...Replacement Cranks And Integrity Questioned...

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Now, the legal wranglings have undoubtedly just begun (Lycoming will almost certainly appeal) but the Texas decision raises some practical and potentially disquieting questions about the whole crankshaft issue. These are questions we'd like to pose to Lycoming but we were unable to receive a response before our deadline. According to Interstate lawyer Marty Rose, the forging company's investigation revealed that the design of the crankshafts used in the brawny turbocharged 300-plus-horsepower six-cylinder engines in question was based on 40-year-old designs for four-cylinder engines with much lower horsepower. Rose told AVweb that their investigation revealed that even though the vanadium problem was fixed in replacement cranks installed in 1,400 engines recalled in 2002, the cranks are still under-designed for the stresses created by the big engines. "The [replacement] crankshafts don't have any safety margin," said Rose. "The normal operating stresses are right at the limit." Rose said Lycoming's conduct during the investigation and the trial will be the focus of hearings scheduled over the next couple of weeks. He said evidence heard in the jury's absence raised questions about Lycoming's handling of the crankshaft problem and hearings have been called to examine that evidence separately.