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Alleviate my concerns.


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Ok before anyone takes this as an attack on Jabiru engines. Its not.

Im a student pilot. So relitively new to aviation. Since taking an interest in flying, one obviously as a new pilot dreams of owning ones own plane. The Jabiru seems to pop up in sales quite a bit. As the price tag can be reasonably achieved as a first aircraft.

But as a new to aviation person. One usually joins forums and such to gain info and knowledge. But have found in some quarters, the mear mention of the word Jabiru, initiates derision and jokes about dropping out of the sky. Now having been a motorcyclist for nearly 40 years its akin to the old jokes about Harley Davidsons needing a ute to follow them round. And the like. Talk to a enthusiast. And they are a magiccal machine. So it would be I assume with Jabiru owners.

So as I understand. They did get some bad press several years ago. Including a very hard time by CASA. Issuse with engine through bolts. And lifters being what Ive read. ( correct me if Im wrong) From there there have been further developed into newer generation engines which were supposed to fix these problems.

So basically I guess Im asking in a round about way. And trying in no way to insult anyones aircraft choice. Is the Jabiru ( yes Im aware it comes in many forms. And engine used in a few different planes) a safe aircraft for a new pilot to buy. I am aware other types of engines stop and fail to. Or is it the kind of aircraft that requires a long term skillful aviators eye to pick up some eccentricities that a new pilot may overlook in their zeal to get aloft.

Cheers

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My view! If properly maintained iaw Jabiru manual, it is as good as any. It is a lightweight, simple, relatively low cost engine and there is , I feel, an awful lot of the typical Australian ‘tall poppy’ syndrome around it. My airframe is Zenith with a Jabiru engine, but at Warwick where I fly there are about half a dozen properly maintained Jabirus whose owners are happy plus a low wing Zenith with a six cylinder Jabiru. I really don’t know what it is with a lot of Australians but they seem to think foreign is better!

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Zero engine problems, but the microair radio has given me a headache on more than one occasion. Fixed now though.

Buy with confidence and if there is a problem it is very cheap to fix and the factory sends any parts immediately. Ken

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There are several threads on here about Jabiru engines. Some people have had issues with theirs, but I'm very happy with mine as are lots of other owners. Interestingly, Jabiru engines seem to have a much better reputation in North America, Britain and Europe.

I believe there are more Jabs flying in South Africa than Cessnas.

Lots of discussion on here: [email protected]

 

You expressed interest in buying a Jabiru aircraft. There are lots of good ones for sale, but get some advice from reputable people. The Jabiru airframe is one of the safest, both because it has been tested more than most and because if pranged, people are more likely to survive. Also the airframe is more easily repaired than most.

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My view! If properly maintained iaw Jabiru manual, it is as good as any.

So in your opinion. Would you say a vast majority of major engine trouble ( not withstanding previous generation faults) stems from incorrect Jabiru maintenance? And if so what are the leading incorrect procedures.? Or that and a combination of other factors?

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So in your opinion. Would you say a vast majority of major engine trouble ( not withstanding previous generation faults) stems from incorrect Jabiru maintenance? And if so what are the leading incorrect procedures.? Or that and a combination of other factors?

I believe that the 25hr oil and filter change is super important, the engine oil quantity is not a lot and the filter is fairly small. My opinion only, I have no figures to back it up.

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I believe that the 25hr oil and filter change is super important, the engine oil quantity is not a lot and the filter is fairly small. My opinion only, I have no figures to back it up.

Thats a fair enough opinion. And for what its worth. probably good practice for all aircraft.

Cheers

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3 Quarts of Shell W100+ & filter costs about $45.00 for the 25 hourly change in my Jab 3300A engine. Oil stays fairly clean between changes & I do not have to top up between changes. It costs more than that for most cars even if you do it yourself. The engine maintenance manual has a bunch of checks to do 25 hourly & other airframe checks should be done too.

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About 8 years ago , a Savannah with a Jabiru 2200 was my first plane. And I haven't changed it since . The engine has been completely reliable. I went on a Jabiru owners course soon after I got it which was super-helpful. I learned a lot about some problems with earlier examples of the engine. The two you mention were genuine and serious issues with the engine. Probably not really dangerous, since they didn't cause sudden failure. If you do your engine checks well you would realise the fault was gradually developing. I would say , as well, there may be a lot of reports of unreliability caused by bad use on the owners part. Being air cooled you HAVE to pay more attention to the temperature guages than you would on a Rotax. In standard form the cooling is entirely passive, no thermostats, it relies on a compromise level of cooling built in by the designers and it is easy to make the cylinder heads overheat, and possibly the oil. In UK cold climate there is potential for under temp, which also causes early engine problems. We fitted a TOCA (oil thermostat) which nailed this , though use of blanking tape on the heat exchanger is also a solution. We are up to 850 hours now and it has not missed a beat. I'd advise whoever services it makes careful note of how much tightening is necessary of cylinder head bolts when re-torquing . If it is excessive you are doing something wrong while flying, and storing up problems. Good luck with your purchase, I really like the Jab engine!

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If there was no Jabiru, I would never have owned a new plane. And I agree with mikeavison, a careful operator will not be caught unawares.

There was a guy I knew who had to do a forced landing in outback Australia due to a Jabiru engine failure, an exhaust valve failed.

When I asked him how it felt on the turnover check that morning, he was nonplussed. Apparently his instructor ( an ex GA type used to impulse magnetos) had told him to never do this check on account of how the engine could start.

But the check is in the factory daily inspection!

So that is the sort of experience I have of Jabiru engine failures.

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Hunsta, here are some of the things I know for sure caused problems: ( others might add to this list, please do )

1. High Temperatures

2. Loose prop ( not loose on turnover at DI time, but hammering under flight loads.)

3. Inadequate care of prop leading edge tape

4. Allowing ram-air ducts to come loose at fixing points ( fibreglass is not good under bolt-heads)

5. Operating with leaking valve

6. Operating with C of G well behind aft limit

7. Trying an experimental 3 blade prop and losing a blade

8. Cutting off the fuel supply by allowing a new hose to vibrate and move under the fuel tank.

9. Grossly over-torquing the tappet-adjusting nuts

 

These are just from memory. They prove to me that the Jabiru engine is not fool-proof. Maybe a professionally-maintained one would come close if the fool in charge was smart enough to obey instructions.

Well I'm not that smart, but so far ( 20 years ) the engine has gone great.

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Bruce, you posted this on the other thread before it was closed. "My sk2200 was a flat-pack in 1998. The engine has gone just great ever since. I am planning to change to a gen4 when the time comes... its 660 hours now. How will I know when the time has come?"

 

I think it will depend upon your age rather than the age of the engine. I think the earlier engines had a 1000 hour TBO rather than 2000 hours of the later versions so on that basis it will be at least another 440 hours before you get a Gen 4 or will it be Gen 5 or 6?

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Thanks kg. Yep, I'm 74 and nearing the end of my active life. I reckon I have about 2 years of doing projects to go, and about ten years of projects on the list. One of the projects was to do the new engine, but maybe that wont happen huh. Another was to do a new prop, but Ken has saved me by pointing out how much heavier the new prop is... gosh I never thought of that. The missus has many things for me to do instead. Not to mention jobs on the farm here.

So on present indications, the old engine will see me out.

Mike Bush says that TBO is a flawed concept anyway, as there is no comparison between an engine which has been mistreated and a good one. Not only that, he says that there are more bits that fail from infant mortality than old age. I like Mike Busch.

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...there are more bits that fail from infant mortality than old age...

Sounds like the concept of Reliability-Centred Maintenance, which seems to be based on the finding that most failures happen immediately after an aircraft has undergone maintenance.

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There was a guy at our club who had flown helicopters in the Australian forces. He told me that he hated the first flight after maintenance because there was usually something which had been stuffed up.

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Something always seems to happen after maintenance. On my last 100 hourly a brand new spark plug was a dud. Finding it took an hour or so. Then I noticed the battery wasn't charging. I had to remove the spider from the back of the engine to check the flywheel bolts torque & had somehow pulled the charging wire out of the regulator spade connector. My original crimping job wasn't the best but had lasted 5 years as there was nothing pulling on it.

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Ken, I have a 42 " prop. I'm scared at the thought of upsetting a reliable situation, but I sure would like a few more knots.

Would the 44" prop possibly load the engine more through the whole range and maybe cause a problem?

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Bruce,

At the club we swapped the prop on 3031 from a 42" to a 44" about 12 months before we sold it. I remember this because Grahm R. and I did it. We picked up 7 kts. When I ordered my kit it was supposed to come with a 42" but was supplied with a 44" and I was happy with that. We then tested good old 3031 at Truro Flats on the 450m cross strip. We were forced to as the wind only allowed this strip. Happy to report we did not become a hangar roof ornament! We were very heavy and used the "short field take off" method.

I recon it is well with the cost. There must be plenty of used examples around as people went over to glass.

Ken

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