Brief Description: New Left Engine Baffle & Oil Cooler - Part 01
In the big 'ol box of freshly powder coated parts I picked up this morning included the newly built left engine baffle and various mounts for the new oil cooler. Seemed like a good place to start, so I got busy mounting the new baffle and oil cooler. Have to say, the black accents look pretty cool. The 45-degree rod on top of the engine is to give that rear baffle mount for the oil cooler a bit more rigidity. The black angles on the oil cooler flanges are to help distribute the load better across the soft pot metal they use on the oil cooler mounts and hopefully keep the from cracking again. This, btw, is the THIRD oil cooler I've bought for this airplane, and no, they aren't cheap. The oil cooler for this IO-390 motor is about 50% larger than the stock oil cooler that Van's would normally have your mount on the back baffle. I have progressively increased the size and strength of the baffle parts in and around the oil cooler and I think this might be the ticket.
I also discovered today that there was about 1/8" gap between the lower back baffle and the -3 bolt boss on the back of the #4 cylinder. This is the first time I've ever put that bolt in without the left baffle riveted to the rear baffle. So, I've never noticed that when tightening that bolt, it was putting a huge load on the joint between the left and rear baffles. It's absolutely no wonder that flange kept cracking! So this time, I added 2 thick fender washers between the #4 boss and the rear baffle before putting the bolt in and before screwing/riveting the left/rear baffles together. I was then able to confirm that there was ZERO bending load being put on the flange before I screwed it together. This could really help the longevity of the baffles and the mount for the oil cooler. Fingers crossed!