Originally Posted by TmMorris
I think this is becoming one of my most common phrases on this forum
Compression test the cylinders.
Your basic servicing should all be up to date and you could spend a lot of time checking the various systems etc but if you were going to go that far you'd probably be sensible to pay a proper surveyor to run through the whole rig.
What a compression test will do is assure you that the engine hasn't been fubarred. You can fix cooling, fuelling, electrics at home but if you don't have uniform and strong compression across the cylinders then there is a serious issue. At the same time you can look at the plugs and check all are uniform and with the right type of muck on them.
Amen to that one
Start and run the engine cold and re-start from warm, water flow, ease of start, throttle response, leaks, function of charging system, warning lights, instruments etc. check all frictions, tilts, controls, prop damage, evidence of crappy repiars previously (Welding, mild steel bolts etc. Dependant on the engine and it's value, a professional survey could be money very well spent.