Stephen R. Smith's Blog (34)

Jabiru 3300 engine overhaul part II

I will start this blog entry by revealing the ending. My Zodiac XL is happily flying again powered by its smooth-running powerful Jabiru 3300 engine. Saturday I flew 126 miles with the overhauled engine.

Now back to the beginning…

My Jabiru 3300 engine is serial number 1,256. It is about three years old and has 600 hours on it. Since it was manufactured several improvements have been introduced by Jabiru to address high oil temperatures in the cylinders. They… Continue

Added by Stephen R. Smith on October 11, 2009 at 4:18pm — 30 Comments

My Jabiru 3300 is undergoing a major overhaul

At 600 hours I am replacing all 6 pistons, cylinders and rod bearings. The heads are being overhauled.

My engine is almost 3 years old and has been flying for 26 months. It is serial number 33A 1256.

A few months ago I replaced a burned valve. Recently oil consumption has been going way up. Last Saturday the engine used 2 quarts in 5 hours. It was time to find out why.

When I did my annual a few months ago I performed a leak down compression check. All cylinders… Continue

Added by Stephen R. Smith on September 10, 2009 at 12:58am — 9 Comments

Jabiru 3300, Bing carburetor and air intake system on in the Zodiac XL

Having flown my Zodiac XL about 600 hours with my Jabiru 3300 and Bing carburetor I must say it has had it good points and bad.

The short story is that initially the performance I got was quite poor. With some minor changes, performance improved to the point where it seemed acceptable. However problems remain which are perhaps serious.

Now the longer story...

First, in defense of Jabiru and the Bing I will say that the firewall forward kit I got with the engine… Continue

Added by Stephen R. Smith on August 30, 2009 at 1:33pm — 17 Comments

600 hours and counting

Today I added 3.7 hours to the log book which brings the plane up to 600 hours. Today's flight was a lazy sightseeing flight with an average speed of 87 MPH.

I spent a little time seeing how low I could get my fuel burn and maintain altitude. Around 2.8 GPH is as low as I can get it without sliding out of the sky.

When I got home I upload my GPS track like I always do to review my flight. This one looks like I perhaps I had a bit too "much to drink" with all the S-turns. I… Continue

Added by Stephen R. Smith on August 21, 2009 at 1:07am — 4 Comments

Another 13.8 Hours And 1,254 Miles For The Log Book

Last Saturday morning about 11am my trusty Zodiac XL carried me away from my home base at Santa Rosa California (STS) looking for adventure. After stopping in Cloverdale (O60) for a load for fuel it took me out to the coast hoping for cooler air. She headed north along the Pacific Ocean past Shelter… Continue

Added by Stephen R. Smith on July 2, 2009 at 11:48am — 5 Comments

Jabiru is getting tired

My Jabiru 3300 has about 540 hours on it. Its second annual inspection revealed very low compression on the number 5 cylinder. The exhaust valve was burned. The valve seat was OK. The new valve cost about $50 with gaskets and o-rings. All parts were in stock at Jabiru Pacific. Jim over-nighted the parts to me. The repair was easy and the plane is back in the air. Today it flew 635 miles and runs well again.

One worry; the engine has slowly been increasing its oil consumption. It… Continue

Added by Stephen R. Smith on June 1, 2009 at 12:19am — 6 Comments

From California to Sun-N-Fun 2009 and a few other places along the way

On April 18th my brother David and I left Santa Rosa California heading east over the snow covered Sierra Nevada mountains on an adventure of a lifetime. We left with great confidence in my sturdy Zodiac XL. After all, last year it had safely taken me and my brother Alan to Oshkosh, why would it behave differently on this trip?

In thirteen days we flew 8,490 miles in 75 hours. Average speed was 113 MPH. Along the way we took over… Continue

Added by Stephen R. Smith on May 5, 2009 at 10:00am — 7 Comments

A quick trip to Washington and back (Another 1,330 miles for the log book)

On Friday I flew 664 statute miles from Santa Rosa, CA to Shelton, WA to visit my brother Alan and his wife Nathalie who have a Zodiac XL which is a twin of mine. The flight north was one of the more challenging I have experienced. In Northern California I got to choose… Continue

Added by Stephen R. Smith on April 6, 2009 at 11:25am — 3 Comments

What is your experience using automotive gas in airplanes?

I fly a 601XL with a Jabiru 3300 engine. The other day I ran into an old-time pilot who has been using automotive gas in his airplane for many years. He reports no problems, in fact he had only good things to say – like longer engine life since he switched. Jabiru does permit the use of premium auto gas in the 3300. I am contemplating the switch for the following reasons:

1) Longer sparkplug life. I have gotten 170 hours out of my last two sets of spark plugs which is hours 70 more… Continue

Added by Stephen R. Smith on April 1, 2009 at 9:57am — 17 Comments

Another 1,288 statue miles added to the log book

My mother turned 91 last week which provided the excuse to fly to Southern California and back.

The trip down on 3-7-9 was 444 miles non-stop which I flew in a beeline on auto pilot at 9,500 feet because there was a nice tail wind up there. My average speed was 126 statue miles per hour and the plane got a solid 33 miles per gallon. Try to beat that performance in a car! Flights like this provide lots of looking-out-the-window time and you can literally see half of the state’s width… Continue

Added by Stephen R. Smith on March 18, 2009 at 10:00am — 3 Comments

Flying with a tablet PC

A few people have asked about the tablet PC in my plane. Here is some information.

My brother and I each have 601XLs. We also have worked with computer software for many years. I have been programming computers since 1974 and my brother manages a team of software developers. When we built our planes we agreed that we wanted to computerize them.

Anyone who has worked with a computer knows how… Continue

Added by Stephen R. Smith on March 1, 2009 at 12:30pm — 7 Comments

02-21-2009 Today's Adventure


With just over 400 hours on my plane, today it was time for yet another oil change. While I was at it I installed an oil drain valve on my Jabiru 3300 engine. In the future this will allow me to change the oil without removing the bottom cowling.

After the oil change I went for a 130 mile flight. There was an overcast at 3,000 today so this was a low and slow flight over the coastal mountains and out over the… Continue

Added by Stephen R. Smith on February 21, 2009 at 11:30pm — 4 Comments

Keeping the oil cool in your Jabiru 3300

Last summer on the way to OSH my brother Alan and I stopped in Mountain Home Idaho to have lunch with two other 601XL builders Jake, and Mack . After lunch we fueled up and took off. It was 108 degrees. Within a few minutes an alarm went off on my Dynon D180. Oil temp was 240 and climbing - not good.

This had… Continue

Added by Stephen R. Smith on February 21, 2009 at 10:21pm — No Comments

02-14-2009 Today's Adventure

Today I flew 310 miles under cloudy skies, and occasionally in Marginal VFR conditions. It rained lightly off an on with winds gusting up to 18 knots. I was able to dodge the bad stuff. It was a lovely experience with lots of low altitude flying. For the most part I had the skies to myself.

Before I fly in wet conditions I clean the canopy and treat it with Plexus. It helps the water bead up and stream off which improves… Continue

Added by Stephen R. Smith on February 15, 2009 at 12:00am — 2 Comments

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