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Old 02-19-2019, 07:39 PM
iamtheari iamtheari is offline
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: ND
Posts: 576
Default Crack in F-01447 baggage floor - what to do?

I'm working on the window. That seems to be going okay, but one step involves marking from the inside where the roll bar brace brackets interfere with the aft edge of the plexiglass so you can trim it to fit. I did that step and it all went well, but I was not 100% happy with the centering of the window, so I did the whole thing over again. In my second attempt, I was kneeling on a stack of towels on the baggage floor and felt something give.

The result is a dent in the F-01447-L baggage floor just behind the hole where the rudder cable passes through and a crack from the inside corner up to a point next to (but as far as I can tell, not intersection) the rivet on the innermost of the K1000-08D nutplates. Pictured below with lots of bright light to make it look as bad as possible. The dent is enough that the F-01440 seat ramp has a slight gap in between that nutplate and the next one outboard, but it's not very bad.

I am worried about the crack. All advice is welcome. Replacing the baggage floor, while technically possible, would be a real headache because it would also require removal of the baggage side walls and rebuilding of the seat bottom hinges, plus about 10,000 LP4-3 rivets, 4,000 nutplates, miscellaneous other work like redoing the baggage tie-downs, and painting the interior on that side all over again. But if replacing it is the right thing to do, it's just a few dollars in parts and a few dozen hours of lost time.

Here's my shame, bare for all to see:

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Old 02-19-2019, 07:47 PM
bkervaski's Avatar
bkervaski bkervaski is offline
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Birmingham, Alabama
Posts: 1,869


That piece is going to be held in place with the cover panels and screws. I would probably stop drill the crack so it doesn't go any further and build on.

But no expert here, curious what others have to say.
RV-14A #140376
N196 (Flying)
2019 Bronze Lindy
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Old 02-19-2019, 07:59 PM
iamtheari iamtheari is offline
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: ND
Posts: 576

Originally Posted by bkervaski View Post

That piece is going to be held in place with the cover panels and screws. I would probably stop drill the crack so it doesn't go any further and build on.

But no expert here, curious what others have to say.
Yeah, the original title of my thread was "the plexiglass isn't the only thing you can break in section 38" but I figured that wouldn't convey that I need help with a cracked baggage floor, of all things. I'm hoping I can get enough advice to make an intelligent decision going forward. One thing about this is that whatever the fix is will not be any harder to do after building the canopy than before, so I can let it sit for a little while until I figure out what to do. Mostly I just can't proseal the rear window in until after I figure it out.

I was thinking more about what else is riveted to that floor and the baggage floor splice is another 40,000 LP4-3 rivets to deal with. In case it's not clear from my slightly exaggerated rivet counts, the 5.7 hours (which seemed like 570) that I spent pulling rivets on the baggage floors and side walls was one of the least fun days in the build so far, and I had the plane on its side for that so it was probably easier than it would be to re-do from above.

It's very aggravating, although I'm building an airplane and my day job is also pretty high-aggravation, so this kind of mistake is barely above the noise floor for me. Here's hoping the fix ends up being something like "massage it back to flat, stop drill the crack, and spray paint on it until you forget it's there."
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Old 02-19-2019, 08:29 PM
mountainride mountainride is offline
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Golden, Colorado
Posts: 58

Ughh, I made this mistake too when getting in and out of the airplane without the cover plates screwed in. It really bothered me but I came up with a fix that leaves it stronger than it ever would have been without adding much weight. The rudder cables are right there so I believe having a brace makes sense for an obviously vulnerable part.

I had a very small crack forming. I stop drilled it using a #61.

I drilled out the nut plate and then fabricated a .025 backer piece. I used a 3/8 drill bit to radius the turns and cut the piece on my bandsaw. I bent the flanges on the backer plate using a handseamer and then clecoed it in place a little bit oversized. The backer piece is tied into the floor, the front of the floor and the bulkhead with lp4-3 rivets. Everything was match drilled and the nutplate holes dimpled. Trimmed the backer plate to size around the match drilled holes and clearing the hole for the rudder cable. Re-riveted the nutplate behind the backer piece and set the pop rivets. Once it was all done I put a dab of jb weld on that I will file later so the crack is not visible after paint. Anyways it really bothers me but will be hidden by the cover plate anyways and at least I don't have to worry about it cracking any further in the future! I built one for the other side and installed it at the same time.

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Last edited by mountainride : 02-19-2019 at 08:58 PM.
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Old 02-20-2019, 10:52 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Fresno to Bakersfield
Posts: 124
Red face Me too

Yep. Same thing only on the out board side of the cable pass. We all seem to at one time or another have a lapse in focus when doing something routine. Step carefully from now on and only on structure is my plan. I can't seem to figure out how to post pics. If interested, PM me with a email and I'll share how I fixed it. stop drilled and pull riveted a doubler. Once the rest of the panels are in place it should be plenty solid going forward:
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Old 02-20-2019, 04:26 PM
JHartline JHartline is offline
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Carrollton, GA 5GA2
Posts: 288
Default A suggestion

I noticed my floorboards were getting stressed in those same spots. I know it?s a pain but I installed the access covers and secured the screws (especially around those spots) whenever I was going to be working around the interior. Then put padding on top of that. I believe it spreads the stresses out enough to prevent the cracking. If that isn?t feasible I put plywood down and then padding.
James Hartline
Carrollton, GA 5GA2
RV-14 - First flight 4/7/2019. Phase I complete as of 9/11/2019!!
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Old 02-20-2019, 04:35 PM
azflyer21 azflyer21 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: Scottsdale AZ
Posts: 284

I too put a piece of plywood on the floorboard to help disperse the weight. Thanks for the heads-up, I will definitely be a little more careful.
Kevin Lippert
RV-14A N1402 Flying 03-2020
Phase 1 Complete 07-12-2020
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Old 02-21-2019, 01:06 PM
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JonJay JonJay is offline
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Battleground
Posts: 4,348

I agree with bkervaski. Any repair I can think of would involve either removal of the baggage floor entirely, or perhaps a cut out and patch with blind rivets. Regardless, it would be a significant amount of work and unless you refab the entire floor, and might not be the best looking repair.
You might be able to slide in a doubler underneath, but the crack is close to the corner radius and you may not have enough shoulder on the doubler to do much good.
I would stop drill this and keep an eye on it to insure the crack does not continue.
Smart People do Stupid things all the time. I know, I've seen me do'em.

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Old 02-23-2019, 04:07 PM
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HAL Pilot HAL Pilot is offline
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Las Vegas NV
Posts: 300

Silly Question

Does Vans know about the issue? They might want to create a Mod for that section.

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Old 02-26-2019, 09:36 PM
Stockmanreef Stockmanreef is offline
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Midland, mi
Posts: 963

I had the same thing happen. Put a board in there after I discovered the issue to prevent more damage. I then stop drilled the crack. I will worry about it more if it gets worse. I am hoping that the top covering keeps things in check.

this should be posted in the "gotcha's" section.
Ken Stockman
Midland, MI
EAA Chapter 1093 member

FaceBook Page: Ken's RV-14
RV-14a (serial number 140073)

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