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  #1  
Old 02-23-2019, 02:51 AM
TShort TShort is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Indianapolis, IN (KUMP)
Posts: 924
Default Facet fuel pump failures

I have two of these fuel pumps installed in the -10 for the aux tanks (hotel whiskey style).

https://www.aircraftspruce.com/catal...lickkey=235826

specifically, model 40178

The tanks have been in place for about a year (first flew after the upgrade in May of last year.)

Since then, I have had 2 failures.
First was a pump that just went bad and quit pumping. These pumps have a distinct sound when running, and the failed pump became very quiet and wasn't transferring fuel.

Yesterday I was getting ready to fly to IA, and filled the airplane. When full, my R tank tends to drip a bit from the vent (not sure the QB tank had the outboard end of the vent tube optimally positioned), but yesterday it kept pouring out. As in gallons (I caught it with a funnel and gas can). The R aux tank was emptying into the main. So the check valve in the pump failed.

I tried to disassemble the first pump, but they are next to impossible to take apart (the innards are potted with a dense foam material).

Are these failures common? Is there an alternative pump that could be used? If these pumps are really that unreliable it makes the aux tanks far less useful, as pump failure either makes the aux fuel unavailable or dumps it overboard.

Boy am I glad I cut into the painted wings and installed the access panels ... replacement is still a pain, but at least we don't have to pull the main tanks every time!
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  #2  
Old 02-23-2019, 04:41 AM
KatanaPilot KatanaPilot is offline
 
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Location: Locust Grove, GA
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Can't speak to the HW installation, but our 1996 DA20 Katana used that same Facet pump as it's main electric pump. We had the plane over 10 years and it's still operating on the original pump. So a single data point of very reliable (4000 hours or so) operation. Used on every takeoff and landing and this airplane was a trainer before we had it.

Only thing I can suspect is the possibility of dry running with the HW tanks versus something we never did in the Katana?
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  #3  
Old 02-23-2019, 04:54 AM
TShort TShort is offline
 
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Dry running is a possibility, though in my case it would be very minimal; when we did the install, we filled the tanks and timed how long it took to run them dry. I set a timer when I flip the switches, so there is never more than 1-2 minutes max of dry run time.

Plus, I'm not sure how that would affect the check valve ... I don't know what the innards look like.
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1948 Cessna 170 N3949V
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  #4  
Old 02-23-2019, 06:11 AM
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maniago maniago is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TShort View Post
Dry running is a possibility, though in my case it would be very minimal; when we did the install, we filled the tanks and timed how long it took to run them dry. I set a timer when I flip the switches, so there is never more than 1-2 minutes max of dry run time.

Plus, I'm not sure how that would affect the check valve ... I don't know what the innards look like.
I have four of these exact pumps. I'd wager at 1-2min dry run, youre burning your pumps up. I dont see the dry run spec in their docs, but they are cooled by the fuel, and I rem reading somewhere to keep the pump close to the tank and with a prefilter in-line with it.....might be confusing it with the andair pumps tho....
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  #5  
Old 02-23-2019, 06:28 AM
rv7charlie rv7charlie is offline
 
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As has been said, extended dry running will eventually cause a coil failure, but like Mani mentioned, trash is a worthy suspect for both failures, if you're not running pre-filters. Trash could cause both failures. It can cause a plunger to stick (no clicking sound & no pumping), and it can also block a valve in the pump.

As Krea said, they typically run for many hundreds to thousands of hours without a problem. The aux pump in my -4 (slightly different model, without PCV) has been there since new in 1991.

Charlie
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  #6  
Old 02-23-2019, 06:42 AM
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snopercod snopercod is offline
 
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I have two similar pumps to transfer fuel from my wing tanks to my header tank. They have been working fine for the last five years. I did install a crossover valve in case one pump fails, I can use the remaining pump to empty both wings. Were you aware that you're supposed to install a 74 micron filter on the inlet of these pumps? I didn't, but could that be the problem? See: https://www.aircraftspruce.com/catal...05instruct.pdf
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  #7  
Old 02-23-2019, 12:26 PM
TShort TShort is offline
 
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This is the standard install for the hotel whiskey tanks. I cannot see any way to avoid short periods of dry running unless the tanks are purposefully turned off early and fuel left behind, but this is suboptimal as quantification is difficult. I know now if I run for 35 minutes the tanks are empty and it is exactly 7.5 gallons per side.

How are others with this type aux tank handling the pumps?

I did not install the prefilters. Not sure how I overlooked that, I don't recall it being part of the installation manual for the tanks. I agree that it could be a component of both failure modes.
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  #8  
Old 02-23-2019, 12:34 PM
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snopercod snopercod is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TShort View Post
I did not install the prefilters. Not sure how I overlooked that, I don't recall it being part of the installation manual for the tanks.
Facet only started requiring the filters maybe ten (?) years ago. Before that, the installation instructions didn't show them. I don't have the filters on my installation, either.
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  #9  
Old 02-23-2019, 02:25 PM
170 driver 170 driver is offline
 
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I had one fail on my RV9, replaced it and put a filter in line before it now. I took the fitting off the end of the failed one and the plunger was stuck in there, tiny piece of trash was caught up in it, it is a very close tolerance area inside where the plunger is. I worked it back and forth a few times and tried it off the plane on a gas jug, it works fine now. I'll probably never use it on a plane again but at least I know what caused it.
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  #10  
Old 02-23-2019, 03:02 PM
vic syracuse vic syracuse is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TShort View Post
This is the standard install for the hotel whiskey tanks. I cannot see any way to avoid short periods of dry running unless the tanks are purposefully turned off early and fuel left behind, but this is suboptimal as quantification is difficult. I know now if I run for 35 minutes the tanks are empty and it is exactly 7.5 gallons per side.

How are others with this type aux tank handling the pumps?

I did not install the prefilters. Not sure how I overlooked that, I don't recall it being part of the installation manual for the tanks. I agree that it could be a component of both failure modes.


Hmmm... You might check your time-to-empty again. I have the same setup on my 10 for over 1600 hours with no problems. But my time to empty is about 25 minutes, not 35. I've checked it multiple tiimes.

Vic
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