Helicopter Engine Connecting Rod Failures
In a helicopter engine connecting rod, high-cycle, low-stress fatigue fractures in bolts and arms progressed about 75% across the section before the final rupture. Factors involved were insufficient specified preload, inadequate tightening during assembly, and engine overspeed. The assigned main causes were design deficiency, improper maintenance during overhaul, and abnormal service operation. The problem can be solved by proper overhauling that ensures bolted assemblies are tightened evenly and accurately, in accordance with recommended torque values. Also, the manufacturer made various modifications, such as a thicker rod, fatigue resistant bolts, and more accurate preload measurements. The configuration of these rods were changed to a tongue-and-groove design to increase service life.