Wings Back On

Time: 6 Hours

We have been busy getting all the things done in the new home to make it ours. Like ripping up old ceramic tile to make way for new hardwood. That was not a fun project but it’s all ripped up and ready for the installers. In-between that work I have been doing little projects in the hangar to get it organized. I also got my hands on the RV to start building again. One of the items I was unhappy with when I put the wings on the first time was the length of the wire bundles coming out of the wings. I found them to be a little short to work on with the tight space you end up with when the wings are on. So since I had the wings off again I decided to add 12″ to each of the bundles to give me plenty of length. I also figured that I would finish up the little bit of fiberglass tasks to the control surfaces, the rudder and elevators. I just needed to fill some pin holes and smooth the transitions out a little. A composite pro I am not and hope to get some help when it comes painting time to make these perfect. I used some filler primer to identify the holes and used Super-Fil to make the corrections. With the rudder pin holes taken care of and a coat of primer on I put the rudder on the vertical stabilizer and bolted it in place. I also put the AeroLED tail light in as well.I then spent two hours putting in the new close tolerance bolts in to secure the wings…again. The process was just the same as before, I froze the bolts and used LPS lubricant. The rivet gun at low pressure worked to drive them into position. The hardest part of the whole ordeal, as before, was to torque the bolts. I worked one bolt and then took a little break as leaning over the side wall of the fuselage even with padding was not very comfortable. So that’s a good start to being in my very own hangar that’s ten feet from my back door! I can not wait to be able to just walk out and go for a flight or a trip.

Wing Removal

Time: Hours

I started the process of removing the wings for moving the RV to the new home. I started with the left wing as that poses the hardest removal of the close tolerance bolts due to the fuel valve and lines that are on that side. I first removed the fuel valve and moved as many of the lines out of the way. Then I started with the lower large bolts. I used a rag to protect the skin and used the flush set to back the bolts out as far as they would go. I then worked one at a time using my 7/16″ drift pin(a hardware bought 7/16″ bolt with the threads ground down smooth) to drive the bolt all the way. This way the pin replaces the bolt and still provides temporary support. I found the need to use several tools to get the bolt backed out enough so that the drift pin could be inserted. I had a air chisel set that had a point on the end and this worked well. I just had to go slow and be careful so I didn’t slip and damage the center section. Once I had enough of the bolt pushed through I could inset the pin and drive the bolt out with the flush set. It took me almost 3.5 hours to get all four of the large bolts and all four of the smaller bolts out. It wasn’t a particular hard task except for how tight it is in that area. I took an long break and then started on the right wing using the same process. All of the bolts look good and had no burrs or damage. I will use new wing bolts and nuts when I put the wings back on per the advice from Vans. With the help of my son we spent the day moving the rest of my tools and the fuselage/wings from the hangar up to our new home. The drive takes about an hour normally but I drive slower with the trailer and parts. It took two trips but we got it all done without any issues. I have a lot of honey-do’s to take care of in the new home as well as the big task of organizing and setting up the new hangar space. Once that’s done I can start the process of putting the wings back on and getting back to building.

New Home

Time: Hours

So my girl and I have been working for a few months to get our home sold in Chicago’s west suburbs so we could buy a new home. We finally got it sold and purchased a home, before it even went on the market, in Poplar Grove IL in the BelAir Estates on the Poplar Grove Airport. This home fit is perfect and had a 2200 sq/ft hangar that is heated and has a half bath. So the last few weeks had us packing and moving all our worldly possessions and storing them in my other hangar. Then we lived in our camper for a week while we closed on the new home. After several truck loads in a U-Haul we have all our stuff in the new home. So I now need to get the wings taken off the RV so that I can trailer it to it’s new home. To say our life has been busy is an understatement…I’m ready to get back to building after I get the new hangar organized.

Inside Cowl

Time: 4 Hours

I started the process of sealing up the inside of the engine cowl. You do this for a couple reasons. First is to keep oil and other fluids from soaking into the cowl and the honey comb interior. The other is so it can be painted, although this isn’t required, as it will help down the road to identify any leaks. Most paint theirs with a light color like white to make the leaks easier to see. Another reason to smooth the lower cowl inside is so that the adhesive backed aluminum heat shield material will adhere better. So to start this long process I worked on the tube that will direct the hidden oil door retention pin. Ok so that may be confusing. So let me explain, I’m using the hidden hinge from Cleaveland Tool on my oil door. This makes a nice clean look without and visible hinge. To latch the door down you can do many different things but I decided to use hinge and it’s pin to secure the door. When the pin is in place the door is secure and cannot accidentally open if the door flex’s under pressure. So how to pull the pin when the cowl is in place and the door is secured. I decided to make the pin extra long and access it from the inside of the baggage compartment. The idea will be to open the baggage door, pull the pin just enough for the door to open. To close the door I would hold the door flush and push the pin into the hinge. But trying to aim the pin several inches to the first hinge eyelet with seeing it would be very difficult. So I decided to secure a aluminum guide tube to the inside of the cowl. I fluted the opening a little so that the short distance the pin will have to go and the flute helping direct the pin into the opening will make it easy. I used the pin to keep the tube aligned and some washers for the correct height. I then laid up two layers of fiberglass over the top of the tube and let that cure to give it a secure hold. After that I used Super Fill to give it a good shape and sanded it to look nice. I’ll work on the pin later but for this part it looks good and hopefully works ok. I then filled and sanded any big imperfections in the cowl surface before sealing it. The process of sealing for me is just using epoxy without any fillers and thinning it slightly with acetone. Then I brushed it on the entire surface with a cheap brush. Then with a old hotel key, the credit card looking ones, I scraped all the extra epoxy off. This forced the epoxy into all the tiny pin holes and voids. Then after that cured I did a light sanding with my maroon 3M pads to knock down the high spots. I cleaned up the entire surface again and repeated the process. I think I will repeat the process one more time then primer and paint. For now I’m thinking an aluminum color high heat engine paint but not sure yet. While this one cures I started the filling process on the lower cowl. I gave it a good sanding to get rid of a bunch of imperfections from the manufacturing process. I’m going to spend more time on the lower cowl as it will be seen more especially if I have it judged at AirVenture some day. When people are looking at the engine the lower cowl is really visible. I will keep working on it but for now I need to get all this dust off me.

More Baffle Work

Time: 6 Hours

I spent some time in the hangar yesterday and today trying to finish up the baffles. I worked all the airseals around the front baffles and got them to sit almost perfectly. I had to trim the upper air ramps a little to make it happen. I’m pretty happy with they way they seal and fit but I’m hoping they lay down after they are used on the warm engine aa they make it a little difficult to put the top cowl on due to their stiffness. So the next baffle task was to drill for three cooling blast tubes. These tubes will direct air to areas that need cooling. That’s for me are the two P-mags and the alternator. So I laid out where I wanted them and drilled a pilot hole followed a 5/8″ hole using the step bit. I used adel clamps to secure the ends and direct them to the P-mags. I ran out of the tubing and had to order more from Vans. I did drill the hole in the right side forward baffle for the alternator blast tube. I put in a small piece of tube in to check the fit. Two more holes I need to drill for are for the spark plug wires. I’m using a special pass thru clamp from Aircraft Spruce that holds the wires firmly as they pass thru the baffles. The shape looks like a number eight. I was almost sure I was finished with drilling on the baffles when I realized I had forgot the blast tube for the engine driven fuel pump. I had bought and installed the ShowPlanes cooling shroud that uses a 1″ blast tube. So I ordered a 1″ duct flange, some ducting and clamps from Aircraft Spruce and will drill for that when they arrive next week. I had one other task I wanted to get done and that was to plug the two holes on the aft side baffles. These holes are for a socket extension so you can get the spark plug in (I think). Either way they need to be sealed. So I made a cover using some sheet aluminum shaped into a circle and epoxied a spaced onto it to account for the angle that splits the hole. I also cut a couple of sheet for the opposite side. These two pieces will be screwed together and sandwich the baffle sealing the hole. So that’s where I stopped for the day after cleaning up the shop. I’ll get back at it next week after the parts arrive. Now to decide to paint or not paint the baffles!