More Cockpit Work

March 12, 2020 – I installed a couple of items on or near the firewall.

I installed the manifold pressure sensor in the cockpit. Tried to find an out of the way corner. I’ll probably move it to the forward side of the bulkhead, so the hose doesn’t have to bend back to where it attaches.

I also attached a ground bus. This will provide my engine ground and connect it to other grounds in the cockpit.

Time: 1:45

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Tail Fairings

March 12, 2020 – I started working on the fairings for the tail surfaces.

The fairing for the top of the rudder is probably the easiest fiberglass piece on the airplane. I just had to cut the fairing to clear the wedge in the trailing edge of the rudder. The rest was easy.

I then hung the rudder to check the clearance and position of the vertical stab top fairing.

Here’s the fairing in position.

Once I got the pilot holes drilled, I removed the fairing and glassed in a plug to close the backside.

I moved on to the elevator tip fairings. More or less the same as the rudder fairing. I cut slots for the lead counterweights, and fit and drilled the fairings.

Time: 6:00

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Continued Work on Rudder Lower Fairing

March 6, 2020 – I continued the lower fairing on the rudder to prepare for the installation of the tail light.

I drilled the new screw holes to mount the fairing. The holes you see in this picture are the old ones, and they are filled with resin, so no worries about edge distance.

I installed the nutplates in the rudder.

I installed the chassis ground for the light. Not a lot of room in there. Hopefully this will be adequate. I removed one of the pop rivets and put a screw in its place, with a terminal on the inside.

Here’s a test fit of the light.

Time: 7:05

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More Work Firewall Forward

March 6, 2020 – I continued to whittle away at the little chores that need to be done forward of the firewall.

I don’t have a picture, but I connected the vacuum hoses to the P-Mags. I’m still not sure how my final manifold pressure installation will look.

I continued to clamp lines and hoses.

I bought a dust cover for the engine tach drive.

I also drilled a hole in the lower cowl for the fuel drain line. Here’s the location mark for the hole.

Time: 1:45

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Continued Cockpit Fuel Lines

February 6, 2020 – At last! A small victory! I have successfully made and fitted two of the fuel lines in the cockpit from the fuel selector to the wings.

A 4-foot length of 3/8 tubing has been whittled down to about 1 foot before I got the hang of this.

I learned that I needed to flare the outboard end of the line IN the airplane.

I made the right side inboard line in an alarmingly short period of time, and it was harder because it has to work around the plumbing for the pump and filter.

I removed the outer kickplate brackets that the outboard tubes will go through. I added holes to each one that would line up with the travel of the fuel tubes.

Time: 3:35

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Continued Lower Rudder Fairing

February 6, 2020 – I stated on my previous post about the fairing that I had a couple of issues with its fit.

  • The light contour and the attach plate are bigger than the molded area the light attaches to. I’ll just build that area up to make a smooth transition.

  • I figured out that the fairing is now not vertically aligned with the rudder. I sighted up along the rudder trailing edge, and the fairing doglegs off to one side. Hopefully cutting the offending side at the screw holes will bring it back into alignment…

First, the misalignment.

Here’s a picture, best I could get, of the misalignment:

It’s kind of hard to tell, but it’s there. I cut a bit of material off the top on the right side, to hopefully pull the fairing towards the centerline when screws are installed. I filled the existing pilot holes for the screws, and I’ll redrill new holes when everything else is set.

Then I started working on fairing the light a bit better. I mixed a batch of resin and flox, and slathered it around the base plate for the light, as well as gluing the plate to the fairing. After it cured, the first sanding went pretty well. I just have to do the usual fill and sand…fill and sand… I also installed four pop rivets in the base plate to help to mechanically secure it.

Time: 3:15

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Continued various Firewall Forward items

February 2, 2020 – I continued work on securing firewall forward items.

I ran the line for the mechanical fuel pump drain. This will vent through the lower cowl, a short distance from the exhaust.

I secured the Red Cube.

I installed the sniffle valve. Not sure how this is going to work out, though, because of its proximity to the exhaust.

A friend came by and helped me secure the clamp for the oil breather tube.

We also pulled the manifold off the firewall so I could replace a 45-degree fitting with a straight one. Maybe sometime I’ll get smart and put nutplates on this…

Time: 2:00

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Moved Throttle Cable

February 2, 2020 – I moved the throttle cable at the firewall so it will come through the cabin heat box at a better location.

I loosened the eyeball in the firewall and turned the cable straighter. The first picture shows the upward orientation of the cable. The second shows how the cable will enter the cockpit through the access panel in the heat box. I’ll put a grommet in that panel later.

Time: 1:10

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Started Rudder Lower Fairing

February 2, 2020 – I started the lower fairing for the rudder that will also hold the tail strobe.

The fairing that comes from Vans was two pieces that they put together. They provide scribe lines on the part that are suggested cut lines. I know from experience that these lines are just guidelines, and that you should do your own fitting.

The first consideration is that the fairing needs to clear the tailwheel spring. I cut about 3/8″ off the top to give the fairing a 1/4″ clearance above the spring. You also have to make cuts to clear the control arm for the rudder.

I also needed to cut the front of the fairing to give clearance for access to the lower hinge bolt.

Then I trimmed the top to allow the fairing to fit along the lower edges of the rudder, where the fairing will attach.

I drilled screw holes through the fairing and the attach flange on the rudder. I’m going to use #6 screws and nutplates, since I want the fairing to be removable for the light.

This all sounds pretty easy, doesn’t it?

Well, when I got the fairing fitted, I found that the trailing edge of the fairing was mismatched with the trailing edge of the rudder by about 1/4″.

I figured the easiect way to fix this would be to split the trailing edge of the fairing, remove material from the pulled side, then resin the fairing back together.

It took two iterations of this process to get the fairing aligned.

In the meantime, I made an adapter plate to attach the light to the fairing. The plate is 1/8″ aluminum, made to match the contours of the light. I drilled and tapped the screw holes to directly attach the light. I had to chamfer the edge of the hole where it meets the back side of the light housing.

Still not done. Two problems…

  • The light contour and the attach plate are bigger than the molded area the light attaches to. I’ll just build that area up to make a smooth transition.
  • I figured out that the fairing is now not vertically aligned with the rudder. I sighted up along the rudder trailing edge, and the fairing doglegs off to one side. Hopefully cutting the offending side at the screw holes will bring it back into alignment…

Time: 9:25

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Inlet ramp modification

January 16, 2020 – I decided I didn’t like the setup I had for the left inlet and how it contacts the cowl.

In another post I described the issue I had with the leading edge of the inlet ramp and how I solved it. Here’s a picture:

I decided to cut off that leading edge and make a bracket that would secure the front of the air filter.

Here’s the cut:

I bent a bracket that attaches to the snorkel, and holds the air filter. I riveted it in place using pop rivets.

It’s all covered by the seal on the lower cowl.

Time: 1:00

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Engine Control Cables and Throttle Quadrant

January 16, 2020 – I “permanently” installed the engine cables and got them close to a final rig.

Not a lot of pictures for a lot of time spent.

I did finally assemble the mounts for the throttle quadrant in the cockpit.

One small issue I have is on the dust seals for the cables. The rubber boots got damaged during the repeated removal and installation of the cables.

Here’s one of the boots I’m talking about:

One of the cables lost the boot entirely:

After consulting with a few people I trust, I decided on a fix. I’ll install heat shrink at that location on each cable.

Time: 4:40

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Baffle Rods

December 21, 2019 – I made the baffle rods that secure the baffles beneath the engine.

The rods are cut to length, then bent to clear underneath the cylinders. They are hard to photograph when in position, but you can see my marks where to bend them…

Then the ends get threaded for 6-32 nuts.

You are given plastic tubing to protect areas where the rods may touch. This is a very tight fit, but I used a trick to fit the brake line fittings way back when… I boiled soapy water and heated the plastic then, slowly pulled the tubing onto the rods. Worked great, but got a blister anyway in the process.

Here’s a rod ready to be installed:

And actually a decent picture of two of the rods installed:

Time: 3:55

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Continued Oil Door

December 21, 2019 – I haven’t been happy with the oil door, especially with the fiberglass one that’s provided.

So I got a hold of some aluminum that is the same thickness as the existing landing area. It turned out to be .063″. I rolled it a bit at work, then brought it home to tweak it to fit the cowl. This will be better because it will flex less than the fiberglass. I transferred the location of the latch from the fiberglass door, cut it out and drilled the door to the hinge.

I like this a lot better.

Time: 8:00

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Oil Door

December 4, 2019 – I started on the oil door: partly because it took me away from other frustrating things I was working on, and partly because I needed the access to see inside the cowl behind the baffle seals.

The cowl has the oil door location molded into it.

I cut the access hole to fit the door that Van’s supplies.

I laid up a couple of layers of cloth tape to serve as the landing for the door, then cut it back to about 3/8″.

I’m using the invisible hinge that originally came from Avery but is now sold by Spruce. I located it as best as I could.

I bought the Hartwell latch for the oil door. I just like the look and the utility of it.

As it turns out, I misjudged the locations of the hinge and the latch. Thank goodness you can repair fiberglass…

The latch is very hard to snap closed. I have a “landing” reinforcement of thin titanium that will help to save the latching surface. A friend suggested slightly bending the latch to fit the curve of the door. That helps. I’m also going to shim the latching end to lower it just a bit to make it easier to latch.

This has taken way longer than I thought it would…

Time: 5:00

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