Gear Tower Final Assembly

Time: 5 Hours

I had a great 4 day weekend with the kids and my girl for Labor Day, sometimes it’s nice to just relax by the pool for a few days to reload. That also gave the gear tower parts some time to have the paint cure. Today started with a few errands that I needed to take care of. When I finally got into the Hangar I grabbed all the parts and organized for their assembly. First up was to bolt the inboard steel weldements to the gear towers through the inboard facing holes. Their are 2 bolts that you don’t put in at this time as they are shared by the mid cabin braces that will come into play in a few more steps. I bolted and torqued all the bolts, making sure that I added the new rear seat rudder pedal bracket which needed longer bolts. Once they were torqued I used some torque seal to mark them for future inspections.

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IMG_3933.JPGI then had to bolt the outboard 3 holes on the forward and aft floor angles. Pretty simple except the middle hole on both sides on both towers. The problem with these holes is that they line up with a bend in the steel weldements. They steel has a angled cut on them to accommodate the nut however all 4 spots did not leave enough room for the nut and a washer. I had to grab the dremel and grind down some of the steel to make room. This took some time in the tight space but with a little patience I was able to get all opened up for the nuts. Before I put those bolts in I painted the spots that I ground down for rust protection. In the next photo you can see the middle bolt and nut that was the issue spot.

IMG_3934.JPGOnce all the bolts were torqued I grabbed the forward floor section and placed the gear towers on them. You then can clecko and rivet the aft angle to floor holes, the forward ones are saved for later.

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IMG_3937.JPGI used a lot of painters tape and was very careful while riveting so that I didn’t damage the paint. All came out pretty good! With the towers riveted to the floor you can now clecko and rivet the 2 upper braces, forward and aft as well as put the bolts in. There are 8 spots where the washers for these bolts hit the curve of the bend in the gear tower. To compensate for this curve you have to round over one side of the washers. I also put a coat of primer on the washers since I removed the plating.

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IMG_3940.JPGI then grabbed the 2 mid cabin braces to rivet/bolt them to the towers. I had one rivet on the left side get a pretty good smiley face but not bad enough to drill out as it will never be seen once the cover is in place.

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IMG_3942.JPGThe final task I did for the day was to clecko the upper and lower aft baggage panels on so I could match drill them to the newly riveted forward tower brace.

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IMG_3945.JPGSo that’s where I stopped for the night. Pretty cool to see the shapes coming together.

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