Avionics and Wiring

August 10, 2020 – Just slogging through the avionics.

Engine CHT and EGT

I knocked out the EGT and CHT wiring so I could have some visual progress. Dynon provides spade terminals to match the harness wires which are already terminated. I allowed for service loops with each wire, and I tried to offset each one to reduce the bundle size when it’s all done.

I covered each connection with heat shrink. These are pretty solid.

Then I gathered the wires into bundles, one on each side of the engine.

Other Engine Indications

I connected the Red Cube fuel flow transmitter and the oil temp.

Power to VPX

I connected the wire from the ANL fuse that provides power to the VPX and therefore the rest of the avionics.


I’m using the Van’s Adahrs mount. This mounts the Adahrs just forward of the next bulkhead aft of the baggage compartment wall. I made sure it was level to the canopy rails before I drilled it.

I put the 3 fittings in the Adahrs and thought it would be easier to install the unit in the bracket before it went up in the tailcone.

Ummmm, no.

The bracket is pop-riveted into place, and I couldn’t get my riveter to some of the fasteners. So I laid there and removed the Adahrs so I could get to the rivets, then reinstalled it. I’m actually pretty sure I’m going to have to remove it again so I can get the Skyview network connector attached.

GPS Antenna

I made a bracket for the GPS antenna that attaches to the engine mount aft of the baffle. I didn’t want the antenna on the glareshield, and with the Adahrs in the back, there was no really ideal place to mount the GPS externally. If I figure something different, this bracket is not a huge commitment.

Com Radio Trays

I decided to mount the Com radios front and center on the sub-panel bulkhead.

Time: 23:15

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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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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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Prop and Spinner

April 10, 2020 – I continued with the spinner.

I made the cutouts for the prop blades using the template I got from Hartzell.

I laid out the screw holes and drilled them through the backplate.

The holes in the front plate are already piloted. I could faintly see them through the fiberglass, so I carefully drilled to match.

I installed the nutplates.

I temporarily installed the spinner onto the prop so I could make the filler plates that go behind the blades.

Using the template as a guide, I trimmed the fillers to more or less fit the spinner cutouts., then made the attach plates.

I riveted the fillers in place. This came out really nice.

It was time to install the prop, potentially for good. I had to install the nutplates in the inlets.

We came to realize that we needed the cowl off to install the prop.

A couple of good friends at Aerocountry came by and we wrestled the prop into place. Not a bad job, but tedious. We lubed the o-ring and the crankshaft attach point, then lifted the prop up and slowly tightened the bolts.

Once the prop was installed (not safetied), I took a look around. Probably the biggest problem I found was that the flywheel was hitting the right inlet ramp baffle. In fact as we tightened the prop bolts, it pressed the flywheel into the ramp.

The only other obvious issue I found was that the bolt for the alternator could not be fully removed. It hits the flywheel. So I will turn that bolt around when I take the prop back off.

I came back the next day to try to install the cowls. Kind of a pain, but I did get the lower cowl on. With the seals and the inlet ramps, I have to put the front of the cowl up first, kind of hook it into place, then swing the aft edge up and fasten it. Well, the baffle seal attached to the right inlet would not go up above the ramp. The seal lies under the ramp. I really don’t see a problem with this. In fact, a friend’s RV-8 has the inlet seals under the ramps. So I’ll live with it.

This was a moment I’d been waiting for ever since I installed the Skybolt fasteners. I was afraid maybe the cowl moved as I was installing the fasteners. Well, it all looks good. I like the gap between the prop and the cowl, and it is fairly well centered on the cowl.

Here it is with the spinner on. Pretty awesome…

I’m planning now to finish up all the tail fairings, then I’ll come back, remove the cowls and the prop, fix the issues I’ve found, then probably install the prop for good.

Time: 10:15

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Started the Prop Spinner

April 4, 2020 – I pulled the prop out of the box and started the spinner.

The first thing to do is to locate the position of the front plate in the spinner. It has to be centered nearly perfectly so the spinner doesn’t wobble. This was kind of a pain. I figured out that the back edge of the plate is 8 7/8″ from the aft edge of the spinner.

As best I could, I drew lines around the edge of the plate in the spinner, then I measured the distance of each line. Yup. Each one was 8 7/8″ from the spinner edge.

Then I got the prop out of the box. I was concerned about how it would be to handle, but it wasn’t a problem by myself. I do think I’ll get help when I hang it on the engine, though…

I installed the spinner backplate and the front plate onto the prop hub.

I have to do the cutouts in the spinner for the prop blades. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do that, so I did some searching online. Turns out Hartzell has cutout templates for the Vans spinners. You just email them; they need to know the prop model and what blades you have. They emailed me the appropriate template.

Note that this is for MY prop and blades. I’m not showing you this to share the data with you, only to show you what it looks like.

Here’s the template in place. I just cut out one image and used it on both sides of the spinner.

Time: 2:25

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Firewall Forward Items

April 4, 2020 – I dealt with the manifold pressure installation.

To begin with, I moved the MAP sensor from the aft side of the subpanel bulkhead to the front. This gives a direct shot for the pressure tube from the firewall straight into the sensor.

I got brass T’s with the correct dimensions to run tubing at the firewall from the engine MAP line to the sensor manifold on the left side. I bought another manifold block from Vans and used it for the interface.

Time: 2:50

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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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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.

I drilled the hole in the lower cowl. Here’s the drain line with the cowl installed.

Time: 1:45

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