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Old 01-17-2012, 09:47 AM
PeteP's Avatar
PeteP PeteP is offline
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Chesapeake, VA
Posts: 219
Unhappy Fuel lines

Well after a long weekend of try to make the tank to fuel selector lines all I have amassed is an extensive collection of junk 5052 tubing to add to my wall of shame! Is there a good / simple way to do this if so I am suffering from a bad case of can not figure this $@&% out. Any recommendations or even emotional support will be appreciated.
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Old 01-17-2012, 09:58 AM
vmirv8bldr's Avatar
vmirv8bldr vmirv8bldr is offline
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Eastvale, CA
Posts: 378
Default Hang in there

Pete, I may be guilty of flinging several sections of tubing across the shop out of frustration myself. It's amazing how few mistakes it can take to burn through 8' of tubing. Usually this is due to finally getting it perfect only to realize I left the B-Nut off when I flared the end. After two failed attempts, I go to something else for the rest of the day. You'll think more clearly when you get back to it, and I've actually found ways to improve my original plan and sometimes make some of those pieces serviceable after all.

Make the shorter runs first so you don't waste more tubing than necessary, and make them one bend at a time. Sometimes I even make partial bends, and then test fit. Use a sharpie to mark the tubing where the bend needs to be, and the direction. And take your time with the flares. Treat that part as art. A bad flare can ruin a fairly short run if there's no length to adjust.

Bart Filipiak
Eastvale, CA
RV-8 N74VB

Barrett IO-390
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Old 01-17-2012, 10:07 AM
airguy's Avatar
airguy airguy is offline
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Garden City, Tx
Posts: 5,314

And on your next VANS order, get more tubing. It's cheap and it feels really good to take a ruined piece and twist it up like a pretzel.
Greg Niehues - SEL, IFR, Repairman Cert.
Garden City, TX VAF 2021 dues paid
N16GN flying 750 hrs and counting; IO360, SDS, WWRV200, Dynon HDX, IFD440
Built an off-plan RV9A with too much fuel and too much HP. Should drop dead any minute now.
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Old 01-17-2012, 10:25 AM
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Vlad Vlad is offline
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Utah
Posts: 8,275
Default Get more tubing!

Originally Posted by airguy View Post
And on your next VANS order, get more tubing. It's cheap and it feels really good to take a ruined piece and twist it up like a pretzel.

What Greg said. You will get it sooner or later . It's educational part of recreation.
Where is N666BK?

Не имей сто рублей, а имей сто друзей.
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Old 01-17-2012, 10:39 AM
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Buggsy2 Buggsy2 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NorCal
Posts: 565

I had similar troubles installing the same line in my -9A...the landing gear weldment made it difficult and Vans plans and instructions were no help.

Are you using Vans supplied tubing? That is 3003 and is the easiest to work with. I used 5052 elsewhere.

There seem to be two most commonly used methods to deal with the fuel selector-to-wings lines:
  • With the gear weldment in place, start pushing the line from the fuel selector to the wing, bending and unbending as you go. Use bending springs or just carefully bend with your hands.
  • Use Bonaco or other flexible fuel lines. These have a large outside diameter and won't fit through the existing holes in the two cover support ribs. You have to enlarge them or simply cut out the section.

I did the first method, a friend used the latter. Either seems acceptable.

Edit: BTW, for other bends, use a good bender, not the cheapo Harbor Freight thing I used
Ralph Finch
Davis, CA

Last edited by Buggsy2 : 01-17-2012 at 11:30 AM.
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Old 01-17-2012, 10:54 AM
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Don Don is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 696

I bought a lot more tubing from AS than I thought I'd need. Most of it is in the scrap bin. The gentle radius bends were pretty easy but those connecting to the AFP fuel pump required some tighter bends. I found the bending springs only got me so far. I tried a tubing bender from Home Depot and ruined more tubing. Finally, a friend showed me how to use the tubing bender. It's a slow iterative process. You bend just a few degrees, move the tubing, bend a little more, then back and forth and 'sneak up' on the bend.

Without question it is a skill. My buddy can do bends I still can't and he's using my tubing and my tools. It doesn't seem fair but he's bent copper tubing since he was a teenager. The transition to aluminum even took him some time to get but without a question, it's a skill that can be learned. Go slow and sneak up on the bend.
Don Alexander
RV-9A 257SW Purchase Flying - O-320, Dynon D100
RV-9A 702DA (reserved) Finish Kit IOX-340
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Old 01-17-2012, 11:00 AM
gbrasch gbrasch is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Arizona
Posts: 613
Default I Feel Your Pain...

...Keep on going, I have a pile of shame too. I ended up putting an additional connector in the line just aft of the fuel selector so I didn't have to do so many bends. Showed it to Van's, they liked the idea and published it in the RVaitor a few years back. Glenn
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Old 01-17-2012, 11:35 AM
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bruceh bruceh is offline
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Ramona, CA
Posts: 2,416

Making these fuel lines was the most painful part of the build. My hands were sore for weeks after bending these lines. I used the Van's supplied 3003 material, which is softer than 5052. Doing these lines was tough. The first one took me several hours, the second one about 30 minutes.

I used the tubing bender to get the tight bends done under the fuel valve. I have the Andair valve so these bends are pretty straightforward. Straight down, then 90 degrees to horizontal, and then a bend to the rear to align with the spar carrythrough.

Once that end is fairly close, make a long section with the remaining length that has a long gentle curve to it. This will make it possible to thread the tubing through the support brackets. Straighten as you go to get it to go through the support bracket holes and grommets.

When you get to the gear weldment, the fun begins. Get out a spring tubing bender and start massaging the line through and around the hole in the weldment. There is a rubber grommet that should go on the tubing to center it in the weldment hole. Once you can get the end out the fuselage, you can tweak the line to make a gentle curve.

The tubing that comes out of the fuselage can get pretty beat up by the time it has been snaked around the weldment, so take it easy and try not to over do it.
Bruce Hill
RV-9A N5771H flown over 800 hours!
APRS Tracking for KJ6YRP and New Flying Blog
2020 VAF donator
EAA Tech Counselor, Build assistance - canopy/tanks/fiberglass/electrical/repairs
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Old 01-17-2012, 11:47 AM
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erich weaver erich weaver is offline
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: santa barbara, CA
Posts: 1,707

You can always go with flexible fuel hose if you want to trade aggravation for $. It was worth it for me.

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Old 01-17-2012, 12:06 PM
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Toobuilder Toobuilder is offline
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Mojave
Posts: 4,737

I will often mock up the run using welding rod first just so I have a roadmap of sorts to follow. For higher value runs, I will mock up using the 3003 junk tube. Don't worry about flares or anything - just get the bends right. Once you are happy, then move to the 5052 (or stainless) tube and duplicate it. That 3003 trash can be purchased in rolls from the hardware store for next to nothing, so buy plenty and go for it!.
WARNING! Incorrect design and/or fabrication of aircraft and/or components may result in injury or death. Information presented in this post is based on my own experience - Reader has sole responsibility for determining accuracy or suitability for use.

Michael Robinson
Harmon Rocket II -SDS EFI
1940 Taylorcraft BL-65
1984 L39C
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