AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 89

INTERCYLINDER BAFFLES are oddly-shaped pieces of sheet metal that mount beneath and

between the cylinders, and force the down-flowing cooling air to wrap around and cool the
bottom of the cylinders.

THIS SIGNIFICANT COOLING AIR LEAK, resulting from a wrinkle in a flexible baffle seal, is what

caused the T210 CHTs to run so hot.

baffles (see "Savvy Maintenance: Good
Eyes," November 2020 AOPA Pilot).
These small, odd-shaped pieces of sheet
metal are mounted below and between
the cylinders. Their purpose is to prevent cooling air from passing through the
spaces between adjacent cylinders, and
to force the down-flowing cooling air to
wrap around and cool the bottom of the
cylinders, rather than just cooling the top
and sides. These baffles are critical for
proper cooling, but they're difficult to see
unless you know exactly where to look for
them. During engine installation or cylinder replacement, it's not at all uncommon
for them to be left out or mispositioned,
and it's not unheard of for them to vibrate
loose and fall out during engine operation.
Hot-running cylinders are the inevitable
result.

Awhile back, I noticed that the number
3 cylinder of the right engine on my Cessna
310 was running noticeably hotter than
its neighbors. I removed the top cowling
from the right engine nacelle and carefully
inspected all the aluminum baffles and rubber baffle seals but couldn't find anything
awry. I removed the lower cowlings so that
I could inspect the underside of the engine.
I discovered that the intercylinder baffle between cylinders 1 and 3 had vibrated
loose and shifted about 1/4 inch away from
the crankcase, creating a significant air leak
near the number 3 cylinder. Repositioning
the baffle properly and tightening its attach
bolt to hold it securely in place against the
cylinders and crankcase solved the problem.
Subsequently, I discovered a neat trick
to make it easier to locate such problems.
Just this week, I worked with three different

Skylane owners who were complaining that
one of their rearmost cylinders (1 or 2) was
running hot. In each case, the owners had
spent months and hundreds of dollars in
shop labor trying to correct the problem,
to no avail. I advised each of these owners to place a bright shop light in the lower
cowling beneath the engine, remove the top
cowling, then stand on a ladder and look
straight down on the cylinders from above.
If they could see light coming up from the
bottom of the engine, then they had a missing or improperly placed intercylinder baffle
and downward-flowing cooling air could
take the same path that the upward-flowing
light was taking. In each case, this quickly
located the problem, which was then easily
corrected-and which cured the high CHTs.
Returning to our frustrated T210 owner,
I discouraged him from cutting holes in
his baffles, and suggested instead that he
examine his baffles and seals for gaps that
could be plugged to improve cooling. At
my request, the owner emailed me a series
of high-resolution photos of his newly
installed baffle kit.
One of those photos revealed a rather
significant cooling air leak caused by a
wrinkle in a flexible baffle seal. This problem was apparent only with the top cowl
installed and could be seen by inspecting
through the front intake openings using a
flashlight. Savvy pilots who understand the
importance of baffles and seals look for this
sort of thing during preflight inspection.
Since mechanics do most of their inspecting with the cowlings removed, problems
like this sometimes escape their detection.
I studied the photos and continued
my email dialogue with the T210 owner.
Between the two of us, we managed to identify a dozen leaks in the T210's baffle system.
Some were small, others more serious.
Combined, they accounted for a significant
loss of cooling efficiency. With a little trimming of the flexible seal strips plus a few
well-placed dabs of high-temp RTV sealant,
the owner succeeded in plugging the leaks
in short order and reported that his engine
was running noticeably cooler.
AOPA
MIKE BUSCH is an A&P/IA.
EMAIL mike.busch@savvyaviation.com

savvyaviation.com

aopa.org/pilot AOPA PILOT | 89


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AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020

Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - Intro
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - Cover1
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - Cover2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 4
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 7
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - Cover3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - Cover4
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