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Thread: Fuel Sump Drain Surprise....

  1. #1
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    Default Fuel Sump Drain Surprise....

    A couple days ago I was out flying with an Army Helo pilot (Jim) shortly after he had earned his SES rating.

    We stopped by a lake which has a private fuel source and fueled up before heading home....
    After fueling Jim sumped the tank in the PA-11 and it would not stop seeping fuel around the sump valve.
    So like an idiot.... I went over and played with the valve and made it much worse....A lot worse.....

    I had made the mistake of twisting the sump valve stem back and forth... OOO{{PPPPPssss cuss----cuss

    The valve on my old Cub and many others is a stem with an O-ring on the top of it... A very small O-ring...
    So the little piece of junk that was stuck in there and causing the seeping action also got to cut up the O-ring by me twisting the darn thing...Which I knew I should not have done....

    Fortunately a very good A.I. was working not so far away (as the crow flies) and in a 90 minutes (and 3 or 4 gallons later) he was there with a new fuel valve assembly.

    If I did not know help was coming I would have whittled a piece of Willow branch and made a plug to jam in the hole..

    Just something to think about when you have sump stems like mine that are only made to be pushed straight up. Twisting the heck out of them while they in the down position or while pulling down is not such a great idea.
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
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    An EXCELLENT reminder !!! Hope all pilots read it.

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    FP- I was doing the same thang on the 180 after I got it. Thinking twisting it wld help seat it better. It needed new ones under each wing and I bhgt them and installed them.

    I stink twisting them did help stop the flow on several occasions. I guess the o-rings were just old and gummed up and not cut or damaged as your were.

    I like your willow branch solution Ha!.

    RR

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    Quote Originally Posted by RocketRick View Post
    FP- I was doing the same thang on the 180 after I got it. Thinking twisting it wld help seat it better. It needed new ones under each wing and I bhgt them and installed them.

    I stink twisting them did help stop the flow on several occasions. I guess the o-rings were just old and gummed up and not cut or damaged as your were.

    I like your willow branch solution Ha!.

    RR
    I can attest to the fact that the willow plugs worrk on a C-180. And, in a real pinch, they'll also work in the bush if you lose a few cowling screws. I once flew mine back to Merrill from Chinitna Bay with almost all the screws replaced with those plugs. Looked a lot like a big porcupine, but it did work !!! And I didn't lose a single one of them !

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    It sure dose work in a pinch, Sump valves like anything else will wear out with time, I would bet that that valve was original on that PA-11! its stuff like this that reinforces my belief that you are not dressed if you don't have a pocket knife in your pocket. Thou of late my pocket knife of choice is a Leatherman multi tool. A pilots pocket knife.

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    I just had a problem with my new sump valve as well.
    We stopped by a lake and re-fueled. 15 minutes later I sumped the tank again and a darn SPRUCE NEEDLE became stuck half way out the drain. It was the second and last time that I forgot to use my filter funnel when I was out on a long cross country.
    Mr, Filter Funnel is my friend.....
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    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    I just had a problem with my new sump valve as well.
    We stopped by a lake and re-fueled. 15 minutes later I sumped the tank again and a darn SPRUCE NEEDLE became stuck half way out the drain. It was the second and last time that I forgot to use my filter funnel when I was out on a long cross country.
    Mr, Filter Funnel is my friend.....
    One of the very best friends you can carry when away from home . . . . . !

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    After having the same issue a few yrs ago, I put a new drain valve and a couple spare o-rings in my tool bag. I try to keep it pretty light, but I have about 15# of tools and parts (spare bolts, nuts and cotter keys, a little safety wire, fuses etc.) I need it all shoved in the back for W&B anyway and it beats lead on the tail. Can't tell you how many times I have needed to tweak something in the field and was very happy to have the spare parts in the bag.

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    Roger that... Pill bottles seem to work great for little screws, bolts, cotter pins and nuts. I too carry 4 feet of safety wire wrapped around a small wrench handle. Not to mention a hand-full of nylon zip ties, a couple screw drivers, channel locks and a roll of Cub yellow duct tape....

    /////\ And the friend of all float-plane pilots.......... a spare fuel tank cap............ for when your primary drops into ten feet of water while re-fueling with Jerry jugs on a remote lake.
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
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    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    Roger that... Pill bottles seem to work great for little screws, bolts, cotter pins and nuts. I too carry 4 feet of safety wire wrapped around a small wrench handle. Not to mention a hand-full of nylon zip ties, a couple screw drivers, channel locks and a roll of Cub yellow duct tape....

    /////\ And the friend of all float-plane pilots.......... a spare fuel tank cap............ for when your primary drops into ten feet of water while re-fueling with Jerry jugs on a remote lake.

    All in my tool back pack too. Along with spare GPS, batteries etc. The fuel cap is a great idea and one I had not thought of!

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    I thought about it when my old gas cap slide off the floats into Tustumena lake. Even after I zipped tied a piece of plastic bag over the hole, I still barely made it back to Homer,,, because it came off over the hills and was sucking all my fuel out....
    So dead stick into beluga lake from 5000 feet and paddle to the docks.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    I thought about it when my old gas cap slide off the floats into Tustumena lake. Even after I zipped tied a piece of plastic bag over the hole, I still barely made it back to Homer,,, because it came off over the hills and was sucking all my fuel out....
    So dead stick into beluga lake from 5000 feet and paddle to the docks.
    I know the feeling . . . Years ago, and when Lake Hood was closed due to winds, I exercised the pilot's option and sailed across the lake in a 65-hp Champ to the gas dock to top off. Didn't want to get out in that wind, so let the gas boy do the chores. He didn't secure the right wing tank cap, and the danged engine quit over the Kenai River. Low water season, and I had do deadstick it into whatever water I could find. Fishermen at the Cooper Creek mouth were waving "hello" as I passed by . . . . . Not a really good day !!! Coasted into the eddy at Cooper Landing --------------- it was all luck !

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    Good thing it was a Champ that only draws 4-6 inches of water....
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    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    Good thing it was a Champ that only draws 4-6 inches of water....
    Yeah, and after all that superb display of flying legerdemain, I grabbed a line, stepped off the front of the right float onto a floating spruce log - - - - - and promptly sank clear up to my hat brin !!! Sure is hard to be a hero some days !

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    If you carry duct tape in the tool kit you don't need a spare cap.

    How do you fly for an hour and a half missing a fuel cap and not recognize your fuel quantity is dropping faster than normal?

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    How do you fly for an hour and a half missing a fuel cap and not recognize your fuel quantity is dropping faster than normal?
    I my case, From the south coast of Tustumena (where I lost my cap) to Beluga Lake in Homer is 40 statute miles. 40 minutes of flying time with a slow constant climb.
    My temporary patch cap made up of duct tape, a plastic sandwich bag and a zip tie did not let loose enough for major siphoning to occur until I was about 5-8 miles away. Then it was sucked dry pretty fast. But I only have one tank in my PA-11.

    I assume Griz was flying a multi fuel tank aircraft.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Pid View Post
    If you carry duct tape in the tool kit you don't need a spare cap.

    How do you fly for an hour and a half missing a fuel cap and not recognize your fuel quantity is dropping faster than normal?


    First of all, no fuel gauges o the Champs in those days. Secondly, the turbulence was severe, and that may have lent to the fact that I didn't smell it going overboard. And finally, I was pretty green, full of confidence, but way short of experience. Certainly it as pilot error, from the fueling up to the very quiet engine.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    I my case, From the south coast of Tustumena (where I lost my cap) to Beluga Lake in Homer is 40 statute miles. 40 minutes of flying time with a slow constant climb.
    My temporary patch cap made up of duct tape, a plastic sandwich bag and a zip tie did not let loose enough for major siphoning to occur until I was about 5-8 miles away. Then it was sucked dry pretty fast. But I only have one tank in my PA-11.

    I assume Griz was flying a multi fuel tank aircraft.
    Yep, two wing tanks. so fuel fed from both tanks simultaneously. Clearly the pilot's fault in any case.

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