Troubleshooting high oil temps, fuel bladder replacement and an engine “full of metal”

Written by Steve Ells
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Q: Dear Steve,
I have a 1961 172B and during climbout, the oil temp pegs the gauge. I see no difference in oil pressure, and oil on dipstick shows seven quarts. The service manual states that seven quarts is an acceptable level, although eight quarts is full.
I heated oil in a deep fryer to 180 degrees F and submerged the oil temperature probe in the oil. The needle of the temp gauge went to the middle of the instrument face. When I increase the oil temperature to over 190 degrees F, the needle pegs all the way to the right—beyond the redline. Same as when I was flying.
I have not installed an oil cooler or an extended oil filter. I have, however, plugged most of the open areas in the engine cooling baffling with high-temp caulk. The baffling is all new in 2013.
I just bought this 172 two years ago and I'm learning to fly it. Is my engine in danger? Or is it just an indicator problem?
—Danger Zone

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