Installed Supertracks

August 31, 2017 – Yesterday I finished installing the Supertracks. As I stated previously, Supertracks is an add-on that extends the travel of the canopy aft by several inches, giving better access to the baggage compartment for loading and unloading.

The first step is to modify the rollers. two additional tracks are added, so the rollers transition from one track to the other for the added travel. The first photo shows the original roller configuration, the second shows the added rollers.

Here is a roller truck in the original track:

The rollers get set aside, and then you extend the spine track. The extended track adds about 10″ to the length.

I removed the original track from the airplane and marked the cut line in the top sliding portion of the track. Only the top of the track gets cut; the lower support stays intact for splicing of the new section.

I marked the centerline of the new spine track and match-drilled to the existing section, then I match-drilled to the holes in the airplane and laid out the additional screw holes. Then I installed the track with screws and nuts. There is a slight difference in width between the two tracks. One option that has been suggested is to buy a track for the RV-8. That track is longer and it would be one piece. The other option for me might be to cut a new top strap out of aluminum and replace what I have with a one-piece track. I can just match-drill it to the old one. Maybe in the future…

The next step is to locate the new side tracks so you have smooth roller travel through the transition between the original and new tracks on each side.

Once I was satisfied with the roller travel, I had to trim the aft ends of the tracks where they meet the skin back near the baggage bulkhead. I marked them, then filed material pretty liberally, since the rollers don’t get back there anyway. I clamped both tracks together and filed and sanded them symmetrically.

After the tracks are trimmed, and I double-checked roller travel, it was time to locate screw holes to secure the tracks in place. I marked the locations of the tracks in the two locations where screw holes can be placed, and made sure I had adequate edge distance. There’s not a lot of room in these two spots.

I pilot-drilled holes in the tracks. The forward hole has to be countersunk inside the track to clear the roller, so I drilled a hole on the top of the track for tool access. My pilot holes went straight through, then I enlarged the top hole to .375″ (3/8″). The I countersunk the bottom hole through the top hole…

The tracks are then secured at the aft end, since there can be some motion. This is done with some straps that are bent to fit. They also have to be twisted just a bit at the top because the edge of the track is oriented differently from the frame where the strap attaches to the airplane.

I drilled the straps, then primed, painted and installed them. I had to install the top fastener before the track was installed because I wouldn’t have access afterwards.

Then I installed the screws in the tracks.

 

After the tracks are installed, the instructions remind you to Loctite the screws in the rollers, since there is no safety for them. We had to assemble the rollers in place in the tracks because you can’t put the rollers in place once the tracks are together. My friend Carlos came by and helped me do this and to install the canopy.

As the last step, the kit supplies two short pieces of fuel hose to act as aft stops for the canopy, so it doesn’t hit the fuselage skin behind the canopy. These are just stuffed into the track forward of the fastener for the strap at the aft end. I cut about 1/2″ off the ends of mine so the canopy went just that much farther aft.

Here’s the two tracks and their relationship with the rollers:

 

This seems to be a very cool mod and it definitely gives better access behind the seats.

Time: 8:00

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