I'm prepared for my decision to use a Mazda 13B instead of Lycoming to cost me months of extra time and effort, just figuring out how to handle all the details. However, so far it hasnt cost me any time at all because I've been doing (or having done) bits of the engine work as I've been going along with the airframe. First I obtained the engine and had it rebuilt. Next I got the redrive and started the welding guy off on building the mount. Time invested (by me) so far is a couple of days. Delay to the rest of the project is zero. If I can get the logistics right and coordinate the professionals properly, I'm hoping to install the engine in a few days without having spent any real amount of building time on it.
As I approach completion I'm kind of working my way through the plane from all extremities towards the instrument panel. I started at the wingtips, fitted the lights, removed, reinstalled and checked the rudders & ailerons etc. Each item of construction is getting a "flight ready" inspection and / or overhaul as a move inward. At time of writing, Sept '02, the wings, canard and canopy are checked, ready for flight, stored and ready to bolt on when we get to the airport. The nose area, nose lift, rudder pedals, brakes and wheel pants are done. The strake wiring is complete and the firewall electrical panel is getting close. Meanwhile, I'm having some welding done on the engine mount to beef it up, the radiator is being modified and the intake manifold is being built. As of this work should come together in the next few months depending on other commitments.
For example. Today I went out to the plane with no clear idea of what I was going to do. [mistake number 1]. As I looked at the plane I decided that the paint on the recently repainted right strake was ready for color sanding, so I got some 1000 grit and set in. I hate color sanding for hours at a time (especially wet sanding upside down), so I did the 1000 grit and stopped. OK, what's next? My heater blower needs wiring up properly. Yesterday I'd threaded a 20awg wire between the cabin air intake duct and the fuselage side (this took an hour or so of poking and prodding). Now I needed to connect this wire to the switch and the fan. First I'd need wire labels, so I added label names to the word file I keep for this, and reprinted the full sheet of tiny little labels. I found my small clear shrink wrap, labeled the wire at both ends, threaded it through the wire ties and crimped the connectors. I've been wondering how to slow the fan down for a "half speed" setting, so I asked on the aero electric list and got some good suggestions. The best one was not to bother. Do this later when you're flying. OK, so I was ready to connect the wire to the switch. While I was working in this area I remembered that my panel light dimmer had ceased working. It gets hot, but the lights dont glow. This means I have to remove the wire ties in this area, so I defered the heater wire. I spent some time on the dimmer switch, removing connections looking for a problem. I also spent some time trying to figure out where to run the vacuum, AC and heater pipes. Working on the panel reminded me to goose Dan, Dan the Upholstery Man, who had promised to come around and measure the armrests, center consoles and fuselage sides and discuss how it would all be done. I called Dan and arranged for him to come over on Monday. When I went back out to the patio I couldnt find a couple of tools I needed, so I decided that it was time for a bench clean-up. I went to switch on the panel lights again, and wasnt sure which switch it was. After hunting around the back of the panel looking at wire labels I decided it was time for proper labels on the panel, so I got out my Dyno labeler and printed labels for everything. These were supposed to be temporary, but I think I like them. Later I discovered that switching the heater blower on made the compass swing 30 degrees, so I had to reroute the wire. The dimmer switch was dead and had to be sent back for repair.
At the end of the day I felt that I'd done maybe three hours productive work. So where did the day go? The answer is distractions, visitors, cooking the dinner, email, watching star-trek, writing this, and lots of little bits of jobs. Did I make progress? I guess so. When you're working through the chapters and have a specific part to build and a series of instructions to follow, the motivation and direction comes fairly easily. I'm working on too many details now. My own advice to myself is to pick a job, any job, and do it. See it through to completion, then pick another job. Unfortunately many of the jobs overlap. You get part way through something and have to stop because something else gets in the way. It's a very complex PERT chart at this point and I find myself wandering around trying to solve the whole puzzel, rather than actually DOING anything.
As I get closer and closer to flying this bird I'm finding that there's still a lot to do, and do over. For example, I need to install the ELT. It comes with a little control console, so I need to install this too. I'm probably becoming a bit fanatical about some of the details, checking the plans to be sure I installed the aileron linkages right, fixing a bunch of things I once decided "would do". The fuel lines used to run over the gear well behind the back seat. I reworked them so that they go through the gear well, and any leaked fuel will flow out under the plane rather than into the back seat area. I decided I didnt like the custom fitting I'd had made for my early model Tracy Crook fuel pump, so I'll replace the pump. The AC and heater pipes are all getting reworked and connected to bulkhead fittings on the firewall. The list goes on and on....
Anyway, I digress. Here's my partial list of things to do. As they get marked off I move them down the list. I check them off as I get to them, and add in new ones at the top as I think of them. X is deleted. Y is done. W is working (or waiting for a part). I think it might help if I print the list and pin it on the patio door.
By the time I got the plane down to the airport I had the list down to under 20 items. Of course, when I went down to the hangar I'd do ten items not on the list for every one that was on it, and add a few items I'd forgotten, but gradually the list was getting smaller. Then airport people started "dropping in" to look at the plane. The bad news is that the list got bigger again, the good news is that I got some good safety suggestions.
Well, here we are, Nov 18th, still in the black hole of the last 5%. I came home with a list of 34 things to do. Char mentioned that my last list was shorter. Ah yes, but the items on it were bigger. We had this strange conversation about going forward and backward at the same time. Each time I go down to the hangar I make progress. Like last night I finished off the intercooler ductwork, and made an aluminum plate to block off the oil injector pump area on the engine. Were these items on my to-do list? No.
I've probably covered about one third of the work done yesterday. The above might give prospective auto engine aviators an idea why this approach is both potentially dangerous, relatively expensive, and time consuming. Just yesterday I probably introduced ten connections of hoses and wires which haven't been done before in exactly the same way. These connections are critical. Each one is a single failure point. Lose any one of them and my engine will fail. Each one has to be invented, engineered, installed and tested. It all seems so simple once it's done, learning as you go.
Y Repair pilot armrest X rewire auto-return switch Y reroute expansion hose - 3 ft 3005 .25 hose X replace fuel strainer Y fix oil leak Y fix voice annunciator Y rewire coil power jumper Y taxi test etc. (big etc) Y first flight. X wire alt batt ebus switch X switch for ebus Y modify Instrument panel cover Y 1/8 NPT boss for water pressure Y wire hobbs for flight time Y check compression Y check fuses v draw Y check spark Y check injectors Y check alternator / charging circuit FUSE s wire Y compass deviation card Y inspection Y fix trim paint where damaged Y fit upper cowl Y fix radio Y check aileron travel Y list battery bus connections - main Y list battery bus connections - aux Y check fuel gauges Y check fuel solenoid Y canopy hinge - tighten nuts Y check lower cowl screws Y IP cover hinge pins - 3ft Y canopy lock / warning check Y heat shield for intake Y Prepare check lists - external, startup, pre takeoff, downwind, emergency Y fix elevator trim Y check rudder travel Y color sand & polish strakes Y FAA data plate / PAX warning plate/s Y refit canopy Y fuel cap stickers Y realign smog pump Y weigh & balance Y FAA paperwork Y secure batteries with straps Y intake - turbo plumbing Y install prop (after stopping engine) Y get push-fit barb for engine top air bleed Y add oil, gas, 2 stroke oil, water Y start engine X figure out a way to install hobbs sensor X water drain on static line X wire voice annunciator - low fuel pressure Y plumb the AC firewall backwards (this is a bear) Y intercooler - turbo plumbing Y intercooler - TB plumbing Y install honda civic condenser '92 - 95 Y check transponder / encoder Y Intercooler & condenser mounting Y remeasure labels for annunciator panel Y finish bracket for overflow bottle Y Fit overflow bottle Y Get hose & fittings for AC Y Order al bends for turbo Y Order silicone transitions for turbo Y Order hose clamps for turbo Y Order 2 feet 2.25 scat tube for turbo inlet Y Order battery - Panasonic (LC-RD1217P) Y alt field wires Y wire CHT/EGT probes Y Wire oil temp Y Wire oil pressure Y filler neck & 5 psi cap for pop-off valve Y replace throttle cable bracket with steel Y Finish exhaust shroud install Y install lower cowling Y wire a bunch of sensors Y install the AC compressor Y Mount the vacuum regulator Y wire air / fuel mixture gauge Y Wire water temp Y Reassemble and install smog (vacuum) pump Y plumb the vacuum firewall backwards Y Install air / fuel mixture probe Y vacuum - stock smog pump Y Manual boost cable Y Deal with the smog pump clutch Y fit throttle cable & clevis 106in 8/32 Y replace turbo water return hose with steel Y overflow / expansion chamber Y intake support bracket Y cowl flap cable nuts Y exhaust pipe 8 in * 2 in OD 321 SS Y 21lb pressure cap Y intake system Y Fuel rail Y move oil filter Y fuel pressure gauge Y turbo oil feel / return Y turbo water feed / return Y redrive hoses Y oil hoses Y mount intercooler X intake temp guage? Y oil filter adapter Y remote oil filter unit Y oil filler cap / tube Y boost gauge Y coolant temp guage Y water pump gasket * inner / outer Y intake gasket Y coil lead seperator Y NAPA #6 bolts 1 inch Y Ultra grey RTV Y Clear RTV Y redrive oil drain - #6 90 > st 8.25in Y redrive oil drain rear - #6 90 > st 4in Y #6 1/4 NPT 90deg to flare - steel Y install turbo heat shield Y Injector connectors * 3 Y Crank angle sensor connectors * 1 Y Exhaust bolts & nuts * 2 Y oil injector blank plate Y make Cowl door Y Cowl flap actuator Y switch guards for ign / inj / computer switches X wire voice annunciator - high cooolant temp Y experimental sticker Y wire LED warning - landing brake down on throttle up Y rear cushions Y check power to ec2, coils, injectors X number stencils Y belly vortilons Y water hoses Y headset plug screws 8 Y headset plug nuts 3 Y Install / mark instrument sensor wires Y Install boost gauge pipe Y check voice annunciator Y snap connector for parking brake Y Install landing brake cover Y mount ash trys Y add connector for alt battery charging Y replace ELT "phone" cable Y redrive final install Y fuel capacitor covers Y cover fuel returns Y install rear seatbelts Y Pax tx button Y Install park brake lever Y Install an AN3 bolt through nose wheel fitting Y install ELT / Antena Y check radio transmissions Y check right wheel for binding Y redo emerg fuel cut-off cables Y redo heater, vacuum & ac pipes at firewall Y list main bus connections Y list endurance bus connections Y upholstery - baggage areas Y tidy-up wiring - forward firewall Y wire starter Y wire altenator Y wire injectors Y swap dome / goose neck lights Y wire EC2 power Y wire injector power Y wire coil power Y install seat belts Y wire coils Y fit coils to firewall Y wire hobbs meter Y upholstery - map pockets Y wire voice annunciator & sender modules Y nose gear microswitch - annunciator Y connect fuel shut off cables Y wire transponder Y rewire LED annunciator Y finish panel lighting Y refit cig lighter Y throttle? Y get radios Y wire heating fan Y seal off fuel pumps Y check vents Y heater core connections Y bleed brakes (again) Y front center console - remake Y rear center console - reduce in height Y EC2 panel position? Y reconnect rt fuel sender Y order plug leads Y Plumb vacuum Y Plumb heat Y Plumb AC Y Cockpit door Y canopy latch - complete Y Assemble & inflate nose wheel Y Layups etc on nose strut Y Obtain and install nose lift Y Change bolts in nose gear plates Y Check hard points for nose gear Y Nose gear doors Y Install strong trim system Y finish off brake pipes Y install parking brake unit Y push pull control for park brake Y decide on brake fluid Y add fluid, bleed brakes Y finish fuel system X build or buy header tank X install low pressure transfer pump Y get EFI fuel pumps Y get fuel plumbing & fixtures Y get gascolator X install header tank. Y finish starboard wingtip light Y install light lenses and bulbs Y get antennae connectors & RG58 Y wire antennae to IP Y get barry mounts from Bulent Y Install Barry mounts Y Finalize engine mount. Y Clean up all control linkages Y remove elevator, rudders, ailerons Y final finish & gloss paint control surfaces Y final finish & gloss paint canard & fuselage top Y remove canopy Y tidy up inside of canopy while off Y final finish & gloss paint canopy deck Y pitot tube and plumbing Y decide on vacuum method - Mazda stock smog pump Y get basic 6 instruments Y get transponder Y Wire cooling fan Y install intercom & jacks Y reinstall intercom & jacks Y decide on prop Y fix lawn mower Y mow lawn Y install intercom & jacks Y finish & wire wingtip lights Y make landing light mechanism Y fit engine mount Y install EFI computer Y install redrive Y alternator Y batteries (2 * 17AH RG, per Bob Knuckolls) Y backup battery / alternator X exhaust system Y cooling system Y radiator Y oil cooler Y ac system Y engine pulley Y exhaust studs X transmission bell housing Y plugs Y final finish & gloss paint wings / winglets Y final finish & gloss paint fuse & strakes Y make cowling Y check right aileron travel Y check elevator travel Y check vent lines integrity Y install canopy latch Y complete & install armrests Y internal bellhorn rudder springs by pedals Y firesleeve on brake lines by wheels Y main strut heatshields Y Wire fuel pumps Y Wire fuel solenoid