Likes Likes:  0
Results 1 to 31 of 31

Thread: Gascolator/fires

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Mt.
    Posts
    1,346
    Post Thanks / Like

    Gascolator/fires

    Might not have made any difference in the most recent tragedy but I feel I need to express my opinion which is that the gascolators on all these old pipers should have a before further flight AD on them and all be replaces with Steve's. 200$ is nothing if you knock the gear off which will knock the gascolator off and have a real good chance of starting a fire. I know there are other places such as the header tanks and gauges that are also a problem, ( I always use Atlee Dodge heavy duty Headers) but this area right next to the hot engine is a big danger. I once hit a Meadow Lark on the curtis drain/gascolator while pulling up at the end of a spray run and all but knocked the gascolator off. Had gas coming in the cockpit and streaming down the belly and all it needed was a spark. Do yourself a favor and call Steve, He makes a great product at a more than fair price and maybe,,,just maybe it will save your life!
    Sorry for the long rant, we lost a good friend in a cub crash/fire years ago and it makes a big impression.
    Dave
    Thanks Jonnyo thanked for this post

  2. #2
    cubflier's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Palmer, AK
    Posts
    1,414
    Post Thanks / Like
    Dave,

    I was thinking the exact same thing. I have a big cessna 180 size gascolator on my cub to accommodate the larger Atlee tanks. It's see through which is a feature I like since I can see any water or particles floating around.

    However, the fire potential is real since it would not take much of a bump to knock it off.

    I assume Steve has the bigger ones for the Atlee tanks.

    Good post and sober reminder.

    Jerry

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Valdez, Alaska
    Posts
    697
    Post Thanks / Like
    I often think of the header tank thing as well...my old J5 had a 2 or 2.5 gal tank under the dash...right over your feet and legs...

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    don
    Posts
    785
    Post Thanks / Like
    How about running much of the electrical system in the wing root , next to the fuel tank! Great Idea, if you want a fire!!!!

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Fairbanks Alaska
    Posts
    658
    Post Thanks / Like
    No more AD's. If you want it, get one. But don't set your level of risk for every one else.
    Tim

  6. #6
    mvivion's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Bozeman,MT
    Posts
    12,114
    Post Thanks / Like
    I agree with Tim. How about an AD requiring you to replace all the sight gauges with electric gauges, or float types? That's glass or plastic RIGHT OVER your head....

    I'm not sure that a sudden arrival won't tear up any gascolator. I think the metal ones are a great idea, but I'm not sure that they would be significantly less likely to break in an accident where the gear's wiped off.

    Lots of places in these (and most) airplanes to dump gas on you if you screw up. I'd say, as Tim, minimize this if you feel like it, but don't bet that you'll totally fix that issue.

    MTV

  7. #7
    behindpropellers's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    NE Ohio
    Posts
    7,043
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by mvivion

    I'm not sure that a sudden arrival won't tear up any gascolator. I think the metal ones are a great idea, but I'm not sure that they would be significantly less likely to break in an accident where the gear's wiped off.

    MTV
    Mike-

    Obviously you have not taken the Steve's unit apart to see how it is designed. Unlike the gascolators off of a ford 9N they require significant force to break or come apart.

    As far as the comment on the sight gauge glass, since they are encased in aluminum, it would be hard to break those too.

    Tim

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Mt.
    Posts
    1,346
    Post Thanks / Like

    gascolators

    Mike, Like Tim says, Look at one of Steves units before you make up your mind. It will take way more abuse than the standard unit.
    I have never seen the glass broke in the sight gauges in any crash that I have been to. I'm sure it happens and maybe a plastic tube would be better. I am no fan of AD's and don't really want one for this but it is a situation that is easily fixed for not much cost.
    Dave

  9. #9
    Steve's Aircraft (Steve)'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    White City Oregon
    Posts
    233
    Post Thanks / Like
    It is interesting in noting the various opinions as to what constitutes a safety issue. All of them have valid points, but resolving them with an AD note may be a little harsh in place of education. A lot of the post crash fires on Cubs that appeared to have folded the gear has been attributed primarily to the header tank breaking open on impact. Usually because there is evidence left of an exploded tank. The gascolator, on the other hand, usually is missing after the fire, because the pot metal has melted away, and is not thought about. My suspicion has always been the loss of the bowl on a wire baled gascolator probably contributed more to the initial blaze with the fuel running into the hot spots. Unfortunately a friend tested our unit by diving his Cub into the runway and folding gear
    and a lot of other stuff. Our gascolator was bent up under the fuselage and sustained minor scuffing. The header tank looked fine. The pictures on our web page wwwstevesaircraft .com under the gascolator icon shows the results. Our gascolator can handle quite a bit bigger jolt. One should make their own choices as to what they feel would inhance their safety.

  10. #10
    docstory's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Anchorage, AK
    Posts
    664
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by behindpropellers
    As far as the comment on the sight gauge glass, since they are encased in aluminum, it would be hard to break those too.

    Tim
    Not as hard as you would think. The supercub I'm working on broke both sight gauges on impact. The pilot walked away thankfully.

  11. #11
    mvivion's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Bozeman,MT
    Posts
    12,114
    Post Thanks / Like
    Steve,

    My point was that this doesn't rise to the level of warranting an AD in my opinion, any more than it would to point fingers at the sight gauges (and I've heard FAA types pontificate on the safety of those).

    I don't doubt the veracity of your statements at all, and as I noted, I think your product is a great idea. Perhaps my point SHOULD have been that a really nasty crash is likely to break something down there. It may not be the gascolator, but could be a fuel line, either metal or rubber. It is nonetheless a great idea to minimize the liklihood of an accident causing a fuel system rupture.

    My point on sight gauges was simply that it makes no sense to me to issue an AD on this OR the gascolator. In any case, you've got fuel lines, connections and glass tubes right over your head. If any of that stuff comes uncorked (and I know of a couple cases where the pilot was bathed in gasoline as a consequence) you are likely in trouble, but it STILL doesn't suggest an AD in my opinion. I don't know WHAT broke in the cases I know of, but it was above the pilot's head.

    Any way you cut it, NOT ripping the landing gear off is a great solution to this issue. Nevertheless, every once in a while, I've had a landing which suggested I need a bit of practice.....

    Oh, yeah, and FYI--my airplane does have a metal gascolator

    MTV

  12. #12

    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Fairbanks Alaska
    Posts
    658
    Post Thanks / Like
    If you don't tear the gear off, hit a bird with it, smack it with a Hammer.....

    You could have one made out of fine china!

    So you fix one weak spot where is the next one? Would the next one be an AD too?

    Why not an AD to remove the header tanks?

    65 HP isn't really enough for a J-3 maybe an AD To make it 90

    SAFE DOES NOT MEAN RISK FREE.

    If it did we Would not get out of bed tomorrow morning.............
    Tim

  13. #13
    Steve's Aircraft (Steve)'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    White City Oregon
    Posts
    233
    Post Thanks / Like
    I agree that any, and everything can break, subject to enough force or abuse. I also wholeheartedly agree A.D.s are NOT the way to fix things. All too many times the FAA blankets whole fleets of aircraft with an AD to correct a specific problem that is not related to the complete fleet. Take the current T-Craft strut fiasco as an example. The problem airplane was a float plane sitting in a river for 30 years. No consideration was given to the land planes sitting in hangers a long ways from that type of environment. Turns out the struts were not at fault, but they are stuck with the AD anyway.

  14. #14
    JP's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    The Big Woods of Maine
    Posts
    3,330
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by mit greb
    65 HP isn't really enough for a J-3 ............
    Shhh, don't tell the J-3 I fly. It is simply amazing what that thing will lift....
    JP Russell--The Cub Therapist
    1947 PA-11 Cub Special

  15. #15

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    7,850
    Post Thanks / Like
    I am with MTV and Steve's. If you want a really good gascolator, Steve's has them - but do not make it an A/D.

    If you want truly safe, risk free entertainment, take up knitting.

    The Champ line has an A/D with a proprietary piece called out: To do the spar A/D you must use a Bend-A-Lite. That is a nice flashlight that uses up bulbs at eleven bucks each like they were sunflower seeds. They give you the option (as always) to get another method approved, but it is less hassle to buy the $25 Bend-A-Lite, then back it up with an un-approved borescope. A Mag Lite would probably work better.

  16. #16
    cubflier's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Palmer, AK
    Posts
    1,414
    Post Thanks / Like
    I should clarify that I'm not for an AD on the gascolator and see a lot of these AD's as inflicting unnecessary costs on the industry.

    The fire potential in the design of gasolator that I have has nothing to do with the fact that bowl is plastic. That plastic cylinder is the strong part and the part that I'm so fond of. It's the yoke that holds the bowl in place via the tension bolt on the bottom that gives me the most concern and heads me toward the stronger alternative.

    Jerry

  17. #17

    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Mt.
    Posts
    1,346
    Post Thanks / Like

    AD

    I only used the letters AD to make a point that in my opinion the gascolator that came from the factory on your cub is not a safe part IF you should happen to hit something. I do not want a AD BUT if we do not change these things and the FAA catches on as the where alot of these fires start we will have one like it or not so lets all be good little aviators and bite the bullet & cough up the 200$!!!!! It takes about 15 minutes to install.

    Mike the fact that the bowl on yours in medal means nothing. It is the way it is attached with the wire bale and thumb screw tightner on the bottom that makes it prone to coming apart and leaking if it is hit even lightly. You could make the bowl out of 4130 a inch think and if you attach it with the flimsy wire bale it WILL fail if you hit it with just about anything. Its hard to get them not to leak after you take them apart for service.
    Find me a cub mechanic that thinks it is a good safe design and I'll shut up!
    Dave

  18. #18
    Widebody's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ND/AZ
    Posts
    747
    Post Thanks / Like
    Here's a simple test to prove what Dave is talking about.
    For those of you that still have Pipers junk gascolator/design,
    go out and take your THUMB and apply a little sideways pressure against the bottom on the tightener.
    Get rid of it!! $200 is cheap.

    Brad

  19. #19
    behindpropellers's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    NE Ohio
    Posts
    7,043
    Post Thanks / Like
    Can't lead a horse to water and make it drink.

  20. #20

    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Maynard,MA
    Posts
    1,241
    Post Thanks / Like

    Gascolator/fires

    Being new to cubs I had never heard the gascolator discussed.It makes sense what you guys are saying about a potential hazard.I'll be seeing the Legend guys soon and I'll get an approval in the works for Steve's.Much better design.

    Bill

  21. #21
    Aviator's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Canada (Legally)
    Posts
    1,398
    Post Thanks / Like
    I can appreciate all the arguments, here, pro and con. Mostly they all have merit. In the end, everyone will go one way or the other based largely on which way the scale tips.

    One consideration I haven't seen here (maybe I missed it) is the downside of beefing up something designed to fail. I'm not sure this is the case with Piper's gascolator, but I think it's worth the keyboard wear. I for one would rather have fuel spilling out in front of the f/w rather than inside. In the event of a massive impact, a beefed-up gascolator will transfer the stresses to the fuel line which may then fail somewhere between the F/W and the selector valve or beyond. In other words, a beefed-up gascolator will move the weak point inside the airplane --albeit the system could take more abuse before it fails. (Just my 2c to put on the pro-con scale.)

  22. #22

    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Mt.
    Posts
    1,346
    Post Thanks / Like
    [quote="mit greb"]

    SAFE DOES NOT MEAN RISK FREE.

    Tim I get the concept of risk management. It is a rather big part of Ag-flying or predator control.
    I didn't say Steve's gascolator would take away all the risk of flying or catching on fire in a crash but It WILL reduce it.
    Dave

  23. #23

    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    1,859
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by Aviator
    I for one would rather have fuel spilling out in front of the f/w rather than inside. In the event of a massive impact, a beefed-up gascolator will transfer the stresses to the fuel line which may then fail somewhere between the F/W and the selector valve or beyond. In other words, a beefed-up gascolator will move the weak point inside the airplane --albeit the system could take more abuse before it fails. (Just my 2c to put on the pro-con scale.)
    Aviator,

    The problem is two fold in a crash. When the gascolator fails it spills its contents on all those HOT engine parts (very likely starting a fire) AND opens the fuel line to drain the contents of the tanks into said fire.

    John Scott

  24. #24
    Steve's Aircraft (Brian)'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    White City, Oregon
    Posts
    979
    Post Thanks / Like
    Pictures can say more than words.









    There are valid arguments for everyone who has posted here. I for one would rather lessen the possibility of having direct fuel to the hot exhaust system when the original gascolator comes apart on impact. I have pictures of what was left of a Rockwell with our gascolator that also had a direct gascolator impact with no fuel system breakage.

    I would also like to extend a sincere THANK YOU to all that have had positive comment on our gascolators. Ag-pilot started this thread on his own and it is a testament of how much he believes in our product. I really appreciate all of the good comments we have had over the years.

    Cubflier, yes we do have a version approved for the Atlee tanks. Our model SA3-00-A is the 4 oz bowl version of our SA3-00. Interesting to note that the FAA requires 1 fluid oz of sediment capacity for every 20 gallons of main tank fuel. So even though our SA3-00 is a 3 oz bowl and good for 60 gallons, the FAA still requires you get the bigger bowl for that extra 1 gallon in the Atlee tanks.

    Brian.

  25. #25

    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Mt.
    Posts
    1,346
    Post Thanks / Like

    gascolator

    Brian, Aviator's argument is not valid for this reason. In a crash such as your pictures show the old style gascolator's bowl will be knocked off without a doubt but the damage to the firewall area where the gascolator housing is located will still be there and will transfer any movement caused by impact to the fuel lines/fittings on the other side of the firewall. The fuel lines being made of rather soft alum. will bend and kink but not break and leak the fittings would break if subjected to enough abuse but in that great of impact the old light duty soldered front header tank would already be split wide open. We can argue all day but the fact remains that old tractor style gascolator is the weakest most fire prone component in the 18s fuel system. There is no downside to this retrofit except maybe a 2-3 oz. weight penality.

    Dave

  26. #26
    Steve's Aircraft (Brian)'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    White City, Oregon
    Posts
    979
    Post Thanks / Like
    Dave,

    My point in posting the pictures was to show that the fuel system was still intact after the crash. I believe that if there is an impact hard enough to separate or break the fuel lines, the pilot would not survive. The pilot of the airplane shown walked away. If you look closely at the pictures you can see that the left wing separated the fuselage at the rear spar, the windshield is broken, and that the fuselage is bent up forward of the main gear. This aircraft also had the original header tanks and they did not split. The fuselage was replaced and the airplane is back to flying condition. Unfortunately, the owner has died due to cancer and the airplane is now up for sale.

    Brian.

  27. #27
    Aviator's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Canada (Legally)
    Posts
    1,398
    Post Thanks / Like
    Longwinglover: good food for thought.

    Steve's Aircraft (Brian): your pics are very educational. Thanks.

    Ag-pilot is contradicting himself. My argument was to consider the downside of beefing up something. Since he considered it, he must have thought the argument was valid. I'm not sure I agree with his assumptions. I haven't seen any mock-up test results. I agree, the “old tractor style gascolator” is probably the weakest part of the fuel system, but I wouldn't say it's a “fact” or that it's the “most fire prone. Carb fires are far more common.

  28. #28

    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Meanwhile,...
    Posts
    5,509
    Post Thanks / Like
    Discuss, postulate, or argue all you want. At $200 this has the makings of an absolute no brainer and I am skeptical of EVERYTHING we hear that we just have to bolt on our aircraft.

    I find this product to be recommend by many, most with more experience than I'll ever have at encountering the ground from above including Dave, whom I have flown with when the hunt was on SO yea, I'll risk just a bit more than the cost of dinner and the 'jukebox' at the Jersey Lilly on his sincere recommendation any-day so thanks for taking up a tough topic this week.


    Kirby
    Remember, These are the Good old Days!

  29. #29

    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Mt.
    Posts
    1,346
    Post Thanks / Like

    Thanks

    Thanks Kirby You old dead eye you!!! I just took delivery of 4 cases of Federal's best for next year. That ought to be enough to get everybody's shoulder sore!

  30. #30

    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Fairbanks Alaska
    Posts
    658
    Post Thanks / Like
    I don't see any sign of safety cables?????
    Tim

  31. #31
    Steve's Aircraft (Brian)'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    White City, Oregon
    Posts
    979
    Post Thanks / Like
    Mit greb,

    You are right, he did not have safety cables installed. Although I do not think they would have done him any good in this particular crash. The aircraft hit on the nose and gear, real high tail up and hard. He installed safety cables and AOSS during the restoration.

    Brian.

Similar Threads

  1. Fires and Super Cub Accidents
    By mvivion in forum Cafe Supercub
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 08-23-2004, 01:41 PM
  2. Trip to Alaska and fires
    By ksecub in forum Cafe Supercub
    Replies: 23
    Last Post: 07-27-2004, 06:25 PM

Bookmarks

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •