Lanier Mariner Maintenance Log
January 9, 2007
I resecured the lead weight into the nose.
I put a real connector clip on the battery extender so it can’t even think about pulling free.
I packed the nose a bit better with bubble wrap to protect the battery and keep things from shifting around.
I repaired the torn covering off one of the hull lifters. I bit of it got torn off when flying off not quite deep enough snow. I must have snagged a chunk of ground or rock at some point.
December 30, 2006
I lock-tite’d the muffler bolts in an attempt to keep that from coming loose. (Jan 1, 07 update: muffler stayed on through three flights!)
I also lengthened the external fuel tank pickup line so that it can hopefully be not pinched as much as it winds it’s way to the engine. I’m struggling for answers, but I wonder if it was slightly pinched and that may have contributed to unreliable engine performance?
October 28, 2006
Today I got around to installing the new Tower 46 engine. I think it should be a keeper. Seems to run well.
In the process of running the first tank through, I noticed a tank problem. It turns out that the brass vent tube inside the engine broke off so I was only getting the tank half full and that could have been contributing to some of my engine consternation. I did some fiddling around and swapped the vent and feed tubing and the results seem to be *much* better. Maybe I’ll get this plane behaving someday!
August 25, 2006
I ripped off the old problematic Magnum 45 today. It screams when it runs but it unexplainably dead sticks just about every flight and I’ve had no end to trouble with it. I have a Tower 46 I purchased from ebay. I got that installed and realized this “like new” engine is shot. The rod linkage is crap and while the engine looks good on the outside, it’s crap on the inside. Screwed again by ebay! 🙁 Ok, so !#$@$#$ I’m never buying an engine off ebay again. I put in an order for a replacement engine at Tower, free shipping. Let’s hope this clears up my problems.
August 19, 2005
Finally … this problem child is ready to fly again. I completely rebuilt the elevator using real balsa wood and a real wire elevator joiner. I sealed the rudder and elevator surfaces with balsarite, and then recovered them in white ultracote. They are now reattached to the airplane and ready to fly.
July 9, 2005
I managed to cobble together a replacement idle set screw that was good enough to do the job. Less than ideal, but I was at my parents with no spare parts, no convenient hardware store (not that they’d have what I needed.) So I got myself back up in the air very briefly.
I noticed a lot of trouble getting off the water. In the air it really wanted to nose down. I had full up elevator trim and still needed to hold additional up elevator to maintain level. Even at idle I had to hold a lot of up elevator to keep from diving in. This is probably natural behavior for a stock Mariner built according to the instructions, but I’ve got mine trimmed out pretty well so something definitely was wrong. I landed (not pretty, but still in one piece) and taxied back to shore.
I noticed one side of the elevator severely drooping. The hardwood piece that connects the two elevator halves broke free on one side. It’s the classic “break right next to the glue joint failure.” I’m really happy that I managed to save the airplane given the nature of the failure … it was only partial and left me just enough elevator to keep the nose above the horizon.
So I had to do yet another emergency field repair to the aircraft if I had any hope of salvaging the flying day. I ended up gluing a wire stiffener across the two halfs. I cut away a strip of covering on each side. One elevator half is super soft lightweight balsa (that’s the side that broke free of the elevator joiner.) The other side of the elevator is made out of some super hard/dense/heavy balsa. This is (probably?) unrelated, but the crappy covering job from the factory lets water get all over into the wood elevator so it was soaking wet. I put the plane out in the sun for a few minutes to help the wood dry out and one side of the elevator has now developed a really nasty curl. I clamped it flat, glued the stiffener on and called it good enough, ugly, but flight worthy.
I’ve heard of other people having elevator joiner failure so I would recommend to anyone building one of these that you do something to strengthen the joiner. You might want to take a close look at the elevator and rudder covering job and possibly redo it before you glue the hinges in.
Ok, so I’m back up and flying, first flight after the repair. Everything is going well … so well that I ran out of fuel in the air and had to dead stick it in. I was a little ways out and couldn’t get it back to me airborn so I had to flair and touch down at a distance with a pretty decent cross wind. I must have hit the water with a significant amount of side force. This snapped the bottom fin right off about 1/8 inch beyond the glue joint and the rudder got ripped out of the vertical stab, hinges and all. To make matters worse, more covering now was peeling off the other side of the elevator.
My current plan is to build two new elevator halves with a proper joiner, cover it properly with a decent covering, and reinstall. I will also recover the rudder since that is now detached. It looks like the covering maybe failing though in parts of the fuselage so I’ll need to take a really close look at that. 🙁
July 8, 2005
I had 3 flights today with increasingly weird engine behavior. I think I broke something in the carb by improperly installing the needle valve assembly? Either that or I’m just really unlucky. There’s an idle set screw that extends into a slighly angled slot on the moving part of the carb assembly that causes it to slide in and out a bit as the throttle moves. The end of that screw broke off so the whole assembly slides in and out somewhat randomly. The surprising thing is that the engine still ran, albeit a bit chaotically sometimes dumping out raw fuel, sometimes spewing more normal exhaust residue, sometimes coughing up big blobs of oil that got splattered all over everything. End of flying for the evening.
July 5, 2005
Today I replaced the lost needle valve assembly with a part yanked from a “parts” engine I bought a month or two ago. I hope to be able to test out the fix this weekend.
April 9, 2005
After a flight last fall, I noticed that the covering was pulling off the right side of the elevator near the center. This exposed the bare wood and the elevator joiner glue joint. Last flight of the day; and as it turned out, last flight of the season before the lakes froze over.
I didn’t get a chance to get back out to a lake last fall, but the ice is now out here in MN, so I took some time to strip off the old covering and recover the surface with a decent covering that doesn’t just get wrinklier when heat is applied. Much better … at some point I should probably redo the entire plane.
We are now all ready to go for the new flying season!
July 9 – 10, 2004
WARNING: When I went to attach the wing for the maiden flight, one of the wing-hold-down bolts stripped out. The factory predrills and taps the holes you screw into. The wood is strong, but not very thick. Ouch, I actually considered flying on one bolt, before I slapped myself silly. Fortunately I had some larger nylon bolts with matching blind nuts so I drilled out the hole for the larger size bolt and installed that. Your mileage may vary, but consider just doing this from the get go. The default wing hold down scheme is severely lacking in my opinion.