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  #1  
Old 08-15-2022, 09:37 AM
bmarvel's Avatar
bmarvel bmarvel is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Grand Junction, CO
Posts: 116
Default 1000 Hour Report on -14A Full Build

LONG POST

I thought those of you now flying RV-14s would appreciate a peek into your possible future and those still building are always in need of motivation. This is some feedback on our passing 1000 flight hours in the -14A I first flew on September 8, 2016. For those short on time, here’s a quick summary – I plan to die of old age owning this airplane!

BACKGROUND: We decided to build a -14A on December 31, 2013. Our -8A Quick Build had been a great airplane for the 1700 hours we put on it but the 2006 move from California to Colorado introduced something called winter and that back seat was both cold and devoid of instruments.

We started construction in March 2014 in our garage here in Grand Junction, making the project Job One and worked on it almost full time. Building progress was fast as the plans were far more complete than had been the -8A version. The full-build kit morphed from first crate to first flight in two years and four months. I would have opted for the Quick Build but it was not yet available for our airplane, serial number 140134.

We’ve been to 18,000 feet in it several times and taking off at 10,000 feet density altitude is not a problem. It meets our mission of long-distance travel perfectly. With both of us, full fuel and 100 pounds of bags, the plane is still below gross weight.

We installed the recommended Lycoming IO-390 engine and Hartzell constant speed prop. The panel is fully coupled IFR with mostly Dynon avionics. It also has a Garmin GTN 650 and a Grand Rapids Mini B back-up EFIS. We have a single alternator, one battery and dual P-Mags. Both Dynon displays and the Grand Rapids Mini B have their own internal batteries. We deem that sufficient redundancy for our flying. I hesitate to say it given 2022 prices, but we built the entire airplane, including paint, interior, new engine/prop and IFR avionics for $135,000. Paint and seats were hired out but we did everything else ourselves.

Much of our flying is between 12,500 and 14,500 feet. With over 600 peaks above 13,000 feet here in Colorado, long duration lower altitude flying is only possible after getting away from the high country. I flight plan for 165 knots TAS at 8 GPH cruise fuel burn and 57% power. Cruise is with full throttle and 2400 RPM with the “big pull” used to set the mixture LOP at my desired 8 GPH flow rate. Oil consumption is 11-12 hours per quart. Cruise CHTs range from the mid-300s in summer to the high 200s and low 300s in winter. Compression has been consistently in the mid-70s. Oil is normally around 190F but in climb will go to 210 for a while. I send in oil samples every 50 hours when I change oil and filter and all reports to date have been normal. Phillips 20W50 is my preferred oil.

We’ve owned several airplanes over the past 43 years, including a 1976 Grumman Tiger we flew for 5000 hours and 30 years. That was a great airplane but not one of them approaches the speed, economy, range, load carrying ability and high-altitude performance of our -14A.

With 1000 hours on the tach, here’s what my maintenance logbooks show:

PROP: Starting at maybe 700 or so hours, I began to notice a very slight spray of oil on the canopy after landing. It was almost invisible, but I checked the engine periodically for any tiny oil leaks since I remove the cowl each 25 hours. The source was not obvious but seemed to be toward the front of the engine, like maybe the prop seal. Further investigation over quite a few flights led me to look more carefully at the prop itself. I noted a small amount of grease on the inside of the spinner and what looked like a very thin coat of oil on the back sides of the prop blades near the hub/blade junctions. I wondered if Hartzell’s caution not to overdo greasing the hub zerks each 100 hours was involved. I had followed the prop manual explicitly in doing this so I called both a local prop shop and Hartzell. Both said this “grease spitting” was occurring frequently with Aeroshell 6 grease that was breaking down and releasing a very thin oil that is part of its makeup and this was the source of my problem. That is why I initially saw it as oil and not grease and looked at the engine. The recommended replacement grease now being used by Hartzell during manufacture is not compatible with Aeroshell 6 so there were two options. Live with it or have the prop disassembled, cleaned and the new grease used for buildup. Because I was at the 5-year point, I opted to have the prop overhauled and then rebuilt with the new product installed. That solved the problem and is the only one I have had with the propeller.

ENGINE: Our IO-390 is the Experimental version built by Lycoming (YIO-390-EXP 10). It originally came with two mags and I opted right away to remove the non-impulse mag and replace it with a P-Mag. That way I could still start on either the mag or P-Mag. I wanted to see how reliable the P-Mag was, since I had never flown with one previously. That’s why I opted to keep one of the original magnetos, which I trusted and have flown behind for over 50 years. Here’s the list:

200 Replaced the intake riser gaskets on the number 2 and 4 cylinders after I noted fuel staining.

350 I read the VAF posts on setting P-Mag timing at 5 degrees ATDC instead of at TDC. I did this to be on the safe side of advanced timing but had not seen any excessive CHTs prior to making that change. I also have the jumper wire installed for less aggressive timing. And yet there is still plenty of performance even with our routine high density altitude operations.

567 Replaced the carbon brush on my impulse coupled magneto during the 500-hour inspection.

587 The SkyTech light weight starter was turning slower and slower so I replaced it with an identical one I had on the shelf that they had previously overhauled. When this fails, I will probably go to the B&C starter.

721 My confidence fully earned by the existing P-Mag, I removed the impulse coupled magneto and replaced it with another P-Mag, thus going entirely to electronic ignition.

AIRFRAME: We’ve had the usual tire/tube/ brake lining replacements, probably more frequently than most due to our Colorado location with higher touchdown speeds. The last set of tires had 300 hours when I removed them and replaced both tires and tubes after 1 ˝ years. I have had a flat nose tire and a flat main tire, the former from a tiny piece of safety wire and the latter from a patch I installed that eventually failed. I also replaced a tube that had a tiny pinhole leak, so small it was hard to see even when submerged in water. I’ve opted not to patch tubes any longer since reliability is important when far from home. I do use retread tires, not new, and have for many years.

Canopy leak through forward seal. I’ve never been able to prevent water from dripping onto the floor via the forward edge of the canopy. Despite replacing the D seal on the canopy and using several different hinge covers with different seal dimensions, I still have the problem. I do not use an external canopy cover due to plexi scratching, so that forward seal area is never covered. The airplane is hangered, so it is only a problem when sitting out overnight in the rain somewhere.

656 After a boost pump failure, I removed the Andair pump and replaced it with the appropriate model from Airflow Performance. I wrote an extensive description of this in a thread on the -14 section of the VAF site if you wish to search it.

723 Heat muff end plate was cutting into the exhaust pipe, so I replaced all 4 end plates with ones made by Rick Robbins, which is just a better component. I also described details of that failure on another VAF thread.

927 The Red Cube fuel totalizer sender was replaced due to intermittent operation.

AVIONICS/ELECTRONICS: It was a bit of a surprise when I looked through the logs to find that most aircraft problems have been with Dynon components. I guess occurrences were spaced out sufficiently that I did not realize how many items had to be repaired or replaced over the past six years. Dynon has been great to work with and I have no complaints whatsoever with their support, but the logs don’t lie! Here’s the list:

195 Autopilot pitch servo shear pin broken and replaced.

250 Autopilot aileron servo shear pin broken and replaced.

381 Oil pressure transducer replaced due to intermittent operation.

382 Dynon EMS box replaced for erratic amp indication.

590 AP Panel replaced due to loss of voltage output to pitch trim servo (this is the only problem that would have grounded the airplane away from home).

613 Replaced cylinder number 1 EGT probe.

627 Replaced oil and fuel pressure transducers, for which Dynon had developed a newer version. Both were operating correctly when removed but I wanted the upgraded components.

630 Replaced cylinder number 1 CHT probe.

748 Replaced cylinder number 2 EGT probe.

831 Replaced strobe light on/off switch*

924 Dynon copilot display repaired due to failed hard drive.

956 Replaced cylinder number 3 EGT probe.

985 cleaned contacts of fuel pump on/off switch*

*In both cases, investigation revealed that these Carling switches from B&C Specialties needed to have contact cleaner sprayed into them. Neither switch actually failed, and the one replaced at 831 hours worked fine later after I sprayed contact cleaner into it and cycled the switch a few times.

And that’s it – all the problems we’ve experienced in 1000 hours. Since my wife and I travel on our own dime with no business purpose to hold expenses in check, cost of operation and reliability are of paramount importance. Our -14A is the perfect aircraft for our mission and we suspect large numbers of RV builders are drawing the same conclusion.

Build on!
__________________
Bill Marvel, ATP, A&P/IA
Grand Junction, CO
RV-8A N751MB -1700 hours, sold
Zenith 801 sold
RV-14A 140134, N465MM - 1020 hours and climbing
Dues paid every year
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  #2  
Old 08-15-2022, 11:30 AM
AlexC AlexC is offline
 
Join Date: May 2018
Location: Oviedo, FL
Posts: 134
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Excellent write-up, Bill - thanks for posting!

_Alex
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Alex C.

2021 RV-14A: Flying as of 4/13/21 (>100hrs), and painted by Evoke Aviation on 5/18/22
1999 Cessna 182S - Sold

https://alex-rv14a.blogspot.com
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  #3  
Old 08-15-2022, 12:05 PM
Tom023 Tom023 is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Cypress, TX
Posts: 489
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Thanks for the write up. I'm at 275 hours and the experience so far has been extremely satisfying and non-eventful from a mechanical standpoint. I had the same prop oil issue from about 40 hours which was accelerated due to Texas heat. Hartzell recommended switching to Aeroshell 5, which is compatible with 6, but has a negative temperature restriction which I don't have to worry about. Solved the issue until propeller overhaul and the new grease.
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  #4  
Old 08-15-2022, 12:31 PM
gotyoke gotyoke is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: Placerville, CA
Posts: 158
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Great read, thanks!
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RV-14A - N74LF reserved
Emp started 1/1/2022 - 65% done
Wings SB started 4/14/22 - 50% done
Fuse ordered - crating Apr '23
Finish ordered - crating Winter '23 (hopefully)
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  #5  
Old 08-15-2022, 12:38 PM
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hgerhardt hgerhardt is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: torrance, ca
Posts: 841
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Looks like I'm going to have to build one of these someday!
Thanks for the detailed report.
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  #6  
Old 08-15-2022, 07:13 PM
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bruceh bruceh is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Ramona, CA
Posts: 2,659
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Would you change anything from what you have?
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Bruce Hill
RV-9A N5771H flown over 1000 hours!
http://www.overthehills.com/RV-9A-Project
APRS Tracking for KJ6YRP and Flying Over the Hills Blog
2022 VAF donator
EAA Tech Counselor, Pre Buys, Build assistance - canopy/tanks/fiberglass/electrical/repairs
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  #7  
Old 08-15-2022, 07:28 PM
graywoodworking graywoodworking is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2021
Location: Merrimack
Posts: 5
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Terrific summary. Thanks! I'm 20 hours into Phase I with my -14A. Such a joy to fly. I'm looking forward many more hours.
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  #8  
Old 08-15-2022, 08:12 PM
vfr800 vfr800 is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: near Dayton, OH
Posts: 208
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmarvel View Post

*In both cases, investigation revealed that these Carling switches from B&C Specialties needed to have contact cleaner sprayed into them. Neither switch actually failed, and the one replaced at 831 hours worked fine later after I sprayed contact cleaner into it and cycled the switch a few times.
So I’ve had a second Carling rocker switch fail after moving from arid Arizona to Ohio, and your comments have me thinking (while acknowledging potential for confirmation bias…). For someone unaccustomed to disassembling electronics/switches, is there a specific way to open up the switch itself to allow for spraying contact cleaner at the correct target? Or just aim in any potential opening and see what happens before changing out the switch?

I’ve got L-series Calring rockers though realize you may have some newer (V?) version.

Sharing your extensive experience is what VAF is all about. Hats off to you!
__________________
Ryan M
VAF donation next due June 2023
(Exempt but worth it!)
Prior partner in RV-9a & RV-10
Now flying RV-10 #40515

Last edited by vfr800 : 08-15-2022 at 08:14 PM. Reason: Edit quote
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  #9  
Old 08-15-2022, 09:13 PM
bmarvel's Avatar
bmarvel bmarvel is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Grand Junction, CO
Posts: 116
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bruceh View Post
Would you change anything from what you have?
Don't think so. I have all the capability I need and everything plays together pretty well.

I would like to have the 650's enroute VNAV capability work with the Dynon display/autopilot but that's a minor inconvenience.

Periodic component failures along the way are a fact of life for any product. I just like them to be seldom and minor.

But you asked a good question. I'm sure there are a lot of people who wish they would have done X instead of Y. But since this is my third homebuilt, I did most of the second guessing with the first two!
__________________
Bill Marvel, ATP, A&P/IA
Grand Junction, CO
RV-8A N751MB -1700 hours, sold
Zenith 801 sold
RV-14A 140134, N465MM - 1020 hours and climbing
Dues paid every year
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  #10  
Old 08-15-2022, 09:21 PM
bmarvel's Avatar
bmarvel bmarvel is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Grand Junction, CO
Posts: 116
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vfr800 View Post
So I’ve had a second Carling rocker switch fail after moving from arid Arizona to Ohio, and your comments have me thinking (while acknowledging potential for confirmation bias…). For someone unaccustomed to disassembling electronics/switches, is there a specific way to open up the switch itself to allow for spraying contact cleaner at the correct target? Or just aim in any potential opening and see what happens before changing out the switch?

I’ve got L-series Calring rockers though realize you may have some newer (V?) version.

Sharing your extensive experience is what VAF is all about. Hats off to you!
I did not open the switches and only sprayed contact cleaner where the toggle arm comes out of the switch box. These are not rocker switches but toggle switches. I know of no way to open them aside from ruining the switch in the process. Since I have had two problems now, it might be time to do just that out of curiosity. Thanks for the suggestion.
__________________
Bill Marvel, ATP, A&P/IA
Grand Junction, CO
RV-8A N751MB -1700 hours, sold
Zenith 801 sold
RV-14A 140134, N465MM - 1020 hours and climbing
Dues paid every year
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