Used Aircraft Engines

This is a tale of three woes…and how they concern both the best and worst of decision situations.  The common thread surrounding this tale of woe is the dictum of Caveat Emptor, or, “Let the Buyer Beware”.  Sometimes the most diligent research on how to approach a decision can still lead to a no man’s land of difficulty…and a compromise of safety as the ultimate outcome.

To begin with, when I originally purchased my 1946 Taylorcraft BC12-D over 6 years ago , it came with a fresh annual from a known mechanic and was pronounced “ready to fly”…and ready to fly it was.  It was only after I had hangared the ship on my own field that it really was critically looked over by me and a friend who is also trusted mechanic.  It soon became apparent that the inspection had been cursory as I had to remove mud dauber nests from the trim tab control cables.  Further inspection showed worn bungee cords.  The firewall forward was conspicuous for a missing cabin heater shroud, and the oil was dark.  The aircraft was cleaned up, the engine oil changed, and cylinder compression checked.  Although the magnetos were timed correctly, a disturbing tendency during the hand starts was that it took many propeller swings to get the machine to fire.  Once these items had been corrected (or dealt with), the machine was a joy to fly.  After about ten hours of flight, it was determined that the spars were damaged.  The aircraft was taken out of service for a teardown and rebuild.  The engine was totally disassembled.  The findings on that engine were the beginnings of my first woe.