Questions and Answers – A Conversation About Engine HealthWritten by Steve Ells
Piper Flyer Association member Jim Von Lorenz called the PFA office and asked that I call him. He had read a Q&A column in a previous issue of Piper Flyer and had a question about his engine.
I called a few days later, and the conversation went something like this.
Mrs. Von Lorenz—Joan—answered first and told me that her husband was 79 years old but in very good condition. She said she would pass on my number to her husband when he returned.
An hour later, Von Lorenz called and told me that he was leery of the engine in his 1959 Piper PA-22 Tri-Pacer and he wanted to discuss what he had heard with me.
He volunteered that the engine was a 160 hp Lycoming O-320-B2B that had last been overhauled in 1961, when exhaust valves with the half-inch stems had been installed to comply with AD 63-23-02. A top overhaul was performed on the engine in 1979. The cylinders were chromed using the channel chrome process back to standard bore at that time.
Von Lorenz told me that his mechanic said the engine was in fine shape although he did volunteer that one cylinder was slightly low in compression. I asked how much, and was told it was 62/80; the other three cylinders were all between 68/80 and 72/80.
I asked how much oil was added between changes. (None.) I asked how often the oil was changed and I was told every six months and that it was flown 12 hours during the last six-month period.