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O-360 Oil System Plumbing


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Last week the gasket on my Champion oil filter blew out, sending oil all over the place and generally making a huge mess. Note: my plane isn't flying yet, else this obviously would have been even more of a problem. Given the fact that this really sucked, I've spent a good deal of time researching what happened and how to prevent it from happening again.


My first thought ... I didn't measure the torque on the oil filter during installation even though it specifically says 16 - 18 ft-lbs. I turned it hand tight, then put a little over a 1/4 turn with a strap wrench. So, maybe it was too loose.


My second thought ... you know, I dont think I put a safety wire on right after installation. I think I realized it wasnt there some time after and certainly after a number of engine starts. I installed the safety wire, but of course didn't check the torque on the filter even though, yet again, the "16 - 18" was staring me in the face. Maybe it was tight enough to start, but then loosened without the safety wire in place.


My third thought ... on a cold night I pushed the plane out of the ~55°F hangar into the ~32°F air to run the engine and troubleshoot, of all things, the oil pressure sensor and the tachometer. I ran it for about 3 to 5 minutes, then shut it down. I left it outside for about an hour while working in the hangar then came back out and restarted. Perhaps the gasket contracted enough in the cold temps and allowed an already loose (?) filter to blast oil all over the flippin' place!


Thus far I've chalked it up to this series of errors and have blissfully learned my lesson while stripping the engine and cleaning off all of the oil. However, another possibility has now come to light ...


I have the famed Airwolf Remote Oil Filter Adapter installed!!! While emailing back and forth with them trying to figure out why I have a small leak coming from the fittings they supply (mystery has been solved), I mentioned the recent oil filter gasket incident. They asked that I verify that I had it plumbed correctly, which I do. I then mentioned that I have a 17-row oil cooler plumbed into the return side in between the oil filter and the engine. WHOA WHOA WHOA Jonny from AFC states!!!!!!!


Apparently, AFC's instructions (see attached) explicitly state "DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES CONNECT AN OIL COOLER IN SERIES WITH OUR REMOTE MOUNT OIL FILTER KIT". Stated reasoning is that during a cold start when the oil is thick, it will take advantage of the bypass built into the CH48109 oil filter and keep things flowing. If it then runs into the piping of an oil cooler, the pressure could build up and blow the filter gasket, filter, oil cooler, lines, etc. I, of course, dont recall ever seeing this instruction or hearing about it anywhere else.


So, I have to ask ... how the heck is everyone else plumbing their oil coolers, with or without an AFC oil filter adapter?


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There is bosses on the accessory case specificly for the oil cooler. One below the filter boss and one above the filter boss just below the crankcase breather outlet. Buy an overhaul manual and a parts manual for your engine. there is a ton of information in them to help you install and maintain your engine.

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