Maintenance Matters

July 2007 Issue

Cracked Crankcases: Repair or Replace?

Buying a new four-cylinder case may be economical, but six-cylinder cases are normally weld repaired with good success.

Doctors learn that a certain bedside manner is helpful when conveying bad news to a patient. Airplane mechanics—at least the ones we know—don’t necessarily feel the same obligation, thus when catastrophe looms large during an annual inspection, you might hear, “Hey, we found a crack in your case, you’re hosed.” The medical analogy is apt, for a cracked case is the equivalent of plugged arteries; surgery isn’t just an option, it’s a must. In most cases, a cracked case will ground the airplane and an overhaul will follow. No matter how much time is on the engine, splitting the case to fix a crack and reassembling it makes little sense. A full overhaul or reman is the way to go.

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