CAF Rocky Mountain Wing’s TBM Avenger Regains Her Engine

The CAF Rocky Mountain Wing has successfully re-attached their freshly overhauled R-2600 engine to their TBM-3E Avenger. (image via CAF Rocky Mountain Wing)

The Commemorative Air Force’s Rocky Mountain Wing has good news to report regarding their TBM-3E Avenger (Bu.53503) which has just regained her fully-rebuilt R-2600 engine. A year ago, the aircraft’s maintenance crew discovered that the engine was ‘making metal’, with an internal bearing starting to fail, necessitating an expensive engine overhaul to remedy the problem. But after some significant fundraising, more of which is still needed, the Rocky Mountain Wing was able to have the engine repairs completed, as described by the CAF unit’s leader, Fred Suevel, in a recent e-mail with your editor…

“The engine was returned from Anderson Aeromotive in Idaho in the first week of Jan. 2021. We unloaded it from their shipping cradle and moved it onto our stand. The stand uses the same mounting ring as found on the plane. Once on the stand, we started putting on a few of the accessories which mount on the back end of the engine, ie. the generator, the oil pump, the tachometer, the hydraulic pump and the vacuum pump. It was much easier to do this on the ground than hanging over the side of the plane from a stand. On Saturday, Feb. 13, using a travel lift donated by Weststar (local FBO),  we unmounted the engine from our ground stand and lifted it to the plane where it was remounted onto the engine mounting ring. This took about an hour.

Over the past week we’ve connected all the lines on the lower part of the accessory bay to the engine. This Wednesday we’ll install the big carburetor onto the engine, make all the final fuel line connections and connect the control lines for the carburetor.  We’ll also reconnect the propellor pitch control line. That will finish up the engine install.
Anderson Aeromotive also has our oil cooler. They will flush it out, clean it and ship it back to us this week. Once back, it will also be put back on the plane.
Our propellor left this morning for Colorado Springs where Westpac will open it up and inspect it. There is a 60 month AD on all these big propellers and ours is due in March. When it comes back we’ll reinstall it and finally get a chance to fire up the ‘new’ engine.”
Preparing the propeller for shipment to Westpac Restorations in Colorado Springs, Colorado to have its AD attended to. (image via CAF Rocky Mountain Wing)

Many thanks to Fred Suevel and Kevin McNulty at the CAF Rocky Mountain Wing for providing the details for this article. For anyone wishing to help contribute to the upkeep of their magnificent TBM, please do click HERE.

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