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I was in Seattle all week in meetings with the FAA, and got home yesterday afternoon. I spent most of today at the hangar, intending to work on a list of things that I need to do on the aircraft someday. I got partway through that list when I discovered two new cracks in the plenum chamber cover. I had already discovered and fixed two cracks in the cover in the last few months. Today I found and repaired two more. I almost certainly need to make a more robust plenum chamber cover, but that will be a big job which I would rather tackle this winter. I'll keep repairing cracks for the time being.

Note: The plenum chamber cover is a mod that I designed myself - it is not part of Van's design. The basic concept is working well, but I have learned that I need to make it from thicker material. I also need to make some changes in shape and size to move it a bit further from the cowling, as there are marks where it hits the cowling when the engine shakes like a wet dog during startup and shutdown.

While at the airport, I ran into a young couple from Glasgow, Scotland who had stopped for fuel in a C172. They had flown into Toronto by airlines, took a bus to Lindsay, then rented the C172. They have a big trip planned to Quebec City, Mont Laurier, and eventually will return the plane to Lindsay and then head back to Scotland. Sounds like quite the adventure.

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  • Hi Kevin, I decided to modify the Van's baffle kit by adding some alloy angles around the perimeter of the baffles and use a piece of alloy sheet as a top cover, held down by screws. It meant having to come up with an efficient pair of transitions from the cowl opening into the plenum, but I was rewarded with good CHTs on my O-320 D1A ( 300 deg F in cruise ) But like you, the cover cracked, started at the rear and cracked along the centre for about 6 inches. I had it welded but it did it again, so I cut the cover down the centre line, made an overlapping piece and sealed it with a strip if the rubber baffle material. Worked great until a friend made a smoking hole at the end of our runway. My newly acquired RV8 has a very similar plenum but no cracks after 350 hours, so go figure. I reckon the crack was caused either by undamped vibration of the cover, or the fact that the cylinders move and expand in operation and put stress on the cover. FWIW, Marty

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