7505 Karl May Drive • Waco Regional Airport • P.O. Box 5219 • Waco, TX 76708
Phone: (254) 752-8381 • Fax: (254) 752-3307 • www.ramaircraft.com


The True Story About Nickel Cylinders

Steel Rusts!
Steel corrodes causing cylinder wear and blow-by that results in expensive cylinder changes, damaged cams and lifters, top overhauls, or worse, the loss of an engine.

Nickel Doesn’t Rust!

RAM started using nickel cylinder bores in 1998. During all these years and over 35,200 nickel cylinders later we still have not had even one corrosion or wear-related problem.

You Need Nickel Cylinders!
RAM Nickel Cylinders incorporate the ECi Nickel+Carbide™ process of depositing a layer of Nickel / Silicon carbide onto the bore of a steel barrel. Silicon particles provide a wear-resistant surface, while nickel acts as the matrix to hold these particles in place. Nickel, proven not to corrode in any environment, and silicon carbide, proven tough and resistant to abuses of extreme heat – these elements, paired with plasma-coated rings and mineral-based ashless dispersant oil, make this cylinder far more durable and longer lasting than any other cylinder bore on the market today.

Uniformity of Composition

During the nickel plating process, silicon carbide particles are continuously blended into the electrolyte that is transferring nickel ions to the new steel barrel. As a result of this proprietary blending process, both the nickel and the silicon carbide are applied concurrently, intermixed like the aggregate in concrete. Such consistent mixing of the nickel and silicon carbide ensures a uniform blend across the entire cross section, thus providing an unparalleled level of wear resistance and corrosion protection. Over a TBO period, the bore wear surface remains consistently hard, oil wettable, and durable.

Plateau Bore Finish
The final operation in Nickel+Carbide™ coating process includes a carefully controlled, 2-step honing procedure so that a “plateau finish” is imparted to the bore surface. As the name implies, the finish consists of plateaus and subsurface valleys, which are essential to the ring break-in process, as well as proper lubrication of the ECi plasma-coated compression ring and bore interface system.

Plasma-Coated Top Compression Ring
Plasma faced piston rings are made from cast iron and have a groove on the outside periphery that is filled with a thermal sprayed metal/ceramic material. The sprayed material forms a porous matrix that holds oil and has self-lubricating qualities to minimize barrel wear at the top and bottom of the ring travel. After spraying, the periphery is machined to size with a barrel shape in order for the ring to create a wedge of oil as it rides up and down the cylinder bore. The ring design is an integral part of the excellent wear and oil control system. For the performance required of high BMEP engines, operating at high altitudes with extreme temperature variations, a plasma-coated top compression ring works best. It has a very low tendency to scuff, and at high temps, it forms oxides to create self-lubrication.

Cylinder Identity
The texture (surface finish) of the Nickel+Carbide™ coating is smooth by comparison to a traditional ring finish for steel. Except for loss of cross hatch, there is very little difference in appearance between a fresh RAM Nickel+Carbide™ Cylinder bore and a bore with several hundred hours of operating history. Externally, the area of the cylinder which normally receives a color code to indicate the type of cylinder bore material will be painted with two (2) silver bands.

Cylinder Bore Hardness Comparison
Nickel+Carbide™ is a coating consisting of extremely hard silicon carbide particles in a nickel matrix. The high hardness and oil wettability of the silicon carbide particles effectively prevents wear from occurring throughout the life of the cylinder.

Best Cylinder Warranty in the Industry
RAM Nickel New Cylinder Package cylinder assembly is warranted to be free from defects in material and workmanship (parts and labor) under normal use and service for a period of one year following the date of shipment from RAM. After one year, the warranty is pro-rata to that of the manufacturer’s recommended time between overhaul (TBO) for the engine with a minimum accrual of 40 hours per month. Furthermore RAM warrants each nickel process cylinder bore to remain free of corrosion and wear beyond service limits in normal operating conditions during TBO, or for a period of five (5) years following date of shipment from RAM, whichever occurs first. RAM’s obligation will be to repair cylinders with new limits nickel process bores and issue a new set of rings. This process does not include labor costs.


Oil Recommendations
Mineral Oil and Mineral Based Oils
  • Break-in procedures: RAM uses Mineral Oil
  • Normal operations: RAM uses Mineral Based Ashless Dispersant (AD) oils

Ashless Dispersant (AD) Oil
Ashless dispersant oil could be written as ashless and dispersant oil. There are two distinct features to remember about AD oil. Ashless stems from a requirement to clarify that the oil does not leave behind any ashes, or burning embers as it cleans. Decades ago in aviation history, oils that cleaned involved metallic cleaning particles that left embers. Such glowing metallic embers contributed to pre-ignition. Detergent oils have long since been removed from aviation piston engines. Aviation oils that clean are required to be ashless. When an oil has dispersant qualities, the particles created and removed by cleaning are suspended (dispersed) within the oil. Being dispersed, they are collected better by the oil filter. During the initial engine break-in period, RAM believes that AD cleansing is premature. RAM recommends a non-dispersant mineral oil during the initial twenty-five hour break-in period of an aircraft piston engine, or during a replacement cylinder.

Break-in Oil
The use of break-in oil and performing break-in procedures should be followed whether replacing one cylinder or six. For direct drive engines, Mineral Oil such as SAE 20W-50 Phillips Type-M should be used, and for geared engines, RAM prefers AeroShell Straight Weight Mineral Oil to be used. This procedure should be followed for the first twenty-five hours of operation (and can continue to as much as 100 hours depending on the cylinder bore material used). The oil should be changed as soon as oil consumption stabilizes, but no later than the first twenty-five hours of operation. At that time, oil should be changed to an Ashless Dispersant (AD) Mineral Based Oil.

Single Viscosity - Mineral Based AD Oil
RAM recommends single viscosity mineral based (AD) oils such as: Aeroshell W100 and W100 Plus Antiwear (SAE 50 wt.) when typical ground level engine starting temperatures are not less than 40° F. When operating in colder environments Aeroshell W80 or W80 Plus Antiwear (SAE 40 wt.) and, of course preheating is recommended. RAM service history records indicate that mineral based AD oils perform significantly better than synthetic and semi-synthetic oils.

Multi-Viscosity - Mineral Based AD Oil

Differing operating conditions and / or availability may warrant the use of multi-viscosity oils. Most important to RAM is that the oil be mineral based. RAM recommends a multi-viscosity ashless dispersant mineral based oil such as Phillips 66 X/C 20W-50. RAM service history records indicate that mineral based AD oils perform significantly better than synthetic and semi-synthetic oils.

Preheat is recommended when engine starting temperatures are below 40º F. Preheat equipment can be purchased through numerous aviation supply companies, as well as through RAM's Parts Catalog.

Oil and Filter Change
RAM recommends changing the oil every 25 hours or 4 months whichever occurs first. RAM prefers an oil filter change at each 25 hour oil change interval but certainly you should not exceed 50 hours before changing your oil filter.
Frequent Oil Changes

  • Flush out metal particles: Both Lycoming and Teledyne Continental Motors (CMI) engines include parts that have a proven history of normal wear that deposits normal wear particles of metal into the oil. Oil filters contribute significantly to capturing these wear particles, but not as effectively as frequently changing the oil.
  • Flush out acid contamination: With four-cycle gasoline engines it is an unavoidable fact that acids collect in the oil. Acids are formed when combustion by-products and unburned gasoline leak past (blow-by) the piston rings into the crankcase. Acids are corrosive. They cause rust as well as pitting of lifter faces. Acids are not removed by oil filters or by changing filters. The only way to remove acids is to remove the oil that has become acid contaminated.

Oil Viscosity

  • Points made are well taken on both sides of the issue of whether to use single or multi grade oils. In the final analysis, you know that your aircraft is subjected to extreme temperature variations and starting conditions. Many aircraft fly frequently. Many aircraft don’t fly enough. Successes and lack of successes, suggests there is simply not one viscosity that is always the best for all flight environments. In general RAM sees the following:
  • Multi-Viscosity Mineral Based (AD) oil performs well in high usage airplanes.
  • Single Viscosity Mineral Based (AD) oil performs well in high or low usage airplanes.

Synthetic and Semi-Synthetic Oils vs. Mineral Based Oils

RAM service history records are much less favorable for engines that have a history of being operated on synthetic blends or semi-synthetic oil products. RAM encourages using mineral based (AD) Oils only, single or multi-viscosity as conditions require.


RAM Aircraft, LP • 7505 Karl May Drive • P.O. Box 5219 • Waco, TX 76708
Phone: (254) 752-8381 • Fax: (254) 752-3307 • www.ramaircraft.com