General Maintenance Practices for the Light-Sport Jabiru Engines

in Light-Sport Aircraft Engines

NOTE: Some specific maintenance practices that differ from conventional certified engines is covered for background and educational acquaintance purposes only. Always refer to the current manufacturer’s information when performing maintenance on any engine.

Engine and Engine Compartment Inspection


Check for oil, fuel exhaust, and induction leaks and clean the entire engine and compartment before inspection. Check flywheel screw tensions to 24 foot pounds. Check the carburetor air filter and clean it by removing it from the intake housing and blowing compressed air against the direction of the intake flow. For operation in heavy dust conditions, clean air filter at shorter intervals than recommended for normal conditions. A clogged filter reduces engine performance, as well as promotes premature engine wear. The engine baffles and air ducts should be checked for condition and functionality.

Two methods can be used to check the cylinders compression. The compression gauge method is used to measure compression using a compression tracer. Readings are taken with a fully open throttle valve at engine oil temperature between 30 °C and 70 °C (90 °F to 160 °F). If readings are below 6 bar (90 psi) a check of the pistons, cylinders, valves, and cylinder heads must be undertaken.

The second method uses the pressure differential test. Check using a maximum allowable pressure loss is 25 percent. As an alternative to a compression test, a pressure differential test (leak down) can be accomplished. This is a much better test of the condition of rings, bore, head sealing, and valves. This is the normal test used in aviation and requires specific equipment. The test is carried out with the engine in warm to hot condition. Input pressure is best set at 80 psi; a second gauge reads the differential. This is done with piston on TDC on the firing stroke.

NOTE: The propeller needs to be restrained. A differential of lower than 80/60 (generally a 25 percent loss) indicates a problem.

Problems can be better identified by observing where air is escaping from the cylinder, blow-by. Some examples are as follows:

  1. Blow-by through the crankcase vent indicates worn rings or bore.
  2. Leaking from carby indicates a poor intake valve seal.
  3. Leaking from exhaust indicates a poor exhaust valve seal.
  4. Head leak indicates poor head to cylinder seal.

With the problem identified, the malfunction can then be corrected. Poor compression can be an indication of a serious problem. For example, continued operation with poor compression due to a poorly sealing valve can lead to eventual valve failure and heavy damage to the piston, connecting-rod, barrel, and head.

Lubrication System

The oil should be changed as required by the manufacturer. When changed, the oil filter should also be changed. Change the oil filter at every 50 hourly inspection. Drain the oil while engine is still warm and visually check for leaks. Fill the engine with oil (approximately 2.3 liters) and check oil level. Never exceed the maximum mark. Use only registered brand oils meeting the correct specifications. Do not drain the oil cooler during a normal oil change. The cooler holds only a small amount of old oil that has negligible effect on the new oil. Taking the hoses on and off the cooler can prematurely age the oil lines and lead to hoses slipping off the cooler.

Carburetor Adjustment and Checks

To adjust the engine’s idle speed, adjust the idle stop screw (7 mm screw) against throttle lever. Standard idle mixture screw position is 1¼ turns out from the seated position. Fine adjustment may be necessary to give a smooth idle. The mixture is set by selecting jet sizes. As supplied, the engine has jets to suit a majority of installations; however, the mixture may be affected by operation with a propeller that does not meet the requirements listed in the installation manual or by ambient temperature extremes. If an engine is to be used in these situations, an exhaust gas temperature (EGT) gauge should be fitted and monitored against the limits specified above. Do not change carburetor settings if EGT readings fall outside the range given without consulting with Jabiru Aircraft or our local authorized representative. The carburetor automatically adjusts the mixture to account for altitude. Visual inspection should include checks for carburetor joint degradation and carburetor linkage for full and free movement, correct positioning of stops and security.

Spark Plugs

When plugs are removed from a warm engine, the inspection of the tip of the spark plug can be used to indicate the health of the engine. If the tip of the plug is a light brown color, the plug is operating correctly. A black velvet, sooty looking plug tip generally is an indication of an overly rich mixture (check the choke and the air filter and intake). If the firing end tip is covered with oil, it is an indication of too much oil in the combustion chamber (check for worn piston rings and cylinder walls). When servicing the spark plugs, do not use steel or brass brushes for cleaning and never sandblast plugs. Clean the spark plugs with plastic brush in a solvent. Check electrode gap and, if necessary, adjust to 0.55–0.6mm (0.022 in–0.024 in) by carefully bending the electrode. Use the recommended Plugs (NGK D9EA) and place a suitable anti-seize compound on threads of the plug before installing them in the engine. Tighten spark plugs when the engine is cold and adjust engine to the correct torque value. Reconnect the ignition lead.

Exhaust System

Visually check the exhaust system for security of mounting, damage, rubbing, leaks, and general condition. Check nuts and bolts for tightness and condition; re-torque and replace if necessary.

Head Bolts

Check the head bolt torque after five hours of operation, and again after ten hours of operation. The bolts should, thereafter, be checked annually. Head bolts torque when cold to 20 ft/lb.

Tachometer and Sender

Many apparent engine problems can be caused through inaccurate tachometers. Where engine performance is observed to be outside limits, the tachometer should be checked against a calibrated instrument. Tachometer sender gap is 0.4mm (0.016 inches). The sender must have at least 60 percent covered by the tags fitted to the gearbox side of the flywheel. Ensure both tags are equal distance from sender.

Engine Inspection Charts

NOTE: Read all inspection requirement paragraphs prior to using these charts. [Figure 11-35]

Figure 11-35. Engine inspection charts.

Figure 11-35. Engine inspection charts. [click image to enlarge]