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Old 06-12-2019, 07:11 AM
azflyer21 azflyer21 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: Scottsdale AZ
Posts: 176

Quick note on ordering a new engine. I ordered mine July 2018 and it will finally be delivered today. Planning plays a big role with the entire build.
Kevin Lippert
Zenith 750 completed 2016 -

N1402 reserved
RV-14a Empennage Done
QB Wing QB Fuse inprogress
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Old 06-12-2019, 07:36 AM
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maniago maniago is offline
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Bowie MD
Posts: 875

For sure, engine first. So much to do once you get the engine that the avionics can wait a really long time. Your avionics decisions could change quite a bit depending on money, availability, tech etc (glass, no glass, combination, who knows?), but the general engine choices are pretty well defined and what you need to do once you get it (cowl, prop, controls, exhaust etc) are also pretty clear. I always seem to gravitate to doing the knowns first......
MustangII (FoldingWing) "Finishing up": IO360B1E,RSA,C2YR-BF/F7666-2,Superior sump,James; 2xHXr,MiniX,EIS,480,327,240,SL30,Navworx; SteamAlt,AS,VSI,wet compass
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Old 06-12-2019, 09:54 AM
David Paule David Paule is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 3,971

I'm building an RV-3B, the single-seater, and will be installing much of the avionics and wiring first. Here's why.

The fuselage is just so much easier to rotate now that the engine mount and landing gear is off. Pretty simple, I'm taking advantage of access while I have it.

I've chosen the brand and configuration and don't expect those to change much in the next two to four years. They might, though, and that's a risk. The big thing, though, is access - small fuselage and hard to squirm around inside.

I do have an engine but not the prop. I expect to order that when I've started the canopy, so it might be on hand when I need it to fit the cowl.

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Old 06-12-2019, 02:52 PM
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rv8ch rv8ch is offline
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: LSGG
Posts: 2,579
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David, don't forget that you will need to get into that stuff sometime down the road.
Mickey Coggins
"Hello, world!"
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Old 06-12-2019, 03:40 PM
David Paule David Paule is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 3,971

Oh, there's access - it's simply that access isn't all that fun.

Small airplane and all that.

Here's me on the work platforms, feet towards the firewall. Good view of my belly and elbows. The plywood piece later went away.

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Old 06-12-2019, 04:37 PM
rv7charlie rv7charlie is offline
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Pocahontas MS
Posts: 3,871


With a little research & planning, you can do just about all the 'extremity' wiring without ever purchasing or even selecting any of the avionics. Label wires, pull a few extra to each location, and wait to install connectors until the avionics du jour are purchased. If the -3 fuselage is anything like the -4, the 'boot cowl' (forward top skin) can be attached with screws. I have better access to my 1990-era -4's avionics wiring than my still-under-construction tipup -7, even though the -7's the boot cowl is not yet installed.

If you're going bare bones on electronics, buying now is probably not a big deal, but if you're doing glass, autopilot, etc, you could waste hundred$, if not thousand$ buying now. ex: Several years ago, I bought a really nice used Trutrak 2 axis autopilot for less than half its new price at the time. Today, Trutrak will sell me a much improved version with more features for less than I paid for mine (purchased for 1/2 price) a few years ago. We're talking what looked like >$2k savings when I bought it, but I would have spent even less money, for more features, and gotten new instead of used, if I'd waited. That's just one piece of gear.

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Old 06-12-2019, 07:11 PM
tgmillso tgmillso is offline
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Launceston, Tasmania, Australia
Posts: 737

Another vote for the engine first, but more importantly make sure you get everything down you possibly can before you hang the engine. If you build a regular setup this means that you can have many of your passthoughts drilled, firewall insulation in place etc. I even had my entire aircraft painted before I hung the engine. You can also precut and reinforce your panel/sub-panel early so you spend less time on your back later in the build. I purchased trays early from Stein, but left the avionics until later. You can also run conduit in the wings, center section, beneath the seats, down the aft fuselage etc. This will make running the wires far quicker in the future when you get onto the avionics. I wouldn't run the wires early, just put the conduit in place, as you may change your mind on the wiring requirements for the avionics during the engine install.
Once the engine is out of the sealed bag/desiccant, they say don't move the crank, however for things like fitting the cowl/propeller/spinner etc you can't help it. That's why I'm a big believer in keeping the humidity down inside the engine, using a dehumidifier circulating the crankcase air and desiccant plugs in the cylinders, as well as taping over every inlet/outlet possible. Details can be seen in the link below. I still run the dehumidifier whenever I am not flying the aircraft.
Good luck.
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