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Oil Cooler Facts, Trivia, and Basic Information - designed to help widen the gap between fiction and what's really going on, here.
For the most part, aircraft engine oil coolers fall into one of two categories: Remote mounted, or Engine mounted. And it's easy to remember which-is-which: Continental - or "TCM" powered aircraft use engine mounted oil coolers - and everything else uses a remote mounted oil cooler (with only a few exceptions).
SO MUCH FOR THE EASY PART
Remote mounted oil coolers, though they come in
many different shapes and sizes - and are represented by hundreds of different
part numbers, are all basically similar; They mount to the airframe (as opposed
to the engine itself), with hoses being used to carry oil to and from the
Continental, engine-mounted oil coolers are just
the opposite (in more ways than you might expect); Yeah, they attach directly to
the engine - and therefore need no hoses to carry oil between the cooler and the
engine. Also unlike remote mounted oil coolers, "TCM coolers" do not come in a
great many "shapes and sizes" (basically, there are front-of-the-engine mounted
TCM coolers, and there are those that mount to the rear of the engine). Still,
obtaining the correct replacement front-mounted oil cooler for
your TCM engine can easily erupt into a sizeable pain in the posterior for the unwary.
BE VERY WARY
Far and away, Continental type oil coolers (the
front-of-the-engine mounted variety) cause more hair loss among mechanics, and
the people who sell them to mechanics, than any other type of oil cooler.
Here's why: There are two basic varieties of
front-of-the-engine type Continental oil coolers; 8-bolt and 12-bolt (indicating
the number of bolts required to attach the oil cooler to its adaptor plate).
Within the 8-bolt category, there are several different oil cooler lengths
available. In the 12-bolt category there are also several oil cooler lengths
available. The 12-bolt class of Continental coolers is further divided by the
availability of what's known as Congealing and Non-Congealing oil
Has your TCM engine had that 7th cylinder
hold-down stud modification done to it? This is something you'll need to know in
order to get the correct oil cooler for it. The "7th Stud" mod - or the
absence of it -will determine not only which oil cooler it requires, but also
which adaptor plate and gaskets, too. If your TCM engine is less than about ten
years old, either from factory new, or factory re-manufactured, there's about a
99% likelihood that it is a "7th Stud" engine.
To compound the situation even further, it's
quite common to discover (after you've received the wrong oil cooler) that the
oil cooler currently bolted to your Continental engine is not of the same part
number series listed in the parts book for your airplane. This often occurs
when, at some point in time, somebody 'upgraded' from an 8-bolt to a 12-bolt
cooler - or from a Congealing to a Non-Congealing type of oil cooler. Or perhaps
they had that 7th stud modification performed at the last overhaul. In any
event, the important thing to note is that there's absolutely zero oil
cooler interchangeability between the many varieties of TCM oil coolers. And
watch out; Just because an oil cooler seems to bolt up to your Continental
engine just fine, that doesn't mean it is the correct part for your engine.
Go To Page Two... "Getting The Right Stuff for your TCM engine"
Cooler Service, Inc.
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