CHTs & EGTs Installation Questions

CHTs & EGTs Installation Questions

I am about to install 4 CHTs and one EGT in my 1973 C-172M, 150 HP Lycoming engine.  Before I do the installation, I would like get some opinions addressing my concerns.  I don’t mind changing the plan if there is a good reason.

Regaring CHTs:

Am I misguided in installing the washer kind of temperature probe instead of the bayonet probes?  I read an article (supposedly published by Lycoming) where they don’t recommend the washer kind because the temperatures vary more widely.  (Separately, I’ve heard they fail more frequently due to continued handling during spark plug removal and installation.) 

Where on the cylinder is the boss for the bayonet probe located?  Can’t the two be correlated?

What temperature should I be most interested in
a) The peak cylinder head temperature of my engine,
b) A temperature more representative of the average cylinder head temperature, OR
c) The temperature location that most industry data is gathered i.e. I would assume this is the temperature from a bayonet probe? 

For instance, if I said my CHT is 410 F does it mean the same thing whether it is taken at the spark plug connection or from the bayonet location?

One IA doesn’t think I should bother with CHTs for this engine.  Just watch oil temperature.  (I’ll bet this statement gets a reaction!)

My thought is that I’d rather have more information than no information.  But I don’t want to confound the situation with too many unknowns or bad information.

Regarding EGTs:

Is it worth getting 4 EGTs or just take an A&Ps advice and use only one EGT?  Lycoming say’s that it is not feasible to determine the leanest cylinder since the leanest cylinder changes with throttle position and altitude.  This would suggest I should get 4 EGTs.

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Re: CHTs & EGTs Installation Questions

Barry, You are correct in saying that washer type probes vary in temp more widely and that they deteriorate quicker. Also remember that the washer type will usually read hotter ( up to 60'). Myself I wouldn't worry about monitoring either on a fixed pitch installation, only watch oil temp. Lean until it begins to run rough then richen a couple of turns. I am in the process of installing a 180hp mod to our 172B. One item we are going to fit is a FS450 fuel flow indicator from JPI.
Have Fun.

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Re: CHTs & EGTs Installation Questions

Rick,

Thanks for info and good luck with the upgrade.  I saw a JPI fuel flow monitor of some kind at the AOPA Expo 2003.  They claim a 1% accuracy and integrate the useage.  Too bad we don't know how much fuel we started with to this degree of accuracy.  It sounds like overkill to me, especially considering the price tag.  I've ordered a Westach CHT 4 cylinder set.  I've been successful in monitoring fuel burn just keeping track of of how my engine usage usually run no more than 75% cruise and use a conservative value for climb gph. 

I wanted the CHTs to monitor the condition of my engine, so I can identify problems or unusual operating conditions that would effect the fuel burn or indicate a bad cylinder or other problem.  Basically a smart "idiot" light instead of no light at all.  I just don't like having no information at all except for the sound and feel of the engine.  We all know our senses can be deceiving, so having some backup objective information is a good idea.

The CHT gauge is referenced to 70 degree's F so higher or lower junction temperature at the gauge will produce an offset.  So I will need to monitor inside air temperature to understand the magnitude of the deviation.  If it's colder than 70 degrees F. The temperature will read higher. 

I am more concerned  with the location on the cylinder head and have just about talked myself out of the washer kind.  But I would like to get info on how bad it is and what experience data there is.  I haven't found much on the internet.

Lycoming states that the bayonet kind are better but need to changed over time as they begin to read lower than actual.  So they claim you may actually have higher CHTs than indicated.  A very non-conservative finding.  My experience with thermocouples is that they either work or don't.  The contact resitance only effects the response time of the temperature, but over a steady-state condition this should not matter.  Other problems occur if the wire short at other locations besides the welded end of the two metals.   The actual temperature being measured is not at the location you thought.  I'm not sure what Lycoming is talking about in their article.

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Re: CHTs & EGTs Installation Questions

Hi Barry,

For what it is worth, I think you would do just as well with 4 EGT probes and forget the CHT. The CHT somewhat follows the EGT anyway. I my humble opinion, I would rather know the EGT since that is what is going to affect my exhaust valve life.

I think monitoring all cylinders is a good idea since the hottest one might not always be the one we might think it is.

I am in for annual right now and thinking about putting in a 4 probe EGT if no major issues come up. If I don't I will continue to lean as Rick mentions. Seems to work just fine. I just like to see the numbers!

Vin
C150H

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Re: CHTs & EGTs Installation Questions

Vin,

Thanks for the info.  I think will add 4 EGTs rather than one.  The CHTs aren't that expensive and the EGTs could be used as a cross check.

The EGTs are primarily for fuel management and have some diagnostic ability where the CHTs are for engine status, in my humble opinion (and based on what I've read).  I'm beginning to believe that you just can't trust any one temperature reading and you need to use other information to confirm and make sense out of the readings you are getting.

Barry

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Re: CHTs & EGTs Installation Questions

Vin and others:

There is nothing you can add to any airplane that will save you more money than a multi-probe engine monitor. It can save it's cost ANNUALLY!  Having all CHTs and EGTs is very, very helpful. Now, saving money is nice, but it can save your life as well.  What's that worth? Maybe not all that much; maybe everything... depending on whether it's my opinion or my wife's! <g>

Please allow me to clear up some seeming misconceptions.

< For what it is worth, I think you would do just as well with 4 EGT probes and forget the CHT. The CHT somewhat follows the EGT anyway.>

First, CHT does not follow EGT.  The hottest CHT's are observed at about 40dF ROP.  As you lean from that mixture, the EGTs will continue rising to peak, while the CHTs will begin to fall.

< I my humble opinion, I would rather know the EGT since that is what is going to affect my exhaust valve life. >

Here's a shocker.  EGT is in no way related to exhaust valve life.  While it seems logical that higher EGTs would lead to higher valve temps, that is simply not so.  There are times when a very hot EGT can actually COOL off a hot valve!  Valve temps are much more closely related to CHT, but not exactly. The very hottest valve head temps occur at 25dF ROP. (reference: 1943 NACA study done for the USAAF, 1966 Lycoming data confirming the NACA study) Valve temps are actually cooler at Peak EGT than 50dF ROP.

<I think monitoring all cylinders is a good idea since the hottest one might not always be the one we might think it is. >

That is a very true statement and one of the reasons an engine monitor is useful--on ANY engine.  Any mechanic who recommends against such equipment is completey uniformed about internal combustion and it's monitoring.  A pilot flying without an engine monitor is like the ostrich who is being pursued by the lion. He can outrun the lion, but he first has to get his head out of the sand to be able to see he has a problem.

BTW, the bayonet CHT probes are far supperior.  I recommend the EI, Insight, or JPI units.  Of that group, the JPI is, in my opinon, the better unit.

I flew without an engine monitor for over 20 years. I now consider it a Go-NoGo item.  It has saved my bacon--and a LOT of money.

Walter Atkinson
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Re: CHTs & EGTs Installation Questions

Walter,

I appreciate the information.  You are recommending an engine monitoring system - essentially a computer with data acquisition system.  CHTs, EGTs, fuel flow and more.   I know very little about them, except the cost is prohibitive for me. 

I am installing 4 CHTs and 4 EGTs as a compromise and intend on monitoring them.  I will use the EGTs primarily for fuel management (setting my mixture) and I’ll use the CHTs for engine status.  I will learn what the normal temperature ranges are for my engine and the difference in EGT and CHT for a give cylinder.  When they indicate a significant change I’ll know something’s up.  I’ll have to use my knowledge of engines (as nominal as it is) to assess and make a decisions. 

You have suggested CHT temperature ranges to maintain the engine for long life.  Based on your recommendation I would suggest they are based on using bayonet type probes.  It’s overly simplistic to think there is only one CHT for each cylinder.  The temperature varies based on location around the cylinder.  But how much of a variation have you observed over the area of concern.  What is the order of magnitude?  Would you make other recommendations if one used the washer type probes?

As you know the inside cylinder temperature is different than the temperature at the probes.  The probe temperature is measuring the outside wall temperature which is affected by conduction through the cylinder sleeve and walls (radially and axially) and the local heat transfer coefficients inside and out.  The washer probe temperature is measuring outside wall temperature at the spark plugs but I don’t know where the bayonet probe measures temperature.  It sounds like it is internal to the cylinder wall.  If so I would suspect it would be different from the outside wall temperature and different from the washer probe.  Additionally, with the washer TC, I would think there will be a difference in measured temperatures depending on which spark plug I chose to install it on. Do you have any suggestions?  Do you know of any data comparing the measured temperatures using the different kinds of probes and locations?  Suggestions where I can look for the answer?  It's not on the vendor's site.  I’ll call the vender and see what they say and let you know.

Barry

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Re: CHTs & EGTs Installation Questions

I spoke to Westach today to find out if they have any recommendations as to which spark plug to connect it the probe and if there is any data as to the difference in temperatures from the bayonet style to the washer style probe.

I got no joy on either question.  The only thing they added to my information, which I would like to get confirmed, is that the bayonet style probes are actually is internal to the cylinder.  Therefore the recommended operating temperature range using the bayonet style would be different from that of the washer style probe.

They did not have any data or even thought it reasonable for them to have such data.  Amazing!  The word Yahoo comes to mind.  So I ask again, does anyone have any information on the difference in expected temperatures?  If not I'm going to look into the bayonet kind.  There should be a difference and it should be known, if the engine monitoring equipment uses either type of probe.

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Re: CHTs & EGTs Installation Questions

Barry:

< the cost is prohibitive for me. >

That certainly helps one make up his mind!

< I’ll have to use my knowledge of engines to assess and make a decisions. >

THAT is the key.

<You have suggested CHT temperature ranges to maintain the engine for long life.  Based on your recommendation I would suggest they are based on using bayonet type probes.>

Correct.

<It’s overly simplistic to think there is only one CHT for each cylinder.  The temperature varies based on location around the cylinder.>

Absolutely correct.  Unfortunately Cessna has been one of the companies doing a rather poor job of baffling. The hot-spots can be significant and change from airframe to airframe. The ring probes only make these differences worse.  They are better than no informatin, but are poor, at best.

<As you know the inside cylinder temperature is different than the temperature at the probes. >

It comes as a surprise to most pilots and mechanics to find out that the temerature of the metal is very close to the same across it's thickness.  More like a few degrees than hundreds of degrees. The 3500dF temps of combusiton are not seen by the internal cylinder wall metal because the cylinder wall is protected by the thermal boundary layer.  The actual temp of the bayonet probe where it is measured is a good, reliable, repeatable reading.  Not so with the ring probe under the plug.

<Do you know of any data comparing the measured temperatures using the different kinds of probes and locations?>

Yes, we put a 36 probe engine monitor on an airplane and used it to design baffle fixes.  We were interested in having the same temp around the circumference of the cylinder to achieve roundness.  As far as I know, we are the only folks to ever do that.  It is propriatary data.

Walter Atkinson
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Re: CHTs & EGTs Installation Questions

At least for me, I have learned a great deal regarding CHTs and EGTs and what they actually measure. 

Walter,

Thanks once again for adding more light on the subject. I have been thinking about what Westach told me about where the bayonet probes measure temperature.  You touched upon it without saying it.

Let me respond or actually endorse some of what you said.

< It comes as a surprise to most pilots and mechanics to find out that the temerature of the metal is very close to the same across it's thickness. More like a few degrees than hundreds of degrees. >

I am not that surprised because the conductivity of metal is very high (especially aluminum). Aluminum is ~130 Btu/(hr-Ft-degree F), carbon steel with 1% C is ~26.  Stainless steel is surprisingly low compared to aluminum as shown and is like an insulator.  Aluminum passes almost 5 times the heat (energy) per degree F change as Stainless Steel.

My concern at the time was that I believed the bayonet temperature was measuring cylinder wall temperature and didn’t realize until now that it was measuring some sort of time-averaged combustion gas temperature.

< The 3500dF temps of combusiton are not seen by the internal cylinder wall metal because the cylinder wall is protected by the thermal boundary layer. The actual temp of the bayonet probe where it is measured is a good, reliable, repeatable reading. Not so with the ring probe under the plug.>

I do take some issue with the later part.  Although the wall temperature is always lower than the average film temperature (boundary layer temperature), you are not considering thermal radiation as a very important mechanism of heat transfer to the cylinder walls.  Nevertheless, it is the nature of convective heat transfer that the wall temperature is lower than the gas temperature.

Here’s what I’ve been delighted to learn today.

If the tip of the probe sheath is actually in the combustion chamber above the pistons, then I understand what Lycoming was saying about why the indicated temperatures tend to decrease with age.  The combustion products that deposit on the probe sheath acts as a thermal insulator increasing the resistance to heat transfer to the TC inside the sheath.  The CHT is then a smoothed (time-averaged) temperature of the combustion chamber gases.  It is not the temperature of the cylinder head metal.  (Another “old wives” tale!)  It's thermal inertia is too high to respond to cyclic temperatures in the combustion cylinder.  So the indication is a steady averaged temperature.  So, as the thermal inertia increases the average temperature decrease.  The solution is to periodically remove the bayonet probe and thoroughly clean the sheath.  That should restore the original temperatures you would have seen when the probes are new.

The washer type has a much larger thermal inertia which is supplied by the mass of metal in the cylinder wall.  So it is the average (more or less) of the outside metal temperature of the cylinder.  If this is true then it will respond much slower than the bayonet kind of probe to conditions in the combustion chamber.  So if you are interested in sampling the average combustion temperature inside the cylinder, then that is the probe to use.  It would be more indicative or responsive to changes in mixture control.  So if I had a computer to control the f:a ratio in my engine the gas temperature would be more useful than outside wall temperature!

Based on this discussion I think I’m going to return the washer probes and get the bayonet probe.  It would be more responsive to changes in fuel air mixture.  It tells you much more about the combustion process and less about the actual average temperature cylinder metal.  It only tells you qualitatively what is happening to the average metal temperature.  It also explains why enriching the mixture changes the CHT temperature so much.  I could never understand that until now.  It is not the cylinder metal temperature that is affected so much but the average combustion gas temperature.  I’ll bet with the washer kind you would not see as much of a change in temperature and certainly not as fast.  This sheds some new light on what full rich means to the metal temperature of the engine. (I’m speculating without running the numbers but I would not think it is a significant as stated in many of the posts.)  The reason the EGTs are so high is that it is responding to the pulsating exhaust flow which always consists of hot gas flows; there is no cooling flow from the intake to lower the average. 

It would be interesting in a test application to use two washer probes and one bayonet probe in each cylinder.  We could learn the real response of the metal temperature as it compares to changes in f:a ratios in each cylinder.  This would allow us to understand better where the true limits are.

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Re: CHTs & EGTs Installation Questions

Barry:

I am concerned that there is some misunderstanding here.

The CHT bayonet probe does not go into the combustion chamber.  It rests on the aluminum end plate that is part of the head and it measures the head metal temperature.  It does not measure anything about the combustion temperature.  It does not get dirty and build up an insulating layer of anything on it.  If the probe went into the combustion chamber the engine would not run with the probes not installed.  If you tried to install one directly into the chamber, it would likely be reading combustion gas temperatures of 3500 dF rather than a normal 350-400dF CHT.

The CHT changes slowly with mixture because the rate of burn is changed as the mixture is changed.  This alters the effective timing of when the peak power pulse is realized in the piston cycle and alters the rate of BTU transfer to the head metal by altering the integrity of the boundary layer.

CHT probes are very UNRESPONSIVE to mixture changes since the changes are noticed slowly as the metal heats and cools from these mixture changes.  EGT is very responsive to mixture changes, and the probes do protrude inot the exhaust gas stream. They do not need, nor should they be cleaned.

We have installed SIX CHT probes on each cylinder to measure these differences.  I don't know of anyone else who has done that.
The combusiton gasses are putting heat into the cylinder head during about 135 degrees of 720 degrees of rotation.  The rest of the time, that heat is being shed.

Walter Atkinson
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Re: CHTs & EGTs Installation Questions

Wow, that takes the wind out of my sales! 

I am at a disadvantage here because I am going on what people are telling me. I do not have the design drawings or have taken apart an engine to see the probe configuration.  The representative at the vendor for the ring washer TC told me the bayonet kind is actually inside and sees the flame temperature.  I asked him twice.

However, I was not that impressed with the vendor’s responses to any of my questions, and since you have built up credibility here, I believe you would know the configuration of the probes.  I would think the boss built on the engine would normally be plugged so the engine could operate without the probe installed.  Additionally, even with the configuration you described it needs to be sealed when the probes are not installed to prevent the internal surfaces of the boss from getting fouled.

Based on the conclusions drawn from your proprietary testing indicates that you can have no more certainty of measuring wall temperature with the bayonet probes than the washer probes.  As you noted, peak wall temperature can be anywhere around the cylinder depending on the efficacy of the baffling.

Walter: < If the probe went into the combustion chamber the engine would not run with the probes not installed. If you tried to install one directly into the chamber, it would likely be reading combustion gas temperatures of 3500 dF rather than a normal 350-400dF CHT.> Uh Oh, now I’m starting this quoting from you and responding technique.

I'm considering what you are saying but I am not convinced about your arguments regarding the response of the CHTs due to a boundary layer argument saving the wall temperatures from 3500 degrees F gas temperatures.  The gas temperature in the cylinders is cyclic in nature and varies from low intake temperature to peak flame temperature.  So the thermal inertia of the metal and ever changing convective heat transfer mechanism is resulting in a lower, time averaged metal temperature.  Due to the chaotic nature of the combustion process and transient conditions I can't believe there is enough time to develop any boundary layer. That is speculative on your part. Certainly you have not been able to observe it!

Also you need to address the radiant heat transfer mechanism, which at 3500 degree F gas temperatures, can't be neglected and would not be affected by the boundary layer.  The absorptivity / emmisivity of reheated aluminum is in the 0.1 to 0.2 range, which not insignificant considering the high gas temperature you are quoting.

Walter, I hope I don't sound angry.  I'm not.  I'm just a bit to passionate about this at this point.  I do appreciate your response and am learning all the time.

I'm once again rethinking what the heck I'm going to do.

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Re: CHTs & EGTs Installation Questions

Barry:

This is an interesting and fun discussion.

First of all, the boundary layer is real, does exist, and has been measured.  During normal combustion it remains intact and is critical in insulating the metal from the gas' very high temperature. Radiation heating is so minimal as to be lost in the noise.  During detonation, the boundary layer is disrupted by the mach speed vibrations set up by the detonation events.  This loss of boundary layer results in a very rapid increase in CHTs during detonation and is the explanation for the observation.  This is supportive of the importance of the boundary layer in maintaining CHT's at acceptable levels.

The wall temperature is unimportant in one regard.  ALL of the cylinder wall sees the SAME temperature.  Which areas shed the heat being absorbed depends on head and fin design, baffle configiration and cooling air.  As the piston moves down, the temperature of combustion drops dramatically, very quickly.  That is why the exiting gas (EGT) is so much cooler than it was when it was squeezed up into the combusiton chamber.

The bayonet bosses are not plugged when they are not used.  They are not an issue as the metal at the bottom is thick enough to not be a weak link in the cylinder head.  The tech rep who told you that is misinformed.

You state:  < Due to the chaotic nature of the combustion process and transient conditions I can't believe there is enough time to develop any boundary layer. That is speculative on your part. Certainly you have not been able to observe it!>

The combustion event is anything but chaotic.  It is a very organized and orderly flame front (not unlike a very, very, very fast grass fire moving across the prairie).  It only becomes chaotic in nature during detonation... and chaotic is not how I would describe what has been observed.  Disrupted would be more accurate, I think.  This is not speculative at all.  It has been observed and recorded.  As a matter of fact, we have recorded the vibrations of detonation and can then calculate the temperature of the combustion event with great accuracy based on the speed of sound in the compressed gas environment.

The 3500dF temp of combustion only lasts for about 20-30 degrees of rotation.  This equates to milli-seconds.  The vast majority of the heat tranfered into the cylinder head is transferred in this very short period.  Take away the boundary layer and CHTs can rise as quickly as 1 degree per second... or faster. Decreasing the pressure during this event dramatically affects this heat transfer and thus CHT's.  That is why we spend so much time teaching the pilot how to control internal cylinder pressures with the throttle, prop and mixture controls.

This is tuly a fascinating topic.

Walter Atkinson
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Re: CHTs & EGTs Installation Questions

Walter,

Very interesting perspective.  The chaos I was speaking of includes the designed mixing turbulence in the cylinder, the variations in flame temperatures and front with varing pressure and local f:a ratios (by local I mean point to point).  Sometimes, I think we actually believe too much in what it is we calculate or think we can calculate.  Can you recommend a technical report or text analyzing these aspects?  I ask, not because I disbelieve you, but because I would like to review the analytical methods used.

Otherwise, I'm going to have to dust off the Eckert and Drake and old notes and see what I can use to evaluate some of these concepts.  The radiation component magnitude is easiest to reveiw and compare to convetive heat transfer, but I need to put some numbers to to it. 

Hey, but what does all this have to do with the whether I choose the bayonet or washer type of probe.  First things first!

I'm choosing the bayonet style because the data and recommended temperatures discussed by the "community" at large seem to all based on this CHT location.  It's actual meaning or even appropriateness is getting lost.  The design temperatures/specifications at least in my industry would be based on the values used in the stress calcs and not based on the temperature of the CHT location.

Thanks

Later
Barry

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Re: CHTs & EGTs Installation Questions

< The chaos I was speaking of includes the designed mixing turbulence in the cylinder, the variations in flame temperatures and front with varing pressure and local f:a ratios (by local I mean point to point).>

If that's what you mean by chaos, I'll go with you on everything but the pressure being different form place to place inside the combustion chamber.

Walter

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Re: CHTs & EGTs Installation Questions

Thanks for that very interesting information on CHT vs EGT and exhaust valve temperature. It does appear to differ from the data I had from auto racing engine development.
Looks like there is too much different between the liquid cooled race engines and air cooled aircraft engines. I also doubt our testing was as precise as yours.

Vin

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Re: CHTs & EGTs Installation Questions

Vin:

There are some application differences, but the combustion event is basically the same.  One of the big differnces is that historically, the auto racers considered a mixture ROP, but not adeqautely rich, to be a lean mixture.  That mis-use of the term is changing.

There are some really interesting things going on on the auto side of research as well.

With the advent of cylinder pressure transducers, our understanding of what's really going on has improved dramatically.

Walter Atkinson
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Re: CHTs & EGTs Installation Questions

I have the JPI edm-800 with FF.
This is the second JPI I have owned and reccomend it to everyone. It has saved my bacon more than once. It flashes whever you are out of the safe zone per say.
The FF adaptor is within one tenth of a gallon everytime I refill.
With it tied to my GPS it will tell me how much fuel to the destination and how much in reserve.
You can monitor your CHT and EGT and it has a lean find feature that is great. I have it hooked to OAT, manifold pressure,tach,carb temp,and it calculates Hp as well.
I checked the tack with a meter while I was haveing the prop balanced and the digital was dead on and my facotry tach was off.
The monitor is one of my best tools in the cockpit and I would suggest it to anyone who is thinking of one.
Mine also has the data download to a PDA so my mechanic can see if I have been naughty or nice to my engine.
Merry Christmas to all..
Ki from Fl

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Re: CHTs & EGTs Installation Questions

Rick; who's STC are you using for you 180hp mod?  I have a '56 model and whould like to do the same.  Can you give me some insight on the costs involved?  Did you get a boost in usefull load?

      Dave

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Re: CHTs & EGTs Installation Questions

On small aircooled engines and racecars we use infrared thermeters to check our gauges.  The use a laser and can read the temps all over your cylinders at up to a foot away.  You can find them at www.jegs.com.  I am using one to check out the accuracy of the CHT and EGT right at the sensors as well as looking for hotspots.

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