Fuel filters doing there job

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Fuel filters doing there job

Postby gkremers » Tue Oct 21, 2014 9:27 pm

All,
If your using the fiberglass fuel tanks on a standard Highlander be sure to check the fuel filters often during the test period. I tried to clean mine out the best I could before covering but no matter how much I tried (many, many hours) I knew there was still glass shavings. Before I flew for the first time I spoke with Troy about several topics to get his opinions. One thing he did stress was to clean the filter after the first 10 hours. I had cleaned them after my initial ground runs but I knew without yanking and banking the fibers wouldn't be dislodged from certain areas. I did check them after 10 hours and they were full of shaving. I did it again after 25 hours and still had a bunch but it was about 50% of what i had initially. The pic below is after 40 hours, this is about 10% of what I had the first time. The good news is the 100 micron titers do a great job of catching everything that gets by the finger strains in the tank. Interesting to note the finger strains were perfectly clean after 10 and 40 hours. The fiberglass is so fine it goes right by the finger strains.

I'll write something up about my first 40 hours (140 landings) soon. The plane has been perfect with a few minor tweaks. I see 108MPH easy (GPS triangle course), if I want to run at 5400 RPM's. Most of the time I'm back around 4950 cruising at 93 MPH burring around 3.8 GPH. My wife has been up several time now and enjoys the view flying to breakfast on Sunday mornings. The last several planes including the RV7A are low wing so her view down has been non-existent.

Keep building everyone...it is worth it!!

Gary


Highlander N325AB
46 hours

photo 1.JPG
Fiberglass shavings after 40 hours
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Re: Fuel filters doing there job

Postby Familyflyer » Wed Oct 22, 2014 8:31 am

Wow that is a lot of junk. My guess is you will be checking them often for a while yet.
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Re: Fuel filters doing there job

Postby danerazz » Wed Oct 22, 2014 9:01 am

What filters are those? Also, how did you clean out the tanks?
Dane

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Re: Fuel filters doing there job

Postby gkremers » Wed Oct 22, 2014 9:53 am

Dane,
The filter was supplied by Just, I had them ship me a another one as I have dual header tanks with dual shutoff valves. I believe they are from Areomotive.

I will be checking them again at 60 hours . When I built the PulsarXP I was very careful with the tank construction, it was also all fiberglass other than the end plate. I had virtually no contaminants. I had Just install the tanks while they did the leading edge aluminum wrap. Having the tanks already installed in the wing made it more difficult to clean. I did have the wings on a rotisserie stand, many hours sloshing them. The baffles and very rough interior finish made it very hard to clean. I would recommend the company building the tanks did a better job of finishing the lay ups on the interior.

Gary
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Re: Fuel filters doing there job

Postby gkremers » Wed Oct 22, 2014 10:06 am

One other comment on the filter type. I really like the clear type filter but couldn't find any that were well made. I went with AN hardware, most of the clear types are barbed. Just wanted to be sure everyone ready to fly checks them regularly.

I didn't mention it on the prior email but during a test flight around 10 hours the engine almost quit from fuel starvation (clogged filter). I switched the Andair valve to the other tank and all was good. I could have had the valve on both but was also calibrating the red cube fuel totalizer.

Be safe,
Gary
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Re: Fuel filters doing there job

Postby danerazz » Wed Oct 22, 2014 10:06 am

I have the leading edge wrap with tanks installed as well and based on your filter experience I am probably going to modify my filter setup a little. That is a lot of stuff to pull out of the tanks.
Dane

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Re: Fuel filters doing there job

Postby Gil T » Wed Oct 22, 2014 11:15 am

My comment on this tank problem. Where the hell is the quality control? This is kind of thing that can kill people and companies. I know that we are experimenters but we don"t need something like this to test our mechanical aptitude. The source of this needs to be corrected. Some of these problems may not show up for years because of the time some folks take to build and no one should have a time bomb waiting for them down the line. If there are any suspect tanks out there the owners should be notified and detailed instructions on how to clean and test the tanks should be available.

My own history with fuel tanks dates from my purchase of the plane in 2004 with the nine gallon tanks and a few years ago putting in the thirteen gallon ones. All I did was run gallons of water through them and a lot of sloshing with solvent and I never came up with any kind of debris as these pictures show.

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Re: Fuel filters doing there job

Postby danerazz » Wed Oct 22, 2014 6:56 pm

You had the opportunity to do that in all kinds of orientations while the tanks were out of the wing, ours are installed and now that I know what potentially is inside the tanks I will approach cleaning them with much greater care than I originally thought necessary. I wish the tanks were aluminum, it would make a lot of things easier. I would have paid another $500-1000 for that.
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Re: Fuel filters doing there job

Postby Jack L » Wed Oct 22, 2014 7:04 pm

Gary, I saw in a previous post that your aircraft serial number is 249. Just Aircraft had problems with the fuel tank manufacturer and changed manufacturer right around when I recieved my aircraft serial number 259. I was one of the first to receive the new tanks. When I opened them they were wet inside as they had been rinsed out by the manufacturer, however following Troy's recommendation I rinced them once again with lacquer thinner. Also, the first time I filled my tanks with fuel I pumped a lot of fuel through the system before connecting the fuel line to the engine to ensure any debris in the system might be purged.

I have a gascolator and have cleaned the screen twice already and only removed a few fibreglass shavings. Now with 45 hours on my aircraft and seeing your pictures I will check the gascolator again before my next flight. Thanks for sharing your pictures and bringing this flight safety concern to our attention.

Jack
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Re: Fuel filters doing there job

Postby scubarider2 » Wed Oct 22, 2014 7:11 pm

I have to weigh in on this as well. My tanks were the 13gal fiberglass ones that had issues. I did not know this and mounted them. After being able to spine the prop with two fingers I knew there was a problem. After flushing the tanks with gallons and gallons of thinner I removed most of the "white" sludge inside. Of course it was too late and it hit my $25,000 motor. The company (Troy) stood behind it and fixed the motor. Not sure if it is totally fixed because it has not been broken down all the way. It still worries me. I have 400 hours on it now. Sad that something like this can suck the joy out of something you worked so hard to obtain. :?
Dennis
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Re: Fuel filters doing there job

Postby gkremers » Wed Oct 22, 2014 10:15 pm

All,
My kit was number 249, if there was an issue with the tanks it was not something Just ever told me. The actual integrity of the tanks seems fine, it was just very "rough" on the inside. If I had a slow build wing with the tanks not installed maybe I could have cleaned them better. Just want to be clear I'm not blaming Just Aircraft for the fiberglass shavings. Both Jak and Troy discussed the need to clean the tanks and check the filter during the initial test period. Jak did specify using Lacquer Thinner to clean the tank. My fuel caps were not drilled for the vent yet so the process of adding lacquer thinner, rotating the wings on the stand several times and then draining was easy. I did this more times than I care to admit. The guys at Lowes must have thought I was building a bomb, I think I purchased 10 gallons or so. The issue was really with the rough finish on the inside of the tank. When they drilled for the fuel cap and finger drain the shaving all ended up in the tank, hiding in the rough areas.

One thing I am happy about is the fuel distribution design. With 2 header tanks, 2 fuel filters and the ability to switch between right and left tanks I'm happy. I posted this because we all need to be aware of things you may encounter during the test period. Check the filters often, if you find none or very little you should be good. Maybe I just got one of the bad ones.

I took a friend up late this afternoon, 1.5 hours and we had a blast.

Gary
N325AB
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Re: Fuel filters doing there job

Postby Jack L » Thu Oct 23, 2014 5:36 am

Gary, this is a great post, the subject says it all and your message to check the filters often during flight testing is wise advice. Thanks for the post.

For those still building another thing that I did after rinsing the tanks with lacquer thinner was to let them dry completely. While allowing them to dry I kept the fuel tank upside down and pushed a lot of compressed air through the fuel strainer allowing the air to exit the filler cab area. Once dry I continued to use high pressure air in both the strainer and fuel cap openings with a powerful shop vac at the opposite end to remove any left over debris in the tanks.

Jack
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Re: Fuel filters doing there job

Postby Tralika » Thu Oct 23, 2014 2:03 pm

Gary,
Which filter element are you using, 100 micron, 40 micron, 10 micron?
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Re: Fuel filters doing there job

Postby gkremers » Thu Oct 23, 2014 3:18 pm

John,
The filters are 100 micron

Gary
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Re: Fuel filters doing there job

Postby Familyflyer » Tue Oct 28, 2014 11:22 am

Have you pulled your fuel finger strainers in the tank? My guess is they have done there job to and could eventually plug up. Just a thought.
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