Category: Rudder Pedals

A Small Step Backwards…

August 6, 2021 – A small adjustment turned into a slightly larger project.

Moving the airplane in and out of the hangar, I’ve noticed that the brakes drag a little bit. I know this is an issue that has its fixes.

I decided to add springs to the master cylinder actuators on the pedals. On the first one I tried to do, the bolt attaching the top of the actuator was very tight going through the actuator. I decided to tap it out with my rivet gun. Of course I turned the pressure down. Well, when I did this, the welded tab on the pedal bent sideways. So I made the decision not to work this in the airplane, but to try to take the rudder pedal assembly out and do the work on the table. I had no idea if the assembly would even come out of the finished airplane, since it got installed very early on…

It does in fact come out… I had to disconnect the throttle cable at the quadrant.

Here’s the tab that bent…

I inspected it with a magnifying glass. Seems OK, so I pressed on with the rest of the work.

I installed the springs. They are 5/8″ x 3″ x .080″, by the way. I also put thread sealant on the fittings in the master cylinders. After my first engine run I noticed the tiniest bit of fluid seepage on a couple of the fittings.

The assembly actually slid back into place on the airplane a lot easier than when it came out. I still have to finish installing the bolts and connect the brake lines, then service the brakes again.

Time: 3:00


July 2, 2021 – Today I serviced the brakes.

I started by making the links that connect the rudder cables to the pedals. These are made of steel. I still wasn’t really sure how long to make them, so I made them according to the drawing, which still leaves it open to where the pedals are set. It’s still kind of hard to tell, but the pedals appear to be in a good position. If I have to do it again when I get my seats, I will.

A friend had an as yet unused ATS brake servicing tool, essentially a garden sprayer. This has fittings used for brake servicing and bleeding. I also put a barbed AN fitting in the top of the reservoir to catch overflow.

In the second picture you can see the fluid in the lines at the pedals.

The smell of 5606 took me back to my C-5 days. We used to bathe in this stuff.

This went very easily. Connect everything, pressurize the pot, then open the valve. It took a couple of tries to get fluid with no air out of the top. It doesn’t appear that I have any leaks. When I go back in a couple of days I’ll try the pedals and see how they feel.

Time: 5:00

Replaced brake lines in cockpit

January 11, 2016 – I got replacement parts from Van’s for the plastic tubing brake lines in the cockpit.

There was very little in the way of documentation for how these lines were to be assembled. They are plastic tubing with compression fittings. There is a small brass tube that goes inside the plastic tubing. Turns out this brass tube supports the compression sleeve and keeps the tubing from being crushed or cut. The instructions suggested using boiling water to soften the tubing so that the brass tube goes in easier. The fit is REALLY tight. I tried that before, but could only get the tube in part way.


I did some more research, and found a drawing for the RV-12 that described how this should go together.


So after I got everything together, I tried it again. I guess there’s a difference between simmering water and boiling water. Even today I tried it before the water was boiling, and couldn’t get it to go. I let the water reach a full boil, held the assembly in there for 20-30 seconds, and pressed it against the side of the countertop. Bingo! It slid right in.

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Nice. Now I just have to clamp the lines because there’s a lot of relative motion with these lines, and there’s a lot of potential for rubbing. But that’s done, and  I can move on.

Time: 1:20

Continued rudder/brake pedal install

December 23, 2015 – I continued the installation of the pedals and the brake plumbing.

I installed the brake pedals into the hangers while it was all out on the table.


Here’s the fitting that connects to the rear of the fluid reservoir.


The tubing is all plastic except for the lines from the pilot’s side out to the brakes themselves. I got all the tubes made and temporarily installed. They still need to be routed effectively and secured, because there’s a lot of relative motion here. The tubes all move when the rudder pedals move.

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Time: 4:00

Started rudder/brake pedal install

December 21, 2015 – I decided to go ahead and install the pedals. I started by removing the subpanel structure pretty much as an assembly, so I could get access for the pedals.

I installed the elbows in the firewall that connect from the pedals inside the cockpit out to the brakes. The holes in the firewall and the doubler had been done back when I did the firewall.


I also had to mount the brake fluid reservoir on the forward side of the firewall. These holes were not drilled. I laid out the location on the firewall per the plans; on the right side and incorporating the upper angle. I drilled a 9/16″ hole where the fitting attaches to the reservoir.

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I installed the fittings in the brake master cylinders on the pedals.


Now I’m assembling the pedals, and then I’ll drop the assembly into place and run the tubing.

Time: 1:20

Finished rudder cables

October 14, 2015 – I finished running the rudder cables through the bulkheads. As I stated in my last post, I had to figure out a way to get the cable ends through the snap bushings, since the bushings are smaller.


I just used two longer small screwdrivers, slid them into the bushing on each side of the cable end, and pried the snap bushings onto the cable.

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I reinstalled the baggage compartment fixed side panels that I had to remove to get the cables through the bulkheads.

I also clamped the aft ends of the cables around the protective sleeves.


All that’s left on the rudder cables is to connect them to the pedals later on.

Time: 1:10

Fuselage to-do list

April 22, 2015 – I had to take care of several things before taking the forward half of the fuselage back apart.

I finished back-drilling through the side skins. This included the F715 seat ribs and various attach holes where bulkheads are attached at top and bottom.

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I also had to drill several larger holes for fuel lines coming in, and fuel vent and brake lines.

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I also marked where skin panel lines were, so I could paint the faying surfaces of those skins at those locations.


I also had an issue with where the rudder pedal blocks are attached on the right side.

I got my left/right, up/down confused on the right block, and messed up a couple of holes in the F719 angle.


I decided to make a strap that will be on the lower side of the angle and will provide a good bearing surface and good holes for the bolts. I drilled that and added four rivet locations to secure the strap.


On another happy note, I got my brake pedals back from powdercoat. They came out pretty nice. You can’t really tell, but they have a rough texture.


Time: 1:45

Made rudder pedal center support

April 8, 2015 – Yesterday I took the brake pedals to get powder coated. Then I made the center support for the rudder pedals.

I trimmed the bracket to clear the firewall recess, and marked out the holes to attach the bracket to the firewall.


With the rudder pedals in place, I put the bracket where it belongs, and drilled. Since the rudder pedals are ground-adjustable fore and aft, I had to drill multiple sets of holes. I only drilled two sets of holes, where I had drilled three sets on the outboard ends. I decided that the aft-most setting would most likely never be used.

Here’s the bracket seen from inside and outside:

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Here’s the drilled bracket:


Then I shortened the bracket, removing the unused portion, and I cut a lightening hole.


I test fit everything one more time before taking it all out to start on the floor stiffeners.


Time: 2:25

Continued rudder pedals

April 3, 2015 – I needed to figure out where to position the brake pedals so they’d be out of the way during normal rudder use. I decided to place them a bit forward of center.

I clamped the rudder pedal “hangars” together so they were in line all the way across.


I then clamped angles to the brake pedals so they were in the same parallel position. The angle rested against the back side of the right rudder pedal, since the pedals are offset from each other. This gave a forward angle of a few degrees from vertical.


With both pedals tied together in the same relative position, I could drill the holes to attach the brake master cylinders. I used the trick so many others have done: placing a drill bit through the mount hole of the master cylinders and marking a line on the tab of the pedals.


I marked the center point on that line and drilled using a #30 bit. Then I placed a reamer through the master cylinder mount holes and took the holes up to size.


I placed the rudder pedals into place in the fuselage to check the fit. Got a little mixed up between left and right, and the side blocks are drilled slightly at an angle to allow for fuselage taper. You can’t really see it but the blocks didn’t fit well. I figured out their correct orientation and all is well.


I want to powder coat the pedals for wear resistance. I assembled the four pedals, and am waiting to get them  out for powder coating.

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Time: 3:20

Started rudder and brake pedals

April 1, 2015 – I am putting brake pedals on both sides, so the airplane can be fully operated from either seat. By way of explanation for some who aren’t as familiar with the RV setup, the rudder pedals are made of welded tubing and is installed for both seats. The brake pedals are attached to the rudder pedals. The stock setup is to only have brake pedals on the left side for the pilot. This can prevent unwanted brake activation from the passenger. Some builders just have the brake pedals on the left side, others put brake pedals on both sides. So the bulk of the work you see here in the next few posts is for the brake pedals.

I started the pedals by cutting 8 angles 4″ long. These attach to the sides of each brake pedal.

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Each pedal also has a bracket for attaching the brake master cylinders. These all get drilled to the pedals. It’s easy to forget that left and right pedals have to be made. They are mirror images of each other.

I also countersunk the pieces as appropriate.

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Here’s the pedals clecoed and ready for later assembly (front and rear views).


The rudder pedal tubes are supported at the airplane structure by hard plastic wear blocks. These have to be drilled to the airplane. I drilled these blocks like I did the flap blocks. Many people use a drill press to make sure the holes are straight. I do it by hand, and the holes are straight if you are careful.

I marked the hole locations on the top and bottom of the blocks.


Using a #30 drill bit, I drill halfway through the block, then turn the block over and do the same thing. The theory is that the holes will meet in the middle.


I used a reamer to take the holes to final size. The reamer will clean up any minor inaccuracies if the starter holes didn’t perfectly line up.

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I also drilled the center support block the same way. I use a silver Sharpie to mark these black plastic blocks.


The side blocks are to be placed no closer than 3″ from the aft face of the firewall. I marked that point on the side angle in the fuselage, then used a long #10 drill to back drill the angle.


You are allowed to drill additional holes to allow for fore and aft adjustment of the pedals. I marked mine 1 1/16″ aft of the original forward-most location, and then an additional 1 1/16″ aft of that. So I have six holes for future pedal fore and aft adjustment.


I started assembly of the pedals out on the table. I have to install the brake master cylinders. Since the pedals are offset from each other, I had to stand back and think about how to locate and position the pedals. More to come on that…

Time: 5:00