Garage Cleanup

I spent a few days making room in the garage. How envious I am of the people that are building that actually have space to work on their project. Now I’m not complaining because well at least the weather here is good, but it is a bit cramped working on the plane and I’ve had a few minor accidents (dents and scratches) because of the small work space. I ended up having to remove a few cabinets in the back of the garage so that the plane can move back to the wall. It looks like I have about 33″ to the door if the plane is all the way back to the wall. The 914 I believe is around 27″ long so I think it will fit (I suppose I could put the cowling on temporarily to make sure). I also put the semi-assembled HS and Elevator,  Rudder and VS up out of the way.

I’ll be heading to TAF Torrance next week to purchase the canopy kit. There’s also a paint shop at the airport that TAF has been using to paint their planes so I’m going to see if they can paint the inside of the canopy a little lighter grey and also see about having them paint the plane… much later of course. I’m really looking forward to getting the canopy on and having it look more like a plane rather then a large canoe :-). Well at least that’s what the mail lady calls it.

Yes that is organized… well maybe a little more clean up is needed. At least the empennage components are finally up out of the way and the plane can be rolled all the way back to the wall. Anyone need a Cisco 2900XL or a DVD Player?

Firewall Tape

Time: 0.5hrs

Just did some quick fixing of a few cuts in the heat shield. If I waited until I knew exactly what holes I needed then it would of come out near perfect. But there I go trying to save myself some time and messing things up. Oh well this tape seems to work pretty well. It’s rated to like 350 degrees F so it should hold up. It’s also very flexible and blends in very well with the covering on the heat shield.

Fixed the area around the ground lug where I cut out the hole for the GPS antenna that I didn’t use. I also added a little tape above each if the GPS antennas just to clean it up a little.

Firewall Heat Shield

Time: 2.5 hrs

Today I worked on finishing cutting out the necessary holes in the firewall heat shield. I cut the heat shield to size a long time ago and cut out a few holes that I knew weren’t going to change. I did unfortunately cut out the hole for the GPS bracket which I’m not using and I cut slits where the rivet lines were for the overflow bottle and battery box (which I didn’t need to do either). The slits aren’t noticeable but I will probably need to get some of the tape TAF uses to repair the heat shield just to make sure it doesn’t tear in those spots.

I saw a few people made templates out of paper of where everything went on the firewall and then transferred that to the heat shield. I was able to poke holes through the rivnuts from the inside and then fit the particular item to the firewall (like the GPS antenna brackets or heater box) using screws. This gave me the exact location I needed to cut out by just cutting around the item. I think it worked out pretty well. I also noticed when installing the heat shield that if something was a little off you could stretch or push it to fit closer. You can’t be really far off, but 1/8″ to 1/4″ off you can make up for and get a really close fit.

Once I had all the major holes cut I removed everything and peeled back the backing on the left corner and stuck that down to the firewall. I proceeded to just keep pulling off the backing and working my way down to the bottom doing this on the left half of the firewall first. The process was then repeated for the right half of the firewall. The heat shield installed fairly easily the main issue I had was that the backing didn’t want to come off of the heat shield material. Maybe mine was old and the glue started to bond more with the backing or maybe it was from heat (I’ve had the heat shield exposed to the sun for a long periods of time). In any case it was pretty frustrating having to remove small strips of backing as I worked in a very small area between the firewall and the back of the heat shield.

Photo of the heat shield all stuck down. Starting to install some of the items onto the firewall. I need to fix the area around the ground lug (upper right). This is where TAF puts the GPS antenna and I had cut that out thinking I was going to put the antenna there.

Most of the items installed on the firewall. The GPS brackets are just in temporarily. I will need to remove the left one to get the battery in so I won’t really install that until much later. The oil tank bracket was riveted in with 4mm rivets. I made sure to use medium strength loctite on all the screws as well. I will need to cut out holes for the fuel pumps as well as the start relay and in my case master relay. I didn’t cut these because with the relays I’m not sure if I will be using the Vertical Power PPS or not. I don’t think it will be too difficult to cut these out and remove the heat shield material for these couple of items. For the fuel pumps I believe they come with the engine and I’m not sure if they are the same as what TAF supplies. It looks like the TAF ones have a cover that mounts to the firewall while the ones I’ve seen that come with the engine the cover mounts to the bracket that holds the fuel pumps.

Photo of the heater box installed with 6 M3 screws. There’s a silicon gasket behind it that you can’t see. Note: I put both the clamps on there so I don’t lose them 🙂

Photo of the fuel and push/pull cable bulk head fittings.

Here’s the idea I had for mounting the overflow bottle. TAF uses cable ties which look a little cheesy I think. I cut an 8″ hose clamp and did a hard bend on the ends, which could also be riveted. I then bent the clamp around the bottle to give it a bit of a squared off shape. It seems to hold the bottle well, maybe a little more bending to get it to fit better. I don’t want to tighten it too much or it will crush the bottle.

Misc Work

Time: 2.25 hrs

Did some miscellaneous tasks today:

  • Finished wiring the GMU11 CAN wiring at the pitch servo
  • Retorqued the gear bolts to 18ft lbs (24Nm)
  • Ran wire for Stratus USB charger and wired connector

Originally I had spoken to the tech at TAF about torquing the 4 main gear bolts. He had told me that they were Grade 8.8 bolts so torque them to the specified value (which was around 50Nm for a 10mm bolt). The bolts I had were actually Grade 12.9 with an even higher torque required. So I torqued them to the standard Grade 12.9 torque value and went on my way. A little while later I had noticed the Peter C. had mounted his main gear and stated that he torqued his gear bolts to 24Nm. That seemed very low to me so I emailed him and he had said that TAF told him to use this value. Well he has since verified with multiple sources at TAF SA and they confirmed that the bolts are torqued to 25Nm. With that I just backed off on the torquing of my bolts to 24Nm (18 ft lbs). Thanks Peter for verifying and letting me know.


Tied the CAN bus wiring into the pitch servo so it could continue on to the GMU. The GMU is the end of the CAN bus now so I also ha dot remove a jumper on the DB15 connector for the pitch servo.

I’m going to install the Stratus USB charger in the back of the center console. The kids are always using the USB charger when we drive on trips so I figured it would be convenient to have one in the back for them. It can also function as another USB port for me or the co-pilot as well. I will also bring the USB port on the GMA245R up onto the instrument panel. That will be the main one that I use for charging my iPad or phone.

GPS Antenna Mounts

Time: 1.25hrs

Installed the 2 larger GPS antenna mounts on the firewall. I’ll be using 2 Garmin GA-35 WAAS antenna. One connected to the GTN650 and one to the G5. TAF mounts the GPS antenna under the cowling which seems to work fine. I have two and they’re a big larger then what the standard mount can accommodate so I had to relocate the antenna positions a bit. Also because I’m using the EarthX battery I don’t need the mount for the strap that holds in the battery and I was able to mount the battery a little lower to give some room above for the antenna. I needed to make these removable because the right side will need to come off to get the battery in… well I suppose I could also unscrew the battery box. In any case I use M3 screws and rivnuts to mount them. I should have measured out the bottom holes rather then use the bracket as a template since the mounts aren’t perfectly straight on the bracket. So now one of the rivnuts is a tad bit off when you look at it… not a big deal though.

I used a laser level to make sure both brackets go in the same place

Brackets are mounted and level. The left side is hard to see in the photo. It’s right above the bracket for the overflow bottle. I used some cardboard to simulate the cowling and checked clearance. I have about 1/2″ or more of clearance and my faux GA35’s (made from styrofoam) are a little higher then the actual ones, plus they aren’t as curved so I think I’m OK.

I think the next step will be to template some of the mounts on paper so I can cut them out on the firewall blanket. I already have the blanket cut to size and a few holes cut in it. The one thing up in the air is if I’m going to use the new Vertical Power  solid static box for the master and starter relay. It’s a bit pricy and it’s not available yet. It probably won’t be too difficult to cut those after the blanket is stuck down on the firewall… Hmmm


Overflow Bottle

Time: 1 hr

While I was picking up the GMU bracket at TAF yesterday I also got a Rotax overflow bottle and the mounting brackets.  I was going to make a bracket out of aluminum, but it proved to be a bit tricky because of how the bottle is made and my lack of ability to accurately bend the aluminum. I’ve order some stainless steel hose clamps that I will cut and install on the TAF provided mounting brackets. This will create a reusable way of attaching the bottle to the firewall rather then using the tie wraps. If all else fails I’ll just use the tie wraps.

I also cleaned and alodined the 2 water bottle mounts and the 2 GPS antenna mounts.

It’s just going to be too difficult to get a good accurate bend that fits the indentation on the water bottle. If the bracket doesn’t fit in nice and tight the bottle will fall through. I think it will be safer and easier to use a thinner metal like a hose clamp that can be formed around the bottle. I’m planning to cut the clamp and bend it so that it will attach to the TAF supplied mounts. The water bottle can then be installed or removed by screwing together (or apart) the 2 halves of the clamp. Well we’ll see if it works the clamps should be here in a few days.