Inspecting Your Aircraft Exhaust Systems

Failures within an exhaust system can lead to serious issues such as poisoning, power loss, and fires. So, it’s extremely important to make sure that all parts in the system are in good condition. Although it’s imperative to get it checked out by a professional periodically, there are a few things you can do to ensure that there are not any immediate issues that need to be addressed. Here are four tips to keep in mind when inspecting your own aircraft exhaust systems.

Tip 1 :

Read through the Manufacturer Service Bulletins and Airworthiness Directives (ADs). These documents will display any common issues that would deem an aircraft not airworthy. The AD notes may also include information on when the manufacturer advises the aircraft exhaust systems to be pulled out.

Tip 2 :

Look at the exhaust system for any leaks, corrosion, pitting, or metal fatigue. If any of these are present, they need to be addressed immediately. The main sign of a leak is staining which could be black, white, red, or yellow. Corrosion can eventually lead to pinholes and thinning. It is important to pay close attention to lower areas of the system, where moisture is most often collected. In addition, the presence of blisters and bulges can indicate metal fatigue as the result of applied heat.

Tip 3:

Check all connections including seals, slip joints, and baffles. You’ll also want to make sure that clamps and gaskets are sealing properly, and that slip joints are actually slipping. Manufacturer instructions should include how to maintain, repair, or replace various connections. Be sure to check that muffler baffles are intact and not distorted, so that initial problems don’t result in obstructing the tailpipe.

Tip 4: 

Do not use lead pencils to mark the exhaust parts during inspection. Because of the combustible properties of graphite, they can lead to cracks that can create more problems if undetected.


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