Support Problem for Jabiru Engines
During a recent visit to Australia I learned of a potential problem with support from the Jabiru engine factory. The following is an e-mail that I sent to Jabiru requesting information relating to this problem. The e-mail explains the problem in detail. I will post any response I get back from Jabiru on this subject.
I am an RV-7 builder in the US. I just returned from a 2 week holiday in Australia where I had the pleasure of flying with a friend in his 2-place Jabiru. I was very impressed with the airplane and engine. My friend has the 120HP 3300 model, and I was particularly impressed with the power and smoothness of the engine operation. I checked your web site and see that you also manufacture the 180HP 5100 8-cylinder model, which would be ideal for the RV-7. I am sure there are many RV builders in the US who would be interested in the model 5100 depending on pricing, availability and support.
Before I decide whether to purchase the model 5100, I would like to inquire about an area of concern that surfaced while I was in Australia. While there, I attended a meeting of the Yabba North Flying Club in Victoria with some friends. One of my friends, Mr. Colin Jamieson, is flying with a Jabiru engine in his home built “Cobram Hornet”. After some discussion with Colin, it seems apparent that he has received less than satisfactory support for his Jabiru engine. The problem relates to his engine oil pressure, which drops to an alarming level at lower RPM settings (into the red). He is only getting about 7 PSI at idle. This would be very disconcerting and may be indicative of a more serious problem. Colin tried many fixes recommended by Jabiru without success, then finally sent the engine back to the factory, and even though a new, larger oil pump was installed, the problem remains unresolved. On top of that he was charged $500 for the service provided. That is what’s known in the US as a horror story and I’m sure I can speak for my fellow RV builders in the US to say that this level of service would be unacceptable. We would have to be assured that such a problem as experienced by Colin would be resolved by the factory at no cost.
I’m sure that you understand that one of the most important factors in deciding which engine to purchase for a home built installation is the responsiveness and level of support provided by the factory, possibly even more important than price. Hopefully you will be able to provide some assurance that the problems experienced by Colin Jamieson are being addressed by Jabiru. I am hopeful that soon Colin can provide me with the good news that his problem has been resolved. This will go a long way towards building confidence in Jabiru among potential US buyers. Owner testimonials and feedback (both positive and negative) are important factors for any builder in the product selection process. I plan on making these concerns known on my RV-7 web group, along with your response. That will help to assure the 2500+ members that they can count on solid support and factory backing if they decide to purchase the Jabiru 5100 engine.
EAA Chapter 524
Frederick Maryland USA"
Wanna' bet that this one will soon go the way of the Crossflow thread?
Jabiru is a reputable manufacturer of engines and aircraft. They are usually very reliable. I have had lots of contact with the west coast USA rep Jabiru-pacific. Very few problems reported. Also note that I don't own any Jabiru products, engine or airframe soI have no stake in what is said. My EAA chapter has several Jabiru installations with no hassles reported.
You misunderstand; I'm referring to the idea that there could be a "legal" repercussion for anything mentioned on the board that casts a negative light on a manufacturer... even if true (especially if true?).
Fear of litigation is what removed the Crossflow thread.
Here's a brief explanation of how things like this can work in general.
Scroll down to the "Recent US Decision" and you'll see that owners and moderators of newsgroups have been declared to be not liable for things posted on their site.
Of course, that doesn't stop someone from suing you, but I would think the case would be easily and quickly dismissed according to the Ninth Circuit Court.
And from that decision early on (p.4) is this:
BERZON, Circuit Judge:
There is no reason inherent in the technological features of
cyberspace why First Amendment and defamation law should
apply differently in cyberspace than in the brick and mortar
world. Congress, however, has chosen for policy reasons to
immunize from liability for defamatory or obscene speech
“providers and users of interactive computer services” when
the defamatory or obscene material is “provided” by someone
Bold emphasis by me.
Doug has to make his own decisions, but according to a higher US court (not just a single bottom echelon judge), it doesn't look like he has anything to be afraid of.
edit: added link
Update to initial posting
As a follow-up to the initial posting, I wanted to report that there has been no reply or acknowledgement of my e-mail to Jabiru. Neither has there been a reply to a letter to Jabiru on the same subject, written by another Jabiru owner in Australia (e-mail me for copy of letter if interested). It seems as though Jabiru is taking the stonewall approach in dealing with Colin's low oil pressure problem. It's worth restating that this engine was purchased brand new from Jabiru and it has always exhibited the low oil pressure problem at RPMs less than cruise. In the meantime, Colin continues to fly with it, very carefully, with one eye glued on the oil pressure gauge.
For those who are interested, the following is an information update I received from my friend in Australia...but, still no response from Jabiru.
The first sentence says it all ... interestingly Jabiru MUST be aware of this problem but will not respond to Col, you or I.
Date: Thu, 28 Apr 2005 21:31:53 +1000
Subject: From the UK Jabiru website!!!
Date Posted: 06:13:49 04/28/05 Thu
Subject: Re: OIL COOLER
In reply to: JOE ISZARD 's message, "OIL COOLER" on 19:01:29 04/26/05 Tue
For some reason on the later big fin 40mm carb engines, with no oil cooler you get a seriously low indicated low oil pressure when it's warmed up. I worked with Gary at STA to find the problem and fitting the cooler sorted it. The cooler over cools and I've found that putting foil over it didn't make that much difference.
I run my three year old engine without a cooler and get much more sensible temepratures. This is assuming the temperature you are seeing is true, it maybe a lot hotter elsewhere in the engine. Beware those of you that have an engine still in guarantee as this will invalidate it as I was informed by ST Aviation
I don't want to beat a dead horse, but anyone considering a Jabiru engine should read this. Read the original message first. Unless Jabiru deals with this problem, I personally wouldn't consider using one of their engines.
"Con Brogan" <lybro@...>
Date: Thu Jul 14, 2005 6:39 am
Subject: RE: [jabiruengines] Re: Oil Pressure con24250
Hank, Andy, Pete, any other Jabiru Dealers watching.
Fact. Jabiru will not publicly admit to any problems with their engines.
They will not offer to repair, replace or sort faults, even on brand new
engines. They don't issue service bulletins. They use customers for R&D.
They have never heard of customer service. They leave their dealers to take
the heat and carry the can when the you know what hits the fan.
This is a crazy, penny pinching mentality because their engines are
basically sound. They just will not address problems as and when they arise.
Sending out half a dozen parts, for example, to customers effected would not
cost them that much and would generate huge good will. Instead they go in to
auto denial, berry their head in the sand ostrich style.
Maybe they should rename the company Ostrich engines as they are doing the
Jabiru a great disservice.
[mailto:email@example.com]On Behalf Of titanhank
Sent: 13 July 2005 00:37
Subject: [jabiruengines] Re: Oil Pressure
well, i replaced the spring, plunger and washer today. it did not
help at all. still have low oil pressure. after talking to pete about
5 times today, sorry pete, we installed 4 that is four washers under
the spring. it made the cold start oil pressure come up to 59 psi,
but had not effect on the oil pressure above 180 deg oil temp. pete,
ben, the owner of the new plane and i all agree that their is
something wrong inside this engine. pete as always, is taking care of
the problem. he has suggested pulling the engine for teardown and
inspection at the factory and is calling the main engine overhaul guy
tonight down in kangaroo land. the engine is a brand new 18.5 hr
engine and should not need an overhaul just yet. i will keep everyone
posted on how jabiru handles this problem and if the problem is ever
solved. i love the jabiru engines and have built the last three
airplanes with them, but i am beginning to worry about these engines
for my customer airplanes. i hope they take care of the problem
quickly, when you have a customer who just dropped in excess of
$50000 on a new titan tornado with a bad engine it makes my life
miserable and makes me look like an idiot for recommending them. i
will continue to recommend the engine to my customers untill jabiru
proves me wrong.
North Georgia Sport Planes
If the engine is not otherwise making any noises or showing excessive wear on the bearing journals, then the only solution to this type of problem, short of redimensioning all bearing journals and/or reducing flow to the head, is to install a slightly larger oil pump.
Obviously low oil pressure is a good indicator of excessive bearing wear (given a normal operating temperature) if it started out being the expected pressure.
If it's low to begin with, it's a good way to cause excesive wear.
However, if the oil pressure is OK at cruise and too low before the pump volume gets to be sufficient at the higher speeds, then it may be large enough but only marginally so.
Jabiru is on its 4th or 5th head cylinder revision now with many people reporting leaks at this junction as well as overheating problems, cracks and poor service from Jabiru at least in Canada.
Check this out too: http://www.masquito.be/progress3.htm
A friend of mine constructing a KR2 considered a Jabiru until he researched it more. Too many unresolved issues he said despite this engine being certified in OZ. I think if you do more digging, there are some more unflattering things out there. I'd check it out carefully and wouldn't be the first to try the flat 8.
Certainly new engines have their developmental problems but it does not seem that Jabiru is stepping up to the plate with proper service and these problems have existed for years now. I suspect that if they had to pay to replace all the problem assemblies, they wouldn't survive. Aerocat tried some 3300s in their design and also decided that they were not ready for prime time: http://www.creativeflight.com/engines.html
New to this thread
I've recently ran across this thread.
While I don't want to disparage any person or post, I do see a lot of "friend of a friend" quotes. There are little or no posts from the actual person receiving the problem.
In posts with links to web sites, I see two entries that state up front there were considerable modifications. How many manufacturers support every possible permutation of aftermarket equipment? Certainly not Lyco or Continental.
I don't mean to say Jabiru doesn't have a problem, but from the posts thus far, I can't see any hard evidence of that.
Now as to the pressure problem - Last August I attended a Jabiru seminar, conducted by Pete Krotje in Tennessee. It was lead by Don Richter, the Australian developer of the Jabiru engines, who stayed over an extra week or two after Osh.
We learned that oil pressure problems could be caused by -
1. Low oil content
2. Overheated oil / no cooler
3. Ineffective cooler action
4. Gauge / sender / wiring
5. Oil leakage around relief valve
6. Bearing condition / damage
7. Oil pump condition
8. Oil suction leak
9. Incorrect oil
10. Oil too hot
All these were outlined in a Jaba Chat newsletter you can find at - http://www.jabiru.net.au/news/jabach...ugust_2005.pdf
I would recommend printing all the Jaba Chats, if you are curious about a jab engine.
If you have specific questions, there are a news forums available for use -
(Since Jab hosts this, I would expect responses to be both quick & accurate. Personally, I use the next link, since Pete & Andy, US distributors, monitor it.)
If there is any doubt as to what bulletins are available, they can be found at - http://www.jabiru.net.au/news/techni...ngineBulletins
It's just my opinion, but to get an official call on any Jab rumor you've heard, I'd post to one of these forums. VansAirForce.com is a great learning tool, but I would guess a Jabiru forum would provide a better place for you questions.
Just my .02 woth, (actual value may be far less than .02)
I think the RV9 and the newer lightweight Van's design are possible candidates for some of the Jabiru models. The links I earlier posted here are hardly second hand accounts of problems encountered with response and rectification by Jabiru. Additionally, my friend with the KR2S told me directly about his poor service from Jabiru and what his research had turned up from early users. These included direct phone conversations.
I've said it before in the aviation field: If you don't respond to customer E-mails, if you don't admit there is a problem when actually there is, it will come back to haunt you and you lose credibility. Clearly this has happened in the past. Has Jabiru fixed these problems now and do they respond in a tmely fashion to querries? I don't know the answers to those questions.
I welcome the links posted here to the Jabiru forums so we can see what the current status of problems and service is like from Jabiru today from the customer perspective.
My .02 worth. Get back to clients within 24 hours, tell them the truth, fix the problem, ship them the parts when you promise and don't let the customer pay the bill if it's your fault. Works wonders in my business.
Ever wonder why you don't read about problems like this with Van's, David Clark, Garmin etc?
I truly hope that Jabiru has turned this around and people are happy with their current products and service. I like the basic layout and the CNC'd billet, aircooled flat concept and wish them well.
Two weeks ago I flew my 180/fp RV-4 to Queensland and while there visited the Jabiru engine factory and spoke with the owner, Ian Bent. I flew the RV-6 with the 5100 fitted with him, and was impressed. It was hot and we only flew at low level around the local area, but performance to me was what I expected from 180hp. It was smooth and pulled well, very similar to my -4 but with a compeletely different vibe. The temps and pressures were normal given the hot, humid conditions. The engine impressed with its smoothness and ease of operation. I'd certainly consider one in an RV if I were to build another. I raised the topic of engine problems and alleged factory support shortcomings, and Ian's reply was that all the investigations that they have done found installation errors or other failures to follow Jabiru recommendations. All engines are dyno tested prior to shipment, so any chronic problems should be detected at that stage, such as low oil pressure. He acknowledged that development is continuing, and that product improvements will continue to be made.
I too think that all rumours should be investigated to the source and not rely soley on hearsay. Jabiru have been around a while now and intend staying in the market, and have proved they are not the fly-by-night charlatans that are too common in Experimental Aviation. They have brought a product to market at an affordable price, which is what we need, not endless promise and glossy brochures at Oshkosh each year, as the start-up capital gets used and then they disappear.
Give them a fair go, I seem to remember Lycoming shipping faulty crankshafts, and attempting to influence crash investigation reports to their advantage.
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