Finishing Kit

September 30, 2012

Main Wheels - continued - 3.0 hrs.

I have been waiting a while to finish prepping the main wheels. I was following a development in the VAF forums regarding a main wheel bearing upgrade now offered by Anti-Splat Aero, just like the one that I have already had done for my nose wheel. Well, several months later, I have decided to go ahead and finish these up using the traditional Vans method with the Timken tapered roller bearings. The basic design of the mains is different and much better than the nose wheel. For one thing, there is an axle that goes through the wheel. The roller bearings slip onto this axle. It's very strong, and has worked for thousands of RV's over the last 40 years. Not to mention other general aviation aircraft. So the new modification might be an improvement, but I always have the option of going that way, when and if I choose to. For now, I know this will work and I can get this finished without spending any more money. So I'm going ahead with the traditional bearings. At least for now.

So my Dad came over to visit today. I've been waiting for another chance to do something on the airplane with his help, and this was just the ticket for him. The kind of thing that he knows a thing or two about, and enjoys helping me with. Then, another local friend happened to drop by, so there were 3 of us in the shop working on this. My Dad helped me get the tubes into the tires, with the valve stems lined up with the red spot on the tires. A liberal dusting with talcum powder was used. Then we split the wheels apart and mounted them on the tires. I used a bit of soap to slicken up the tire beads, because they fit real tight on the wheel rims. After bolting them together carefully, I inflated the tires and let the air out a time or two, then pumped them up again to the recommended 35 PSI. Did you know, when you get them inflated, you can give it a bit of a spin with your hands and bounce it off the floor like a basketball? It's kind of fun! Here's my Dad, proudly admiring the work on the first one.

We got the first one finished, and then we went to work greasing up the bearings. In the picture above, you can see the grease gun on the right, loaded with a cartridge of AeroShell #5, as recommended by Vans. You can also see the grease-packing jar with the white plunger and the red lid. We loaded this with grease. It worked pretty well, but in the end I ended up using a clean finger to make sure the grease was applied adequately to all the rollers in the bearing, and also a thin coat on the race in the wheel. The greased bearings were pushed into the wheels. They were now ready to mount on the gear legs.

I had all the prep work done on the gear legs, so it was just a matter of slipping them on, and installing the brake calipers. The only thing left to do on the mains is to tighten the cap nut on the outside to just the right tightness, and then drill the axle for a cotter pin. I'm holding off on that until I can get some help from someone who really knows what they're doing. I've read the directions quite a few times, from Matco, and I'm still not totally sure how to get them just right. Maybe it's not that critical, but I want some help. Then we also pulled out the nose wheel. Now that I have some of the proper grease in the gun, we went ahead and greased up the nose wheel axle through the little grease zerk on the front of the fork. The only thing left on the nose wheel is adjusting the breakout force, as instructed, to 22 lbs., and then drilling for a cotter pin there as well. I don't have any kind of a scale here to do that, so it will wait, too.

At the end of the session, here's all 3 of the wheels, almost ready to go. Looking at this makes me even more anxious than ever to get the airplane on her gear, and then hang the engine. Thanks for the help, Dad! We're celebrating his 85th birthday in less than 2 weeks!

<< Previous | Home | Next >>

Contact me: swayze "at" (replace "at" with the @ sign... no spaces... you know the deal)