Chapter 23 - Engine - Installation

Mounting the mount

After sanding and filling for over a month it was time to mount the engine. First step was to drill the holes for the Barry mounts. I got a bi-metal hole cutting tool and, after bowing three times to the West (Arizona) I did the dirty deed and drilled four 1.5 inch holes through the firewall, thus entirely removing the 1 inch square aluminum engine mount reinforcements. As I'd expected, I also had to remove the extra aluminum reinforcements on the inside of the lower mount points. I don't need the aluminum because the Barry mounts take the weight on their entire surface, not just one 1/4 inch bolt. I'd raised the lower mount points by 0.3. It would have been better if they'd been raised 0.6 and moved inwards about 0.3. As it was I had to trim the rubber of the Barry mounts for the inside lower mount points to get good fit against the firewall. I got three of the four mount points done, but needed some help with the fourth. Char came out to hold the wrench and stood quietly looking at the mount with a puzzelled look on her face. After a minute or tow of respectful silence she said "Isn't this lip on the back to point down instead of up?" Hmmm. I think she's right. I checked the mounting plate on which Ed had helpfully written "up". It was up. "Ah, yes, says Char - but the plane is upside down". You know - intelligent GIB's can sometimes be embarassing. I took off the three bolts and inverted the mount. With help from Char and a bit of pushing and shoving, we got all four nuts on and tightened up the bolts. I climbed out from the upside down "hell hole" and tugged on the mount to test / demonstrate it's strength. The airplane moved and nearly came off the trestles. Oops. The mount looks good and seems very rigid. Now I have to figure out a way to get the engine in place and fix it to the mount.

Mounting the Engine - upside down

My plan was to make the lower cowling while the plane is upside down. To do this I needed the engine, redrive and wings in place. I also needed the spinner so I could match the back of the cowl to the correct curve. I've always liked the pointy spinner made by Lightspeed Engineering. I called to confirm that it would fit on a Cozy IV and got to talk to the man himself. That has to be worth at least 5 kts right there. Klaus said it would fit, so I ordered an unpainted spinner with a "flow guide". When it arrived I realized I also needed and AC-1 forward bulkhead from AC Spruce. This was my chance to test Spruce's service once again. Char says the spinner looks like a bee's stinger. Perhaps we should paint it with black and yellow stripes.

While I was waiting for the spinner to arrive I got on with mounting the engine. I striped all the accessories off and found that I could manouver the engine around fairly easily. I didn't have a "block & tackle" or any other way of hoisting the engine and I didn't want to buy one. I considered making the plans recommended support table, and will later, but right now I needed to get the engine off the floor and mated up with the mount upside down. Hmmm. I searched around and found a hydrolic trolly jack. I put the engine on the jack (not too hard, even on my own) and gradually "walked" the engine up into place using bricks and blue foam. I got about 2 feet in the air and decided that someone, probably me, was going to get seriously hurt. I went down to NAPA and got one of their "come-along" things, then went to home depot to get anchor bolts to put through my patio beams. This made life a lot easier. An hour later I had the engine bolted in place. I put the redrive back on and stood back to admire this new dimension. Wow. My Cozy is now 41 inches longer! My baby has an engine, and I installed it on my daughter, Julia's, 27th birthday. That's gotta be a good vibe.

At this point I diverted from the engine for a week to make the lower cowling.

Mounting the Engine - right way up

Once the lower cowl was done and the bottom of the plane was painted and polished it came time to flip the plane and start on the upper cowling. The first step was to mount the engine again. Apart from some help from Char with getting the mount on right way up (Duh!) and tightening the bolts, I mounted the engine on my own in a couple of hours. Things were a lot easier with the plane on wheels. I rolled the plane out of the way, moved the engine in place on its stand, then hoisted it up with my come-along. When I had the engine high enough I just rolled the plane underneath it and lowered the engine in place. Easy! One slight problem with the engine mount Ed designed for me is that the sump has to come off to get the engine off the mount. I guess this is no big deal since the sump wil probably be coming off anyway if the engine is removed. I haven't sealed the sump yet, so this it's not a problem yet.

When it came to bolting the engine in place I noticed that I'm going to need some non standard bolts. The sump bolts are too short because they have to go through the 1/4 inch al plate, and the big engine mount bolts at the front are too long because they don't have a stock rubber mounting to go through. I think NAPA will be able to provide what I need.

I raided the spare room, brought out my redrive, turbo, alternator and water pump, and fitted them on the engine. I spent some time trying to see what shape the upper cowling would have to be to accomodate the various parts, then created a web page with pictures and asked for comments in the flyrotary mail list. I got various suggestions about how to move or lower the water pump. For now I think I'll just make the cowl the shape that looks right and let "function follow form". While trial fitting the lower cowl I noticed that the rubber bushings for the top engine mounts had pulled away from the firewall about 1/8 inch and the engine was sagging down under its own weight. The prop hub was about 1/2 inch lower than it had been when I made the lower cowl. This was because the thickness of the firewall and glass mount reinforcements was less than the 3/4 inch required by the Barry mounts, so the rubber bushings weren't gripping the firewall properly. I decided to thicken the upper mounts with 1/8 aluminum floxed and glassed in place, then drilled for the 1.5 inch rubber mountings. So, if you're planning on using the same Barry mounts as me, make sure you have 3/4 inch thickness at the mount points when you do the engine mount reinforcement layups.

Fitting the lower cowling

With the engine in its proper place I was ready to fit the lower cowl. I decided to do the lip around the fuselage first, before putting on the wings. I'm not sure how the plans cowls come but, because of the way I made it, my cowl ends when it butts up to the turtleback, fuselage, spar, wings etc. I couldn't see any way to make the lip while making the cowl off a plug so my cowl has (or should I say had) no lip. I decide to support the cowl on blocks of wood, so I drilled through my beautiful new paint where the bolts will go. I spaced them 7 inches apart per plans except where the Barry mounts were slighly in the way. Here I used 4 inch spacing to get a bolt either side. After duct taping all around the cowl lip, I used drywall screws (yes, Wayne - I have some too) through the holes to hold small wood blocks. These blocks supported the cowling perfectly, but I wasnt happy about the heads of the drywall screws sticking up slightly into where the lip layup would go. Plans say to bondo the blocks. NFW. Not on my new paint. Hmmm. I supported the cowl with a chair and duct taped all around the outside. I removed the drywall screws and wood blocks one at a time and used 2 * 4's and bits of blue foam to help stop the cowl from sagging anywhere. After a few adjustments and a couple of extra 2 * 4's I had everything firm and in place. I tried to follow the plans here, but everything was backward. I know I need a reinforcement strip all around the edge of the cowl, plus I need a lip. I recall Nat saying the reinforcement should be 2 ply, and the lip seems to be 4 ply. I couldnt see any good reason why these lay-ups should be seperate, so I just layed-up a 6 ply 3 inch strip all around the cowl and over the cowl lip. This forms the lip and the reinforcement in one go. After cure the cowl is nice and stiff, and the lip looks like it will do the job.

With Char's help I fitted the wings. Again. This must be about 6 times I've done this. I've got the old hacksaw blade & duct tape trick down to a fine art for fitting the nuts. (In case you're not familiar with this - you bend the last inch of a hacksaw blade to about 20 degrees and stick duct tape to it, stick side out. Now you stick the nut to the duct tape, reach carefully into the hole and, using a flashlight, position the nut on the end of the bolt. Now you reach around the wing and gently turn the prepositioned socket wrench. Bingo! The nut catches a thread. Now pull off the hacksaw blade and use the sticky end to rotate the nut on the threads. Works like a charm. I got the nut threaded on the first attempt on one side, third on the other. As usual, I couldn't remember which bolt(s) get washers. This is one of the penalties of being a bit disorganized. I wrote this information down somewhere, but I can't remember where. You'd think I'd have the sense to write this in marker pen on the inside of the wing right next to the bolt. But no, I always forget when I take the wings off. Once the wings are on tight it's obvious where the washer goes because one wing is slightly out of line with the strake. Now I have to remove that wing, put the washer on and put it back. Damn. This is a note to me. WING WASHERS (search key). One thick washer goes on the starboard side upper outboard bolt. OK. Got it? Good.

I had a little "incident" while fitting the wings. Knowing that the weight was all in the back (you know where this is going don't you?) I'd put a heavy car battery and a lot of weights in the front. The winglets were supported on foam and Char went inside to get on with some work. I jiggled the wings into final position and tightened up the bolts. One winglet was hitting the roof of the patio, so I needed to move the plane forward an inch. I pulled the plane by the nose, and the foam fell out from under the winglet. No problem, the bolts are on. Now the weight of the wings and engine, with no canard or canopy, was enough to override my battery and the plane wanted to sit down. I had it by the nose, but it was late at night and I was alone on the patio.....

So. How did I get out of this one? I managed to reach a cement block. I snagged it with one hand and lifted it up onto the canard support. The nose wheel came down again and all was well. Maybe this incident will help me remember weight and balance later when I have a prop to damage.

Once the wings were on properly I fitted the lower cowling again. I taped supported it along the sides to keep the edges even with the wing roots. I layed up a reinforcement rib of 5 ply BID, 3 inches wide along the edge of the cowling parallel with each wing root. Why 5 ply? Well, I could say I wanted to give the cowl extra strength. The truth is I misread the plans. The reinforcement should have been 2 ply. Anyway, I covered this layup with plastic and layed up the wing root lips on top of it. When everything cured I drilled and bolted the cowl to the wing roots temporarily. I was looking forward to working on the upper cowl, but I needed the lower cowl properly fitted first. I needed to add the 2 ply reinforcement layup along the rear edges, but the edges weren't "straight as an arrow". I came up with an idea to fix this. I clamped an aluminum extrusion above and below the edge, then heated the aluminum with a heat gun for about 10 minutes. The hot straight edges warmed the glass. When everything cooled down I had perfect straight edges. Now I had a straight base, I layed up the 2 ply BID and clamped the aluminum back on for cure.

The next item that needed attention was the spinner area. I'd tried to curve the back of the cowl around the spinner, but it needed some adjustment.

Engine shrink wrapped Finally, it was time to make the upper cowling.

Fitting the upper cowling

Fitting the nutplates My PVC exhaust. Do you think it will hold out? The first job on the cowling was cutting the exhaust holes. Paul lamar says the outlet should be about 125 to 150 % of the inlet. I measured the NACA inlet as 14.5 * 4.5, so this meant my oval holes needed to be 8.8 * 5.7. I marked an oval on a piece of paper and cut the holes. outlets outlets Making the upper cowling lip I use sticks and bondo to hold the cowling in place, then made the lips. You can read more about my upper cowling lips in the tips section. Once these cured I added a 2 ply BID reinforcement strip along the sides. Unfortunately my epoxy pump "blipped" when I pumped the epoxy for these reinforcements. I think there was a bubble in the hardener side. The layup cured, but very slowly. It seemed a little soft, even after a day, so I added another ply to reinforce the reinforcement.

Plans say to put a wedge shaped piece of wood at the top of the firewall to support the upper cowl as it goes on. Instead of using wood, I found an old aluminum rudder pulley bracket which had been replaced by steel. I bent this and screwed it to the firewall.

Wayne suggested I consider the fancy cowl fitting method which uses removable hinge pins, but I decided to use nut plates per plans for now. Later I'd like to make large cowling doors.

Making the lower cowling fit Making the upper cowling fit I found that the cowl lips were inexplicably too high in a couple of places. This made the cowl too low and would have required quite a bit of micro to correct the curve between fuselage and cowling. So I moved the lips. How do you move a fiberglass layup? Simple. You glass another lip on the underneath, then grind away the original lip. Getting the nutplates to line up was a bit tricky. After a couple of false starts, and a few extra holes I had to glass over, I found that the best way was to install the nutplates two or three at a time. I started with one at the top and one on either side. With these aligned and screwed up tight, I drilled the holes for a couple more etc. etc. Futzing with cowl lips and nutplates took a few days intersperse with some finishing work. I'm not sure how the plans prefab cowl comes, but I suspect most people have to jiggle with the fitting. Perhaps mine was easier - at least the cowl was made in place to match the fuselage fairings. Nutplates


A nutplate buried in flox and 1 ply BID There are 46 nutplates in all holding my upper and lower cowlings in place. During the fitting process I attached and removed the cowls eight or nine times. I found that the brass screws don't tend to last more than two or three iterations of inserting and removing them. The phillips head looses it's sharpness and the screw driver spins. Once this happens the only way to get the screw out is to drill through it. This happened to me three or four times, so I decided to get some stainless steel screws which wouldnt deteriorate as quickly. The other problem I came across was that, when you apply the torque needed to turn the screws, sometimes the rivets come out and the nutplate spins. This had happened on one nutplate when I helped Greg Richter take his cowling off. Most annoying. Again - the solution is to drill out the screw. To prevent this from happening in future, I put the screws in all the holes, added a dab of grease to the threads and then put a little flox around each nutplate. One ply of BID presses into the flox and wetted out with a brush gave me secure and, hopefully trouble free, nutplate attachements.

Given that there are about 26 screws (make that 30) holding the upper cowling in place, I'm considering making large doors on either side to make inspection easier. I'm holding off on this until the cowls are finished and painted and I see how well the floxed nutplates and stainless screws work. So far they seem to work very well. I've had the top cowl on and off a couple of times without any problems. With a power screwdriver and a good fitting phillips attachment I can whip the screws out in a couple of minutes. I considered using hinges and/or camlocks, but the screws are quick and easy (now).

Maintaining currency

My flying has dropped off dramatically while building the airplane. It's hard to spend $70 on an hour of punching holes in the sky in a spam can when the same money will buy you a gallon of epoxy. Instead, I've flown just once every few months to maintain currency. I go down to the local FBO and get an instructor to "beat me around the head" for an hour, then I do a couple of touch and goes solo and follow up with three full stop night landings. This time, when I called to book a plane they offered me "THE Archer". The very same airplane which was flown by one of the Sept 11 terrorists weeks before the attack. I decided to use a 172 this time. I'll get back in that Archer eventually - its a real nice airplane (considering it's made of metal), but today I just didnt feel like putting my hands on the controls.

The join at the back

The lip on the upper cowl I futzed around a bit trying to figure out the best way to join the upper cowls at the trailing edge. Then I realized that builders have the same issue when using the plans cowls. I went to the plans and, sure enough, there's a procedure for making a lip on the upper cowl and screwing through the lower cowl into nutplates on the lip. More nutplates. I put two each side making it an even 50 for both cowls.

Coils and other Damn Details

Tracy Crook was upgrading my EC2 computer to the latest revision software and to handle the turbo when he emailed to confirm that I was using the '93 coils. He asked if I had an "Igniter Module". A what?
Tracy says: 
The igniter is the module that drives the coils in responce to control signals 
from the ECU (or EC2).  These are built in to the 86 - 92 RX7 coil modules but 
are separate parts on the 13BREW coils. The 93 - 96 igniter is a module about 
3" x 5" with a finned aluminum heat sink on it mounted on the driver side of 
the engine compartment in the RX7.   
No. I don't have an igniter module. I talked to Bruce Turrentine and he tells me that igniter modules are pretty hard to come by and cost a ridiculous amount new from Mazda. He suggests I use the GM-LS1 coils which have the igniter module built in. Tracy is using these in his new engine. They're AC Delco part # 12558948. Tracy says he wouldn't use them if they were actually made by Delco but they are, in fact, made by Nippon Denso and are very high quality. Apparantly they were used on 1998 LS1 Corvette & others. Tracy mentioned that another aggravating factor is the connector used on these coils. It's only available at GM dealers and is expensive. It's sold in the 4 connector harness for the corvette. However, he says it's possible to solder wires to the connector pins and pot the connector cavity with epoxy to avoid this cost. I decided to get the LS1 coils and asked Tracy to set the EC2 up accordingly.

Engine Controls

I used to own a Piper PA28 and learned to love the vernier throttle, so I'd always planned on fitting one to my Cozy. Jeff Russel has one in his AeroCanard. It loops around, then goes down the side wall to the engine. One day I saw Bryan DeFord's web page and pictures of his throttle quadrant installation. I liked the look of it, and, on a whim, decided to get the same quadrant from Vans Aircraft. I got the three handle version thinking I'd use them for Throttle, turbo boost and cowl flaps. I made a new center consol the right height and made reinforced inserts to fit the quadrant. To position the throttle I sat in the plane with the seat foam in place and rested my arm on the center armrest. The most comfortable position was just about parallel with the stick. This left about 4 inches in front of the quadrant, which seemed like a good place for my EC2 fuel injection computer panel (see links - Tracy Crook). This panel has a pot to control the mixture, so I like having it right next to the throttle. Note: While at the Vans website I also bought the aluminum wheel nuts which have an extension to bolt wheel pants onto.

I think I'll install the center console with screws rather than glassing it in, at lest until everything's finalized in terms of control cables and wiring. The back of the console meets the seatback just above my plans fuel valve. No problem. This valve is coming out anyway. I haven't made the final decision on how the fuel system is going to work yet, but I'll need to do something with switching the return and the seatback valve isnt going to figure into the final solution.

I took my center console with me on a visit to Bulent's project, just to show it off. I placed it in his fuselage. It was about 8 inches too short. If Bulent ever offers you a back seat ride, be prepared for a tight fit. Buly is making good progress, but visiting a project that's behind you is always a good thing to do. It makes you feel better about how far you have to go.

Revising the motor mount

"HE" who runs the Rotary newsletter had been very verbal about the fact that my mount needed vertical and horizontal braces near the firewall. Unfortunately "HE" screams his opinions so loudly and forcefully that many knowledgeable people back off. My natural tendancy was to ignore HIM. However, I asked around and got the same opinion from others whose knowledge and engineering expertise I trust. The consensus was that HE had a good point, so I took the mount back to Ed and asked his opinion. He said "I can buy that" and added the required braces. When I got the mount back I found that the lower horizontal brace interfered with the radiator - bad planning on my part, not Eds fault, so I hacksawed this brace off. I'll figure out a better place for this brace and take the mount back to Ed for further "adjustment". I wish the stock Cozy 13B mount now available had been in production when I started all this. Ah well. Can't win em all.

A visit from France

Just before Christmas, 2002 I received a visit from Benoît Leqoc, a French Cozy flyer who Char & I met in Paris. Benoît came over in his "big plane" (An Airbus 340) for a quick trip with a layover in Miami. Todd Silver (of Todd's Canopies) came up for a visit Benoît and good cozy conversation was enjoyed. After his return, I shared some correspondence with Benoît on the engine mounting issue which I thought was worthy of publishing here: From left to right, Benoît, myself and Todd (the canopy guy) Silver

Benoît wrote:

I told you I had some thinking about your engine setup. What worries me is having your engine bolted on the engine mount. From my understanding both rotors would send explosions pulses through the engine case to the mount. These pulses will be "Torque" pulses ie tending to rotate the engine counterwise vs the propeller rotation.
I have the feeling that you have to damp those pulses by some means . Otherwise you might get your engine mount to crack after some time as it is bolted strongly on the engine.The mount absorbers you have on the firewall to hold the engine mount do not seem to be doing the job because the torque pulses would react as a shear action on them. Are they designed for shear vibrations?
Also as you add power to the engine, the torque send to the propeller means that the engine will want to slightly torque the other way, so you need to allow that movement (as it is done with the dynafocal mount used with Lycoming engines).
These thinking are only "thinking" and of course I only have the expertise of the fact that I made engineering studies and that is from a "Physics" stand point that I am reasonning.
I talked to a guy (Homebuilder) who professionaly was involved in a rotary engine for cars and he kind of agreed with me. He also told me that fuel burning was a bit high with that type of engine. Any idea on that? Have you talked with experts about your engine mount?

My reply was:

This is a very astute observation, Benoît. The mount was designed by a trusted aviation engineer based on input from other engineers familiar with the issues. At that time there were two schools of thought about damping - you can do it either at the engine, or the firewall. If you do it at the engine there can be too much movement (I forget the other negatives), but if you do it at the firewall you have the problem of torque being transmitted through the mount. Notice that the mount is not square. It has triangles from the forward and aft support points which support each other. Also there are braces which join three of the four mount points vertically and horizontally, so it should be a good "box" structure which will transmit the drive torque to the airframe. The explosion pulses are the main concern for causing fatigue cracks. In a rotary these pulses are MUCH less than from a 4 cyl piston engine like a lycoming. In general there is much less vibration and smaller sudden torque pulses because the large mass is simply rotating rather than reciprocating. There is still the overall torque, however, which is more gradual and should be handled OK by the stucture I have.

Yes, the Barry mounts are supposed to handle the sheer action, (They have steel inserts surrounded by delrin) and a number of trusted engineers have given the design their blessing. However, I am still a little concerned about this issue. There is now a "standard" Cozy IV / Mazda engine mount (See ) which uses isolators at the engine. This has not been tested yet either, but it looks good and I wish it had been available when I needed mine. I will keep a VERY close eye on the mount during the first few hours and will abandon it if there are any signs of a problem. I'd rather not, of course, since this will require a redesign of the cowls and a $1000 cost. To facilitate inspections I will be making cowl doors on either side so I can study the mount (and everything else) carefully during every preflight.

As for the fuel burn. Tracy Crook (flying an RV with a rotary for over 1000 hours) and a few other 13B flyers report similar fuel burn to a Lycoming doing the same work. It can definately be a little worse at high power settings (take off and climb), but it can be lower at cruise because you can lean the engine to the performance limit without worrying about burned exhaust valves.

Thank you for your concern and your well thought out points. Unfortunately there is no proven standard to follow in the Cozy 13B mount, so I am at the edge of the experimental envelope. I will be careful.

Pipes and fittings

I'm zeroing in on the engine bit by bit. Doing a non-standard engine hasn't really cost me any extra (elapsed) time because I've been dealing with the details while doing the rest of the finish work, fuel system, brakes, wheel pants etc. etc. In August 02 I decided it was time to think about some fittings and pipes. I don't even know where the oil comes out of the engine or where it goes back in at this stage. No doubt I' ll learn. Tracy Crook's advice is to take the problem in small bites, so I took my radiator, oil coolers, fuel pump and fuel filter down to Ed Heishman so he could install AN fittings for all the connections. I described what I was planning to Ed and showed him the parts. He followed me through on how I was planning to run the fuel, water and cooling systems nodding as I covered each step. When I was done, Ed said that the plan sounded good and that he could either buy or make the fittings I'd need. I left the parts with him and arranged to go back in a couple of weeks. A small step, but progress non-the-less.

A few weeks later I returned to Pompono Beach to pick my various parts. Ed had cut the top off the water pump, made a new cover and added -16 AN fittings to the main outlets. While he was at it he glass beaded the pump inside and out. In the picture you can also see my radiator, oil cooler and fuel pump with the custom AN fittings attached. The price for all this work, including the revised motor mount, caught my breath. Hell - that's being generous. I almost needed resusitation. It seems that Ed's prices depend on how well his day has gone. He must have had a really NASTY day. I won't be going back to Pompono much.

Fitting woes

Later I found that the oil cooler fittings werent the same. One of the "oil coolers" was actually a transmission fluid cooler and had different treads. (20mm, 1.5 rather than the 22mm, 1.5 on the oil cooler according to my recently obtained thread gage). Also, the fuel pump fittings turned out to be no good (my fault, not Eds - see chapter 21) and one of the support bars on the mount interfered with my radiator. So far the radiator itself is just fine. All in all I made quite a few fairly expensive mistakes as I stumbled through the minefield of pipes and fittings.

Dip-stick, with a capital D

While I was fitting the intake I found the dip-stick and put it in the proper hole at the top of the engine. This way I'd know where the center of the access door would have to be. When I lowered the dip stick it stopped about 2 inches too high and went "Dink". That's "dink" an in "I'm hitting something metal", not "Denk", the hollow sound you get when the stick is properly inserted. Maybe I had a second gen stick and its too long. After a while I figured it out. It didn't take rocket science, so there was no need to call Hicks on this one. I was the DIP here. The stick wasn't too long, and it wasnt hitting the bottom of the sump. It was hitting the 1/4 inch aluminum mounting plate between the sump and the engine. I hadn't drilled a hole for it to go through into the sump. Now I'm going to have to remove the engine, remove the mount, remove the sump, remove the plate, drill a hole in the right place then reinstall everything with new RTV to seal the parts. Geesh! Thats going to take a day or more. Actually it took 2 1/5 hours to get everything off, and 3 hours to put everything back. This is actually a good time to do some final work on the lower cowl like sealing off all the gaps, getting the cowl flap working and adding some air ducts for the intercooler and AC condensor.

Plug Leads

Following a recommendation from RV flyer, Ed Anderson, I ordered prefab leads from for MUCH less. I learned in the fly-rotary mail list that the GM part numbers needed are:

12558948  Coil
12569111  Coil harness
12102754  7 pin connector for above

According to Ed, the best plugs are supposed to be Leading B9EV or B9EGV, Trailing B10EV or B10EGV Gold Iridium. A web search turned up boxes of 4 for $19. I got the EGV ones.

At Ed's suggestion I got the plug leads custom made by Magnecor. When Roger from Japtrix saw the leads installed he mentioned that these are the best leads available, and he uses them for his race car.

Final installation

The plane was at the hangar and it was finally time to put the engine on for the last time (I hope). [note: wrong. See the paragrap on dip-sticks]. I didn't have any helpers, but the bare engine isn't that heavy. I was able to get it in the trunk of the car and lift it (one side at a time) onto a trestle behind the plane. I got the special gray oil resistant RTV and installed the sump plate and sump. I nearly dropped the sucker turning it over, but eventually I got it right way up on the trestle and attached the mount with AN4 bolts. The only problem now was that the engine was about 12 inches too low and there was nowhere to attach my come-along. I walked the trestle upwards on 2 * 4s until the mount lined up with the firewall holes, then pushed the plane backwards to engage the bolts. A little gentle use of the nose lift to correct the angle and I was able to get the top bolts in place. Now I could life the engine off the trestle by lowering the nose with the nose lift, and insert the lower bolts. Jack's nose-lift makes a pretty good winch.

It would have been nice to have had help, but I didnt want to wait, and I guess it became a bit of a challenge. Can I get the engine in the car, out of the car and onto the airplane on my own. Answer is yes, in about 6 hours. Would I want to do it again? Only if I really had to. I wish I hadn't said that.

If you're wondering why there's blue foam under then engine in the picture, that's to stop the plane tipping over. It very nearly went over when I took the canard off to work on the electrics, so I put the foam there to catch it in case I forget about weight and balance again.

About 4 weeks later I forgot about weight and balance again. :) Unfortunately I'd moved the plane and my support structure was elsewhere in the hangar. I'd decided to thread a couple of wires for the landing brake warning. I took the pilot seat cusion out and dumped it on the strake. Up she came. Before I knew quite what was happening the nose was 8 feet in the air and I was hanging onto the longerons for grim death. I kinda climbed my way down the lonerons toward the nose and, with some effort, pulled it back down. Figuring it out later I realized I'd set myself up. The engine was fully installed, but the canopy and canard were off. I guess this kind of experience is part of the training, so you don't forget weight and balance issues later.

Stumbling through the Redrive

I got out the redrive and installed the flange upgrade Tracy sent me. I've had the redrive for a couple of years, and found that it's model RD1A which is recommended for up to 200HP, 300 HP for take-off. There's a RD1B model available now which can handle 300 HP continuous and I can upgrade for $500. Maybe I will later, but I'll go with what I've got for now. I might upgrade to the RD1C instead which is a 2.85 ratio (in the other direction) and will give me more power for the same prop RPM, provided I also buy a reversed prop, otherwise I'll go really fast - backwards.

I followed Tracy's instructions and had no trouble getting a good alignment. I bought a brand new torque wrench for this very event, and was ready to torque down the main adapter flange bolts. That was when I realized that the tortque wrench had a 1/2 drive, and all my sockets were 3/8. After antother trip to Pepboys I was able tp proceed. I'd set the wrench for 30lbs, but it didnt seem to be breaking, even when the built-in torque wrench in my arm was telling me I was way past 30lb. Hmmm. I adjusted the wrench to 10 lbs, and discovered that it doesnt "break" like the one I'd used before... it clicks. You have to listen for the click and stop. I hadnt heard the click and I hadnt stopped. All the bolts were now clicking just fine at 10 lb except one. I torqued it some more, and it just didnt seem to get any tighter. uh oh. I took the bolt out and discovered that it now had a "waist". A 12mm bolt, and I'd twisted it without even noticing. It seems that a two foot wrench can put a lot of torque on a bolt. I drove over to NAPA and picked up a replacement bolt. Same markings on the head and everything. Excellent.

Now to install the drive housing. I'd just added the RTV to the flange faces when I had a visitor who wanted to look around the plane. I didn't have time to torque all the nuts down before the RTV was starting to set, so I took everything apart, cleaned it all up and started again.

The second time I had no interruptions and the drive housing went on fine, until one of the AN3 nuts started to turn without tightening. Damn. I'd done it again. This time I'd stripped the threads on the nut. Not wanting to remove the housing again I dremelled the nut and managed to remove it without damaging the bolt. OK. I had some spare nuts of the same type, so I was back in business. I tightened all the nuts crosswise and was getting to about 25 ft pounds torque all around when there was a snap, my knuckles hit the ring gear, and one of the nuts came off, complete with the end of the bolt.

Next day, after I'd calmed down and my hand had stopped bleeding, I picked up another AN4-47A bolt from the FBO and tried again. I removed that adapter plate, inseted the new bolt and torqued away. 10lbs ok, 15 lbs ok, 20lbs pk, 25lbs ok....snap. Another nut came off with the end of its bolt still attached. Sometime I get the feeling I'm not working my way through this project, I'm stumbling my way through it. Oh. Thanks for you're agreement.

Somethings wrong here. I can twist a big 12mm bolt at 30lbs, but I'm supposed to torque these little AN4 guys to 60lbs. And, Tracy's instructions make a point of saying not to be tempted to overtighten them. Something don't jibe. I reread the instructions. Sure enough - the final torque on the main adapter bolts is 30 pounds, and the final torque on the 12 AN4 bolts is 60lbs. Then I noticed something. A four letter word. "inch". The big bolts get 30 FOOT pounds, the little ones get 60 INCH pounds. Damned engineers - he changed units on me on the fly. I'm no engineer, but I'd hazard a guess that an inch pound is 12 twelth of a foot pound. (PS - Yes, I do understand moments).

Since all 11 remaining bolts had been torqued to 25 FOOT lb or more, I ordered 12 replacement bolts. When they arrived I didnt want to disassemble the redrive, so I unbolted the flange plate from the engine, replaced the bolts one by one, tightend them to 5 ft lb, then reinstalled the flange plate. Once everything was back together I tested for binding by rotating the flywheel and feeling the end play. The end play was constant all the way around, so it looks like my alignment is ok.

Starter Motor

People ask me why it's taking so long to get this bird in the air. Here's an example of what takes the time. My starter motor came with my box of engine bits. It was a bit shabby, so I decided to clean it up. I took it apart, cleaned and painted the surfaces, checked and greased the innards and reassembled it. Getting the brushes back in place wasnt simple, but I got it back together eventually. Now to mount it. The holes in the starter are 12mm. The ones in the redrive are 10mm. Maybe there's a special bolt with a thick shank. I drove over to Japtrix. Nope, says Roger. You'll have to drill out the holes to 12mm. I drove to NAPA and asked the guy behind the counter for a 12mm drill. "they don't make drills in metric", he says, and hands me a 3/8 bit as the closest he's got. At this point I decide that this guy isnt going to be much help. I just happen to have my Aeroquip calipers with me, so I checked the bit. 10.9mm. I went to the drill case and checked the bits until I found the one closest to 12mm, then took it to the register. Service just aint what it used to be. OK, back at the hangar I'm ready to drill the 12mm holes, except that my drill bit requires a 1/2 chuck, and mine is 3/8. Stalled again. Later I discovered a drill bit which was just under 12mm. My 12mm bolts self tapped into the holes.

Hose day

I met Roger from Japtrix and we went to Maco Hose in West Palm. We worked through our list of hoses and fittings until we had quite a pile on the counter. Did I mention that I'm over "hose and fitting sticker shock". I didnt even wince when Mako Mike mentioned that the dash 20 stainless braided hose was $20/foot, and that's at dealer price. OK, we need 6 feet. The four fittings for the ends were actually less expensive than I expected, but the 90 degree fittings for the dash 10 oil hoses more than made up for that. OK, so this stuff is expensive. Let's put it in perspective. The -10 oil hose and fittings plus the -20 water hose and fittings cost more than my planned Cozy experience training. That training involves round trip air from PBI to ISP plus all the fuel for 12+ hours P1 time in a Cozy with Rich Huges as we fly from ISP to The Rough River Flyin and back to ISP. WHich is more valuable? I guess I gotta have them both.

the oil feed is at the bottom of the engine the two stock 3rd gen oil coolers are plumbed in series the oil return will go to the oil filter adapter plate the radiator feed and returns are shown here. Purdy, aint they? this is the short pipe from the water pump. The other one goes around the cool side of the engine to the other end of the rad The hose shop had a fitting which went in the "oil to oil cooler" port show The engine port identification page. From there we ran dash 10 AN fittings and stainless braided hose across to the inlet of the oil cooler on the starboard side of the engine, out of the oil cooler outlet and over to the inlet of the port side oil cooler. The pipe from the outlet of this cooler has to return oil to the engine. Unfortunately, don't ask me how, my engine doesn't have an oil return port. Apparantly the 2nd gen has a return just below the oil filter, but the 3rd gen doesnt. I wonder how they get the oil back. It seems that my oil filter is going to have to move, and we'll need an adapter for this. The current plan is to drill and tap this adapter to take the oil return.

We're done with the main oil hoses, except for the oil return which needs a custom adapter plate to go where the oil filter used to be. Next week we'll do the water, fuel, turbo and redrive oil, turbo water, heater and AC. Add the part finished intake and we should be ready to start the engine any time soon.

Hose day #2

Roger and J discuss intricate details of the redrive oil return plumbing a bunch of pipes and fittings Why a second trip? Because buying all that stuff in one trip could be dangerous for my health, and its often easier to take small bites at a problem. This trip we talked to "J" at Maco and got the hose and fittings for the heater, the radiator, the redrive oil and the turbo water. I noticed that all the fittings came from XPS Xtreme Racing Products. These products look and feel exactly like the stratoflex stuff. Roger uses them exclusively for his racing (did I mention that he wins fairly frequently), so I guess they're good enough for me too. J crimped the fittings for the stainless braided teflon hoses in the back while we waited. We still have fuel and AC to do, but they have to wait until we have a fuel rail and an AC compressor to connect to.

I installed the big radiator hose and fittings. Tightening the fittings was tricky. I couldnt find a 1 3/4 wrench, or even an adjustable one that wide. I didnt want to use a pipe wrench and damage the nice colors so I used one of those rubber band type wrenches they make for oil filters. This worked, up to a point, but I had to use the pipe wrench for the final tightening. You cant see the scratches unless you look close. The radiator connections were pretty easy. I'd had 37 degree fittings welded to the rad, so all I had to do was make a short pipe from the water pump to the front of the rad, and a long one around to the back.

redrive oil feed redrive oil pipes need shortening redrive oil pipes finally done The redrive oil fittings were ok, but the drain pipes were much too long. I plan to take these back and have them redone to get a neater and lighter result. The two drains need to be T'd together. I decided that the T could be a fitting in the forward drain. One pipe would go to the other drain and other back to the engine. Much simpler. I'm waiting for Roger to make the oil adapter plate which goes on the oil filter flange. This will have a feed for the remote filter, an oil return, and a fitting for feeding oil to the redrive.

A trip to Peru

A few 13B turbo builders had a good discussion about turbos on the fly rotary list. I think I'm finally getting my head around the issues. What clarified things quite a bit was a discussion I had with Roger about his trip to Peru. Roger was driving an RX7 up a 12,000 ft mountain in Peru. As he neared the top he felt the boost disappear. I asked Why, and what modifications he'd make to the car to improve performance if he'd had a workshop at the top of that mountain. There are two main issues here, performance and protection. That is, you all the power to be available under all conditions, but you don't want to blow up the engine. Here's my understanding of his explanation....

When we're at the bottom of the mountain the ambient pressure is around 30 inches of mercury, and the turbo can put out around another 8psi. For the sake of discussion, lets use inches of mercury as the unit. 8psi is about 16 inches, so full boost gives you a Manifold Absolute Pressure (MAP) of 46 inches and you're engine puts out all the power it can muster.

Now, as you climb the mountain the boost stays roughly the same, and the ambient goes down about 1 inch / thousand feet. So, by the time you reach 10,000 ft, the MAP is down from 46 to 36. So we have a 10 inch map gap and the engine is going to run at say 25% less than optimum power. Not too bad, but the real trouble is that the turbo wastegate is controlled by the difference between it's output and input pressures. It doesn't know sqat about the change in outside pressure. The turbo trys to fill the map gap by boosting more, but just as the boost starts to go up the pressure sensor tells it it's overboosting the engine, and opens the wastegate. The system is designed to stop the engine getting more than, say, 46 inches of MAP, but it thinks it's overboosting when the MAP is only 36 or less. So, how do we fool it? One simple way is to override it by closing the wastegate manually. The vacuum tube that controls the wastegate has a T which goes to a solenoid in the car. Connect that T to a needle valve and you can modify the pressure difference. Open the valve and the pressure difference goes down. Close it and the pressure difference goes up. Fully closed, the system will work as in the stock car. Fully open and the wastegate will never open. With the wastegate shut all you're boost is available at altitude. Make sense? Good.

Here comes the other issue. How do we avoid blowing up the engine, the turbo or both? First lets look at what it would take to do that. We climb to 10,000 ft and shut the wastegate to get our full 46 inches of MAP. Now we decend with the wastegate shut, do a go around with a lean mixture and the MAP goes up to 56 inches. Not good. We could get a thing called overflash, which is the equivelent to detonation in a piston engine, where the fuel in the next chamber gets ignited before its time. Apparantly this can destroy the engine "in a hurry", so we have to avoid doing that. One way is to install a pop-off valve in the intake somewhere. This is basically a flap with a spring. When the pressure gets above a certain level it overpowers the spring and the flap opens releasing the pressure. You can get these popoff valves adjustable for 6 - 10 PSI (or 12 - 20 inches) of boost. The other way, of course, is pilot awareness. The decent checklist should include removing the boost override. Given both levels of protection we should be safe from "overflash". There are two other issues which become important here. The initial damage from overflash is usually to the seals. The seals then damage everything else they touch as the bits fly around inside the engine. Uugh! I had 3mm seals installed instead of the stock 2mm ones, so hopefully this will make my seals much more resistant to getting blown to bits. Also, I note that Tracy Crook now offers a new type of seal which might be very good for this application. I'll probably use these on my "next" engine. I hope I dont need a "next" engine.

The other bad possibility is overspeeding the turbo. Apparantly this is very rare and tends to result in a fairly benign failure where the turbo simply stops spinning and the engine sucks air through the broken turbo to become normally aspirated (NA). Roger says the blades may break off the exhaust side of the turbo, but they usually wont go into the intake. They may come out of the exhaust, but that's very unlikely because of the wastegate constrictions. Typically they'll get stuck in the turbo. The engine won't sound too good, and it'll be way down on power, but it'll probably get you home... after it gets your attention. We avoid overspeed by being conservative with boost at altitude.

Disclaimer: The above is my laymans understanding of the basic principles. I have much to learn, and there's a LOT more to turbos, such as sizing and compressor maps which might lead you to want a larger turbine, inconel wheels etc. etc. Turbonetics seem to be the company to contact if you want get it really right, and spend about $4k in the process. Right now I'm concentrating on the stock turbo and what's called "turbo normallization" i.e. getting full NA power at altitude by adding a little boost to make up the map gap. Roger mentioned that he can send my turbo away and have it fully reworked and reconditioned, and have a different compressor installed for about $800. This process would optimize it for low rpm torque and make it much more resistant to failure. Tempting...

I hope this all makes sense and helps someone ask better questions. If you know about turbos, read the above and feel it is incorrect, please send me an email at sladerj at bellsouth dot net.

Plumbing the turbo

I removed the heavy vacuum wastegate controller and added a push/pull cable for manual boost control. In the picture you can see the water drain which was extend with steel tubing. Just behind the turbo it has a bar connection to high temp silicone. The oil drain is dash 10 steel braided teflon.

Green Grass at Home

Follow along with me here....Crank Angle Sensors are two 3/4 inch round metalic things that mount next to the crank pully. The crank pulley has metal insert with subdivisions and one metal pointer which passes the outer sensor once per revolution. This outer sensor is called the home sensor, and the other one is the trigger. Trigger the horse was white - right? OK, the CAS wires are green for home, and white for trigger. Roger let me take a photocopy of the third gen manual showing that the trigger sensor gets white and red for ground, while the home sensor gets green, and black for ground.

Speaking of green grass at home, I'd promised to clean up the patio after building an airplane on it for 4 years. The best way to cover the epoxy stains was some green outside "grass" carpet. Before installing this I needed to take down the wooden wall which had supported my shelves. Behind the wood were two old windows. "We" decided to remove one of these and replace it with patio doors into the storeroom. But - lets put the new doors in the kitchen and move the old doors to the storeroom. Two days with a mallet, hammer and chisle and I had sore arms, correctly sized holes in the walls and a LOT of rubble. Two more days and I had the patio somewhat back together and was able to get back to the plane. Now.... where did those crank angle sensor wires go....?

Why is it taking so long?

parts ready to install I've addressed some of why it all takes so long in the things to do page, but here's another example. Sitting on the wing are eight items.

  • 1. The secondary fuel rail. This had to be ordered, delivered, cut to length, drilled and tapped for AN fittings and drilled (very accurately) for the injectors. Finally it needed to be attached to the manifold with a custom braket.
  • 2. The top feed 550 injectors. They have a diffent connection fitting to the primary side feed ones, so I need to get two of the proper connector and rewire.
  • 3. The remote oil filter pad. Now we have this we can figure out the oil hoses and connectors needed.
  • 4. The oil filter pad adapter. This sits where the oil filter used to go. The oil filter had to move because it interfered with the intake. This little block of aluminum came from a racing supplier. It has two O ring seals and is drilled and tapped for the redrive oil feed and the main oil return.
  • 5. The stock 3rd gen primary rail. This had to be drilled and tapped for AN fittings. Now we can figure out the hoses and fittings needed to connect it to the secondary rail, the regulator and the fuel feed.
  • 6. The oil filler tube. I got this from an RX7 in a breakers yard. We needed the breather pipe, but had to cut 2 inches out of the tube so it would fit under the cowling.
  • 7. This is the stock turbo oil feed that came with the turbo. We need the union off the end fitted with an AN connection.
  • 8. Water temp gauge. Now - where do I put the sender? Please don't answer that.

    The above was just one day in the life of an engine installer and probably represents 5% of the details we had to cover. I say "we" because Roger led me through this, with the occasional diversion while I led him on aircraft safety issues.

    Turbo Heat Shield

    The turbo heat shield comes in 3 parts. Shown in this picture is the bit that covers the manifold. This part didnt want to fit past the engine mount, but I persuaded it eventually by undoing the mounting bolts and grinding a little off the edge of the manifold.


    One by one I found homes for the sensors. The fuel pressure sensor from Vans is 1/8 npt. There's a hole for that in the fuel pressure regulator. The oil pressure sensor for my Westach 4-way gauge is also 1/8 npt. The hole below the oil pad is very close, but metric. The answer here was to retap the sensor with the metric thread. My water temp sensor is 1/4 npt. There's a metric sized hole in the water pump just under 1/4 npt, so Charlie retapped this for 1/4 npt. The next day I realized that one of the two sensors in the water pump is the fan switch. There was a 50/50 chance that I'd just replaced it's hole with a 1/4 NPT for the water temp sensor. I brought the remaining sensor home, hooked it up to an ohm meter and dipped it in hot oil with CHar's candle wax thermometer. Sure enough, as the oil hit 250F a connection was made between ground and the sensor terminal. When the oil cooled down to 200F the switch opened again. This time I was lucky. 250F seems a bit high for the fan. I'll leave the switch manual for now, and maybe connect the automatic switch later once I find out how the fan affects temperatures.

    I cut the top off a 1/8 NPT brass vacuum connector, drilled out the hole a little and used JB weld to embed Tracy's intake temp sensor. This will now screw into a 1/8NPT hole in the manifold.

    Oil sensors pressure are a bit of a problem. I have three of them, all 1/4 npt. One for the gauge, one for the Hobbs and one for the voice annunciator. Seems like I overdid this. There's a 1/4 NPT hole in the block, so that handled one of them. I'll need to make an Aluminum pad for the other two. The vacuum feed for the boost guage is a 1/8 npt fitting drilled and tapped into the manifold. I need two more of these for the EC2 computer and another for the EC2 air temp sensor. The CHT needs smaller sized plug washers and the EGT and air fuel mixture need to go in the exhaust. I think that covers them all.


    My first shot at the exhaust shroud One place to go for raw materials is They carry a variety of tube sizes, grades and thicknesses. They aren't cheap though. I just used google to find a place called who sold me a foot of 2.25 OD .049 gauge 321 SS for $20. Burns price was > $50. I had Charlie weld this to the exhaust flange inside and out, and attach the air/fuel gauge bung. Next I ordered a 24 inch square sheet of 20 gauge stainless sheet from Wicks. When the stainless sheet arrived I bent it into a tube, pop riveted it to hold the tube shape and "stuffed" it into the hole in the upper cowling. With a little more bending, jiggling and trimming I got it aligned just right and mated up nicely with the turbo heat shield.

    Remote Oil Filter

    The intake needs the space where the oil filter would be, and the oil filter sticks up too high anyway, so Roger got an aluminum block from one of his racing suppliers. This block fits over the oil filter pad with two O rings to prevent leaks. I had the block drilled & tapped for a 1/4 NPT > dash 8 AN fitting for the oil return and a 1/8 NPT > dash 4 AN fitting for the redrive oil feed. I got a remote oil filter unit from Summit Racing, mounted it on the redrive plate and safety wired the nuts. Later, when I was tightening the nuts on the belt pulley the engine was turning as I tightened the nuts. At one point the engine stopped turning, and I was able to get the pulley nuts fully tight. A small warning light came on in my brain. It's nice that the engine didnt turn any more, so I could tighten the nut, I thought, but why? Is something locking up inside the engine? I experimented, turning the engine by hand. It went one way easily. The other way it stopped dead with a clunk at the same point each time. It didnt take much investigation to discover that one of the nuts on the flywheel was impacting one of the nuts holding my remote filter in place. Duh! I removed the offending bolt and reversed it.

    Smog Pump

    I been planning to try an exhaust venturi to drive my vacuum instruments, but when I fitted the alternator I realized I'd need another pully for the surpentine belt to run on. Hmmm. I have the smog pump, and if I fit it I wont need to futz around with an idler pully, and I'll have a proven vacuum source. I made an aluminum plate for the vacuum fitting on the pump (the one on the top) and had it drilled and tapped for an AN10 fitting. I found a vacuum regulator on ebay, so all I need now are the pipes from the firewall bulkhead fitting to the regulator, and from the regulator to the smog pump. I'm not sure what to do about the clutch on the smog pump. Maybe I'll have Charlie weld it up.

    Smog Pump

    This isnt a picture of my engine, it's of a 3rd gen out of a car. It does help, however, when setting up the alternator belt. I made a bracket to move the smog pump down about 2 inches to clear the cowling, so now my alternator belt hits the water pump outlet pipe. The alternator belt now hit the water pump housing, so I had to cut the lower pipe, change the angle and have it welded back on.
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