For those that made it to the EAA 2011 Airventure event and made it out to the Ultralight Field, you probably got a first hand look at the Pink Single Place-High Performance HoneyBee G2 flying! With 90 HP and over 400 lbs of thrust it is a great flying machine. This aircraft flew flawlessly for the entire show and was an absolute joy to watch and fly. When the show was all wrapped up, we packed up the aircraft and headed for Mentone. The aircraft was ready for some maintenance and I knew that when we got to Mentone, I was going to be flying it back to Michigan. It was due for an engine and gear box oil change; this was a good time to do it.
Once it was unloaded and fueled up at Mentone, I took off with about 30 minutes to spare for daylight in Hastings. Off I went into perfect weather on a simple 1 hour and 55 minute trip home. Fifteen minutes into the flight is when the trouble began..... On one of my routine scans of the panel I noticed that the Coolant Temperature was in the yellow at 215 degrees. That was odd, it had never done this before. I looked down again a moment later and it was back in the green at 205 degrees running cool....for awhile. There were no noticeable issues with the engine most of the time but it would spike just enough to let you know that something was going on and maybe wrong. The tell tale signs did not seem to be a problem; just the gauge. Well, the engine ran fine all the way back to Hastings in spite of the gauge telling me that the engine was running very hot for seconds at a time. When I landed, there was no coolant missing, it had not filled the overflow tank and everything seemed just fine or so it seemed.
To make this a short not long story, please understand that it would take me pages to tell you the full story of what we have learned since that return trip. The short story is that the Enigma/ARDAC/MFD just flat out malfunctioned....in a big way. This failure caused us to look at the pump, the sensors, the head, the radiators, etc. When we finally got to the bottom of the issue we learned so much by just going back to a simple, non-electric analogue coolant temperature gauge. What a great and simple fix it was....though frustrating to say the least.
Guess what? Since we have gone this direction, the Suzuki never has "run hot" since; it runs at 175 - 185 degrees, hour after hour after hour. What a great engine. I am real convinced that some additional changes are being made to our panels. I think you will love what you see!
There is so much to learn!