Preserving Your Engine During a Period of Inactivity
If you’re not using your aircraft’s engine for a while, we recommend taking several simple but effective steps to keep it in pristine condition while it’s sitting idle. The ultimate goal is to minimize the risk of engine deterioration.
1. PRESERVING THE AIRCRAFT ENGINE FUEL SYSTEM
During normal operation, contaminants such as humidity may be found in the fuel. When the engine is active on a regular basis, it’s generally not an issue, since the contaminants will flow down into the combustor and be consumed there.
It’s a different story if your aircraft engine is in storage for an extended time. Contaminants will settle in areas that could lead to corrosion of the fuel system components, which will adversely impact performance.
To avoid any potential issues, disconnect the fuel line, purge the existing fuel and replace it with preservation fluid. This can be left in the engine as long as it’s inactive.
2. PRESERVING THE OIL SYSTEM OF AN AIRCRAFT IN STORAGE
Sometimes oil and water do mix. The oil used in an engine’s lubrication system is slightly hydroscopic—meaning it has the ability to absorb water. Since the oil system is not completely enclosed, air and oil will interact, and if the air is humid, the oil will extract water from it, become slightly acidic and slowly eat away at components and casings.
To prevent this, simply remove all the oil by letting it drip out before storing your engine.
3. PRESERVING THE ENTIRE ENGINE
When your engine’s going to be unused for some time, avoid condensation—which leads to rust. Keep it in a dry environment where there are no major temperature swings.
Storing the engine inside a hangar may not be sufficient since the temperature could fluctuate when the doors open and close or in cold weather conditions. To protect the engine, we recommend placing desiccant bags in it and sealing off all its openings. You could also remove the engine from the aircraft and put it in a vacuum-sealed bag with desiccant bags inside. In either case, you should monitor the humidity level inside the bag or engine using an indicator that will alert you by changing color.
No matter what kind of engine you have, moisture is your enemy. Materials like steel and magnesium are vulnerable to corrosion from water. If you protect the whole engine with no fuel or oil in it, you can keep it in serviceable condition until you’re ready to use it again.