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Old May 04, 2014, 10:25 PM
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United States, GA, Cartersville
Joined Jan 2014
279 Posts
Whoops!
Fuel leak

First off, the receiver and battery were not wrapped in a plastic bag, and the inside of the fuse was not fuel-proofed with epoxy. Yes, I did know better. No, it will not happen again.

The tank in my Big Stik 40 ARF spung a leak yesterday. A small crack somehow formed right below the stopper.The plane uses glow fuel (10% nitro, if that matters.) Everything in the fuselage was soaked, except for the servos and the tail aft portion of the fuse. The receiver was still working, but just to be safe, I removed the tank and all of the radio gear at the field, except the servos. I then wiped down the components and soaked up as much of the fuel as I could with paper towels. I disassembled the receiver to allow it to air dry. As soon as I got home, I cleaned the board in the receiver with contact cleaner, as well as the connectors on the servos and battery. The Receiver still seems to work fine today. At the moment, I am convinced that the radio gear has not been damaged. That's the good news.

The bead news is that the fuse is still soaked with fuel, to an extent. I dried it as best I could with paper towels, and as soon as I got home, I then tipped the plane on its side and aimed a fan inside the fuse for a couple of hours. The balsa inside the fuse is still pink from the fuel, and portions of the balsa (the floor of the fuse, mainly) are a little weak. Of course, the safest thing to do is to order a new fuse kit (and a tail kit, since taking the tail off the old fuse and installing it on the new fuse probably would not work well.) However, this would cost $56 total, plus shipping. Furthermore, Tower Hobbies will not have a fuse in stock until early June.

Does anyone have any ideas as to how I might be able to salvage the fuse? How much damage does fuel contamination do? Any suggestions are welcome.
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Last edited by N410DC; May 04, 2014 at 10:30 PM.
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Old May 05, 2014, 02:51 AM
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Letchworth, Great Britain (UK)
Joined Jul 2004
11,461 Posts
In the past I've liberally sprinkled talcum powder inside a soaked fuselage, and then scraped the sludge out after it's sat for a few days. I don't know if that's better than paper towels.

I don't know if my soaking was as bad as yours but, apart from being difficult to glue to if structural repairs are ever needed, I've never had any other strength/durability problem after drying it out as best I could.
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Old May 05, 2014, 05:11 AM
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Kansas City
Joined Apr 2010
628 Posts
Use K2R spot remover. Spray the insides of the fuse liberally, and wait a few days. I have never used talcum powder before, but I imagine it works, too.
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Old May 05, 2014, 06:23 AM
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USA, OK, Warr Acres
Joined Feb 2004
512 Posts
I've heard that k2r works well but haven't tried it myself. What I have done In the past is to mix up a slurry of baking soda and rubbing alcohol, then smear it liberally on all the soaked areas. The alcohol will soak into any oily areas and the soda will draw the oil out of the wood. It takes a few days, you have to wait for it to dry and may need to repeat, but it has saved me a few airframes from the funeral pire! This is the "slow" way and there are probably faster ways, the k2r might be the ticket, but this is what I know, so now you know as much as I do......for what that's worth
Jim
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Old May 05, 2014, 09:30 AM
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United States, GA, Cartersville
Joined Jan 2014
279 Posts
Thanks for the suggestions. Looks like the consensus is that K2R is the way to go. I'll pick some up today.

Quote:
Originally Posted by abenn View Post
In the past I've liberally sprinkled talcum powder inside a soaked fuselage, and then scraped the sludge out after it's sat for a few days. I don't know if that's better than paper towels.

I don't know if my soaking was as bad as yours but, apart from being difficult to glue to if structural repairs are ever needed, I've never had any other strength/durability problem after drying it out as best I could.
This was my main concern; I did not want the fuel to weaken the fuse to the point when it might break apart in mid air.
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Old May 05, 2014, 09:40 AM
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USA, TX, Grapevine
Joined Dec 2008
12,716 Posts
Usually if the glue joints are good, the oil won't be a problem. But later if you wanted to re-glue a joint then the oil will be a problem. You won't be able to get all of the oil out, but you can get some of it out if not most.
I have used both baking soda and K2R spot remover. You may have to reapply it more than once though.

Oh yeah. The splitting is likely the stopper was over tightended, but sometimes the fuel tanks are defective though. What I do to prevent over tightening the stopper in the fuel tank is to tighten it up some and with the extra lines blocked, I suck some air out of the tank and plug it with my tongue for a minute. If it holds the slight vacuum then it is good to go. If it doesn't, I tighten up the stopper a little more and repeat the process.
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Last edited by earlwb; May 05, 2014 at 09:44 AM. Reason: add more info
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Old May 05, 2014, 10:26 AM
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Florida
Joined Aug 2004
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Kitty Litter will also help soak up any fuel, just fill the fuse with it and let it set a day or two. Follow up with a liberal use of K2R.
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Old May 05, 2014, 02:35 PM
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United States, TX, Leander
Joined Sep 2003
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K2R worked ok for me to get most of it out. If you still have wood you don't trust you can use a heat gun and paper towels. The heat brings the residue to the surface where you can wipe it off. You'll never get it all, but you can clean most of it.
Edwin
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