Online Community of Zenith Builders and Flyers
Sorry I haven't posted lately but this has been a crazy year. But I guess that's not news to any of you.
Anyway, I did decide to go with the AM 15 engine. As I mentioned in my first post, my Jabiru 2200 engine failed me while on a trip about 400 miles from home. Rather than rebuild the engine which has given me nothing but trouble since day one, I decided to install a new engine. I did decide on the Aeromomentum AM 15. I went all-in with the complete installation package except for the cowl. The mechanic that's doing the work for me feels he will be able to use the original cowl. The engine arrived the first week of October along with the other firewall-forward components minus the prop. Delivery was right at the stated 60 day lead time. The prop was backordered and it looked like several months before it would arrive. As a "Hail Mary" I called Mark and asked if he was aware of any other customers that might have ordered the prop I need who may not be requiring it for a while. Maybe we could arrange a trade. While we were talking Mark said he was initially unaware of anyone but in the background I could hear Lili say she might be able to help. Mark said he'd call back in a while and let me know. About 15 minutes later he called back and said they had contacted another of their customers and made arrangements for him to ship me his prop in exchange for future delivery of my prop to him. This was all at no cost to me!! Now that's what I call customer service.
Current status is that the installation could be complete by mid-January if all goes well. I will take numerous pictures of the installation when complete and report on the initial test flights. The plane is in Wisconsin so flights in January may be iffy. Might have to wait until warmer weather arrives. If all goes well I will also share the name of the shop doing the installation.
Sounds great Mike! Sounds like it might be a quick turnaround.
Hi Mike, any updates on how you're liking the AM 15 engine?
Lots of activity since my last post but most of it simply involved with relocating my plane back to my home field. The mechanic that was doing the install for me came down with some significant health issues, including Covid, and he decided to close up shop. I rounded up some assistance , and a trailer, from a good friend of mine and we transported the plane back to my home field here in southern Illinois about a month ago. Since I hadn't planned to do the install myself, I didn't exactly hit the ground running. In addition, since the plane had to be trailered down the highway for 400 miles, wings and tail feathers had to be removed so the reinstallation of those components has occupied the majority of my time since I got it back here. Wings and tail feathers are now reinstalled and I am currently working on the fuel system.I've also been spending a significant amount of time just studying the installation manual. Did I mention that I hadn't planned to do this myself? Anyway, I installed the previous engine myself so It's just a matter of time and persistence.
Ian's encouraging words about a quick turnaround will unfortunately not come to pass but I'm plodding onward. I'll post pics when there's something interesting to post. The maze of wires in the wiring harness is boggling me at this point.Quite a difference between a computer controlled, fuel injected liquid cooled engine and the Jab I had installed before. I did decide to go with the Aero Graph plug and play engine monitor rather than rack my brain trying to make my 2006 era MGL Stratomaster my primary engine monitoring instrument. I'll still use it for airspeed, VSI, oil temp, oil pressure and coolant temp though.Updates will follow.
Good work Mike I have finished installing mine and it all seems to have gone smoothly enough Mark is good to discuss any queries with. the Aerograph is really the best thing its truly plug and play.
As a matter of fact, I just made my first flight about 10 days ago. Had to go out of town for a week but I'm back now and looking forward to flying a lot this coming week. Had a bunch of rain here in the St. Louis area and I'm at a grass strip so I may have to wait for it to dry out a bit first. I've had the engine ready to go for a couple months but then I had issues with my electric trim and com radio/ intercom. Didn't want to fly without either of those things working so that set me back a bit. I also had an older version of the installation manual and it didn't clearly stipulate that "Break In" oil is required until break-in is complete. I never knew there was such a thing and neither did the folks at O'Reilly when I asked for it. Had to order on line. For the Jabiru I just used straight weight aviation oil. It's always something. Be sure to update your installation manual if you haven't done so recently.
The first flight went well. VERY noticeable increase in power vs. the old 85hp Jabiru. Just flew for about 20 minutes doing close quarter laps around the field. As mentioned above, had to leave town after that. Looking forward to flying more this week, weather permitting. I'll try to be better about posting updates.
Forgot to add one thing to my previous post. I'm looking for input on propeller pitch. I have it set now using the 16 degree jig that came with the Luga prop. That pitch is too low. I only had the throttle a little over half way open and the rpm was up to 5000. I was only climbing at about 300 fpm at 5,000 rpm. Mark suggests not going above 4500 rpm until the engine is broken in but at 4500 I'd barely maintain altitude. Anyone out there have any experience with an engine of similar horsepower on this airframe (601 HDS)? Any input based upon actual experience or firsthand knowledge would be greatly appreciated.
Just talked to Mark and pitch numbers really don't mean a heck of a lot unless you're comparing the exact same propeller at the exact same point on the blade. I should have known that. Please disregard my previous post. Mark gave me some good information on how to get started zeroing in on optimum prop pitch.
I've been out flying about 2 hours so far. I've got the Luga prop pitched at 14 degrees 4 inches in from the tips. The engine runs great but I'm at the very forward limit of CG. It was flying at a very nose high attitude just to maintain altitude at 5200 rpm and SLOW. Lots of nose up elevator required. Decided to put a bag of lead shot and a heavy oak board (total of 35#) at the very aft part of rear baggage area which is about 75 inches aft of the wing leading edge. Recalculated CG and it moved a little over an inch aft. Went flying yesterday and what a difference! Still has more nose up attitude than it did with the Jab 2200 but it's much better. I've calculated what weight I'd need in the tail cone to get the same moment as the weight in the baggage area and it looks like about 15 pounds. I'd like to move the CG aft another inch beyond that so I think I'm going with 20#. That will put me right in the middle of the CG range in a worst case scenario which includes 40# in the baggage area.
Tip of the day: DO NOT mount your battery on the firewall adjacent to the header pipes. See attached. Needless to say, I'll be getting a new battery. The plan is to add heat shielding to the battery itself (note that where retaining strap was, case is not melted) and wrap the header pipes and muffler with titanium heat shield tape. Before anyone suggests moving the battery to the other side of the firewall, most of my electrical penetrations are over there and in addition, I have a header tank. Relocation would be a MAJOR project.
Hi Mike good catch, but if you have to move weight aft, maybe relocating the battery as far aft as possible would not be a bad Idea.
I thought of that Kevin and that's option #2 if shielding doesn't solve the problem. I never had this issue with the Jabiru installation but there was a SS heat shield directly over the muffler in that installation. Muffler was directly under the carb and I assume the purpose of the shield was primarily to protect the carb but I'm guessing it also protected the battery from a significant amount of heat too. Relocation of the battery is not an easy fix and at this point I just want to get back to flying my plane. Heat shielding seems like a quick,easy, effective, and safe fix that won't put my plane out of commission for another several weeks or months. I've contacted Mark on this and asked for input. As long as he sees no safety issues with resolving this issue with shielding, that's the option I'll try first.