SantosDumont

A&P / IA in Las Vegas

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Anyone know an A&P/IA in Las Vegas who makes house calls?

I need a 2nd opinion on my engine.  The mechanic I'm using for my annual in my hangar told me my engine is unairworthy.  We had a couple bad compression test results.  Then I bought my own tools to double check, and I got pretty acceptable results.  So I'm not convinced anything is wrong with it.  It hasn't had any metal in the oil filter, oil analysis are good, temps are stable in flight.  I think he is just scared of the high engine time at 2120 hrs.

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Seeing if @Jeev might have an answer... he is in the neighborhood...

I can understand the high engine time and low compression to be scary when attached to one’s license... if he has never seen the plane or owner before...

But, good measurements and proper documentation by a mechanic should be the best answer...

Start with a good conversation with the mechanic... to make sure he knows what tools he needs and procedure to follow... and limits to be within...

Also follow the proper pre-heat recommendation... if it is flying around for 15 minutes... do so.

Continentals aren’t unicorns... so getting these details should be readily available... but make sure your mechanic has them before the next round of guessing begins...

PP thoughts only, not a mechanic...

Best regards,

-a-

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I used Loan Mountain at VGT for my pre-buy and Travis seemed pretty good (or maybe they were the ones who told you your engine is not airworthy!)

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Anyone know an A&P/IA in Las Vegas who makes house calls?

I need a 2nd opinion on my engine.  The mechanic I'm using for my annual in my hangar told me my engine is unairworthy.  We had a couple bad compression test results.  Then I bought my own tools to double check, and I got pretty acceptable results.  So I'm not convinced anything is wrong with it.  It hasn't had any metal in the oil filter, oil analysis are good, temps are stable in flight.  I think he is just scared of the high engine time at 2120 hrs.
What were the readings???

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Previous:  77/74/75/59/47/50
Retest: 74/75/72/68/73/68
Did he write the 74 as a 47? I find it hard to believe that a 47 tests later at 73. That said I have seen rings rotate and cause just this example but several tests later the result never reappeared after running the engine with fresh oil. (Toyota 2.7L) The other question that I have is how accurate are either of the guages. Have they been tested true recently. My snap on leak down has a calibration regulator that puts a known value across the guages from regulated shop air.

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10 minutes ago, Dream to fly said:

Did he write the 74 as a 47? 

No I saw him do it.  My gauge was brand new from Spruce.  He also tested it again with his and got the same higher results that mine did.

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It’s pretty standard practice to do an engine run and retest if low readings.  Sometimes the valves have stuff under them.  There are many questions to be asked.  Where was the air going?  Was it ring leak, exhaust or intake valve?  I might suggest a borescope to look at valve health.  Can’t recall...do you have a Lycoming?  Continentals have lower allowance with clear conditions for retest.  They no longer use the 70 as go-no-go.  Does not seem like the first test is enough to condemn your cylinders...certainly not the engine.

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On 7/12/2019 at 11:50 AM, SantosDumont said:

Anyone know an A&P/IA in Las Vegas who makes house calls?

I need a 2nd opinion on my engine.  The mechanic I'm using for my annual in my hangar told me my engine is unairworthy.  We had a couple bad compression test results.  Then I bought my own tools to double check, and I got pretty acceptable results.  So I'm not convinced anything is wrong with it.  It hasn't had any metal in the oil filter, oil analysis are good, temps are stable in flight.  I think he is just scared of the high engine time at 2120 hrs.

Hey Santos  - 

I am not an A&P but I feel like I have a lot of experience feeding and caring for my last Mooney and now my 310 over the last 15 years and 2000 flying hrs.  What I have noticed about the Continentals in my 310R is that the compressions are all over the place and my cylinders only have 90 hrs on all 12 and they are barely buying oil and look great on the scope. I am very involved in maintenance, learn all about my aircraft systems, select my A&P's carefully and make sure I have a good 2 way relationship with them.  I would be very careful with an A&P who said my engine was unariworthy due to low compression readings.  Is there anything else going on with the engine like metal in the filter or screen, low power, high oil burn or abnormal temps?  I look at cylinders as accessories like vac pumps and alternators.  If one is bad you replace or overhaul it and motor on as long as all is normal otherwise.  I send you a PM, we can talk on Monday and I can give you some good contacts I work with at VGT.  I would insist you do a borescope on the low cylinders before you pull anything.

One more thing: When I did the prebuy on my 310 with Conti IO-550-A's three of my cylinders were below 60 and a couple were in the low 60's.  The Twin Cessna specialst who works on theses engines everyday was not worried at all and said go fly it for an hr and retest they will be fine if you are not burning a lot of oil or have a lot of blow by.

SP    

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TCM SB03-3 is the bulletin I was thinking of that defines compression check for those engines. It is not is simple as the classic Lycoming version, but also keeps more Continentals operational....

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9 hours ago, Jeev said:

would be very careful with an A&P who said my engine was unariworthy due to low compression readings.  Is there anything else going on with the engine like metal in the filter or screen, low power, high oil burn or abnormal temps?  I look at cylinders as accessories like vac pumps and alternators.  

That is what has me worried is that I haven’t had any of those signs of distress. It’s been running great for the past three years I’ve owned it.  I need to find someone that can come do a house call out in Boulder City because I have all the panels off, seats out, etc. it’s probably two days of labor for me to put everything back together, then get a ferry permit, which my understanding is that I’d need an A&P to inspect and sign off on anyway.

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I use Richard Mier in Las Vegas.  He has a hangar in Boulder City. Let me know if you want me to PM his Ph#

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5 minutes ago, kerry said:

I use Richard Mier in Las Vegas.  He has a hangar in Boulder City. Let me know if you want me to PM his Ph#

Sure send me a PM. 

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If you are doing just a "normal" compression check WITHOUT using the required Continental procedure with the calibrated orifice check, your compression readings have no merit what so ever. Continental's procedure shows you exactly what they will allow for a low reading on any particular day. 

You have to follow Continentals procedure to get a valid number. You also need to know where the leaks are coming from (rings=crankcase noise, exhaust valve leaks=muffler, or intake valve leaks). Then you follow Continentals procedures for a remedy. 

 

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I ended up calling one of the mechanics in this thread, who brought another mechanic to double check him.  Did cold compression checks and got good results, high 60s / low 70s.  They borescoped it and didn't see anything.  They said there's nothing wrong with the engine and to put it back together and fly it.

Now I need to try to figure out if I try to convince mechanic #1 to sign off on the annual, or just cut my losses, put it back together, get a ferry permit and take it over the hill to HND or VGT.

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Start with an open discussion with that mechanic...

He might be interested in learning something about Continental compression checks...

You might be interested in having him sign your log book...

It might cost the original mechanic doing the Compressions again...

Bring lunch and a beverage to smooth the conversation... :)

Looks like MS may have saved you a bundle... make it a good lunch...

best regards,

-a-

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3 hours ago, SantosDumont said:
I ended up calling one of the mechanics in this thread, who brought another mechanic to double check him.  Did cold compression checks and got good results, high 60s / low 70s.  They borescoped it and didn't see anything.  They said there's nothing wrong with the engine and to put it back together and fly it.

 

Now I need to try to figure out if I try to convince mechanic #1 to sign off on the annual, or just cut my losses, put it back together, get a ferry permit and take it over the hill to HND or VGT.

Have you discussed Continentals documented procedure for the differential compression test with your mechanic; as previously specified in TCM SB03-3 now superseded by M-0? That should be enough for him to sign off on an airworthy annual. But if he still won't budge there is an easy solution; especially now that you already have a second opinion.

1) ask the mechanic to sign off on your annual inspection with a list of discrepancies. He should give you log book entry that reads verbatim with 43.11 (5) that will say he gave you "a list of discrepancies and unairworthy items dated ...." rather than the more common entry in (4) that just says "was determined to be in airworthy condition". The list of discrepancies is not in the log book entry but a separate piece of paper handed to the owner/operator signed and dated by him.

2) Now with your list, you merely need the second mechanic to sign off on each item in his list using a "maintenance" log book entry per 43.9 . With each item signed off with whatever actions he took, your annual is now complete! Since you already have a second opinion from an A&P, all you need is him to document with a maintenance entry in your book behind the annual inspection. This procedure is how an inspector (IA) just does the inspection and then you have one or more other A&P's correct the discrepancies, and this is the preferred way to resolve exactly this kind of  issue you are going through.

In summary, you DO NOT need him to sign off on an airworthy inspection. Just have him sign off the annual inspection with a discrepancy list and use the process I outlined above to resolve the list of discrepancies and then go fly your plane. This is how we keep anyone from holding your plane ransom with an annual.

 

Edited by kortopates
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You have good options:

1) Schmooze the IA into signing it off using the test results and SB.

2) If the IA won't sign it off, get a discrepancy list as per kortopates description.

3) Get somebody else to do the inspection, perhaps via a ferry permit if needed.

I'd think either 1 or 2 should be reasonably doable.   If not, then definitely #3 and add that IA to the Do Not Use list.

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He certainly doesn’t need a second inspection. The “inspection” part is complete and payment is due - so nobody should be considering paying for another inspection. Just for resolving the remaining unresolved discrepancies per the inspection.
What you need to understand is once the inspection is done, the IA is obligated by the regs to provide the inspection log book entry. If he can’t sign it off as airworthy he is obligated to sign it off with a list of discrepancies which can be resolved by any A&P. The IA knows this and he also knows if Santos calls the FSDO about him refusing an inspection logbook entry then his FSDO PMI will be promptly calling him. An inspection can not be undone, it can only end in one of the two ways discussed above with either an airworthy return to service signature or a list of discrepancies. The list is his easy way out, especially now that he has a second opinion A&P saying it's fine.
Other than discussing M-0 Diff compression inspection with him, I wouldn't waste anymore time on him.


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I told mechanic #1 that I had two other mechanics look at the engine and they couldn't see anything wrong with it.  He said if I was happier with their opinion then I should use them to complete the annual.

I think I'm just gonna see what the shop rates are in town and drop it off.  That way it will be taking up their hangar space and they will be motivated to get it out the door and collect their money, and they can help me with a ferry permit.

I think taking it to a shop is going to be my best plan going forward until I find an IA that is on the same page as me... as well as starting the annual before I can't fly the plane away legally.

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You should reread what @kortopatessays above.  You don't need another IA, that bit is done.

I HIGHLY recommend folks to get Mike Busch's latest book on aircraft ownership so you understand your rights as Paul K explains.  This exact scenario with Continental compressions and being forced into an unnecessary overhaul scenario is described in there. 

https://www.amazon.com/Mike-Busch-Airplane-Ownership-troubleshooting/dp/1073748952/

Edited by pwnel
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2 hours ago, SantosDumont said:

I told mechanic #1 that I had two other mechanics look at the engine and they couldn't see anything wrong with it.  He said if I was happier with their opinion then I should use them to complete the annual.

 

2 hours ago, pwnel said:

You should reread what @kortopatessays above.  You don't need another IA, that bit is done.

Yes, the outcome of an annual should be either a return to service or a list of discrepancies provided to the owner.   A refusal to do one or the other is a reasonable basis for a complaint to the FAA, and the FSDO will be interested.

"Should be".   The practicality is that a person might refuse, might provide a BS discrepancy list, etc., etc.   There have been and certainly are and will be crooked and incompetent IAs (just like any other profession), and the FAA should be interested in relevant feedback.

So, yeah, finding somebody else may, unfortunately, be a practical alternative.    It's a bummer that this stuff happens, but it does.


 

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3 hours ago, SantosDumont said:

I told mechanic #1 that I had two other mechanics look at the engine and they couldn't see anything wrong with it.  He said if I was happier with their opinion then I should use them to complete the annual.

I think I'm just gonna see what the shop rates are in town and drop it off.  That way it will be taking up their hangar space and they will be motivated to get it out the door and collect their money, and they can help me with a ferry permit.

I think taking it to a shop is going to be my best plan going forward until I find an IA that is on the same page as me... as well as starting the annual before I can't fly the plane away legally.

Did the first IA get paid yet?

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3 hours ago, SantosDumont said:

I told mechanic #1 that I had two other mechanics look at the engine and they couldn't see anything wrong with it.  He said if I was happier with their opinion then I should use them to complete the annual.

I think I'm just gonna see what the shop rates are in town and drop it off.  That way it will be taking up their hangar space and they will be motivated to get it out the door and collect their money, and they can help me with a ferry permit.

I think taking it to a shop is going to be my best plan going forward until I find an IA that is on the same page as me... as well as starting the annual before I can't fly the plane away legally.

 

3 hours ago, SantosDumont said:

I told mechanic #1 that I had two other mechanics look at the engine and they couldn't see anything wrong with it.  He said if I was happier with their opinion then I should use them to complete the annual.

I think I'm just gonna see what the shop rates are in town and drop it off.  That way it will be taking up their hangar space and they will be motivated to get it out the door and collect their money, and they can help me with a ferry permit.

I think taking it to a shop is going to be my best plan going forward until I find an IA that is on the same page as me... as well as starting the annual before I can't fly the plane away legally.

Man,  sorry about your troubles.  Since you are taking it to a shop I have had good success with Len over at EGA (VGT).  He is a by the book IA but is realistic and has a lot of experience.  He maintained my J for over 10 years and continues to with the new owner. 

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