More Wheel Pant Work

Time: 6 Hours

I repeated the syringe process for the the forward bracket on both sides with the same great results. After those had cured I marked the bottom of the pant for an even edge distance from the tire so that I could trim them. Vans gives you a minimum of 5/8″ space between the tire and the edge of the fiberglass but I have read that you need more like 3/4″ to an inch to allow side loads on the tire which would hit the fiberglass if the gap is too small. 

After getting both trimmed I moved on to the valve stem doors. Normally in order to check the tire pressure or inflate them you would have to remove the forward half of the wheel pants. I decided that I wanted to put in a 1″ doing loaded door so that I could do these tasks with removing a single screw. I ordered mine from Wicks Aircraft Supply but they are available from various shops. I rolled the fuselage around slightly to get the valve stem on the aft side of the tire and at a equal distance from the ground, about 6 1/8″ for mine. I then chocked the tires to hold that position and used my cross hair laser to mark the center of the stem. I then put the pants back on and drilled a hole on the cross hair. After I had the initial hole drilled I removed the pants and opened the hole up to 1″. I tried several different locations on how I wanted the door to swing, as seen with the different drill holes. Not sure why I decided on the top ones but it just looked better to me. 

I used some Super Fill to smooth out the edges of the areas that I built up for the brackets and sanded those after they cured. I also sanded the inside edge where the nutplates would go and riveted them in place.   I also riveted the outboard bracket in place. 

 Now that the nutplates were in place I could put the pants on and have them perfectly in their final place versus with just cleckos which have a little play. 

Now I could work on the seam and the transition between the forward half and the aft half.  After I sanded the edges I added some white electrical tape to the edge of the forward half of the pants so that epoxy/flox won’t stick to that edge. 

I then covered the white tape with clear packing tape. The electrical tape should leave a nice even gap after removed for a nice seam. It will need to be opened up a little down the road by the painter for the paint thickness. I mixed up some epoxy/flox and filled the seam as well as low spots on the aft section of the pants. After curing I will sand the edges down flush to make a nice transition between the two halves. 

In between work on the pants I had added a light layer of epoxy/fairing filler to smooth the transition from the side skirts and the glass I put over the rivets. After that was sanded I put three coats of UV Smooth Prime to fill any pin holes. 

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