VansAirForceForums  
Home > VansAirForceForums

- POSTING RULES
- Donate yearly (please).
- Advertise in here!

- Today's Posts | Insert Pics

  #1  
Old 08-09-2016, 04:13 PM
j-red j-red is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Lewes, DE
Posts: 145
Default The re-birth of N94CR

Three years ago I began to fulfill a lifelong goal: to build and fly my own airplane. When I was a kid, my dad, though not a pilot, subscribed to kitplanes magazine. I must have read each issue a hundred times. In 2013, the opportunity presented itself to purchase a barely started Zenith 601XL kit which I finished in a year and a half working almost every day between 5 and 8AM.

The N601DR flew on May 15th, 2015, and by December she had almost 100 hours on the tach. It was a great plane, and we had some fun adventures together, but I needed to be building again and started looking for my next project last winter. This spring, I sold the Zenith and a week later purchased N94CR. Here's a picture of her back in the glory days:


She's a 1999 6A with about 500 hours on the airframe and factory new 0-360 that went "Splat" on the nose while taxiing on an unpaved strip. Here's what she looked like when I found her:




The first item of business was to assess the damage and determine what would need to be done. Of course a complete re-wire with new instruments was a necessity so I went to ebay and bid on the entire panel out of a Velocity with 40 hours on it. Won the bid at $4500: Included was a GRT Sport SX with 3d vision, 2 axis autopilot servo’s, GRT EIS, KX155 navcom, Icom 200, a Collins transponder and an ancient audio panel not worth reusing along with a Bendix vor/glideslope indicator and a handful of backup gauges, switches, and breakers. Sweet deal, eh??? 

Next item on the list was to check out the engine. It was shipped from the factory for this build back in 1996, and accumulated just 500 hours in the ten years it flew. There was, however, a prop strike during the nose gear incident and, although the crank dialed within a thousandth of true, I still wanted to do a complete teardown inspection of the engine. The good news from Rick Romans in Tulsa was that the crank was in good shape. The bad news was that my connecting rods were incredibly rare one-off’s from the factory which use something called “H5” bolts. These bolts are slightly larger in diameter than the standard rod bolts due to some error in the manufacturing process and replacements cost $250 EACH! Recommendation was just to find some replacement rods for less $$. I had the case cleaned at G&N in northwest Indiana while at Oshkosh, and picked it up on the way back home. It has now been painted and is just awaiting re-assembly.


The airframe was in decent shape considering. The lower half of the firewall was damaged, as was the first 8 inches of the cabin floor aft of the firewall. I have since cut out the bad section of stainless and patched it with new, then re-riveted the stiffeners to the firewall. I have also cut out the wrinkled floor section and patched in addition to installing new floor stiffener angles.



While waiting for engine components to come back from the inspection shop, I started on the new panel and wiring. The old wire was a little frightening: the non-tefzel coating on much of it had begun to harden and crack; non PIDG/AMP butt splices and connectors were used throughout, and the labelling was difficult to follow so I just pulled it and opted to start over. Using the Velocity avionics package, I chose pieces that would allow for a clean, basic IFR layout so I can work toward that rating and in case of the occaisional “on top” situation. These components were laid out on a new panel cut from .090 aluminum. I used the old panel as a frame which is riveted in place, and which contains nutplates that will allow the new panel to be removable and possibly even made sectional in the future if needed. Center control column still needs to be re-built with new throttle and mixture cables.





Well, now you're all up to speed. I'm thankful to have a forum such as this to share with and learn from. Would love to hear from anyone who has some history with this bird! Thanks for reading.

Last edited by j-red : 10-14-2017 at 09:05 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 08-10-2016, 08:32 AM
bret's Avatar
bret bret is online now
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Gardnerville Nv.
Posts: 2,691
Default

Nice looking project you have going there! great deal on the Avionics package!
__________________
7A Slider, EFII Angle 360, CS, SJ.
2017 gladly supported
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 08-10-2016, 01:09 PM
rightrudder rightrudder is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Laguna Hills, CA
Posts: 1,554
Default

Nice! I love these "Phoenix rising from the ashes" stories. I'm digging my Sport SX; I think you'll love it. Our panels look very similar.
__________________
Doug
RV-9A "slider"
Flew to Osh in 2017!
Tail number N427DK
Donation made for 2017
You haven't seen a tree until you've seen its shadow from the sky -- Amelia Earhart
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 08-10-2016, 08:37 PM
j-red j-red is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Lewes, DE
Posts: 145
Default

The panel probably looks similar because I stole the layout! Maybe not from yours particularly, but I've sifted through as many panel photos as I could find , borrowing ideas as I went.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 08-20-2016, 09:50 AM
j-red j-red is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Lewes, DE
Posts: 145
Default

This week's progress...

Cut and fit vent and audio jack panels to the pilot and copilot sides of the dash. Oh, and I had to completely re-route both headphone/mic jacks because I had the pilot's on the passenger side and vice-versa. The garmin audio panel has the ability to give certain privileges to the pilot alone, so these needed to be swapped.
[/url]


Getting close to installing the firewall, so I put the rudder pedals in...

...then realized that they were lacking the gussets per the Vans service bulletin, so they came back out...

The gussets were free from Van's, so i figured it would be cheaper to have them welded on than to get a new set of pedals. It was... barely! I blasted them myself, then took them to a local shop to have them welded on (I learned to TIG from my dad, but he lives 700 miles away...). I knew their shop rate, but I never expected it would take him as long as it did to weld them on. $225 later I got my pedals back, but I can't help but thinking that for a few bucks more I could have either bought myself a used TIG setup or gotten new powdercoated pedals. Oh, well. Peace of mind is priceless, right? I cleaned, painted and and have now re-assembled them so they're ready to go back in.


Finally, The Collins transponder I got in the Ebay deal had an A-30 encoder wired to it. This morning's project was to revert that connection to the grey code inputs of the GRT Sport harness. Relatively simple process of labeling each wire, cutting and attaching the female d-sub pins and popping them into the appropriate spot on the GRT connector. One less piece of dated hardware to mount and plumb.

Last edited by j-red : 10-14-2017 at 08:58 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 08-30-2016, 03:56 PM
j-red j-red is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Lewes, DE
Posts: 145
Default

Weekly Update:
With the pedals upgraded and re-installed, I could finally move ahead with riveting the firewall. This involved re-making some of the cowl attach strips. The hinge-halves for the lower cowling sides were still in place and, in fact, had never been removed. The rest of the lower and upper cowling was held to the fuselage by strips containing nutplates. I know they aren't as quick and easy as quick turn fasteners, but for the sake of time and expense, I'm sticking with the original hardware. That required re-making the lower two strips because of the firewall damage that occurred during the gear collapse wrinkled them up a bit. There was enough good real-estate left that i could use them as patterns for the new ones which means the original holes in the cowling line up perfectly. About half of the top cowl strip had to be remade because of edge distance issues from the original construction (meaning there essentially wasn't any...)
I bucked as many rivets as I could reach, and substituted appropriately sized CherryMax lock rivets where I couldn't.



With the firewall in place for good, it's time to begin hooking things up. I couldn't find the original bulkhead fittings for the brakes in my "box-o-rv-stuff" so I had to order them, but the hoses and aluminum lines were there, and now that task is checked off the list.




One of the first things I did after getting the kit, but which I haven't yet documented, was to install the "Almost-a-14" mod. I knew even when researching kits prior to buying this one that the mod would eventually be done because my flying mentor is about 6'5" and needs all the headroom he can get. I've actually found that for me at 6', the full-back position is actually too far away from the panel for me. But then, that's why it's adjustable!



Last edited by j-red : 10-14-2017 at 09:12 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 08-30-2016, 07:50 PM
6 Gun 6 Gun is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 766
Smile reskin

It would be perfect to put a piece of stainless steel in place of the 2024 in the third picture down from top that would be just the right size for fire protection a piece of 24 or 26 gauge from onlinemetals.com is cheap insurance.
Bob
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 08-31-2016, 09:10 AM
j-red j-red is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Lewes, DE
Posts: 145
Default

I'm not sure I understand. Are you talking about covering the front of the cabin floor with a piece of thin stainless?
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 09-06-2016, 09:49 AM
j-red j-red is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Lewes, DE
Posts: 145
Default Weekly Update 8/29-9/5

One of the few circuits left to wire was the electric flaps. I wanted easy access to the flaps with the throttle hand and decided to put them on the sub-panel along with the throttle, mixture and carb heat. That means it's time to make the sub-panel! This plane originally had the vertical channel between the fuel selector and panel, but using a sub-panel seems to be the more modern way to go. I had some spare .063 sitting around with a flange already bent at the perfect angle (not quite 90). Great... except it's got a row of small holes drilled in it, and they aren't in the right spots to be able to used for the controls. No problem. Let's slap a shiny blank piece of .040 on the front and stiffen it up a bit. Done. Now the flaps can be wired. Boom, done. Just using a simple DPDT mom/off/mom toggle, looking out the window for flap position reference.



Now that the engine mount and cowling attach points are riveted in, I could get to another thing that needed to be done before hanging the engine: the lower cowl repair. It turns out that the original builder's unorthodox way of installing the air scoop on the lower cowl made it a fairly simple repair. Instead of bonding the scoop permanently, he cut a recess, backed it with aluminum strips, then installed nutplates and finally built up the area with filler to blend it with the rest of the cowling. There was over 1/4" of filler in places! However, the result was that the nose gear collapse smashed the airbox which then separated at the seam, leaving the rest of the cowl intact. Yay! I decided not to repeat the original installation, and instead am attaching this scoop per the directions. I used an angle grinder to clean out the excess filler, remove the plate nuts, and rough up the surface. Next, with the cowl in place on the fuselage, I determined the proper position of the new scoop from the remains of the previous scoop, then stuck the new one on with a layer of epoxy-soaked cloth. Yesterday i went back, cleaned up the inside contours, and applied a layer of fiberglass on the interior of the joint. It's now stable enough that i can take it off the fuselage to work the outside.


Last edited by j-red : 10-14-2017 at 09:28 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 09-17-2016, 09:37 AM
j-red j-red is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Lewes, DE
Posts: 145
Default Weekly update 9/6-17

No pics to show, because there isn't much visible change. I installed the pressure sender manifold on the firewall and ran the wires for oil and fuel pressure back to the GRT EIS. I also ran the wires for the left and right fuel sender's. Several of these lines require 4.8v exciter current and various resistors tied into the auxillary ports in the EIS, and I opted to install a screw-terminal bus bar ($3 from Radio Shack) to manage all of these circuits.

I also hung the engine mount, mostly just to see how it fit, but ended up torquing it down anyway. The cabin heat box was riveted in place, the brake fluid reservoir re-installed and connected to the brake lines, and the gascolator cleaned and connected.

The previous owner of this kit had collected some items for repair such as a replacement nose gear leg and wheel. I was somewhat concerned about how it might align to the engine mount since both were already drilled, but it seems to line up correctly, and an NAS 5/16 bolt is quite snug (had to be hammered into place), so i'm relieved. The wheel is a cleveland which I'm also pleased with given that it has the solid center axle spacer as well as the two side spacers that determine how much pressure can be put on the bearing races. The wheel was cleaned, bearings re-packed with Aeroshell #22, and installed in the fork.

A few other small things that were accomplished included attaching the magnetometer in the aft fuselage (currently with velcro intil I determine if that is going to be the permanent location), and safety-wiring the pitch and trim autopilot servo's
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:28 AM.


The VAFForums come to you courtesy Delta Romeo, LLC. By viewing and participating in them you agree to build your plane using standardized methods and practices and to fly it safely and in accordance with the laws governing the country you are located in.