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Highlander exhaust

PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2016 10:27 am
by alan
Greetings all.

My Highlander, s/n 0087, had been flying for 10 years, 6 of that with an Aircraft Exhaust Systems 4 into 1 exhaust. 10 weeks ago one of the pipes departed the aircraft in flight. It broke about 8 inches down and fell out of the collector. The manufacturer is apparently unwilling to replace it, even though they quoted me price and delivery. They are returning my old system now.

Just Aircraft has a problem with the manufacturer of their exhaust builder and has several on backorder.

Does anybody have a solution, as in where can I get a quality exhaust?


Re: Highlander exhaust

PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2016 12:19 pm
by 957DK
Hi Alan,

Try Aerospace Welding in Minneapolis. Their phone number is 800-597-4315.
Years ago, a Grumman Cheetah tried to kill me with a cracked exhaust. I used Aerospace Welding and they fixed me right up at a reasonable cost. They might even be able to repair the exhaust that you have left.
Good luck!

Highlander #268

Re: Highlander exhaust

PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2016 8:33 am
by alan
HI Dan.

Thank you for that info.

About 4 hours after I requested my broken exhaust be returned to me they called back and said the necessary parts had arrived and they would begin building my new system today and would ship it Friday.

There are several things I could say about the timing of this long overdue "arrival", but I'll wait until I receive it before I post an overview of the entire event.

Fingers are crossed, mind is open.

2-1/2 months and counting.


Re: Highlander exhaust

PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2016 5:55 pm
by alan
Okay! I'm finally back in the air. No thanks to Aircraft Exhaust Systems. The company has apparently been sold to Plane Exhaust, a company with no talent at all. Even though they have the AES website, they have no knowledge of what that company did. It took them 8 weeks, from the time they received my broken system to discover that they did not have the correct size tubing or bends. It took another 2 weeks to discover that the fittings going into the Rotax engine were unique and wanted me to tell them where I got them. I got them from AES, the OEM, who I thought I was working/talking with.

They lied to me every week, and I believed them, mostly. Finally, after 12 weeks, they called and said they were going to send me everything they had, old and new, and a PVC mock up kit. I was to install the new system on my airplane and mock up the PVC into the collector and send it back, all properly marked. It was all I could do not to laugh. They even wanted 1/2 down to insure I wouldn't keep it all. I refused, twice. They sent it, 4 days after they said they were going to send it that day.

They lied again. All I got was my old system and some scrap pipe. No PVC mock up kit, and no new parts. The scrap pipe was the correct size and material, so I cut out the necessary pieces and had a friend of a friend weld it for me. I should have just done this in the beginning, but, in a fit of brilliance (sure), I decided that if one pipe broke, another could do the same. A new system from the OEM would take care of that. Look where that got me.

The reason that one pipe broke was simple; only 2 of the 4 pipes had a retainer built onto the collector. The other 2 pipes were only held in by the stiffness of the pipe and the friction of the collector hole. One hole didn't have enough friction and that pipe, #4, started to move some from the high frequency vibration of the running engine. The more movement, the less friction, the more movement, etc. Crack, separation, noise, fright, semi-emergency landing, loss of 15 weeks of flying.

So, long story short; (1) If you have an Aircraft Exhaust Systems exhaust on your airplane, check for cracks in the unsupported pipes and add support straps to your system. It is real easy to see what I'm talking about and fairly easy to fix, if you can weld .049" 321 S/S. (2) Aircraft Exhaust Systems is not the same company. Do not trust them! They will lie!

I got my parts back, with almost nothing done, 13 weeks after they received them, when they had quoted 3 weeks for a new system. (add expletives!)

Here are some pictures, if I can properly post them.

First picture. This what I had to do in order to fly home. This is flexible electrical conduit. It held up well for the 15 minute flight home from the location of the semi-emergency landing. The exhaust had been blowing onto the cowling for 5 minutes before that and had started to burn off the inside paint but hadn't gotten to the outside.

Second picture. The broken pipe, separated barely below the weld.

Third picture. The finished weld. Nice!

Fourth picture. The collector, with added retaining straps. I used 1/4"-20 by 5/8" 18-8 S/S bolts and "top-lock" matching nuts from Fastenal.

The repaired system works well, but 15 weeks sitting with Premium unleaded gas in the bowls has caused some problems with gunk. I have flown it for about 3 hours so far and I need to remove the bowls and blow some carb cleaner through the carbs to solve a slight roughness. I'm adding Sea Foam to my gas as well. If the weather will clear, maybe I can see if that will work.