Panel continues

July 15, 2020 – Work continues on the panel and avionics.

I started the connection for power to the VPX. This wire will run from the ANL fuse to the power lug on the VPX.

I located and installed the EMS module for engine management. I decided to drill a hole in the sub-panel for a length of conduit so all the EMS wiring can run straight from the firewall back and come in right next to the EMS module.

Here’s the wires coming through the firewall.

I decided to label all the wires in this bundle, so I can just grab the wires I need for a particular component and finish the wiring. I found the pinout and wire list for the engine sensor connector and rang out each wire. This confirms that the pinout is correct, and leaves out the guesswork.

I relocated the manifold pressure sensor from inside the cockpit to the outside, so I don’t have air hoses running through the firewall, only wiring. Then I found the appropriate wires for the sensor, and terminated and installed them.

Time: 9:20

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Started Panel Work!

July 10, 2020 – I finally got the first package from Stein for my panel. I ordered all Dynon parts and got a discount from Stein. To save money right now, I got everything except what physically goes in the panel.

I jumped right in and started to install the VPX-Sport.

They recommend putting it between the firewall and the bulkhead, which I also refer to as the subpanel. I made new attach angles to mount the VPX to two of the ribs. Here’s a shot looking straight up:

After I put paper templates on the subpanel, I realized I would have room for the VPX there as well, and it would be a lot more user-friendly and accessible.

It actually fits perfectly just to the right of center. The VPX comes with two attach angles. I oriented the lower one to where the attach screws (to the subpanel) are behind the VPX.

A friend from my EAA chapter was visiting, so I took advantage of his help and we installed the pitch autopilot servo bracket.

I realized I forgot to order my transponder, so that will be on its way from Stein. I’m actually heading up north next week on my Great Oshkosh Memorial Road Trip, so we’re going to visit Stein and look around. I’m also going to see if I can glean some wisdom about installing all this stuff. This is not my strong point, but I have a renewed energy to finally maybe finish this project!

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June 25, 2020 – I experimented with vinyl.

I’ve been intrigued by the use of vinyl instead of paint on the airplane. I decided to give it a try.

I ordered a 3×5 piece of 3M 2080 Gloss White. I decided to try it on the right elevator.

The first thing I wanted to do is to paint the leading edge row of rivets. This turned out to be a waste of time because you can’t EVEN see these rivets when the elevator is installed.

I cut a piece of vinyl large enough to cover the top of the elevator. It’s all pretty straight-forward, after watching a few dozen You-Tube videos.

Here’s the final product, for now.

Lessons learned:

  • Two people.
  • Cut a much bigger piece of vinyl so you can grab it an maneuver and pull it into position.

There are a couple of hard wrinkles, that will make it necessary to redo this. I kind of wish I’d started with the bottom of the elevator. I did the top because of how I’d wrap the trailing edge.

The other part I have to figure out is how to do tight curves like the tips.

Time: 1:40

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Rudder Lower Fairing

June 25, 2020 – I worked on the lower rudder fairing some more.

The leading edge of this thing has been giving me fits.

Even when I built up the leading edge, by the time I sanded it smooth, the material in front of the rudder horns was paper thin.

So I bent the tabs of the rudder in just a bit to make some room, then I mixed some more resin with flox and caked it inside the fairing at that point. With the fairing in place, it just fills the gap. When it was set up, I removed it all and sanded to smooth it. It fits much better now.

Time to move on. I hate fiberglass.

Time: 4:20

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Drilled Elevator Horns

June 25, 2020 – Well, the third time’s the charm. I drilled the elevator horns and they are actually aligned!

I was able to get a rod end for the elevator pushrod with a 1/4″ bore, so I went with doing 1/4″ holes in the elevator horns. My friend on the airport welded one of the holes closed (again).

Since I wasn’t having as much success with my drill bushings, I found a wire brush that had a hole drilled through the handle. The handle was exactly 1″ wide, which is the space between the horns, and the handle fit in between very snugly. So I pressed a .248″ bushing into the handle and cut the head off.

I nested a smaller drill bushing in that to get the hole started, then I ran a .248″ reamer through there.


Time: 2:00

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Installed Engine Sensors

June 25, 2020 – I also installed the fuel and oil pressure sensors.

Dynon released a service bulletin for their Kavlico sensors. I called them since my sensors were still brand-new and in the packages. Since I’ve had them for more than a year, they really couldn’t help me. They also said, however, that the Service Bulletin was released with an abundance of caution, and that I could install mine and just keep an eye on them. That seemed reasonable to me.

Time: :20

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Installed Plug Wires

June 25, 2020 – I ran the plug wires on the engine.

I don’t have the plugs in yet, so I’ll probably have to adjust the wires a bit to clean this all up. For the lower wires I used clamps on the lower screws of the valve covers. I used a couple of automotive wire looms to keep wires straight behind the engine.

The upper wires need to be secured. On the right side the wires will run straight to the plugs from the baffle fairlead. On the left side I added clamps to the existing clamps for the fuel lines where they are secured to the pushrod tubes. I made spacers to separate the clamps.

Time: 2:00

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Finished Cowl Foil

June 25, 2020- I finished installing the foil in the lower cowl.

I got a roll of foil from Van’s, but for some reason I didn’t order quite enough. OK, it was enough to cover the fiberfrax I got from Spruce. I wished I’d gotten a little bit more of that as well. But it’s in the important area. I ordered a different foil from Summit Racing to finish the rest of the cowl.

So I laid down the fiberfrax, and put the foil over it. The hard part of this was getting the fiberfrax to lay down tightly around curves while I installed the self-adhesive foil. There are a few air gaps, but that should be OK.

The foil I got from Summit was different from the Van’s material, but it should be fine. Here’s the whole cowl covered:

I edge sealed the foil with resin.

Time: 1:30

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Made New Starter Cable

May 29, 2020 – I didn’t like how my starter cable was routed, so I made a new one.

Here’s how I originally had it. Kind of hard to see but you are looking for the thick white cable with the red heat-shrink end on it.

The cable ran under the starter, with a lot of potential for rubbing.

I ran the new cable straight back behind the starter, then across to the right side. The cable I made could have been maybe and inch or so shorter, but I can live with the gentle bend it has now.

The pictures show the routing from the starter back around to the start contactor. None of the clamps are tight. They will be tightened later on.

I made a stainless steel bracket for the clamp in the third picture. This is front and center on the sump.

Time: 3:20

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Continued Prop and Spinner

May 29, 2020 – I addressed the issues surrounding the prop installation.

There were gaps between the spinner inner surfaces and the spinner back and front plates. This would show itself when I tightened the screws and the spinner would press in. This would cause cracking paint at the very least.

The drawings say to build up fiberglass at the mating surfaces inside the spinner. So I taped off the surfaces so I could get the spinner back off afterwards.

I slathered a resin mixture with flox inside the spinner cone at those locations and installed the spinner, tightening the screws to the point where they were tight but not pressing in.

After it was cured, I had some fun getting the spinner off, but it did come off. I sanded as much excess material out of there as I dared. It’s kind of ugly inside, but it worked. The gaps are filled.

After that, we pulled the prop back off so I could address the issues I found when we first installed the prop.

The ramp for the baffle on the right side was hitting the flywheel. I removed about 1/2″ from that leading edge.

I also turned the main alternator bolt around so the nut faces forward. I found out that with the bolt head facing forward, it couldn’t be pulled out all the way if I had to replace the alternator.

We reinstalled the prop.

I bought the Anti-Splat prop wrench to torque the prop.

After I torqued it all I safetied the prop. I used little pieces of nylon tubing to protect the parts of the flange where the safety wire would cross over.

Time: 5:20

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Elevators and Rudder continued…

May 29, 2020 – A simple plan has turned into trouble for me.


I installed the elevators and got ready to drill the control horns.

I clamped the tips in place and in line with the stabilizers.

The left horn is farther aft, so I piloted a hole in that one per the drawings.

I was happily drilling away using drill bushings and reamers. Didn’t pay attention that the hole is supposed to be 3/16″. I made nice 1/4″ holes.

The problem is that the elevators didn’t line up afterwards.

OK. So I took them back off and a friend at the airport welded the holes closed.

I cleaned them up and hung the elevators to do it again.

I’m a moron. I finished the holes with a reamer that is the equivalent of a #9 drill. Now the holes are sloppy, and still not perfectly lined up…

Time to walk away and do other things. I did order the same rod end that goes on the elevator control rod, but with a 1/4″ bore on it. If I can get these straight, I’ll use a -4 bolt instead.


I got a new internal rudder stop from Flyboys, since I over-adjusted the last one. This one came out much better.

Time: 7:35

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