September 16, 2012
So today I finished the final inspection. After words I did some more taxi tests to make sure everything was rigged right and the tail wheel responds the way I wanted it to do. This was also to double check the brakes were working well. I decided I wanted to make sure the engine ran well even up in the higher RPM area but the brakes barely hold the plane at 1800 RPM so I decided to tie the tail spring to a tie down ring and do a high power run up. After the engine had time to warm up about 10 min I did some leaning and mag checks (50 RPM mag drops!) I ran the engine at full power for about 5 min straight. At full throttle I was able to get 2450 RPM steady. So she has a lot of pull. I also checked to make sure the fuel valve, if turned off during the run, adaquately killed the engine, the answer is yes it does. I also did some acceleration testing on the engine to make sure if I poured on the throttle it would respond quickly with out any hessitation and it does this well too.
Time spent today 5 hours
Total Time spent 1635 hours.
September 12, 2012
Today and yesterday I spent most of the day running through the appendix D of the FAR 43 checking and double checking my plane for airworthiness. I also had an A&P IA come by and take a look for a few hours to see if I missed anything. I had a few issues mostly with wire routings and but he didn’t see any major things. He had me put a large washer on the outside of my throttle and mixture rod ends (good catch). And I also had a slightly loose upper wing Istrut bolt (you could spin the washer but the bolt was snug) So I went back and checked all those bolts. I went down the route of torque striping all the controls and he mentioned that I had gone down a slippery slope so basically everything needed to be torque striped. I also had to take the belly pan off so that I could safety wire the gascolator.
Time spent 10 hours
Total time spent 1630 hours
September 9, 2012
This is a numerous day roll up. The last several days I have been prepping for the aircraft weighing. Simply installing the panels is several hour ordeal. Between friday evening, saturday morning and all sunday I was able to get all the panels, fairings, cowling, and canopy on to the plane and fitting correctly. With the aircraft level I drained all I could from the fuel from the level attitude from the gascolator so that I would get the unusable fuel. I also installed the wheel pants. With the aircraft level I used a plumb bob to get the arm location of the main wheel and tail wheel. Using the forward leading edge as 65.05″ datum my main gear was at 52.55″ and my tail wheel was at 193.63″. After I was completely satisfied I pulled out my aircraft scales and pushed the aircraft up on to the scales and checked the level. The total empty weight of the aircraft was 830 lb. This is much heavier than I had hoped but If I install the Aerovoltz battery that will bring me down to 819 Which is pretty good.
Monday through Wednesday I spend several evenings getting the Pitot Static system leak checked. Originally I had pretty good sized leak on both the pitot and static lines. Monday brought several hours of chasing a leak in the Pitot line. I used the FAA suggested technique of attaching a surgical tube to the pitot tube and rolling it up to bring the airspeed up to cruise speed. So i brought it up to 160 MPH. Originally It pretty much flopped right back to 0 MPH. After I sealed the threads on the Pitot tube it has a very small leak of 2.5 MPH per minute. There is no FAA regulation so the acceptable leak but from best practices I see that 10% of the cruise speed per min is typically adopted that would be 16.0 MPH/Min so I am more then within that. Next Is the altimeter. I had to Tee into the the Static line and used the FAA technique of rolling up a tube then attaching it and letting it out till I got 1000 ft above field then timed the leak down. At first it leaked pretty bad but after I sealed the threads at the Pitot tube it held the altitude to 125 ft/min. Which at this point I am calling acceptable since this aircraft is VFR-Day only. If I was flying IFR I would think differently.
I also ran the engine again for about 15 minutes with the cowling on. After that I will remove all the cowlings for the final inspection.
Time spent 30 hours
Total time spent 1620 hours
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.
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 (http://static.veracart.com/matco/item_pdfs/3649/document1.pdf) 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