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Old 08-22-2018, 08:37 AM
j-red j-red is offline
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Lewes, DE
Posts: 365
Default 8/22/18 Update

The cowling is nearly finished! With the engine hung, a whole world of new jobs opens up and this is a big one that needs to be done before all the engine systems installation jobs that will come next.

First up was the front fuselage top skin. There's a lot of staring into the fuselage before starting this to make sure that any little jobs related to the wiring, brakes, etc. are finished. Access is going to be much more difficult after this is done. Assured that all was as finished as it could be, the skin was riveted on.

2.25" spacers cut from pvc pipe hold the spinner disk at the correct location (I sincerely hope!) for the Hartzell propeller. The top cowl was held in place by using a 3/4" thick block of wood cleco'd to the cowl and to the spinner to center it in front and provide the proper 1/4" gap.

The top cowl is held to the firewall with Skybolt fasteners. These are super easy and really make removing and reinstalling the cowl a snap!

I'm going with hinges on the lower cowl except for the very bottom where it meets the firewall on either side of the exhaust. I've riveted some .063 aluminum stock which will get nutplates since I've read of the hinges breaking over time due to vibration in that location.

Aside from riveting the aluminum skin, I've got about 15 hours in the cowl so far. The side parting lines have been trimmed on top and bottom and tomorrow I'll start on the long hinges that connect the two cowl halves together on the sides. This part of the build really has been fun, and I'm pleasantly surprised at how well it looks and how easily it's gone together. I don't at all relish the thought of all the filling, shaping and sanding that's going to be required though, especially around the inlets...
Rebuilt RV-6A N94CR
RV-8 N803DR completed, flying.
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Old 08-22-2018, 06:33 PM
F1Boss's Avatar
F1Boss F1Boss is offline
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Taylor Texas
Posts: 847
Default You're not quite done with that cowling

Round inlets, Amigo. It's a 'pay me now or pay me later' sort of thing. I fought temps for almost 9 years (head as hard as granite!) then put on the round inlets. It's like a MIRACLE happened. No other changes; no speed loss - tho that is still a secret.

Your oil cooler will also thank you.

Once you get those inlets in place, you will find your outlet getting smaller and smaller...

DanH can coach you thru the process...unless your head is as hard as mine....

"Not everyone needs a Rocket. Some folks, however, shouldn't live life without one.
You know who you are."
Budd Davisson, 1997
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Old 08-23-2018, 04:14 PM
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dwrichey dwrichey is offline
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Reedley, California
Posts: 85

Round inlets are NOT needed for good engine cooling. My RV-8A has an IO-360 with high compression pistons, and stock Van's delivered oil cooler. Cylinders in cruise range from 340 to 358 degrees, never reach 400, even in climb, with oil temps in the 180 to 195 degree range. Just sayin'. Round may be slightly faster, that's another story, but not absolutely necessary for adequate cooling.
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Old 08-31-2018, 09:25 AM
j-red j-red is offline
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Lewes, DE
Posts: 365
Default 8/30/18 Update

Cowling is structurally pretty much done. I've got a dreadful lot of filling, sanding, and sealing to do yet but it is done enough to move onto other more enjoyable things.

I fabbed up a hidden hinge that worked fine, but had more flex on the hinge side than I liked. I just couldn't bring myself to spend $50 to buy the currently marketed one, so I went with the plans based piano hinge method. It works perfectly and looks fine. Could have saved two hours of work doing it this way to begin with. Picture is of my cobbled-together hinge. The cutoff piece of the cowl will be bonded to the door for stiffening.

Next, I started on the baffle kit. I understand the need to have a single baffle kit that fits every airframe and that the 8 has a distinctively different cowl than the others due to the width of the cabin. All considered, it's a good starting point, but those instructions.... without the help of online kit-logs I may have never figured it out!

Five hours over two days and most of the big pieces were in place.

The next day, I finished out a few angle brackets in the center section and then jigged up the top cowl a fixed distance above the lower. A sharpie fastened to a popsicle stick that same distance was used to transcribe the shape of the top cowl onto the baffles. Two colors in alternate turns were used, and the cut made between the lines just to be safe. Testing the top cowl after reveals a nearly perfect fit aside from the back two corners which will need to be trimmed some more. Tomorrow, I'll get out the paperclips and get the gap fixed at 1/2" all around.

*Final note: I love the Skybolt fasteners on the top, but boy am I glad that they were ONLY used on the top cowl!!! The baffles require installing and removing the lower cowl about a thousand times, and the hinge pins are so quick and easy when it comes to holding the cowl with one hand and fixing it in place with the other. YMMV
Rebuilt RV-6A N94CR
RV-8 N803DR completed, flying.
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Old 09-17-2018, 08:42 AM
j-red j-red is offline
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Lewes, DE
Posts: 365
Default N Number Reserved 9/17/18

Lots of work has been happening resulting in the baffles, vertical air intake housing (snorkel), and windscreen attachment/fairing all being very near completion. Will post pictures when they are finished which should be toward the end of this week.

Update today is that I've officially reserved the number N801DR, and begun getting paperwork together to be sent off to the FAA for registration. EAA says to do this 3-6 months out in case of any delays. I'm really hoping to have the airworthiness inspection sometime in January/February, which means that this is just about the time to start all that.

Goal by the end of October is to have the fuselage ready to take to the Hangar. This will mean:
  • Prop hung and spinner fitted
  • Cowl joints and "gaps" filled and sanded including oil door recess
  • Horizontal cowl pin securement (is that a word?) figured out and completed
  • Fuel and oil hose fabrication/installation
  • CPI ignition system installation
  • Slick harness modification for auto plugs (ala G3i instructions)
  • Engine monitoring sensors/wiring completed including starter, alternator, and engine grounding cables.

Pretty aggressive schedule, but I've been getting 2-3 hours work done 6 mornings a week, so I believe it is do-able.
Rebuilt RV-6A N94CR
RV-8 N803DR completed, flying.

Last edited by j-red : 09-17-2018 at 08:46 AM.
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Old 10-05-2018, 09:39 PM
j-red j-red is offline
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Lewes, DE
Posts: 365
Default Major Update: September 2018 progress

Lots of progress made here over the past month. It seemed like a dozen different projects were in process at once. This had its benefits. For one, when cowl/baffle work got tedious, it was possible to divert for a few days and still make progress but stay fresh.

Eventually, those baffles got done, though. Wow. Just wow. The center section was particularly challenging. It started with bonding in the upper cowl ramps and then closing them off inside. Used some foam to create the shape and then stabilized it with micro. The whole area was finished with about 6 layers of glass, and sanded smooth. Made what I thought would be a nice smooth transition for the baffle seal material to follow.

My conclusion is that perhaps doing all of the baffle and seal work BEFORE installing those ramps might have been the better way to go. It seems that perhaps it would have been easier to get the baffles to seal against the top of the cowling in the center front area instead of against the ramps. The downside would be that the ramps would have then had to be narrowed significantly and perhaps wouldn't allow for smooth airflow.

Anyway, after a few days of making paper templates, followed by a few more days of throwing away good rubber seal material, the baffles are now complete and fit really nicely with no gaps!

Of course, that is to bypass about a week worth of work on the air box assembly. So thankful that this was such a nice fit and didn't require cutting and pasting like some others have. It was nice to start getting some of the engine accessories out of the boxes that they've been in for several months now. Each new part, like the fuel servo, seems like an individual ray of light shining toward the end of the tunnel. Of course, it also meant studying up on the fuel system and anticipating fuel line needs, ordering new fittings, etc.

Another major project was finished that really starts to give the plane a finished look: the windscreen. I had been delaying this, knowing that it would be a big project and being somewhat afraid of fiberglass work. Turns out, it was much more enjoyable and went together more straightforwardly than I expected.
The windscreen was first glued to the roll bar and top skin with Sika Flex adhesive. Spacers were used to get the matchup right between the rear canopy and the windscreen and Sika used to fill the gaps between.

Then, after careful taping to define the area, a fillet of micro was built up around the front skin joint, followed by 6-10 layers of glass nd epoxy blackened with compatible dye

Peel ply removed, and sanding begins... Several iterations of filling and sanding, and it was good enough to shoot with some primer.

Peeled the tape off, and am really pleased with how it turned out. Nice even transition all the way around.
Rebuilt RV-6A N94CR
RV-8 N803DR completed, flying.
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Old 10-05-2018, 10:19 PM
j-red j-red is offline
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Lewes, DE
Posts: 365
Default Sept 2018 Cont....

Front baggage door has been finished, as evidenced by the last photo. The top skin had been riveted in place, but the locking mechanism was absent, and the interior skin had not been riveted yet. Not easy to locate those blocks and keep things tight, but managed to do it without having to crawl into the abyss and drill them from the inside.
The lock is nice and tight and, the fit around the firewall side is excellent. The canopy side is just slightly off, but hardly noticeable and there was no tweak that seemed to make any difference. Overall, I'm content with it.

Finished it off with a spring for holding it in the open position. Picked it up at West Marine as they're made for boat hatches. Light weight and works great.

Aside from a little big more cowl work, most of the remainder of the month was spent on FWF systems.

Here is a pic of the process of installing the flywheel magnets for the CPI ignition pickup. Dirt simple due to the jig they send along with the kit.

I didn't take any photos, but the pickup and coil were both installed on the engine, and the "brain" box in the cabin area. I will get some photos of this, because it was mounted on a swing-down bracket so that it would be accessible in the early stages of test flying, or whenever necessary for checks/experiments/inspections but out of the way during normal flying. The unit is held out of the way by a simple hinge pin and can be removed/reinstalled by feel by reaching underneath the panel.
You can see in the photo of the baffles that the spark plug wires were cut to length and fitted with the included MSD super conductor ends. These were secured along with the fuel spider lines using a series of Adel clamps securing them to the pushrod tubes.

Another fun milestone: All of the control cables are now installed and working. It's possible to sit inside and push levers and have them do what they were put there to do!
Prop governor was the first to be installed. This one was easy. Vans instructions and bracket were spot on, and it was the only one of the major cable connections that didn't require custom work (due to the superior sump).

The superior sump has a mounting boss in a different location than the Lycoming sump would have. After considering a LOT of options on here, I saw a way to extend the mounting area by using a steel plate bolted into the original bosses and attaching the Vans provided throttle bracket to it.

The advantage of connecting it this way is that no extension or additional parts were needed for the cable to servo connection.

Mixture cable was attached using the Vans bellcrank with the typical modifications for the protruding drain plug on the superior sump. The plug was ground down and the bracket as well, then a support welded onto the front side of the bracket.

No Photos of the following work:
-Assembled custom stainless braided PTFE fuel and oil hoses finished in firesleeve.
-Manifold pressure bulkhead fitting installed in firewall, and cable made to connect with #1 cyl.
-Fuel and oil pressure transducers installed and hoses assembled/installed.
-Oil cooler installed to rear #4 baffle, and hoses connected to engine accessory case ports.
-90 degree oil filter adapter and spacer installed.

Still a fair bit to do, but it looks like we're still on track to move the fuselage to the airport at the end of October.
Rebuilt RV-6A N94CR
RV-8 N803DR completed, flying.
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Old 10-06-2018, 12:02 PM
RV7ForMe RV7ForMe is offline
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Europe
Posts: 647

You are moving really fast. I am super sloooow builder. I like all of your pictures of the FWF stuff coming together. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 11-05-2018, 09:38 AM
j-red j-red is offline
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Lewes, DE
Posts: 365
Default 11/05/18 Update

My exhaust came in from Vetterman's a few weeks ago, and was installed in about 4 hours total. Went with the four pipe straight exhaust with downturned tips. Can't wait to hear how it sounds!

The heat muff wasn't too challenging.

And having the exhaust in place allowed me to install the EGT and CHT sensors then finally tie up all the FWF wiring! There are officially no more wires to run except in the wings which will connect up to the fuselage via molex connectors.

Prop was installed and the spinner fitted a couple of weeks ago. I bought the AntiSplat wrench for this job and really debated before getting it about whether $60 for a wrench was worth it. It absolutely is. Made installing the prop by myself a breeze! Ok, maybe it wasn't a breeze (I forgot to clock it properly on the hub and had to take it back off and turn it one lug then reinstall...), but it was way easier than it could have been.

Word of caution: I used the prescribed spacers when fitting the cowl and the gap is pretty tight! I've got about between 1/16th and 1/8th of an inch all the way around, so some adjustments are probably going to have to be made.

Before painting the baggage compartment panels, I heeded the advice of many on the forum and cut an access panel into the rear shelf so that the battery can be accessed quickly. Pretty easy one-morning job.

Rebuilt RV-6A N94CR
RV-8 N803DR completed, flying.

Last edited by j-red : 11-05-2018 at 09:41 AM.
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Old 11-05-2018, 09:39 AM
j-red j-red is offline
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Lewes, DE
Posts: 365
Default 11/05/18 Update Cont.

If I never sand a piece of fiberglass in my life, it will be too soon!
We?ve had some warm days recently, so the opportunity was taken to do some priming and painting. This required filling the weave of the cowling with several skin coats of micro followed by sanding, then thinned epoxy, followed by sanding, and then epoxy primer and, you guessed it, more sanding. Really disappointed in the color coat. I?ll probably need to have a professional re-do it in the future, but for now it will have to do.

The rest of the plane will be polished with some vinyl touches. In order to keep some weight on the tail and get the canopy out of the way, the rear fuselage was polished and canopy reinstalled.

The baggage compartment panels were unpainted when I purchased the kit, but most of the rest of the interior was. Had the paint store color match the interior and shot the remaining panels with epoxy primer followed by a single stage PPG automotive product. Unlike the blue, they turned out great. Very important for baggage compartment panels... ��

Before they could go in, I had to run the xpndr antenna coax (a Dynon remote xpndr will eventually be installed in the baggage area but I don?t have the money for it right now... figured it won?t need it for the first 40 hours anyway around here, but the wiring and antenna will be ready and waiting when the time comes.), and the elt remote control cable. Those being done, my daughter came out today and helped me rivet in the rear floor panels and bottom baggage compartment panel. She is a very crafty person and loves to help.
Rebuilt RV-6A N94CR
RV-8 N803DR completed, flying.
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