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Old 07-09-2018, 05:15 PM
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bmarvel bmarvel is offline
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Grand Junction, CO
Posts: 46
Default Plastic eyeball fresh air vents

With nearly 2000 flying hours in Van's aircraft I have built, I admit to being a big advocate of the company. But now and then I take exception to something and the plastic eyeball vents in the -14A are one of them.

These seem to have worked OK in our RV-8A in So. Cal. with the mild climate. Yes, they leaked air but that was a relatively minor irritant. But here in Colorado those same vents in our -14A ultimately caused me to replace them. They not only leaked air readily because of poor sealing doors with a loose on/off thumb control but also failed to maintain direction. Numerous times one vent or the other ended up moving on its own and shooting air into my or my wife's face and microphone, breaking squelch. It was OK for awhile but we finally opted to remove them and go with Van's more expensive but much better aluminum eyeballs of the same size. They hold direction and seal much better and have the usual twist method for on and off rather than a thumb control.

But not so fast. Because the plastic vents are mounted between two components that are siliconed to the fuselage, you can't just replace the vents. You have to remove and then replace the whole assembly -- NACA duct, eyeball and mounting bracket. While this was not difficult to do with a sharpened putty knife slowly slicing through the silicone, it was both time consuming to get down to bare metal and awkward working under the panel. I bought all new parts for each side since I thought trying to pry the siliconed vents from the NACA duct would break something. All worked OK and I found that the aluminum vents allow significantly more air into the cockpit than did the plastic ones. If only I had known this to start with...

It's your airplane so do what you wish since the plastic vents come with the kit. But after having gone through this exercise I would tactfully suggest you consider the added cost of the aluminum vents and install them in the first place.
Bill Marvel
Grand Junction, CO
RV-8A N751MB -1700 hours, sold
RV-14A N465MM - 370 hours and climbing
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Old 07-09-2018, 08:43 PM
DougZetting DougZetting is offline
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Salt LakeCity
Posts: 13
Default Plastic eyeball fresh air vents.

Thanks for your post on this. My wife will not be happy with cold air blowing on her. I should be installing these in the next few days so I just ordered the aluminum ones.
Doug Zetting
Draper UT
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Old 07-09-2018, 09:27 PM
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RV-14E RV-14E is offline
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Colorado
Posts: 154

On advice of an RV-9A builder, I went with the aluminum ones too.

I also had to remove the original placement of my vents. But for me, that was because I chose a poor method to clamp them on. So I spent several hours scraping sealant off (I chose to use sealant rather than silicone to better promote paint adhesion).

Here's my description, with pictures, of those trials and tribulations.

However, even though they are the aluminum ones, it's worth noting that my left vent would quickly close, from any position, on its own in the airstream. I had to take spray adhesive and paint it on the area where the butterfly rotates. It increased the friction quite a bit (so now I need to push on the butterfly to begin to open and to fully close it) yet it will still close in flight, but now over the course of several minutes. My right vent stays open in all positions.

Last edited by RV-14E : 07-09-2018 at 09:30 PM.
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Old 07-09-2018, 10:44 PM
Canadian_JOY Canadian_JOY is offline
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 1,877

I don't have access to the Van's catalog right now... How much are the aluminum vents? ACS and Stein have aluminum ones at about $160 each. Ouch. But still better than freezing in the winter and sweating in the summer.
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Old 07-10-2018, 02:23 AM
control control is offline
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Posts: 609

$160 a piece

I have held of installing my plastic vents, guess IŽll just have to bite the 320+tax+freight bill
RV-14 kit #140138
I have entered the 90% done, 90% left to do zone
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Old 07-10-2018, 06:01 AM
MED MED is online now
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Aiken, SC
Posts: 339

Compared to everything else, the cost of the much better aluminum vents is trivial.
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