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Old 12-31-2017, 12:12 AM
CAVU Mark CAVU Mark is offline
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 88
Default My landing gear needs some suggestions, quick!

A few weeks ago my left tire went flat on rollout. I bought new tires and tubes which I installed today. My gear has been shaky and I thought the new rubber may help. I previously reviewed the wheel/axel alignment and it looked ok.

Today after the tires were installed I started to check things and found I could move the left gear by hand back and forth a few degrees. I looked up and saw the gear/engine mount bolt moving. I removed the bolt and found this. (yes, JB Weld was involved)

Of course everyone at the EAA chapter had a suggestion but wanted to ask if anyone else has seen this and could suggest a solution without too much trouble involved. One suggest is to make a couple of saddle washers and weld them to the engine mount after alignment. I will also contact Van's after the first.

I decided to post this here first but realize it is a gear problem that could affect a number of models.

RV-3 restored
Stearman - built - waiting on FAA and DAR
L3 building for San Diego Air and Space Museum
Helio Courier constructing
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Old 12-31-2017, 08:04 AM
13brv3's Avatar
13brv3 13brv3 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Tellico Plains, TN
Posts: 537

Yep, that's ugly.

If you're looking to do this without parts replacement, the saddle washer idea sounds like a reasonable option, though getting to the back side of the gear socket to weld will be tight with the mount installed.

Welding up the edges of oversize holes, then redrilling might be an option as well, maybe in conjunction with saddle washers for the belt and suspenders approach.

It might be possible to drill for a larger bolt? How large would the bolt have to be to get a clean hole through the socket and gear leg?

It will be interesting to hear what Van's suggests.

RV-8, SN-80587, built, flown, sold.
RV-3B, SN-10751, rotary engine, built, flown, sold
RV-8, SN-82470, built, flown, sold.
RV-3B, SN-11351, purchased (yes it's cheating)
A&P - 2018 dues paid
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Old 12-31-2017, 08:35 AM
Larry DeCamp's Avatar
Larry DeCamp Larry DeCamp is offline
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Clinton, Indiana
Posts: 715
Default Replacement bolt options

This year at condition inspection I discovered some slight movement in the gear axle. While investigating, I concluded access for the classic welded washer fix was VERY limited, probably requiring mount removal 😔 The next question was can you even get at the bolt hole with a drill or reamer while assembled and aligned ? I deferred action here in Indiana until warm weather because my problem is detectable but miniscuel. IF you can drill in assembly (properly aligned), I would be happy to make you a custom bolt to fit the next size reamer that will clean up the hole. I believe the next AN bolt is .375, and that might consume too much material for a long term fix. First priority is can you drill in assembly without removing the engine and or mount. If not, a substantial sleeve over the mount may be the best long term option. Just food fo r thought...Larry
Larry DeCamp
RV-3B flying w/ carb & Pmags
RV-4 fastback w/ Superior EXP 0360 /AFP & CPI
Clinton, IN
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Old 12-31-2017, 09:48 AM
rmarshall234 rmarshall234 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 125

whatever the fix, keep in mind how critical that bolt and juncture is. And the loads imposed upon that area.
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Old 12-31-2017, 10:16 AM
pa38112 pa38112 is offline
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Clarksboro, NJ
Posts: 624

Do you know what all the dings around the hole are?

It sounds like this was a purchased plane - how long have you owned it. Has someone given it a REAL good going-over to look for other workmanship issues? Putting the gear on comes late in the build. If JB weld was the solution for someone late in the build, I would worry about the issues from early in the build.
2004 RV6A Flying
2002 RV6A Flying
1978 PA38-112
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Old 12-31-2017, 11:23 AM
ColoCardinal's Avatar
ColoCardinal ColoCardinal is offline
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Morrison, CO
Posts: 323

Could it be reamed and a thin bushing installed?
Carl - - Morrison, CO
Airworthiness cert issued 12/24
best X-mas present I could have hoped for!
paid 'til 10-19
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Old 12-31-2017, 01:01 PM
rvbuilder2002 rvbuilder2002 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Hubbard Oregon
Posts: 7,957

There are X and Y designation (rather expensive) over sized bolts available that are approved for use on RV gear legs but they are only .015 and .030" over sized. Based on your photo it looks like you will need a bit more than that to fix it.

All of the dents / punch marks look like someones (wishful) attempt at staking/peening the perimeter of the hole to reducing its I.D. That was never going to work in this instance since it usually only gets you a few thou reduction due to plastic deformation of the surrounding material.

My recommendation is that you contact Harmon Lange at Langair machining.

Langair has made the RV gear legs for decades and Harmon has helped many people resolve loose leg and alignment issues with some very creative fixes in the past.
Any opinions expressed in this message are my own and not necessarily those of my employer.

Scott McDaniels
Hubbard, Oregon
RV-6A (aka "Junkyard Special ")
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Old 12-31-2017, 06:43 PM
von_flyer von_flyer is offline
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Metamora, Michigan
Posts: 159

Tapered pin.
John von Linsowe

Cessna 140
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Old 12-31-2017, 06:58 PM
Greg Arehart's Avatar
Greg Arehart Greg Arehart is offline
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Delta, CO/Atlin, BC
Posts: 2,314

I agree with von - get a taper reamer and taper pin. However, check the back side of the hole to make sure you can do this with the proper size taper pin and get a good clean surface on both holes in the engine mount. There are some older threads on here about taper pins for both nosegear and mains.
Greg Arehart
RV-9B (Big tires) Tipup @AJZ or CYSQ
N 7965A
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Old 12-31-2017, 06:59 PM
RVDan RVDan is offline
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Frederick, MD
Posts: 574

After having the experience of building and then having to sell due to moving around for jobs, I decided to buy and already built airplane. As an A&P/IA and previous builder I did my own rebuy and missed that the main gear of a -6A was mis-aligned. After going through tires quite quickly, I investigated and found the toe in/out off quite a bit. When I removed the gear leg bolts, I found egged out holes in the mounts and the gear legs. After consulting with Vans, I decided to do a weld repair by filling the existing mount holes with weld and relocating/reaming the holes. It required machining a tool with a 1/8 pilot which I kept open when welding the mount. I then aligned the gear leg clamping everything in place and counter bored out the mount undersized. Removed the gear leg changed the tool to one that picked up the counterbored hole one one side and had a pilot hole to counterbore from the 2nd side. After the basic alignment was established with the relocated holes in the gear mount, I then enlarged the attach bolt by one size (Vans approved) to remove the belmouth shape of the hole through the gear leg.
Worked like a charm. Much easier than any alternate, especially for the -6A that would otherwise have required replacing the mounts and picking up the spar bolts.

Sorry no pics on this but I could describe in more detail in a PM if you’d like.
Dan Morris
Frederick, MD
RV6 built and sold
N199EC RV6A flying
Learn the facts. "Democracy dies in darkness"
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