter can read out in pounds-feet of torque, percent of horsepower, or horsepower. The earlier systems read out in psi, and the flight engineer converted this to the correct power setting. [Figure 10-40] Some systems use strain gauges to attach to the ring gear to provide an electrical signal directly to the readout.

Figure 10-40. Torquemeter readout.

Figure 10-40. Torquemeter readout.

Warning Systems

Many of the miscellaneous gauges and devices indicate only that a system is functioning or has failed to function. On some aircraft, a warning light illuminates when the fuel pressure or oil pressure is low.