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  #1  
Old 05-19-2021, 10:07 PM
00Dan 00Dan is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 222
Default Do tanks need to be drained for fuel selector maintenance?

I have an old brass 3 port fuel selector on my plane and the handle seems quite stiff; partially due to location but it has recently taken two hands to turn in flight. Obviously this is not acceptable.

I found a schematic in the archives and plan to disassemble and lube it, but before I do, do I need to drain the tanks? This is for a taildragger, if that makes a difference.
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  #2  
Old 05-20-2021, 06:49 AM
pa38112 pa38112 is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Clarksboro, NJ
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RV6A - I took the valve apart and fuel shot up hitting me in the eyes. I plugged the valve with one hand and rebuilt the stem (new o-rings) one-handed with the other hand, all while blind and with burning eyes.
I would drain them...
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Last edited by pa38112 : 05-20-2021 at 08:52 AM.
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  #3  
Old 05-20-2021, 06:56 AM
lr172 lr172 is offline
 
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Location: Schaumburg, IL
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I did this last fall on my 6A and did not drain the tanks, though I believe they were 1/2 full or less. You can measure the height of the lines entering the selector and compare to the fuel height in the tanks. If the latter is lower than the former, you will be fine. Basic gravity at work. Some cleaning and a new o-ring returned lever operation to normal.

Pretty certain you will have issues if the tanks are full.

Larry
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Last edited by lr172 : 05-20-2021 at 06:59 AM.
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  #4  
Old 05-20-2021, 11:00 AM
Ralph Inkster Ralph Inkster is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Calgary, Alberta
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Dan, after disassembly, if you find the center core is the old brass kind, it would be wise to change it out for the newer nylon core valves (brass housing, nylon core). I remember Vans changing to the nylon type valve because of the issue you are experiencing.
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  #5  
Old 05-20-2021, 01:19 PM
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fl-mike fl-mike is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pa38112 View Post
RV6A - I took the valve apart and fuel shot up hitting me in the eyes. I plugged the valve with one hand and rebuilt the stem (new o-rings) one-handed with the other hand, all while blind and with burning eyes.
I would drain them...
What, no video?
Sorry, but that made me laugh!
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  #6  
Old 05-21-2021, 05:40 AM
Scott Hersha Scott Hersha is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Cincinnati, OH
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Iíve done this same thing 4 times in the last two months. I had to drain my tanks down to about 1/2 to prevent fuel spillage.
Mine also got difficult to move, and mine has the nylon core. I was using fuel lube on it and that only kept is lubed for about 5 tank changes, then got stiff again. So I again took it apart and lubricated with EZ Turn and replaced the o-rings. That kept it good for about 10 fuel tank changes before stiffening up. So off it came again, and this time lubed with Krytox. That was the worst one of all. It took all I had using both hands after only a few tank changes. This time I removed it and tossed it in the trash can. I ordered a Newton SPRL valve from Spruce, which required re-plumbing and a small change in selector valve location on my RV4 because of geometry. The SPRL valve is very nice, easy to operate, and requires no lubrication. It is a make before break valve and can actually flow fuel from both tanks at once if you leave the selector in the middle between L and R (not a normal procedure).
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  #7  
Old 05-21-2021, 07:23 AM
monteslatton@gmail.com monteslatton@gmail.com is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2021
Location: Amarillo
Posts: 5
Default Changed mine out

After having a complete engine failure/die at 200 ft off the ground on take off and successfully dead sticking the plane back onto the runway. Chasing the problem back to worn out fuel selector I changed mine out

Put in new Andair. It was kind of expensive and required total re plumb of the lines.

But was worth it.
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  #8  
Old 05-21-2021, 09:28 AM
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rvbuilder2002 rvbuilder2002 is offline
 
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Location: Hubbard Oregon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Inkster View Post
Dan, after disassembly, if you find the center core is the old brass kind, it would be wise to change it out for the newer nylon core valves (brass housing, nylon core). I remember Vans changing to the nylon type valve because of the issue you are experiencing.
You can determine this before taking it apart.

The original valve with the brass cone only has 3 ports. An input port on each side for each tank and an output port on the front or back (depending on how it is installed).

The newer style valve has 4 ports total. 3 on the sides (with one typically plugged when there is only two tanks), and an outlet port on the bottom.

Basically, if the valve has a port on the bottom it is the newer style.


Servicing the valve requires reducing the fuel level in each tank so that it is lower than the level of the top of the fuel valve in the cockpit. 1/3 full or less is usually sufficient.
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  #9  
Old 05-21-2021, 11:20 AM
Paul 5r4 Paul 5r4 is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Foley, Al
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My fuel selector is the original Vans type supplied with the kit. (I completed my build in 2012). Mine was getting stiff to turn not long after beginning the flying after completion of the build. I started squirting a little WD-40 on the stem. It eventually runs down and makes it way to the inside. Worked great and still does to this day. About 3-4 times a year I do this and have never had any more issues. Nice smooth transition between L/R tanks and I can feel the little "click" when in the right spot.


I did completely remove the selector a few months ago because I was changing out a fuel line. You can do this with the tanks full if you want. I opened the wing root and with a cap handy removed the fuel line just outside of the wing rib. Cover with finger then quick like a bunny put a cap on. Very little fuel spilled.
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Last edited by Paul 5r4 : 05-22-2021 at 02:18 AM.
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  #10  
Old 05-21-2021, 11:52 AM
00Dan 00Dan is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 222
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Thanks for suggestions, all.

My tanks were about half so to be safe I drained about 5 gallons from each. I do indeed have the three port selector with the brass core. It took some work to get it to come free and when it did I noted some rotational scoring but no grooves or deep wear. After a coat of EZ turn it now turns freely.

Was the periodic maintenance the driver behind switching to the nylon core? Iím wondering what priority I should give such a purchase since it seems my brass core still functions normally when itís actually lubricated properly.
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