October 10-13, 2010

Visit from Chapter Friends; Brake Lines, Rudder Pedals - 6.0 Hrs.

Over the last few days, I've diverted my attention a bit from the flap pushrod to the brake and rudder pedal assembly. It's been sitting here on my bench waiting for some answers about installing the parts and fittings for the brake lines. Basically, they didn't fit very well and I didn't want to force them into place before getting some answers from someone more experienced. So some good friends of mine from my local EAA chapter 105 came over to look things over for me. I was very grateful to have Tom Hart (built a beautiful brand new RV-7A!) and Greg Halverson (has built several RV's) stop by for a while and answer questions for me and give me some pointers. I didn't take any pictures during their visit, but I want to say a big "Thank you!" to both of them for being generous with their time and helping a guy out a little bit. Thanks, guys!

Here are the fittings in question. These blue AN fittings on the master cylinders are where the brake lines hook up. These parts thread into the master cylinders as you can see about one turn and then tighten up. I'm very uncomfortable with the idea of just torqueing them and forcing them down more turns because I don't want to gall the aluminum or mess up the threads. But I feel that they don't go in far enough either. I don't want leaky brake lines. I didn't know how to do this. So Tom and Greg explained that they don't go in very far, but it will be just fine. I need to use some thread lubricant, is all. Nothing in the plans explains any of this. Unless I missed something.

Later on, after they left, I got out my EZ-Turn and lightly lubed the threads, and turned them on. Using a wrench and medium pressure, I got about 3 turns and left it at that. You have to go one whole turn if you go more, because you want the fitting pointed up. So I was careful and didn't overdo it. I guess if I end up with leaky brakes, I can tighten them down more later, but I'm confident this will work just fine now. Meanwhile, I drove down to Vans the other day and picked up the pair of brake lines that you see on the left that loop over the top of the assembly and connect to the fittings on the firewall.

These brake lines normally come in the finish kit, but since I don't have that yet, I went and bought these lines separately. I wanted to get this assembly off my bench and installed for good. I'll just omit these lines from the order when I get the finish kit ordered (hopefully very soon!) along with a few other finish-kit items that I pre-purchased. So I torqued all the bolts down and I'm calling this assembly finished and installed for good. Yay! All that remains is to figure out a way to attach all these lines to some tie-downs of some kind to secure them. I'll figure that out along the way.

UPDATE: Summer 2015 - It's been a long time since I put this page together, but I have made a major decision about my brakes. Back when I was working on them, and making decisions about them, I was thinking at the time that Jamie will be the one, primarily, who flies with me and occupies the passenger seat. And I didn't see the need (nor could I justify the added expense and weight, complexity, etc) of having duel brakes in this airplane. My thinking at the time was, keep it simple. Also, that if things changed, I reserve the right to change my mind and I can always add them later. Well, that time has come, and I'll tell you why. A couple of good reasons.

The FAA now has a new Pilot Assist Program in place. This is to allow new pilots like me (or soon will be, I should say) to have a flight instructor along during my initial Phase 1 flights. This is for added safety, transition training, and so on. The benefits are tremendous and I definitely plan on taking advantage of it. I want to get into my own plane as soon as possible, within a reasonable envelope of safety of course, and it will help to have an Instructor along. With all of that in mind, the need to have brakes on both sides is now much more than just a passing convenience for the occasional passenger who might know how to use them. I think an instructor would consider it a must. So I decided to just bite it, and go ahead and add brakes on the other side. This meant a trip to Vans to pick up all the parts, the expense of another pair of master cylinders, new hoses (thank you, Bonaco! All my brake hoses are braided stainless steel, with good fittings, etc.), and of course, another trip to Apex Anodizing to get them anodized like these. I wanted them to match. Speaking of anodizing, as long as I was going there and facing the minimum shop fee, I threw in a few other items as well. This included my map box cover for the Panel (see my Panel pages), and the Canopy Latch handles. Wow, do they ever look good! You can see them on my page dated March 14, 2012. I remain totally thrilled with this anodizing process. I think it's one of the best decisions I've made.

Another not-so-major reason for adding duel brakes is that Jamie wants to learn to fly this airplane. She won't get a pilot's license and go through all of that process, but both her and I agree that it would be great if she knows enough to be able to safely land this airplane and taxi it around, under a scenario where God forbid, something happened to me in flight. She could safely fly and land the plane if I'm unable to for any reason. So there you go! I won't bore you with all the pictures of the process of installing the brakes, the riveting of the parts, etc. You've seen all that. Here's a picture of the finished product. I must say, this wasn't near as easy as installing the left side brakes. In retrospect, it would have been MUCH easier to do this with the assembly out of the plane and on the bench, but I got 'er done!

Moving on, I went back to the flap pushrod and worked on the hole some more. After a lot of trial fittings and moving the flap up and down, I finally got it finished, with adequate clearance all around the pushrod throughout all its range of motion.

I pulled the pins and took the flap off the wing and trimmed the inboard edge of the skin just a little bit to give some clearance. It was such a slight amount, I used only my file. Friends online had cautioned me to allow some clearance for the flexure of the wing when you are flying. I hadn't thought about that! Anyway, I have just a bit less than about 1/16" clearance. While the flap was off, I used my seamer pliers to slightly bend up the bottom inboard edge of the flap skin on the bottom side, so it will hug the belly of the fuselage as it's pulled all the way up. It only needed a little bit of a bend to be just right. I'm now very happy with the fit of this flap, and having the pushrod finished.

I'm ready now to pull this wing off, clean up and deburr all the holes I drilled, and dimple, etc. and install all the nutplates. Then, it will be time to flip this fuselage around and do it all on the other side.

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