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Old 12-17-2008, 07:24 AM
blackbeard10's Avatar
blackbeard10 blackbeard10 is offline
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: OH
Posts: 212
Default What you would do different RV-4 builders

A recent thread had the generalized theme of "what you would do differently."
Being at the RV4 fuselage stage, I am particularly interested in comments vis a vis the 4. Removable floor panels, modular instrument panel are concepts I intend to incorporate. 27 years of RViator has a section based on the "what you would do differently" theme. A few good tips but generalized over all of the RVs. The mission for my airplane will be cross country speed machine, keep the weight down and and keep it simple stupid. Any comments will be appreciated.
Mark Wyss
Cincinnati, Ohio
RV4 fuselage
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Old 12-17-2008, 07:59 AM
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Dayton Murdock Dayton Murdock is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Carson City NV
Posts: 556

Hi Mark
Flying my -4 for 250 hrs now the changes I would make are.
Fast back canopy
auto pilot
rocket fuel tanks (57 gals)
sam james cowl with pletum
Dayton Murdock
VAF#408 RV4 N359DM O360 C/S, Dual P_Mags, AFS Efis, Trutrak A/P, Leather, Electric trim and flaps, Led lights, Freeflight ADSB and it is painted Red, Flying 1105 hrs 11/28/20

Builder Log
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Old 12-17-2008, 08:22 AM
Steve Sampson Steve Sampson is offline
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: N. Yorkshire, England
Posts: 1,050

Mark, I put some of the issues on my blog, here. The things I would add to that would be the VANS oil cooler is far more than you need for an O-320 RV4. They run cool. It is also heavy and hold lots of oil.

- I would use the small Setrab cooler. I nearly did and wish I had. Search for Setrab and you will find the Rockets use them.

- There are numerous details throughout the blog. Keep the space between your feet clear so you can use it for heavy items to pull the CofG forward when you have a P2.

- I made the RHS floor removable so I can get to the True Trak and see underneath somewhat.

- Smoky once mentioned the forward sideskins are sometimes beefed up; heavier grade. I am not sure why. I would find out about that next time.

- Most important, build a -4 when you are still 20 years old. I am > 60 so have lost 40 years of the best flying going!

All in all I would not change much from what I have.

PS Why is this in Classifieds. It should be under RV4

G-IKON Build log here , or Index to blog here.
RV4 #4478 - Flying since 16th June '08. First flight video here.
Circuits at my 1000' strip.

Last edited by Steve Sampson : 12-17-2008 at 08:23 AM. Reason: See the PS
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Old 12-17-2008, 08:41 AM
Ed_Wischmeyer's Avatar
Ed_Wischmeyer Ed_Wischmeyer is offline
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Savannah, GA
Posts: 1,416

What would I do different in an RV-4? (I had one for 12 years)
* Most comfortable seats possible
* Extra ventilation
* NOTHING over the tunnel under the instrument panel. When you're flying in bright sunshine, it's real hard to read anything down there
* Make the manual trim lever extra long so you can make really fine trim adjustments.
* Electric aileron trim. The RV-4 ailerons are so sensuous that it's a crime to put even the minor drag of centering springs
* Usable storage areas for charts, airport directories, water bottles, sun screen, etc.
* Constant speed prop, for sure. Worth the weight and cost for takeoff acceleration, climb, and for drag on final and rollout.
* Put all the gauges on the panel in the forward field of view. You shouldn't have to look on the floor to see something important.

Ed Wischmeyer

Straight-tail Cessna that wants to trade for an RV, preferable a nicely built, minimally equipped RV-8 with a constant speed prop; and an AirCam, that wants me to move from Iowa back to Arizona
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Old 12-17-2008, 09:21 AM
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blackbeard10 blackbeard10 is offline
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: OH
Posts: 212
Default should be in RV 4 area

Must have pushed a wrong button on this here computer.
This post should be in the RV4 area. Sorry guys.
Mark Wyss
RV4 fuselage

Last edited by rv6rick : 12-17-2008 at 09:31 AM. Reason: Moved to RV4 forum
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Old 12-17-2008, 09:31 AM
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L.Adamson L.Adamson is offline
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: KSLC
Posts: 4,021

Originally Posted by Ed_Wischmeyer View Post
* Electric aileron trim. The RV-4 ailerons are so sensuous that it's a crime to put even the minor drag of centering springs

* Constant speed prop, for sure. Worth the weight and cost for takeoff acceleration, climb, and for drag on final and rollout.
This is what I keep telling everybody, for the perfect reasons you've mentioned; and it doesn't need to apply to just a "4".

L.Adamson --- RV6A/ CS prop/ elec. aileron trim with aileron mounted tab.
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Old 12-17-2008, 09:41 AM
Steve Barnes Steve Barnes is offline
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
Posts: 581
Default changes to rv4

Ed W. has put it in a nut shell. My ideas are, don't put extra fuel on board unless you have super comfortable seats. If you are flying with a passenger, pipe some heat back to them (not easy routing it). Keep the weight forward if you are hauling passengers and cargo. If your sole intention is solo aerobatics, then keep the weight aft. fit the canope as close as possible, leaks add to noise. Wing leveler is a must for X country. If you are big or have big footed passengers, electric flaps sure would make it easier. Good ANR headsets essential.
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Old 12-17-2008, 10:25 AM
Brian Vickers Brian Vickers is offline
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Bainbridge Island, WA
Posts: 333
Default My take on mods

I am not flying yet but?

I would do the calculations to see if the firewall could be extended forward about one inch, or so. I am 6'-0" tall and weigh 155 pounds but am cursed with long legs. My Wrangler jeans say 32 waste, 34 length. Even with a 1 inch thick seat back cushion, I'd really like to have one more inch. Compared to my C-172 the leg room in the 4 is borderline comfortable for me. Building the seat farther back in the airplane is not a great solution. Also, the average 4 is light in the front end. Panels and engine accessories have become lighter since the RV-4 was designed in the 80?s. Modern glass panel units weigh ounces compared to rows of traditional round gauges. I am going to use composite fixed pitch prop. The combination of simple glass panel and light prop are causing me to put ballast in the front end to make the passenger seat usable for my 120 pound wife and some luggage. There are other threads about ?build it light.? I did build my airplane light, but now I?m faced with BALAST in the front end to facilitate a useable payload in back. I'm wondering if this problem could be solved by extending the firewall forward about one inch (?). I have looked over the plans and it appears the distance between bulkheads F401 and F402 could easily be built longer toward the front. Leave the placement of the panel alone so the stock canopy fits as designed. Steve S. has a good suggestion about the heavier side skins in the front. The extended leg room would possibly make the finished airplane more marketable to sell (?).

Otherwise, I love the stock 4 looks, design and sports car fit of the cockpit. I would do it all over again.
Brian Vickers
Bainbridge Island, WA
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Old 12-17-2008, 10:53 AM
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smokyray smokyray is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: TX32
Posts: 1,915
Default KISS

I built my RV4 from 89-95' and flew it for 12 years/1500 hours. Things I added and changed were as follows:

1. Rear passenger footwells.
2. Lots of ventilation. Underwing NACA for backseat (like RV8) small NACA ducts underside of "cheeks" or use Vetterman vents for front seat.
3. Extended rear baggage, see ski tube post this section.
4. Safe Air One ER tanks or use RV-6 wing tanks. (I would install both!)
5 Odessey battery on firewall, hinge battery compartment lid and use as forward baggage.
6. .040 forward fuselage floor/sides aka Rocket with fastback.*if using 0-360/Hartzell.
7. IO-320/Airflow Performance and Electroair Ignition/ composite prop.
8. .020 tail feathers (elev/rudd)
9. Long Gear/Team Rocket fairings/Van's pants/380X150X5 tires.
10. Oregon Aero seats

Above all, try to keep it light, clean and simple. Mine weighed 925 lbs before paint. It weighed 950 when I sold it. You can't beat the RV4, the absolute best bang for the Buck.

However, The Harmon Rocket is Alot more Bang for Alot more Bucks...


The Bandit in my driveway, ready to go...

Last edited by smokyray : 12-17-2008 at 11:08 AM.
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Old 12-17-2008, 02:52 PM
joeboisselle joeboisselle is offline
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: White Swan Wa.
Posts: 367

I think Smokey sums it up pretty well. Ventilation is a must, that canopy is a huge magnifying glass in the summer. The firewall seems to get a little warm as well, and at 90F outside a little extra air is nice. I've got an o360 in mine and started out with a fixed pitch prop. After 5 hours of flying I bolted the Hartzell on and love it. It is heavy in the nose however. Oregon aero seats are the best, you can sit in 'em all day without any fatigue whatsoever. An EFIS is definitely the way to go, there isn't really much room if you want a nice clean area behind the panel in keeping with installing as many necessary instruments as possible; and if you want all the electrical switches up there too. Also, if I were to do it all again, I would purchase all sub-kits at once so all the parts are there. Nothing more annoying than looking for a part for an hour and realizing you have to wait 'till the next kit arrives.
Joe Boisselle
2010 RV-4
1941 Luscombe 8C

Last edited by joeboisselle : 12-17-2008 at 03:01 PM. Reason: Added info
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