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Thread: Is it my plane, or is it me?

  1. #1
    FFSchooley's Avatar
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    Default Is it my plane, or is it me?

    Hey all,
    It’s me again. I was hoping my next post would be my “I just soloed!” Post, but instead I am seeking all of your advice. I am supposed to solo tomorrow which I want to be excited about, but as usual there seems to be something wrong with my plane. So I want to ask all of your for your opinion on what you would do.

    I thought I had everything finally sorted out on my plane thanks to all your help, my mechanics help, and lots and lots of money. I went up my first lesson yesterday after the spark plug issue and after a few laps notice that the vibration I used to have was back. I have gotten used to my yoke shaking a bit, but it seemed to be back to how it was before, visibly shaking really bad. It’s less at cruise, but at climb out or lower rpm is bad. Then I notice on climb out my rear pilot side lift strut is visibly vibrating up and down. It’s shaking. But it stops at cruise, when the vibration is less. Maybe it’s always done this and I just didn’t notice? Anyways, Compound this with my stupid engine monitor showing number 1 CHT bouncing all over the place (must be the probe, as CHT can’t go back and fourth from 150 to 250 in a matter of a second.), let’s just say I didn’t learn much that day. My instructor was frustrated that I wasn’t listening, but it was hard to pay attention to him as I watch my plane shake and red lights flash.

    with all that said, am I worrying about this stuff to much? Do I need to just relax and accept that a 1959 plane is going to rattle and shake and have constant little issues? Am I just scarred from having to fix this mess of a plane that was poorly put together and poorly maintained? Do I just need to ignore this stuff and just fly? I mean, the engine hasn’t blown up in all these years and the plane hasn’t vibrated apart yet, so it’s probably all fine, right? My instructor doesn’t say anything, so I assume he isn’t concerned. I just don’t know if I am expecting too much or if there is something truly wrong with my plane. I don’t see other planes shaking and vibrating when I watch YouTube, but maybe they are and I just don’t see it. Is this all normal for old planes?

    Anyways, I couldn’t sleep and was hoping to get some advice from those those have much more experience than me. Tell me, what would you do? Should I have more confidence in this old bird and all the work that has been done fly the crap out of this thing, or do I need to not be flying this thing and figure out was is still wrong?

    thanks in advance for the help.

    brett
    Last edited by FFSchooley; 10-05-2020 at 03:42 AM.

  2. #2
    walt.buskey's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is it my plane, or is it me?

    As I mentioned before, we're apparently in the same boat here... The fellow I bought my plane from flew it for 6 years and 400+ hrs with no real issues, but the overall condition of the thing was pretty shaky when I got it and started digging into it. I've replaced or repaired so many things now I can't remember them all. So now we're ready to get it back in the air and my A&P puts an electronic accelerometer thing on it and says it vibrates too much -- "Dangerous Vibration" was the message his device displayed, in fact.

    So we're going through stuff now, but so far nothing has "cured" it. So I was thinking... maybe that's just its nature?

    Then I thought some more: very many of the issues I've corrected COULD have been caused --or at the very least exacerbated-- by excessive vibration, as it turns out. In thinking about all the stuff I've fixed, that vibration issue keeps rearing its head....

    Not sure where we're going to go after the next test (right mag was just overhauled), but it's beginning to sound like perhaps minimal effort was involved when the engine was rebuilt 740+/- hrs ago -- both my A&P and another A&P had the same thought: when it was overhauled, they didn't bother to weigh/balance any of the new parts in the engine before they put it all together.

    I've never been involved in an O-320 overhaul, but that's what they both thought. Interesting, and given the number of observed "shortcuts" elsewhere in the plane, a distinct possibility -- but what do I know?

    You might see if your A&P can get a quantitative analysis on your engine -- see if he's got an accelerometer to verify if engine vibration levels are really out of line.

    So, Brett, I'm scratching my head, too!

    One thing I will say, however, is that I'm in this to the end, even if it involves pulling that engine out, to determine who the ^%$ is going on. Hang in there.

    Walt

  3. #3
    Pacer42Z's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is it my plane, or is it me?

    The two general sources of vibration are the engine and the prop. If the prop hasn’t been overhauled for a long time, I would start there. It is not that expensive. Then make sure the prop is mounted in the correct position.

    Juergen
    Pacer N3342Z

  4. #4
    Frank Green's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is it my plane, or is it me?

    42Z you are spot on. When I overhauled my plane 10 years ago I had the prop overhauled and then reinstalled it with instructions from the SWPC site which are still on Andy's site. When my prop stopped it was almost always 12-6 oclock position. And I had a noticeable vibration. At annual this year when I reinstalled the prop I used the instructions on the Sensenich website and the vibration is way less than it was. The prop now stops at 2-8 oclock when standing in front like you were going to hand prop. The 12 position was better if I have to hand prop it but that is rare.
    -Super Stub-

  5. #5
    Gilbert Pierce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is it my plane, or is it me?

    The rapid oscillation of the CHT is most likely a bad connection in the CHT wiring. I have had this issue on several occasions.

    If its an EI gauge with spade connectors, taking the apart and reconnecting them will cure it for awhile. EI has a replacement connector that cures the problem. They use to send them for free.

    Does your instructor think it vibrates too much?
    Last edited by Gilbert Pierce; 10-05-2020 at 08:29 AM.

  6. #6
    FFSchooley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is it my plane, or is it me?

    It’s not my prop fellas, it’s been overhauled and clocked in various positions, no luck.

    Gilbert, it’s an EI gauge, so I will check the connectors. my instructor hasn’t said anything, but I have also never asked.

    Im with Walt, I believe we have tackled everything but the engine at this point. If it is the engine, well... that will be out of my price range for quite some time.

    back to my original question, do I just live with this? Is it normal for these planes to vibrate? Am I crazy trying to chase down having a smooth running plane? Should my lift strut be vibrating? Can I just fly this thing and enjoy?
    Last edited by FFSchooley; 10-05-2020 at 09:17 AM.

  7. #7
    smcnutt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is it my plane, or is it me?

    I think it's hard to say what you're feeling is "normal" from way out here in the internet. I would certainly start a little closer to the issue and ask your instructor while you're flying. You certainly don't want to be worried about your airplane when you should be concentrating on actually flying. Soloing is hard enough as you are fighting your own confidence you don't need to have a lack of confidence in your airplane.

    I think your instructor, at the very least, needs to know where your head is and either reassure you that your airplane is fine or validate your concern.
    “Seek advice but use your own common sense.”
    ― Yiddish Proverb

  8. #8
    FFSchooley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is it my plane, or is it me?

    Fair enough. I will let him know and ask his opinion.

  9. #9
    Glen Geller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is it my plane, or is it me?

    Schooley,
    I think you live in California, what city and at what airport is your plane based at?
    Maybe another member who is not too far away could come over and put a more experienced Shortwing eye on the plane or fly it with you and give an opinion?


    As I have mentioned before, this is a closed group and you can put a little relevant info in your profile and signature so your fellow owners are aware of such useful trivia. OK to omit your SSI # or bank PIN.
    GG
    Glen Geller
    1955 PA22-150 "One For Papa!"

  10. #10
    FFSchooley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is it my plane, or is it me?

    Lol, thanks glen. I though I had but I will make sure to edit it. Yes, I live in CA.

    As luck would have it, my instructor just had emergency hand surgery for an injury, so it looks like my solo is delayed anyway.

    I know it’s hard to diagnose this stuff via the internet, I guess I am just wondering what’s normal. It doesn’t make it fun to fly when it vibrates soo much. I had dreams of flying across the country in a smooth, comfy plane and enjoying the view. Right now it’s not smooth at all and my hands and feet get numb from the vibration. Although I am sure my death grip on the yoke and pressing the pedals to hard is part to blame.

    im nervous that it could be the engine as I think I have tackled everything else. After over $20,000 in repairs, it’s not in the budget anytime soon. Luckily Ly-Con is located about an hour from here so when I do need engine work I can take it to them. I just hope I can fly it for a few years before that happens. If that means vibrating away in the sky, so be it as long as it’s safe enough...
    Last edited by FFSchooley; 10-05-2020 at 10:30 AM.

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