The metal work on the baffle is one of the most complex parts of the plane. I started out tonight by continuing on the right aft baffle.
I prepped and riveted all the doubler plates.
Here are the doubler plates riveted to the #3 cylinder baffle. I also riveted on the heat muff air intake and screen. The stock intake from vans is quite flimsy. I might replace it with something stronger.
I’m waiting to rivet the side and aft baffle parts together before final fitting on the engine.
I then riveted the doublers on to the #1 and #2 cylinder baffles and test fitted them onto the engine.
It’s starting to come together. I then began fitting the forward intake ramps and reinforcements.
I’m using a custom prop oil line from TS flightlines so the hole for the oil line will have to be slightly larger.
Here you can see a test fit. I’ll have to crest a custom gasket to go around the hose to ensure no relative movement. There’s a small amount of roof around the hose, but I’ll have to open it up a little bit.
Today I spent about five hours working on the engine baffle. It’s a very complex set of parts that connect and wrap around the engine.
I started by using the oil cooler doubler (fat right) to cut a hole in the aft baffle. You can see the part with the hole and the rivet holes match-drilled. I then clecoed the parts together to ensure everything was aligned.
I also installed the mounting screw doublers and the reinforcing rib.
Here’s the back of the baffle. The oil cooler doubler and oil cooler mount here. I then test fit the baffle section to the engine. Everything lines up nicely. I also mounted the oil cooler to ensure everything can fit. The two oil hoses will attach to the inside of the oil cooler.
Here’s the inside of the baffle where air will pass through the oil cooler. I mounted the cooler high enough to ensure the most air flow. If I need to restrict it because it’s running cool, I can also cover part of the cooler.
Here’s the oil cooler mounted to the baffle. The oil hoses are then attached to 90deg fittings into the cooler.
Tonight I finished deburring all the baffle parts. It’s tedious because of all the unusual shapes and bends. I will go over it once more with a scotchbrite pad before final assembly.
I’m ordering my interior from Classic Aero Design and I needed to provide the distance from the firewall to the approximate location of my heels will be. This required installing the rudder pedals (which nothing is preventing me from installing permanently) and then sitting in the plane and measuring to my heels.
With the pedals installed, placed some cushions that were the correct thickness, and then sat in the plane. The distance from the firewall to my heels was approximately 10″. I hope this is the correct measurement. The seating position felt pretty natural, except I might need to boost myself up with some extra cushions.
Tonight I got started on the engine baffle. I had my friend Mike over to help out and it’s a good project to jump in on. We went through the inventory and confirmed everything was there. Then he got started on deburring everything while I spent some time cleaning up the shop.
We got started kind of late but spent a solid 2 hours on it. Having help is always a great thing so I’m sure you’ll see more of him as the project goes on.
Feels good to get back into the shop after a while.
Today I spent a couple hours finishing up the sensor connectors and wire routing for the ignition wires, and sensor wires.
Here’s the left side of the engine with the wires secured and routed somewhat correctly. I will probably need to adjust it when I install the oil cooler.
I used some adel clamps and zip ties to space the ignition wires correctly and securely.
The routing behind the engine will need to be cleaned up and secured once I finalize everything.
Yesterday I spent about an hour measuring and trimming the engine monitor temp sensors to their correct lengths. I then crimped on the blade style connectors that will hook to the EGT and CHT sensors. I still have to fabricate the fuel flow sensor wires and a few other probes in the engine bay before sealing off the wiring forward of the firewall.
I received my exhaust on Friday. It’s a special 4 pipe exhaust from Vetterman Exhaust. The standard RV 7 exhaust won’t work with the Superior Cold Air sump I have on my engine. I spent a couple hours prepping and then fitting the exhaust on the engine.
(Ignore the boxes) one thing I need to do is still rivet the lower portion of the firewall where the exhaust exits the cowl. I will remove the lower half of the pipes at the slip joint.
I didn’t take a picture of it, but I also installed the 4 EGT sensors. I measured down 2″ from the flange. I wanted to keep it on the straight section before the first elbow so that I can ensure identical distances on each cylinder.
I’ll line up the ball joints on all 4 pipes and then fabricate the support bracket and install the heat muff. Then exhaust complete.
Today I spent a few hours working on the ELT DIN wire, which is the power, ground, and GPS serial Rx. This allows the ELT to transmit GPS location.
I soldered the shielded 3 conductor wire to the connector, insulated it with some silicone, then soldered the short 4th wire, which is connected to a small LED to test the gps signal. Once that’s verified as working, that short wire gets cut and insulated against cable coming from the connector.
I also measured and cut the coax cable for the ADS-B antenna. It’s routed through the center rib near the pitot tubing.
Here you can see the elevator bell crank in its forward most position. Plenty of clearance to everything routed there, and considering the way I have things secured there is no relative motion between the antenna, pitot/AOA tubes, and the surrounding structure. I then crimped the BNC connector on the other end and connected it to the module.
I then spent some time experimenting with the Engine Module location and sensor harnesses. Once I install the rudder pedals I can rivet the panel sub structure and begin systems installation. It will be temporary, just to make the wire harness, then things will be removed for the interior painting that I will do.
I also confirmed and placed the order for my interior. I am going with Classic Aero Designs in Oregon. They have some really nice options and custom colors.
I am going with an all leather interior, with their Aviator seats, with the headrest option. The seats also have my N number embroidered and an RV-7 logo. I am very pleased with the service and support that I got from Classic Aero. A few back and forth emails and one phone call, and everything was figured out and the order placed. I am very excited about this!
The goal for the weekend was to install the Vans ELT mount and the ELT in the plane. It’s mounted on the right side behind the baggage bulkhead. The Vans mount has you use blind rivets to attach the bracket on the stringers than run along the side of the fuselage. It’s extremely difficult to get the rivet squeezer into the right position to drive the rivets properly, but I managed. I also decided to install the ADS-B module on the same bracket because there was plenty of room.
Once I had everything in position I ran the wires through the conduit. This includes the harness for the ADS-B, the phone line for the ELT, the 3-conductor wire for the ELT power and gps, and the rg-400 coax cable for the ADS-B antenna. I somehow managed to fit everything through the two conduits I have running under the seats. Only thing left to do is attach the antenna to the ELT and the ADS-B. By closing those two units out, the tail is now completely wired! Everything else will be forward of the seats and under the panel.
Happy new year!
Yesterday I got a box of hoses from Tom at TSFlightlines. First and foremost, I want to say that it was some of the greatest service I’ve had from any supplier during my project.
A couple weeks ago I sent an email expressing interest, and Tom immediately responded. A few back and forth emails and I was out in the garage measuring hose runs.
I put together a list of lengths and applications, packed up a box of my existing hoses that came with the engine, and shipped them to Tom.
Tom let me know he received my package and almost immediately he turned it around and shipped me my finished hoses. It was incredible service. I opened up the box yesterday, and in about 10 minutes, all the hoses on the plane were installed, everything lined up perfectly. It was one of the easiest things I’ve done thus far on the project. I will also say, the price for the hoses and service is incredibly reasonable and worth every penny. I highly recommend them!