Along those lines Van's recently released a kit to install access panels in the forward top skin so that you can gain access to the most forward bay of the instrument panel. While I don't have much for electronics in those bays I do have two voltage regulators, the GEA 24 engine monitor, and a bunch of wires that pass through to the engine compartment. All of those items will require some sort of maintenance at some point. So, I decided to purchase the new kit from Van's and rather than install it in the center bays of top skin, I installed it in the side bay. This is where the majority of the access will be required and its much easier to reach into this area from a side access even if I have to reach over to the middle bay.
Below are a few pictures of the install process...
|Using the tabs provided I clecoed the backing ring to the top of the skin and drew out the two openings to make sure everything would fit nicely.|
|Here is the skin with the cutout completed and the backing ring cleco'd in place.|
|Now I'm getting ready to match drill the screw holes up to the proper size.|
|After a couple of hours of filing, dimpling, and riveting the backing ring is finally installed. If you look through the hole you can see where my backup voltage regulator is installed. Its now much easier to get access to that location.|
|Same hole but looking forward to where my firewall penetration for the wiring bundle will be.|