December 22, 2007

Nose Gear Upgrade Part 2

Here’s the before and after picture. You can see the 1″ extra clearance that you get. It’s nice that Vans figured out all the geometry to make everything fit in exactly the same place so no changes to the mounting brackets or nosegear parts was necessary.

Nose Gear Upgrade Part 1

Well, the first thing to do is get the plane jacked off the ground. The easiest way I have found is to weight down the tail and jack it down with a tie-down strap.

I used a wood brace to work as a backup since the nose gear leg would be out for at least a week (or so I thought). Turns out the parts were backordered so It was actually strung up for a month or so.

Here’s before and after of the nose gear leg. I had it shortened and re-threaded by Langair down in Portland to make sure it’s done right. It was painless, just cost $75 to get done. I had it easy as Earl, one of my local flying buddies, decided to drive down and get his done so I just sent mine along for the ride.

A bit of poking and prodding was required to get the bolt out that holds the gear leg in place. I had made the hole in the firewall initially, so it was simply a matter of getting out the plug and proseal. Then reversing the process to re-install.

Finally when it’s all done, there is no external visible difference… You just pay some money to take some metal off the plane! Typical for aviation projects I guess.

January 2, 2007

Fuel Lever

Here’s picture of my new fuel lever. I found it offered on VAF last month and decided it was a quick upgrade without re-plumbing for an Andair valve. It’s interesting that after flying with this new valve a bit, it’s actually much easier to turn the lever as the new handle has some material on both sides of the pivot point. It makes it balanced when you rotate it, compared to the paddle flipper style that was on originally.
Fuel Valve

September 11, 2006

Brake upgrades

o-ringAs the years go by, I’m always looking for small upgrades to make the plane safer. If you do a bit of research on the internet forums you can find much information about brake problems and even some brake fires. Of course there are also thousands of planes that have had no problems at all. Here’s a little snip of a recent post for some solutions.

Two other easy upgrades. First install caliper piston o-rings with a higher temperature rating. Nitrile is only good for about 275F, while fluorocarbon (Viton) o-rings hang in there to 450F. A Cleveland engineer told me the only reasons they stick with nitrile are (1) certification, and (2) better sealing at very low (like -50F)temperatures. Unless you live in the Arctic, Viton is the way to go. Nobody in the brake world still uses nitrile except us goofy airplane people.

The second painless upgrade is a switch to MIL-H-83282 fluid. It was developed to replace good ‘ole MIL-H-5606 for a very good reason; fire resistance. The flash point of MIL-H-5606 is 220F vs 460F for Mil-H-83282, and 83282 is self-extinguishing. Replacing 5606 with 83282 is no trouble; they are completely compatable. Drain one, pour in the other. Mil-H-5606 isn’t useless. It retains its low viscosity at -40F, so if you fly your RV at 30,000 feet you’ll be happy to know the brakes will work

Consider the fluid specs in light of the failure temperature of nitrile seals. Get your stock brakes hot, 275F or above, and you start dumping 5606 brake fluid with a flash point of 220F on brake parts already well above that temp, all in the nice calm air inside a wheel pant. Can you say “brake fire”?

I decided to order up some parts and add this to my winter project list for this year’s anual inspection. I got the o-rings from o-rings Inc and the new brake fluid from ACI Lubes on the internet.

218 V75 (1.234 X 0.139) is the o-ring to get

It should be great fun draining the brake fluid out, pumping new in, etc… but once it’s finished will provide some extra safety margin in case it’s needed.

May 30, 2006

TruTrak ADI

Well here is the latest upgrade to the plane. I replaced the basic turn coordinator I had in the panel with a new ADI from TruTrak. It is a solid state (no moving gyro) AH. TruTrak ADIIt shows pitch, roll, and gps direction and comes with a backlight. So far I have about 10 hours of flying on it and it works great. Keeping the right side up is easy using it. I played around a bit with it trying to tumble it. If you roll up to 90deg and then return upright it recovers quickly. If you roll all the way around 360deg it is tumbled for about 20 seconds, during which time it indicates low and slightly turning. After about 20 seconds it rights itself properly and continues to work fine with no external input.