Miscellaneous Trouble Areas
Helicopter rotor heads and gearboxes, in addition to being constantly exposed to the elements, contain bare steel surfaces, many external working parts, and dissimilar metal contacts. Inspect these areas frequently for evidence of corrosion. The proper maintenance, lubrication, and the use of preservative coatings can prevent corrosion in these areas.
All control cables, whether plain carbon steel or corrosion resistant steel, should be inspected to determine their condition at each inspection period. In this process, inspect cables for corrosion by random cleaning of short sections with solvent soaked cloths. If external corrosion is evident, relieve tension and check the cable for internal corrosion. Replace cables that have internal corrosion. Remove light external corrosion with a nonwoven abrasive pad lightly soaked in oil or, alternatively, a steel wire brush. When corrosion products have been removed, recoat the cable with preservative.
In general, any complete corrosion treatment involves the following: (1) cleaning and stripping of the corroded area, (2) removing as much of the corrosion products as practicable, (3) neutralizing any residual materials remaining in pits and crevices, (4) restoring protective surface films, and (5) applying temporary or permanent coatings or paint finishes.
The following paragraphs deal with the correction of corrosive attack on aircraft surface and components where deterioration has not progressed to the point requiring rework or structural repair of the part involved.
Surface Cleaning and Paint Removal
The removal of corrosion necessarily includes removal of surface finishes covering the attacked or suspected area. To assure maximum efficiency of the stripping compound, the area must be cleaned of grease, oil, dirt, or preservatives. This preliminary cleaning operation is also an aid in determining the extent of the spread of the corrosion, since the stripping operation will be held to the minimum consistent with full exposure of the corrosion damage. Extensive corrosion spread on any panel should be corrected by fully treating the entire section.
The selection of the type of materials to be used in cleaning will depend on the nature of the matter to be removed. Modern environmental standards encourage the use of water-based, non-toxic cleaning compounds whenever possible. In some locations, local or state laws may require the use of such products, and prohibit the use of solvents that contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Where permitted, dry cleaning solvent (P-D-680) may be used for removing oil, grease, or soft preservative compounds. For heavy-duty removal of thick or dried preservatives, other compounds of the solvent emulsion type are available.
The use of a general purpose, water rinsable stripper can be used for most applications. There are other methods for paint removal that have minimal impact upon the aircraft structure, and are considered “environmentally friendly."
Wherever practicable, chemical paint removal from any large area should be accomplished outside (in open air) and preferably in shaded areas. If inside removal is necessary, adequate ventilation must be assured. Synthetic rubber surfaces, including aircraft tires, fabric, and acrylics, must be thoroughly protected against possible contact with paint remover. Care must be exercised in using paint remover. Care must also be exercised in using paint remover around gas or watertight seam sealants, since the stripper will tend to soften and destroy the integrity of these sealants.
Mask off any opening that would permit the stripping compound to get into aircraft interiors or critical cavities. Paint stripper is toxic and contains ingredients harmful to both skin and eyes. Therefore, wear rubber gloves, aprons of acid repellent material, and goggletype eyeglasses. The following is a general stripping procedure:
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