Citabria Inverted oil system

Thumper

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Phoenix, AZ
Is anyone able to post pictures of a/their 7KCAB with the cowling off and the components of the inverted oil system visible?
 

Thumper

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Phoenix, AZ
I mainly ask because my 1974 Citabria 7KCAB built by Bellanca lacks any type of Christen components nor the inverted oil system pieces as depicted in the manual diagram... I was under the impression that all Bellanca built aircraft ran the Christen system. My plane was being advertised as having inverted fuel and oil when it was purchased. In trying to understand this whole thing I am now aware that there is an older Champion style system but how would I be able to identify if that is what is on my plane instead of nothing at all before I go roll it upside down and damage my engine when I realize there's no oil pressure? It seems weird to me someone would even buy a 7KCAB instead of a different model Citabria in the first place and then bin the system while retaining the inverted fuel tank which I am able to visually confirm it still has. In place of a big old white slobberpot I have a tiny bare metal air oil separator on my firewall which can be seen in my picture.
 

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Bob Turner

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Do you have the maintenance manual? It discusses both types.

The Christen is characterized by a big can on the firewall, and a shuttle valve with three ports, from which your oil pump sucks. I can help a bit with that, but you probably have the other type.

Even with a known good system, glance at the oil pressure when you roll. It will go to zero, then right back up. If it doesn’t, roll right side up. Three seconds without pressure won’t hurt.
 

Thumper

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Sep 10, 2020
Messages
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Location
Phoenix, AZ
Do you have the maintenance manual? It discusses both types.

The Christen is characterized by a big can on the firewall, and a shuttle valve with three ports, from which your oil pump sucks. I can help a bit with that, but you probably have the other type.

Even with a known good system, glance at the oil pressure when you roll. It will go to zero, then right back up. If it doesn’t, roll right side up. Three seconds without pressure won’t hurt.
I'll take a look at the MX manual as I believe I got it with some other documents when purchasing the plane maybe even check the logs too. I am almost certain it lacks the Christen system however because I did not see the distinctive big white can on the firewall on either side nor did I see the three port shuttle valve anywhere when I was poking around with the cowling off.

I am perplexed by it because as far as I can tell, my model year Citabria which is built by Bellanca should have left the factory with the Christen setup already installed seeing how my owners manual shows a diagram for the Christen system with the shuttle valve and large air oil separator can.

So now I am just trying to figure out if somehow I ended up with the old Champion system on my engine or if I have a 7KCAB with inverted fuel but no inverted oil! Knowing it won't instantly cause mayhem is a little bit refreshing though, maybe I'll have to go and test it out that way.
 

Bob Turner

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The airplanes came from the factory with both. Only E2B engines came with Christen (p.7-26) but the Champ system came with E2A and E2B. You need Bellanca Manual #320. 1974 is only the second year for the KCAB (apparently) so yours probably has the pickup in the sump.

I think your aircraft is required to have a functioning inverted oil system to be airworthy. It would take a field approval to remove it.
 

Thumper

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Joined
Sep 10, 2020
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Location
Phoenix, AZ
The airplanes came from the factory with both. Only E2B engines came with Christen (p.7-26) but the Champ system came with E2A and E2B. You need Bellanca Manual #320. 1974 is only the second year for the KCAB (apparently) so yours probably has the pickup in the sump.

I think your aircraft is required to have a functioning inverted oil system to be airworthy. It would take a field approval to remove it.
The airplanes came from the factory with both. Only E2B engines came with Christen (p.7-26) but the Champ system came with E2A and E2B. You need Bellanca Manual #320. 1974 is only the second year for the KCAB (apparently) so yours probably has the pickup in the sump.

I think your aircraft is required to have a functioning inverted oil system to be airworthy. It would take a field approval to remove it.
Hey bob appreciate the help upon looking at the engine logbooks and the service manual it does appear to be an IO-320-E2B and has the trap door type system rather than the Christen. It's weird how this info is not put anywhere in the POH nor can you really find much info on the Champ system on the internet. What I have found is that some people prefer the Champ system versus the Christen one.
 

Bartman

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Hi Thumper,

As I underestand it, the original Champion system uses a scavenge pump to collect oil from the engine when it's inverted and to return it to the oil pump via a small separator tank. The scavenge pump and the tank should be on the upper firewall on the aircraft-left side. A scavenge pump, in case you're not familiar with the term, is a pump that is used to collect fluids that need to be returned to a sump or moved to different area that can't get there themselves. The Christen system uses gravity when it's upright or inverted via a valve that repositions itself as the airplane is maneuvered upright or inverted. Someone will correct me if I'm wrong which is always a possibility!

You're right, there are people in the Citabria/Decathlon community that prefer the Champion system though the factory exclusively now uses the Christen system which is now owned by Lycoming so it's technically the Lycoming system.

Parts 21 and 22 in the diagram.
20210125_093213.jpg20210125_093251.jpg20210125_093318.jpg

Bart
 
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