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Old 09-17-2007, 09:46 AM
N941WR's Avatar
N941WR N941WR is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: SC
Posts: 12,882
Default Andair sighting

I don't know if any of you realize this or not but the Andiar valve us used in the Symphony 160.

I'm not sure you would ever see that boiler valve included in our kits in a certified airplane.
Bill R.
RV-9 (Yes, it's a dragon tail)
O-360 w/ dual P-mags
Build the plane you want, not the plane others want you to build!
SC86 - Easley, SC
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Old 09-17-2007, 10:25 AM
Bill Phillips Bill Phillips is offline
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Forsyth, GA
Posts: 219

What valve and part number has been the one most used to replace the Van valve? I am building an 8a and right at installing the valve in the fuselage.
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Old 09-17-2007, 11:07 AM
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Bubblehead Bubblehead is offline
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Keller, TX
Posts: 1,553

Fuel valves have troubled me for a long time. I used to fly a V-35 Bonanza with the fuel selector under my left knee. It was hard to tell if it was in the proper position and impossible to visually check. It had about the same feel as the stock Vans brass valve. Once, about 10 minutes after switching tanks at altitude, the engine started loosing power. I switched tanks and put the boost pump on and the engine picked right up again. When I switched to the different tank I realized I had not gotten the valve in the correct position and had starved the engine.

I bought an RV-8 two weeks ago, and this fall will convert it to Andair. I don't want to worry about the fuel valve sticking or being out of place. You might not even know it until you added full power for a go around! If you want further proof of caution with fuel valves, read the accident report on John Denver's Long-EZ fatal crash. There were many contributory factors but a sticking fuel valve was one.

The newer Vans valve may be fine too.
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Old 09-17-2007, 12:46 PM
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Barry Barry is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 112
Smile Fuel Valve

The fuel valve Vans sells is quite a simple and robust piece of hardware and is probably as reliable as the Andair one. I took my old one apart last night before replying early on in this thread. There is a mechanical click on each of the four positions so one can feel when it is positioned correctly. Also in the RV6 it is easy to see which position has been selected. Sure the Andair one which is used in certified aircraft such as the Cirrus looks a nice piece of engineering as it is anodized and has each fuel position marked on the outside. Whether the Andair is more reliable in other words less likely to break I am not sure however it costs about 7 times more than the Vans standard fuel valve.

The only issue I had with the Vans valve was a very slight leak when I changed tanks on the start of a decent before landing. As I was at say 160 Kts IAS the airspeed was pressurizing the fuel tanks a maximum. As the fuel leaver was moved from one tank to the other a very slight hardly visible spot of fuel leaked out of where the spindle enters the valve. This ever so small drop of fuel could be smelt in the cabin and often caused my wife to suggest something was amiss. Not wanting to change my seat covers and trousers for the inflammable kind due to the possible risk of fire I replaced the fuel valve!!

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Old 09-18-2007, 06:28 AM
Captain Avgas Captain Avgas is offline
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 2,031

Originally Posted by Barry View Post
The fuel valve Vans sells is quite a simple and robust piece of hardware and is probably as reliable as the Andair one.
I honestly doubt that is true. To date I have never heard of ONE case of a failure, or fuel leak, or other malfunction of an Andair unit.....but numerous reports of the Vans unit malfunctioning are a matter of record.

When I got my Vans selector with the kit I just tossed it in the back of a drawer and ordered an Andair unit immediately. There's absolutely NO comparison in terms of quality between the units. The Vans unit looks like a tap out of a 19th century bath house.

There's just some items on a plane that are not worth penny pinching on...and a fuel selector is one of them.
You’re only as good as your last landing
Bob Barrow
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Old 09-18-2007, 07:56 AM
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robertahegy robertahegy is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: East Troy, WI
Posts: 2,011

My Van's fuel valve has been working just fine for over 3.5 years of flying. Sure, the Andair is a very nice valve and I might use it as a replacement, if I ever need to.

Roberta Hegy
Built/Flew an RV-7A
Air Troy Estates, East Troy, WI
Ford Expedition and TRICE "Q"
Built Glen L "ZIP" Classic Outboard Runabout and Super Spartan Hydroplane
Glen L Torpedo
Porsche Boxster 718
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Old 09-18-2007, 11:06 PM
N79PT N79PT is offline
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 81

I went through the entire fuel system today with the exception of pulling the inboard tank inspection covers. Everything operates as it should, with and without the engine running. The fuel tank valve was dissembled and every component looked good with everything in it's proper place and doing what it's supposed to do. The problem could not be duplicated in any way.

The only thing I can attribute the the string of symptoms I observed and the conclusion I made is "operator error." Perhaps this was a case of serious vapor lock that I didn't recognize? I am certainly familiar with the sea-level characteristics of this engine (I've got the Ellison TBI) but not at a density altitude of about 8000 ft.

I apologize for jumping the gun without all the facts. I had concerns that something seriously bad could happen to someone if I didn't alert the group right away.

Greg Grigson
Yellow Peril / RV-6A SOLD
Albuquerque, New Mexico
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Old 09-18-2007, 11:25 PM
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Paul Eastham Paul Eastham is offline
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 516

Didn't you say that one of your detents was no longer clicking? Did that go away?
Paul Eastham - Mountain View CA
RV-9A standard build, flying! ~550 hrs
EAA Chapter 338 San Jose
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Old 09-19-2007, 12:10 AM
DickDe DickDe is offline
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 205

I'm not sure you would ever see that boiler valve included in our kits in a certified airplane.[/quote]

Actually the Imperial Eastman brass on brass valve was used in most all the old 65 hp two place aircraft of the 1940's, through the 1970's including Luscombe, Ercoupe (I think) and the 170/172 Cessna's, probably all the Cessna 100 series.

Cessna just installed it below the floor with the handle removed, added an extension shaft to the remaining stub shaft and a new Cessna designed handle in the cockpit. The valve body including the detent is the same. My 1949 Cessna 170A has 4000 hours on one with only repacking with fresh fuel lub. when it feels stiff. My RV6 has 200 hours on one and it works fine with no trouble determining if the handle is correctly positioned. I have 1600 hours in aircraft with the Imperial Eastman valve either plainly displayed as Van's recommends or disguised a'la Cessna.

The Andair is a nice valve and one should buy it if it makes you feel better but the stock valve is a proven, functional, economical valve that has stood the test of time. Actually, the Imperial valve has been very adequate except for recently when suddenly all these problems started to arise which I feel are largely a perception of a problem rather than a real deficiency. Just my 2 Cents.

Dick DeCramer
Northfield, Mn
N500DD RV6
RV8 fuel Tanks
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Old 09-19-2007, 11:05 AM
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Mike S Mike S is offline
Senior Curmudgeon
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Dayton Airpark, NV A34
Posts: 16,543

My Stinson had the same--or very similar-- brass/brass valve. It was still working just fine after 59 years when I sold the plane.

But, remember as in most mechanical devices, there is periodic maintenance needed. Disassembly, cleaning and re lubricating with the correct fuel proof lube, will keep these units going for a long time.

If it is leaking, or hard to turn, that is a red flag that you need to do some basic maintenance work.
Mike Starkey
VAF 909

Rv-10, N210LM.

Flying as of 12/4/2010

Phase 1 done, 2/4/2011

Sold after 240+ wonderful hours of flight.

"Flying the airplane is more important than radioing your plight to a person on the ground incapable of understanding or doing anything about it."
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