Ground Running the Engine

August 31, 2012

Several day round up here.  I finished up the fuel system by re-installing the gascolator bowl.  I added about 4 gallons of fuel to the tank and checked around for leaks and found none.  I then opened fuel valve and started pumping the wobble pump which took apart and installed a new gasket and windings (so that could be a source of fuel leak to) and it took about 40 or 50 pumps to get the fuel down in to the fuel lines and into the fuel pump but it eventually got there and worked well no leaks.  I then installed the battery and checked to make sure the master switch worked and did some final checks and pulled the plane out of the hangar for the ground run.  I got in and primed it hit the starter and it couldn’t pull the prop through.  My battery is kinda old so this wasn’t completely unexpected but I have some suspicions that my starter solenoid was going bad.  It was getting late so just pulled the plane back in and called it a night.

Fast forward to Wed 8/29 I had a long weekend mini vacation so I got back to it on wednesday this time I brought out another battery that I new would work and tried that.  It didn’t even turn over the prop.  So then borrowed a buddies deep cycle gel cell batter and and turn the starter over and it did turn over with more authority but it wasn’t great.  It was however good enough to get the engine started.

I ran the engine for about 10 minutes and got the oil up to about 150 deg. The mag checks, oil pressure and oil temperature were also good. I had my buddy to a leak check while the engine was running, no leaks were noted. The idle RPM was a tiny bit low so that will need an adjustment.

Friday 8/31 I decided to change out the starter solenoid so I went down and got one installed it and tried my old batter again. It actually started it this time so that may have been part of the problem. I also checked the fuel screen again to make sure nothing was in it and everything was nice and clean.

Time spent 8 hours
Total time spent 1582 hours.

Finishing the fabrication and fitting of the wing root and horizontal tail root fairings

August 20, 2012

Tonight I spent the evening finishing up the fabrication and fitting of the lower wing root and horizontal tail root fairings. I borrowed the 90 deg adaptor for the drill and finished drilling the lower side of the horiztonal tail fairings (both sides). The lower wing root fairings I pre-drilled the holes in the metal the fitted the top side fairing up to the wing and drill those holes as well. Then I fitted and drill the holes for the leading edge fairings. And finally I made the bottom and top fairings come together nicely at the trailing edge.

Time spent today 4 hours
Total time spent 1574 hours

Fabricating the lower wing nose fairings and drilling and attaching the horizontal tail fairings.

August 19, 2012

Today I again feel like I didn’t get much done but everyday I get something done is a good day. I decided to tackle the nose fiairngs so I needed to install the lower forward belly panel/exhaust channel and side kick panels to get the profile correct. I again used the poster board technique to scribe a line in pencil on to the poster board then cut that out with scissors. This worked really well and required almost no tweeking afterwards it just fit the first time. (sorry no pictures forgot I’ll get them when I go out next time)

After that was done I moved on to attaching the horizontal tail fairings. I needed to do some more trimming on the lower side fo the horzontal tail fiairngs so I did that and temp attached the rubber channel. I then marked the out side of the fairing using masking tape then measured back in to wher I wanted screws to go into the inboard rib and then marked my screw holes and drilled and clecoed them in place. This worked really well and was very accurate. I did this for both the upper side and most of the lower sides but I was unable to drill the rear screw holes because my drill didn’t fit. I will borrow a 90 deg adaptor from my buddy to get those completed tomorrow. I also marked out the lower wing upper fairing for the screw holes but didn’t drill them yet.

Time spent 6 hours
Total time spent 1570 hours

Fabricating the lower wing lower fairings and lower horizontal tail fairings

August 18, 2012

I spent most of the day working on the lower fairings for both the lower wing and the lower side of the horiztonal tail. However it should be noted that I did spend an hour installing the silcone baffle seal on the engine baffles not much to talk about there simply measured cut then drill the hole and install a screw and nut.

I then moved on to the lower fairings. The lower side of the lower wing fairings looked like they should be fairly straight forward so I simply followed the exact dimensions on the drawings and cut a 3 1/2 piece of 0.032 and made the 5/8 10 deg folds on both sides (opposite directions) then the 10 deg diagonal fold for the aft end and viola they fit right up perfectly. I then drilled some holes for the screws and mounted them up to the wings. Both sides were pretty easy.

The cutting and fitting of the lower horiztonal tail fairings were a bit more difficult. I used my pencil “scribe” all it is is a pend zip tied perpindicular to a pencil and the I attach a piece of poster board to the sabilizer and use the capped pen as a “standoff” to trace the profile on to the the poster board. I then cut that out with scissors and trace it on to alumnium. It’s never perfect so I need to proabably an hour of trimming and fitting to get them to fit right. After those were completed I called it a night.

Time spent 6 hours
Total time spent 1564 hours

Installing the Matco wheel and Brakes finishing the brake lines and bleeding the brakes

August 15, 2012

Again, Another two day roll up. Tuesday and Wednesday night brought all sorts of fun with the wheels and brakes. The matco wheels have a slightly different bearing than the cleveland wheels in that it has a slight radius at the inner race that requires a oversized washer to make sure the inner race seats firmly against the bearing stop on the axle. In this case of the RV wheel brake plate and bearing seat is made from 1-3/8 0.058 thick 4130 that has a flange welded on to it. Vans calls out a 1/4″ aluminum washer U-405 on each side of the axle.

I had decided to go with matco WE-51L which are the light weight version of the WE-51 (straight replacement for the Clevelands). The difference is that they are slightly slimmer than the WE-51 so you need to make up for the 3/8 gap with a spacer. So I made a spacer out of 4130 and slide it on along with the aluminum washer and tighten the nut down. Since these bearings have a integrated grease seal not the washer and felt seal like the clevelands they have a 18-26 lb of drag on the wheel when installed properly. I’m not going into detail in this since the explanation is on their website ( The seal does look like it will keep much more dirt and water out so after much head scratching and installations I have now ok with this set up. I did notice some pretty noticable corrosion in the hub of my cleveland wheel where the felt seal used to be so I guess Matco is correct.

Anyway I installed the brake plate and wheel fairing bracket. Split the wheels install the tubes and tires, packed the bearings and installed the wheels and tightened the nut. I installed the caliper and caliper plate measured marked and cut the brake line and flared a coupling and nut onto the tube and attached it to the caliper. Rinse and repeat for the other side. I then secured the brake lines with nylon tubing as anti-chafe protection and installed the newly painted gearleg fairings. After that I back bled the brakes and they are now nice and tight. I now need to drill a cotter pin hole for the axle nut and that area will be all set.

A side note about bearing drag. I know it sounds bacwards to have have wheel drag while the wheel is off the ground but once you get the airplane on the ground and roll it around it is actually very smoth and not noticable.

Time spent 8 hours
Total time spent 1548 hours

Fabricating the upper horizontal tail fairings

August 12, 2012

Today I took some time to work on the horizontal tail upper fairings. I started by creating the fairings out of poster board then I transferring them over to 0.025 6061-T6 sheet and cut them out with snips an the straight side on the sheet metal shear.

Time spent today 3 hours
Total time spent 1540 hours

Finishing and topcoating the forward belly pan and gear leg fairings

August 11, 2012

Again another two day roll up. I sanded the belly pan smooth and shot the blue onto it. While that was drying I sanded the gear leg fairings after the body putty dried I used the 80 grit to smooth the putty then followed it with 220 and then finally 320 to get it nice and smooth once that was compelete I could see that it successfully filled the pin holes. The next day I shot an other coat of primer on to them and once that was dry I was able to shoot the blue on to them and they came out great.

Time spent 5 hours
Total time spent 1537 hours

Etching priming and painting the forward belly panel/exhaust channel

August 10, 2012

Two day roll up. I brought the belly panel home for etch, prime, and paint. I started off by etch of course which goes pretty quick. Clean with the Eko clean, rinse with fresh water, spray on the eko-etch scrub with scotch brite for atleast 3 min then rise with fresh water let dry. While it was drying I re sanded the gear leg fairings with 80 grit and then shot them with primmer so I could see where the the pin hole are. I then too a long break to continue to let the panel dry. After a several hours I primed the belly panel and gave everything a rest for the evening. The next day I sanded the belly panel smooth and then shot it the blue Eko-poly. I also covered the gear leg fairings with 3m body putty/filler to hopefully get the pin holes filled. I left the vacuum at the airport so I will have to sand those another day since it is such a mess with out it.

Time spent 5 hours
Total time spent 1531 hours

Fabricating top of lower wing root fairings

August 6, 2012

Tonight I spent the evening laying out and fabricating the top pieces of the lower wing root fairings. To custom fit them I layed out some masking tape and every 2 inches I measured over to the side panels. I then plotted that on to some 0.032 sheet and cut it out with my snips. It took a little more trimming but I was able to get both the lower right and lower left tops fab’d by the end of the evening. I also spent some time laying out the lowers but I didn’t cut any metal yet.

Time spent 3 hours
Total time spent 1526 hours

Seat Pan #2

August 1, 2012

Tonight I tackled the second try at the seat pan with much improved results. Last night I had marked the cut dimensions and rough cut the seat out. Today I cut the notches at back of the seat as the drawings show and then folded it over a 3/4″ tube I had clamped to a table. I also cut I then check the fit on the aircraft and drilled and clecoed the aft part of the seat to the aircraft. Then I folded the front of the seat around the front tube and marked the location of where the two connected. I removed everything and drilled and clecoed the front. I trimmmed everything up and checked the fit again with clecos. Once everything looked good I drilled the holes out to #8 size screws and the debured all the edges and filed radiuses into the cut outs and installed the seat with screws to make it removeable if I desired.

Time spent 2 hours
total time spent 1523 hours