Oil consumption not normail for a new engine

Just picked up the June 8 issue and saw your answer to Mr. Blanchette in the Ask Paul column (What is normal oil consumption?).

While you are technically correct that a quart in four hours is not out of limits, it’s not normal for a new engine. In our case, we had new ECi brand Titan cylinders with only 500 hours on them in our Glasair’s Lycoming O-320 engine. Oil consumption started out well after break in, a quart in 12 hours, but quickly deteriorated to a quart in four hours. Compression was a hernia-busting 80/80, due to “gapless rings” installed in the second land.

I had no blow by (I have an air/oil separator and collect the condensate) and the oil wasn’t too black. But there was quite an oily streak on the belly and it was clear I was pumping oil out the exhaust.

I finally pulled the jugs at 500 hours. It turns out the top rings had delaminated. (See photos.) ECi has a service bulletin on the manufacturing defect. (Plasma ring defect: Eci2fly.com/pdf/06-6.pdf). The typical symptoms ECi was expecting (lots of blow by/coal black oil) were masked by the gapless rings doing the yeoman’s work. ECi covered me thoroughly under warranty, and we’re back in the air, back at a quart in 15.

So if you’re in contact with Mr. Blanchette, you might want to alert him to possible top ring distress. Or, since his consumption has always been poor, it’s more likely he simply glazed his cylinders during break in. That’s probably easy to do in a helicopter.

His warranty ends in two months. Maybe he can get warranty coverage for a poor factory hone as I was able to do on our first-run Superior cylinders. In any event, he should rehone or at least break the glaze, re-ring and try again.


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