Copyright @ Ron Bianchi 2005
I am not a qualified AI, nor am I an Aircraft Mechanic. I do not assume any responsibly for the out come or warrant any observations or procedures outlined. Owners and or mechanics take full responsibility for the out come of the following checks and or procedures.
The sole purpose for writing the following is to assist you in knowing the systems, what to look for when inspecting your Viking, information you may want to pass on to your mechanic, and preventative measures or warning signs of possible problems.
I have compiled this information through years of comments from other Viking owners, qualified mechanic‚€s, factory representatives as well as one on one experience having owned my Super Viking for the past sixteen years.
First and foremost find a mechanic that you can work with, one that is willing to allow you to assist if you are inclined to do so! Over the years I have heard ‚€ú I have never worked on a Viking before‚€Ě. That‚€s my red flag to find another mechanic, NOW. Airplanes are straightforward. Some equipment, and parts are interchangeable and compatible with other brands. With the exception of the wood and fabric the Viking is a straightforward airplane.
I hope in some small way I have assisted you Thank you.
HARTSELL PROPELLER SPINNER
The life expectancy of the spinner is 2000 hours. Told to me by a factory representative.On pre-flight check around the propeller shank spinner holes for cracks at the first screw next to the shank opening as well as loose screws around the spinner.There is a centering round ring about half way into the spinner. The material is thin aluminum cemented into place. There is a filler that looks like clear tape around the propeller nose hub that acts as a gasket. If the spinner is forced by wiggling it may crack the centering ring. To remove the spinner first index the spinner to the backing plate. Remove all attachment screws and nylon washers. The spinner must not be wiggled to remove and or on replacement. I use a hammer handle that is placed in the propeller shank opening, a round piece of wood will do, GENTLY pry the spinner loose off the backing plate going from shank hole to shank hole. Check for cracks on the spinner backing plate. When replacing the spinner grease the gasket, push the spinner straight on by hand. Install each spinner screw with a nylon washer under the screw head, Finger tighten each screw. You may have to use a small punch or pick to alien the last set of screws. Tighten each screw till it bottoms then about ¬ľ turn. DO NOT OVER TIGHTEN. If a spinner inner ring is damaged the spinner must be re-placed. No welding of the center ring should be accepted!
I strongly recommend that the propeller be balanced no longer than every two years. This is usually done by a strobe. No need to remove the propeller. You may want to carry a small round chain saw file in your tool kit. Check all blades for nicks, dress them out within limits. If you have a knick less than 1/8 of an inch gently file back and forth on the length of the blade to cup out the knick. On a three bladed Hartsell propeller you will see three zert fittings to the rear of the propeller hub looking from the cowling to the hub. There are also three zerts on the front side of the hub that requires removal of the spinner to get to. All zerts may have a red rubber dust boot attached. To grease the zerts inside of the hub remove the spinner, Always remove TWO zerts at one time to allow for pressure to escape. Put no more than two pumps from a grease gun of the recommended grease by doing one zert, replacing it, remove the remaining zert till all have been serviced. Do not fill a zert without at least one other zert out as you may blow the prop seal. Now your call. If there is no grease leaking, there must still be grease in the hub, would adding grease interfere with the propeller balance, do you want to remove the spinner? Check the paint condition on the backside of the propeller, the side you look through. There is flat black propeller paint available to dress that side of the prop. Simply spray on.
We are talking about the mount that cradles the engine, not to be confused with Lord Mounts to be covered later, or the motor mount legs that go from the engine to this mount. The motor mount (cradle) is always under stress and or vibration, especially so on big bore engines. The motor mount must be looked at for cracks on and or before each annual. If a crack in any of the motor mount tubing is found it must be repaired at a qualified shop that will sign off the repair. Trouble is a weld usually fails right next to where the crack has been welded. Part of the problem is the tubing is not stressed relieved, the composition of the tubing changes with heat. Check all grounds to the motor mount, especially around the starter area for looseness or corrosion build up.
These are the round rubber pads your motor rest on. They are located at each corner of your engine. NOTE: Two sets of your Lord Mounts look the same but there is a difference. On removal make note of the numbers and identifying marks on all parts as well as where the cutout is located on the forward Lord Mounts. To draw you a mental picture the mounts are like a sandwich, inside is a round tubing or bottoming spacer. Over time the constant hammering on that tubing spacer causes it to shorten, the rubber part starts to break down and may or may not show cracking. On removal of the Lord Mounts remove the four nuts and bolts on both mounts on ONE SIDE of the engine; ONLY LOOSEN the ones on the opposite side of the engine! With a hoist attached to the attachment points on the engine raise the engine just high enough to remove the two Lord mounts you have removed the nuts and bolts from. Replace the mounts in the proper order, replace the nuts and bolts, DO NOT TIGHTEN THEM DOWN, do the same removal and install procedure on the opposite mounts. When all mounts have been replaced and the motor is resting in place torque all nuts and bolts to specifications.
MOTOR MOUNT (LEGS)
These are the castings located on the four corners of your engine that rest on the Lord Mounts. There is a long horizontal carry through bolt on a Continental engine located under the alternator to hold the alternator in place. Check to see if that bolt is tight from time to time. If that bolt is loose the vibration of the alternator and internal motor parts can cause the bolt to wallow out the hole in the casting leg that the alternator is attached to. More on the cause later. The casting is aluminum with a steel sleeve that the bolt goes through on each alternator leg. Once the steel sleeve goes away the entire casting must be replaced. Forget trying to line bore and re bushing the casting. Check belt tension often. The alternator belt goes from one side of the Continental engine on a gear driven pulley to the other side of the engine to connect to the alternator. If loose the belt whips like a snake and could cause the alternator to vibrate.
If you get a whine that seems to go up or down with throttle movement it is usually a sign of a bad diode in the alternator. There are noise suppressors that may or may not work; the suppressor is set at a frequency to cancel out ‚€úA‚€Ě whine. Best to have a shop check out how many amps your alternator is putting out, with and without a load, ALL electrical on. With the engine running dies-engage the alternator breaker. See if the noise stopped, if so check the alternator. With the engine running and every thing turned on see where your amp meter reads or if your low voltage light is on. Turn one power-supplied item off at a time and listen for the whine, it may be coming from a unit rather than the alternator. Strobes, pitot heat and beacons are strong suspects. If re-placing the alternator it is recommended you buy the one with the larger rear bearing.
If you began to throw belts at about 800 hours, hear what sounds like a dry hydraulic lifter in a motor until oil pressure is full up, or at start up, and your alternator needs tightening from time to time I would suspect bad counter balance bushings especially in a Continental engine. Some mechanics will tell you the engine needs to come down. NOT SO, your call. A good shop can remove the two cylinders on the co-pilot side starting with the one nearest the fire wall, remove the pistons and rods, fill the holes with catch cloths, remove and replace the bad bushings. If a part falls into the engine the pan must be removed to retrieve the part. NOTE: The bushing look the same but they are not. Check specifications to see what number goes where. Re-assemble. Torque to specifications.
The muffler tail pipesMUST BE LOOSE to factory specifications. The co-pilot side exhaust pipe is set up looser than the one on the pilot side. If tight the torque of the engine could break the exhaust pipe from the mufflers and or mufflers attachment points. Shine a strong flash light into each exhaust pipe. What you are looking for is light coming from a crack or pin holes in the system. Connected on the fire wall are two small pieces of metal about as long as your index finger and about as wide, they are connected to a bracket on the fire wall and two attachment points per exhaust pipe. Some are made out of aluminum and have a tendency to break more readily than steel ones. An easy fix.
Do not over look your mags, especially during your annual. Some have a tendency to leak oil into the mag housing. Your engine will go flat sounding like fouled plugs. Some mags have a tendency to have the screw back out that holds the mag points in place. This screw cannot fall out because a cover will hold it in but the points will be loose, could cause a miss-fire. Have your mechanic remove both mags, disassemble and replace any and all parts that even look like they ‚€úmay‚€Ě give trouble. Re-time the mags to factory specifications usually found on a metal tag on your engine. From time to time shut your engine down with the key only. What you are looking for is a drop on the first position then the engine shuts down on the off position. If the engine still runs with the key off you have a broken pee lead (small wire) on a mag, commonly called a hot mag. The real danger is the prop is hot! If you move the prop the engine could kick back or start. Not good.
On some model Bellanca‚€s it is easier if you remove the rudder steering rods to remove the lower cowl. Remove the long horizontal through bolt attached at the steering collar. NOTE; The attachment blocks for the rudder turning rods look the same at first glance. There is a slightly raised notch that goes to the inside to align these rods. When re-installing the through bolt place two washers at the bolt head, slide the bolt through the rudder rod end making sure the raised notch is facing the center, or strut, place the bolt through its pipe mount, re-place the rudder steering rod end the same as the other side with the raised notch facing the center or strut, place two washers and nut on the bolt, HAND TIGHTEN the nut / bolt, make sure you have free play in the rudder steering rods, re-place the cotter key. On EVERY pre-flight check to make sure the nose wheel and rudder are aliened, especially if your plane has been towed say at a re-fueling stop. The ‚€úfactory‚€Ě recommends you stand ten feet in front of your plane and check alignment. You should have turning radius limit marks on the nose strut and collar. Check for cracks on the steering collar, especially at welds. Make sure the rudder turning rods are loose. I had a mechanic tighten mine thinking they were to loose, found out on pre-flight. Change the over center spring in what looks like a small shock absorber attached to the nose strut about every four years. Make sure you give your year model then check the height and number of coils per new and old spring before installation. The old spring may be slightly compressed. I heard of a guy that ‚€úreplaced his springs‚€Ě with a longer spring and tore the mounting attachments off. If you hear a bleep when going over a crack, on braking or on hard turns it is time to change the over center spring and check all bushings for wear. Have your mechanic check the over center specifications on both of your horizontal drag link struts after installing the over center spring. Look at the top of all three struts, you will see a place card for strut pressure as well as tire pressure. I do not recommend more than thirty-six pounds of air pressure in the nose wheel. The wheel is small, could spin on the rim on impact when landing if over inflated, that has happened to me twice. I found mechanics had inflated the tire to forty-five pounds both times. I placed a white mark on the nose tire at the valve core; if both are in alignment on pre-flight I know the tire stayed in place. Check to see if you have a shinny spot where the nose tires rest when in full re-track position. That tells you the tire is rubbing on the fuselage, could be from an over inflated tire. There was an AD to replace or check each fifty hours the bracket on the co-pilot side firewall that holds that drag link. Seems the tire and the drag strut adjustment could put to much pressure on that bracket, it may fail. In the full re-track position you should be able to rotate the nose wheel with a firm pull. Check the air pressure and hydraulic fluid in the nose gear strut. The strut seals (o rings) have a tendency to shrink in cold weather deflating the strut. I recommend an approved hydraulic strut seal conditioner be added to all struts. To fill the nose strut with hydraulic fluid first secure your plane on jacks. Make sure the strut is fully extended; relieve any air pressure from the strut by removing the valve core. Remove the VALVE STEM that is screwed into the strut housing, Attach a small plastic tube to a hand held squirt oilcan, fill the squirt oil can with approved hydraulic fluid and conditioner if you chose to use the conditioner. Place the open tubing end into the valve stem hole; fill the strut till fluid runs out. Let the system set for approximately thirty minutes, compress the strut at least three times to bleed the air out. Replace the valve stem, valve core; add nitrogen or air to the recommended values located on the place card high up on the strut housing. Grease all fittings. There is one zert between the hinge (nut cracker) connected to the strut housing at the top of the turning collar. Remove the attachment bolt, move part of the unit and grease the fitting. Replace the attachment bolt. I would recommend a flex hose on a grease gun to reach hard to get fittings.
Most complaints about gear retraction, or lack of, come from lack of understanding of the landing system rather than a problem. The main struts must be filled per the place card located on the upper part of the strut. The main gear struts must have no less than 60 pounds air pressure nor more than 70 pounds pressure when the plane is resting on the gear. There must be enough down pressure, 60 pounds, on retraction for the squat switch on the right main gear to make contact or the gear will not retract. More than 70 pounds pressure and the gear will not enter the wheel well properly. An often over looked check is the fluid level in the gear power pack. Allow the co-pilot seat to go back, you will see a flap in front of the co-pilot seat, under that flap is a dipstick to show the power pack fluid level. It does not take much below the dipstick full mark to have your unit start to act up. You may notice a blip of red light during flight at your gear position indicators. The factory says one blip in an hour is acceptable. Each time the light blips the gear motor has activated to hold the gear up. All attachment point for the main gear should be re-torque no later than each annual. Some owners complain about ground handling or sensitivity of the rudders on landing. For the most part this comes because of loose connecting points on the main gear, possibly worn bushings, alignment of the main gear to factory specifications, no more or no less than what you would expect if your motor vehicle were out of alignment or had worn steering parts, With your plane secured on jacks try to move the main tires from side to side. See if you get toe in and toe out play in the system. If yes it is an indication of loose or worn bushings in the system. Have someone with a strong light try to isolate where the movement is coming from as you or your mechanic wiggle the tire from side to side. Torque the loose joint to factory specifications. Sometimes if you turn a bolt without holding the nut you may feel the bolt either free up or get tighter, that is a good indication that the bolt should be removed and inspected for worn spots and replacedWITH APPROVED BOLTS. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES PULL OR PUSH ON ANY OF THE GEAR RETRACTION ASSEMBLY!Check to see if the emergency extension lever located on the center console just below the fuel selector is in the up position. It is easy to move the extension lever accidentally. Lube all zerts.
If you see a gap around the door, hear an air sounding noise, or the top lock of the door does not stay locked in flight check the rubber door seal. In hot weather the seal may attach itself to the doorframe and upon opening tears the door seal. I usually leave the door handle in the closed position to keep the seal away from the door opening if the plane is to set in a hot hangar or in the sun for an extended period of time. Pull the breaker for the dome light so it will not stay on. Check the door latch at the door handle. There is one screw on the inside frame at the door latch slider that has a tendency to loosen, place a flat edge screw driver between the door frame and the slider lock to act as a wedge. Adjust the lock to fit. Replace the door seal if necessary.
Check your RPM gauge for accuracy. Mine is 150 RPM OFF! When reading 2500 RPM I am only turning 2350.The less the RPM the less off the Tack reads. On my Viking 100 RPM is five KTS in speed. Pilots have complained about not getting close to book speed on all sorts of planes only to find the Tach was off. An easy check. There are units on the market that set on the dash that record within one revolution of the prop, your mechanic might have one, or ask for the correct readings if having the prop balanced. Place card the readings. I elected to purchase a battery-operated unit that sets on the dash at all times. On some Vikings the main fuel gauges will not record the amount of fuel on board. Some get a varied reading from time to time. What typically happens is a gauge will read less than full, as the fuel is used up the gauge will began to read correctly. If equipped with an aux tank that sending unit is different and usually reliable. To adjust the main tanks fuel gauges consult with the factory service manual. Your mechanic will have to remove the co-pilot seat. Between the right seat rail and the door jam are two black boxes. Both have adjustment pod for calibrations, adjust to specification. NOT a simple job. The units appear to be moisture and temperature sensitive. I feel any fuel gauges on any aircraft are suspect. On my checklist I have ‚€úset clock‚€Ě. Not for just the time of day but engine start up time as well. No matter what my gauges say if I have planed a flight for time, distance, fuel burn I land. I ALWAYS top off the tanks on landing, even if it is a short turn around trip. DO NOT use the aux tank if so equipped on climb out OR descents!
SEAT REMOVAL AND INSTALLATION
Believe it or not more people are frustrated over front seat removal and installation than most anything else. There is a ‚€úsimple solution‚€Ě. First pull the seat adjustment rod all the way out, lock the rod in place using a pair of vice grips, at the front of the right seat rail of both seats is an L safety clip held in by a screw, with a magnetic screw driver remove that screw, hold the L safety clip with a pair of needle nose pliers as you remove the screw, remove the L safety clip and screw as a unit with the needle nose pliers so no parts fall into the seat channel. Move and lift on the front of the seat as you move the seat forward about half way, the front rollers will have disengaged from the seat track. Lift on the rear of the seat, there is a notched out part of the seat track at about half way down the track to allow the rear rollers to come out of the track. Now the easy part. The wheel rollers have a tendency to fall off their excels when trying to replace the seats. Some have wired the wheels together, taped them on etc; solution. Take the wheel axel (the short piece of tubing the wheel fits on) to a hardware store. Buy sixteen SHORT pop rivets that fit into the axel. Make sure you buy the SHORT pop rivets with the FLAT HEADS! If not available you may have to touch the sides of the wheels on a bench grinder to compensate for the thickness of the round rivet head. Re-place the axel through the seat frame, place a wheel on the axel, and compress the pop rivet into the axel to hold that wheel in place, continue till all sixteen rollers are firmly attached. Re- insert the seats using the reverse order of removal.
At some point you may want to change your side windows to change color, because of glazing or a cracked window, The side windows are available in Clear, Green tint, or Brown tint. Over time and from use of the small pilot window that side window may crack from fatigue. The mounting frame and inside frame that holds the windows in place are held in place with different length screws. Take a piece of cardboard, make an outline to represent both the inner and outer frames, place the screws into the cardboard in the approximate position of the screws. Remove both frames and push the window to the inside of the plane. Clean the old sealer off the window opening, reseal the new window in place by putting the manufactures recommended sealer on the window opening, wipe off assess sealer from both sides of the window. Re-install the mounting frames. On the outside of the window use masking tape to insure that the sealer will not go onto the fuselage. Seal the outside of the window against water / air leaks. I would suggest you send in your old window to the company that supplies you with the new window. They usually will cut to fit your old window opening, broken window or not at no cost to you. If you do not you may have to file and shape the new window to fit the opening.
I found the windows are highly negotiable. Prices ran from the mid $250.00 to over $400.00 ea. Suggestion, call Jeff Phister at LP Aero Plastics, Inc. (1800) 957-2376.
Arrainge to send your old windows to Jeff. They will trim your new windows to fit.
LP will not sell direct but they will work with you!
What I did was called Rick Edwards at Chief Aero (800) 447-3404 and NEGOTIATED THE PRICE DOWN to "about" $230.00, ( Chief says the will beat any price out there.) That included the small pilot side window. I gave him the credit card information then worked direct with Jeff.
Faster turn around time and the fit was perfect.
POWER PAC ELECTRIC MOTOR
Most of the later model Vikings have an electric / hydraulic landing gear power Pac. The power Pac is located under the co-pilot seat left frame track. If you are having a retraction problem and the electric motor does not run it could be as simple as a blown breaker (fuse) or an overhaul of the electric motor. The electric motor is the same used on some outboard boat motors to raise and lower the boat motor. The exception is that the drive shaft is much longer to engage your power Pac. Remove both seats (see seat removal above). Remove the fuel selector handle, remove the center console, and remove the front carpeting. At the back of the front seats there is a large part of the fuselage tubing that the carpet snaps on to, remove the three pieces of flooring under both seats. The power Pac Electric motor is located under the co-pilot left seat track. The motor must be dis-assembled ON THE POWER PAC for removal. It will not clear the seat frame track. CAUTION: Index the two assembly screws at the housing AND power Pac that hold the brush holder end plate onto the housing. Remove the two assembly long screws, there are wires attached to one screw. CAUTION: There is a small centering bearing about the size of a bee bee resting on the top of the armature shaft just under the brush holder end plate. Needless to say you do not want to loose that centering bearing. Gently remove the brush holder end plate. Move the plate to one side, inspect the brushes; remove the armature, then the housing. Have a qualified shop recondition the armature, re-place the brushes, check the stator coils inside of the case, supply you with the o ring fluid seal. I spoke to a technician at the manufactures location in Kentucky several years ago and was told to expect about four hundred hours of service life per set of brushes. It was not recommended to re-place the brushes more than the second time without changing the armature. To re- assemble place the housing on the power Pac make note of the index markAND an indent that the housing fits into is aliened, install the armature, put THICK grease on the centering ball bearing to hold it in place on the end of the armature, I use two large paper clips opened to make hooks with to hold the brushes apart so they will fall into place on the armature. The brush holder end cap also has alignment detents to rest into. Replace the attachment screws; remember to attach the electrical wiring under the one screw head. Check all fittings around the power Pac for fluid leaks re-assemble in reverse order of dis-assembly.
The braking system is really quite simple but often overlooked for proper maintenance, until a problem comes up, or at annual time. As a disc brake system it is exposed to the elements, rain, snow etc; with little or no protection. Some of you may have experienced a brake ‚€úshudder‚€Ě on taxi or landing that might feel like an out of balance tire, maybe a pull to one side on braking, or a soft peddle. The disc braking system is called a ‚€úfloating Disc Brake System, or floating Calipers‚€Ě for a reason. First lets check to see that there are no leaks in the system, a sign would be a red fluid around brake (hoses) lines, chaffed brake lines, the wheels, drops on the hangar floor. We will get into the fluid level in a minute. Usually the plane does not have to be on jack stands to service the system. DO NOT disconnect the brake lines from the calipers. Simply remove the through bolts on the calipers, the calipers will split apart exposing two small brake shoes on the one side and a single brake shoe on the other side of the brake disc. One side of the caliper will have two round ‚€úpucks‚€Ě or plungers affixed inside of the caliper. The brake shoes are called floating shoes because they must slide freely on their locating shafts. Check the brake linings or pads. They are held in place with pop rivets. If they need replacement you only need the pads, not the plates they are attached to. Check the disc the pads make contact with. If scored, grooved, or out of shape they must be replaced. Clean the locating shafts, around the pucks (plungers), and the brake shoe holders. A spray on brake cleaner will do. Slide the brakes shoe holders on the locating shafts. The shoes should move freely (loose) on those shafts. Put a small amount of light oil on each shaft. A heavy amount, or grease will collect dirt etc; Reassemble. The following usually works best with two people. Inside of your plane at each rudder (four if you have co-pilot brakes) you will see what looks like an aluminum cylinder behind each rudder peddle. Place shop towels around any holes in the flooring, remove the plug located on the tops of these cylinders, wrap a shop towel around the cylinder, Now take a small hand held oil pump squirt can, fill it with the recommended brake fluid, fix a small tube that will fit snuggly over the end of the squirt can nozzle and bleeder or fitting located at the bottom of each caliper, loosen that fitting, attach the tubing. With someone inside watching the cylinder, fill till the fluid starts to run out of the cylinder, tighten the bleeder fitting at the caliper as you squeeze the trigger on the oilcan. Replace the plug on the cylinder. The system must be bled, or brake fluid replaced, from the bottom or caliper up to assure fullness with no trapped air. After assembly it may be a good idea to do some ‚€úfirm‚€Ě braking on taxi to let the new brake shoes settle in. Check the tension on the emergency / parking brake cables.