Finishing Kit

August 4th & 5th, 2012

Pitch Servo Install, Engine Mount Prep - 2.0 hrs.

Busy, busy summer weekend around here. But I managed to squeeze in a couple of hours and get a couple of things done. First, I'm planning on focusing all my attention on getting the wiring done in the aft fuselage, so I can rivet that last top skin on, then install the rear window. I have fresh SikaFlex sitting here that has a shelf life. Plus, I just want to get it done. I want to get all this stuff done before putting the plane on her gear and hanging the engine. So as I got to thinking about how to go about this, the first thing that came to mind is that I have a TruTrak servo sitting here on the shelf. I should install it. So I got it out and studied the drawings supplied by TruTrak. The kit they supplied is great. It comes with all the hardware for the installation. Next, I unclecoed the top skin and took it off the fuselage. Honestly, the installation of this servo could hardly be any easier. You just bolt the thing on. The only tricky part is figuring out a scheme for the washers, so it's spaced correctly and won't rub on the bellcrank. As far as wiring for it goes, there's a Dsub connector on the side of the unit, so there's no crimping or soldering or anything troublesome at this point. It will just be a matter of running a wire forward to the panel, with the connector on this end for the servo.

I unbolted the elevator pushrod temporarily, just to make it easier to see everything and finish the installation. The only thing left is to safety-wire these 3 bolts in place. Which brings on another new learning experience. I've never safety-wired anything to speak of, so I need to learn how. I have the pliers and the wire, I just have to learn how. I guess this will be my first practice piece!

Here's the view from the other side. You can see the Dsub connector on the right of the servo.

Next day. It's a beautiful summer Sunday here in Oregon. Now that I have my engine in the shop (YES!!) I'm looking at the motor mount, looking forward to the big day when I hang the engine. I marvel at this beautiful piece of craftsmanship, welded and powdercoated to perfection, wondering how on earth I could ever make such a thing if I had to. As I sit here studying it, I'm thankful that the 49% of the work that Vans does includes things like this. They do the truly hard parts that the average homebuilder with a garage and some simple tools could never accomplish, and leave the simple, albeit boring stuff to us! All I have to do is drill and bolt this sucker onto the firewall.

As I'm looking it over, I notice that it will need some prep work. There are some rough edges around the openings, left over from the powdercoating process. One of the holes even had a small cork plug that was still in there. Here's a closeup of the worst one, where the gear leg goes through. See what I mean?

I got out my Dremel tool, a sanding block, a fine file and a few other simple tools. In about an hour, I had them all cleaned up. I still have some of Vans touch-up paint here, matching the color of the powdercoat. So I dabbed that on in a few spots to cover the bare metal that I exposed. This baby is now ready to install!

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