Monday, January 14, 2019

Out of band but fun

I did a little flying yesterday and thought I would post a few pictures of the flight that I think were pretty cool.

View from the lead ship (Jeff).  Mountains are beautiful with a fresh blanket of snow.

View from my passenger's (Steve) perspective looking up at the formation.

Jeff and his RV-7A

Bob and his Super RV-8 (Super means big 6 cylinder engine)

Harry and Angelina in Harry's Harmon Rocket II (another big engine RV...ish)

Friday, January 11, 2019

Plodding along on Section 29

So far section 29 has been pretty fun.  Nothing critical yet, just some therapeutic edge dressing, deburring, dimpling, cleco-ing, final drilling, bending, and a few parts that need to be fabricated.   I've also started planning and purchasing parts I need to build the fuselage stand that will be the home of this part of the build for a while.  Not much to report on that one yet but soon.

First iteration of design for the fuselage stand.  High tech here!

Bending the left mid section side skin.  That wooden brace is made out of solid oak and was a bit of a pain to cut on my table saw.  However it seems to have done the job nicely as these bends came out pretty good.

Left side mid fuselage skin as I was finishing up the bending process.  You can see where the baggage door is if you look at the "dotted line".

I took this picture because these are the new stainless steel heater valves that I purchased from Aircraft spruce.  There is supposed to be a round flange on the open hole you see there.  I took this as proof for the replacement process.  I decided to go with stainless steel instead of the aluminum version that Van's provides.  In the unlikely event of an engine fire in flight this will help prevent that fire from coming in to the cabin.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Section 28 complete

Since Christmas and New Years is filled with distractions and family and lots of other good things I am happy to say that I was able to finish Section 28 during this time.  Now its on to section 29 which has been known to be a bit frustrating to some.  I'm looking forward to it since at the end of this section I will have completed most of the major metal work on this airplane.

Christmas season is supposed to be about many things, one of which is giving and this year somebody decided that taking was more in their line of desires.  Yes there is more to the story...  As you will both remember I had to order some new parts to finish the engine install.  Well those parts arrived on Christmas eve and sat for almost 5 minutes on our porch before some bitch drove up and decided she needed the 5 boxes on our porch more that we did.  Got a great video of her helping herself to our packages but of course nothing identifiable is visible so this will just get chalked up to out of pocket expenses.  Sometimes humanity really sucks.

Anyway with lots of family time and a few flights with friends I have to admit that this Christmas was very good.  Now on with the pictures.

Beautiful Christmas decorations.  Amy and the kids always try to color coordinate the presents even!

One of the "flights with friends"...

There is supposed to be a shim where you see that gap but unfortunately the shim would not fit.  I ended up tapering the shim on the belt sander and with a file to make it fit.  Then I had to match drill from the side skins into this steel gear weldment.  

Here it is with section 28 almost done.  I think at this point I still had a couple of rivets to set as well as removing the gear weldments for deburring.

Front side of the firewall with the fuel supply and return line fittings installed.  Note that these are steel fittings instead of the aluminum fittings Van's supplies.  This is courtesy of my friend Harry who has seen the aluminum fittings fail when attached to an engine that shakes like a wet dog at times.

Brake lines installed.

Aft end of the tunnel where the brakes lines and fuel supply/return lines turn and head out toward the wings.

And finally outboard look in at the brake line, fuel return and fuel supply lines.  Oh, and two ear plugs!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Back to the fuselage

This week I have managed to get back to working on the fuselage.  After last weeks frustration with the engine I am happy to be back working on something different.  As you will see by the pictures below the forward part of the fuselage is coming along nicely.  Its almost time to mate up the front and back halves of the forward fuselage.  Once that happens things are going to get pretty tight in the smaller side of the garage.



The entire forward section of the fuselage bolted together for final drilling.  That means its all coming back apart again for dimpling, deburring and countersinking as needed.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

A week of engine work...and a little frustration..imagine that

I spent the entire week working on this engine and as of this evening its close to being done enough that I can get back to work on the fuselage.  However, and there always seems to be one of those, I am very frustrated with the engine right now.  Let me tell you a story... part of it you have probably heard already.

Remember a couple of years ago I took my engine over to Avian to have it overhauled?  Well that story keeps on coming.  This time I can't put all the blame on them because I could have prevented this as well if I had done a lot more research.  Anyway, when I dropped the engine off I asked them to convert it from an O-540 B2B5 to an O-540 D4A5.  My research at the time indicated that the only major difference was the counterweights in the crankshaft which makes sense because the B2B5 is a lower horsepower engine.  I wont rehash the horrible situation I had with the owner of that company but I mention this only because they are not an option to fix the problem I ran into this weekend.  As it turns out there is one other major difference between the two engines...the B2B5 does not have the internals to run a constant speed propeller!  What?!?  I didn't even know that was an option on the 540!  So at first this was a disaster for me since I expected the crankshaft was solid and it wasn't even an option to do a constant speed prop.  After doing a little research I found that the crankshaft will indeed work for a constant speed prop and that all I have to do is replace about $1000 worth of parts.  Oh...that and completely disassemble the engine and start all over again.   Frustrating!!!!  So you are probably wondering why I mentioned Avian in the beginning?  Well I was hoping/expecting them to make all changes needed inside the case to convert it to a D4A5 and in fact they did give me a new logbook that says its a D4A5. 

I'm not going to disassemble the engine so I decided to finish up assembling the various parts so I can preserve it while I decide what to do next.  My current thought is I will have a mechanic tear it down and replace the parts.  Its not a hard job but getting down into the internals of the case makes me nervous so I would rather have somebody who knows what they are doing do that part.  Or maybe I will sell the darn thing and buy a new engine from Van's.  Not likely on that option because I have all the things I want in this engine and I'm still about $15,000 less out of pocket.  One final option I have is to install a fixed pitch Catto 3 blade prop.  I've heard of other guys who do this and love it but I don't think I will go that way.  The constant speed prop just gives me so much more takeoff power and with the gross weight this airplane will carry I think thats pretty important.

Anyway, here is what it looks like as of this evening.  The pushrods are installed in the tubes but they are not yet gapped properly.  The screws on the valve covers are just tight enough to keep the covers on and the oil inside but I did not torque those.  I also did not torque the accessory case cover bolts or the sump bolts.  These will all have to come back off.  I did torque the cylinders on though because Lycoming wants these bolts torqued at all times.  I've heard it has to do with case stresses and I've also heard it prevents main bearings from slipping when you rotate the engine.  I don't know if either or both of these are true but regardless the cylinders are torqued on.

See that little flat circle in the middle of this photo?  There should be a gear spline there for the prop governor...that was my first indication that things weren't going well.

I have some exhaust port covers that need 2" o-rings (on order).  Once those are on and the oil drain back tubes are installed I will be ready to fill this thing up with oil for storage.


Friday, December 7, 2018

Engine assembly - the beginnings

I received the sump I shipped to Divco for repair in the past week or two so I decided it was time to start assembling the engine.  I have it covered in plastic with a can of desiccant in the bag to prevent corrosion but I would feel much more comfortable if I knew it were filled with oil.  Once the cylinders are on and all external openings are plugged I can make that happen.

First up was to install the idler gears that set the timing between the crank and the cam.  This turned out to be pretty simple...once I found the marks that help with the alignment.  The Lycoming overhaul manual is definitely written expecting you to have lots of experience with these engines.

Next up is getting the cylinder assembled and installed on the engine block which is almost half done at this point.  I ran into a bit of a snag after installing and torquing all 6 cylinders.  When the accessory case is installed there is about a half inch of gasket that sticks down below where the oil sump mating surface is.  You are supposed to trim this excess off with a razor blade and then install the sump.  During my trimming process I managed to "flip" one of the cut ends into the one small opening that would allow it to fall into the case...the just completely sealed case.  I had to remove one cylinder to get access and in the process of trying to finesse the gasket scrap out I managed to nudge it just enough to where it dropped into another hole that I am really struggling to access.  I've tried lock wire, vacuum, cussing (because that always helps) and nothing has succeeded in making that scrap come out.  I'm not going to split the case so I decided to call it a night and think about it a bit.

Unfortunately for the blog this is a rather messy oily process so I didn't take many pictures.


This is the basic setup for installing the pistons in the cylinders.  The cylinder is sticking out of the plastic bag with the piston, rings, and gaskets sitting beside it.

Its hard to see in this picture but deep down in the barrel of the cylinder is one of the piston rings.  Each ring has to be checked for proper gap at a couple of different positions due to the chocked barrel design of these engines.  If you look at the very top of the ring you can see the gap is pretty small down there but has to be a minimum of .0075".  Fortunately all 12 of the compression rings were perfectly gapped.  The 6 oil scavenging rings all needed to be adjusted which was fun...

And once the gaping is complete, rings installed and cylinder barrel oiled its time to slide the piston pin into the piston and slip the who assembly into the barrel.  
Here are all 6 cylinders installed and torqued.  Unfortunately I had to remove the bottom one on the right (#2) to try and get access to that scrap of gasket material I was mentioning.

This is the inter-cylinder area.  I took this picture because I want to make a few modifications to the inter-cylinder baffles.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Section 28

I am finished with section 27 which is the Firewall section.  There are still a few things to do such as the heater boxes need to be bolted on but I'm still thinking I might buy some stainless steel boxes to replace the aluminum version's that Vans includes in the kit.  Still not sure on that one but in any case its just a quick bolt on.

I jumped ahead a bit to the brakes section.  The plans tell you that its ok to jump ahead and do the brake lines that run down the tunnel at this time so I went ahead and started that process.  It reminded me of why I went with braided lines for the 9A...bending tubing is a bit of a bugger!  I got one side done but will likely redo it as I'm not 100% happy with the way it turned out.

Lastly I got my sump back from Divco last week.  I primed it this weekend and I now have everything I need to assemble the engine.  My only hold back is that once its assembled its going to be pretty darn big and I'm running out of room to store stuff! 

In my office I have a huge box with windows, the overhead console and the center console as well as a few odds and ends.  In the work area of the garage I have the instrument panel, the various pieces of the fuselage, and who knows what else...its getting tight!

Oh yea, I forgot that I had drilled the cotter pin holes in the two wheel pant standoffs that I turned last week...I had to buy a centering jig and then find a way to "clamp" it to the standoff.  A hose-clamp worked out nicely.

Right down the center of the hole!

Lots of RV-10 parts sitting in my office waiting their chance to get installed. 

Firewall all cleco'd together with Firebarrier 2000+ (the grey stuff) to prevent any carbon monoxide gases from getting into the cabin.

Same thing, other side.

New parking brake mount installed. (the black part on the left side of the photo.  This is the part I created with my CNC.
Here is the parking brake valve installed and the left side brake line attached.  I still need one more fitting for the right side brake line and that should arrive later this week from Aircraft Spruce.