Build Log RV-10 #1

Blog for a Vans RV-10 Airplane Build

Fuel System

I started this section according to the instructions and soon made to take a different approach.

My decision was to change pretty much everything.  I started with purchasing a new fuel valve from Andair (part #EFS20x7-T,3/8) in addition to the Andair fuel pump (PX375B-40A-5-28) and fuel filter (FX375MK).  In addition to the Andair equipment, I also decided to not use the normal aluminum fuel lines and had some custom stainless lines made by Bonaco Hoses and Fittings.  The Bonaco hoses I had made run from the firewall with a different bulkhead fitting also from Andair down through the tunnel to the fuel pump/filter then up to the fuel selector.  Then two lines coming from the valve down to the fitting that runs through the tunnel wall.  Then two more lines, one for each side that run from the tunnel to the fuselage fitting.  I also plan to have two more lines made up that will run from fuselage to the wing tanks.

Utilizing the Andair fuel valve and extension, the Vans bracket had to be removed and a new one made.  I did use the same mount holes be made the bracket a bit larger.

Overall, this installation was very easy to install and looks really good.

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Capacitive Fuel System

Started July 17, 2010 22 hours total

The RV10 kit normally utilizes a float gauge fuel system.  This is not a bad thing but many people do not like the inaccuracy of that type of system.

After doing much research I have decided to try and work on a capacitive type system.  The type of fuel system is a system that is made up of 2 sender plates that are put into each tank.  One goes on the inboard and one on the outboard rib.

Since there is not a kit made for the RV10, I looked at all was involved in the kit that is made for the RV 9 and purchased that kit.  Pretty much comes with all the basic components but there is the need to fabricate 4 new sender plates to fit the bigger ribs of the RV10.  To do this I purchased a sheet of 2024-T3 Alclad .020 Aluminum.  I cut out one piece as and made many adjustments and cuts until I was satisfied with the shape.  It is necessary to make sure that when the plates are installed onto the ribs that they are a mimimum distance of 3/16" clearance to the rib.

Once one plate was made with with the holes drilled for the nutplates, I clecoed 3 other pieces of aluminum to it and then cut all the pieces together utilizing a band saw.  Once the main shape was made, I cut the groove to make space for the tanks stiffener with a Dremel sander.  Then to make ran them across a belt sander and then the scotch bright wheel.  Now I have 4 plates that are all exactly the same.

Then took each plate and matched them up to the ribs and while being held in place with Cleco Clamps, I drill the holes in the ribs to accomadate the screw that will attach the plate to the rib.  I used a number 19 bit to do this.  Once all were drilled I went back and drilled the holes to a 1/4".  Do this just to the ribs ONLY and not the plates.

Marked each one so that I know which plate goes to what rib.  You do not attach these at this time, you have to wait until the ribs themselves get riveted to the skin.  At that time you attach the plates to the ribs with screws and spacers.

I then attached k1000-08 nuplates to the plates with 426-3.5 rivets.  To have the rivets flush on the plates, I did countersink the holes.

As of now, cannot really finish anymore until the tanks are ready for final assembly.  I will finish putting the rest of the components together just before the rear baffle of the fuel tank goes on.

Well, the fuel tanks are just about finished.  Have some very minor things along with the rear baffles to final attach.  So, Now is the time to get the rest completed.

First step involves attaching a wire terminal to wire then attaching that to the most outer plate with a pad head screw.  The screw goes through the back side of the plate and into the wire terminal.  Once this was attached, fillet the terminal end with proseal so fuel cannot enter the terminal.  I also convered the rest of the connection with proseal.

The second thing was to install the capacative plates to the ribs.  One towards the inner side and one to the outer side rib.  When attaching the plates, you must make sure that the aluminum of the plates do not make contact to the aluminum of the ribs.

This is done by cutting pieces polypropelene tubing that will slide over the flush head screw.  Once that is on, you slide one plastic spacer, insert screw into the rib, then 3 more spacers before finally screwing into the nutplate on the plates.  I have 4 screws for each plate. 

One the outer plates were attached, ran the wire around the aluminum vent tubing and through grommets to where the inner plates are attached.  I then attached these inner plates in the same manner as the outer plates.  I did this just after attaching the wire from the outer plate and another wire terminal that will go to the BNC terminal at the inner most rib.

Now that the inner plates are installed, I again wrapped the wire around the vent tubing all the way to the inner most rib.  Drilled a hole in that rib for the BNC connector.  Installed the BNC terminal, tightened and then soldered the wire coming from the inner plate to the terminal.  Once done, covered all the wire conenctions with pro seal.

Once everything was installed, I did check the plastes with an ohm meter to make sure that the plates were not grounding to any of the tank structure.

For now, this part is done until final connection to the EFIS system.  This process was much easier than I initally thought.  Would definitely go this route on my next build.

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Fuel Tanks

Started July 1st, 2010  115 Hours

Well, today is the start of the dredded fuel tanks.  After reading many other builders logs it seems that this is no easy or fun process and has been making me nervous to even start.  But I guess the only way to get them done is to dig right in and get going.

The first parts of the directions are not so bad as it is just putting everything together with clecos and match drilling all the holes.  As many other builders have said - the directions get a bit harder for every section that you move on to.  This meaning that they leave out some of the steps that should be a given now.  For example size of holes, fluting, what should be dimpled and countersunk and what needs to be done to each part or hole before final assembly.  Not bad just need to understand this so that you do not forget.

To begin I took all the parts that were marked for the fuel tanks and prepared them.  This included separating some of the z-brackets, tank stiffeners and vent line clips.  Got all these separated, deburred and the ones that needed it, primed.

Then on to fabricating the full length tank stiffeners that go on the top top side of the tanks.  Clecoed them and the small stiffener plated to the bottom skin.  Make sure that you read the direction on the inner most bottom tank stiffener as they need to be trimmed and the inner most hole redrilled.  Also, not these on the stiffeners so you do not put them in the wrong place during re-assembly.

Clecoed all the tank ribs in place for both tanks.  Match drilled all the holes of the ribs to the skin then finished drilling all the holes in the top stiffener. Then cleco the tank attach bracket to the tanks and ribs.

The directions do not mention what to do with the holes in the tank attach bracket but drill to final size.  After looking at other builder logs and the fact that the thickness of this piece is quite thick, it is about impossible to dimple.  So I went ahead and counter sunk the holes that match the skin and also the ones that go to the upper and lower shim pieces.

I did not choose to use the fuel caps that came with the kit but chose to upgrade to the lockable ones.  After receiving them in the mail, I was pleased that I made this choice.  They are much better quality and the do not need to be bent to match the skin curve.

The z-brackets are now primed and dry so I went ahead and attached the nut plates per instructions.  Then clecoed them along with the rear tank baffle to all the skins and ribs. Final drilled all the holes per instructions.

Drilled out the screw holes in the fuel tank skins to a #19. 

The next step takes a bit longer and make sure that you fully read the instructions as you do not countersink every hole that attached the skin to tank baffle.  They tell you to leave a few of them  to maintain proper alignment.

Before dis-assembly of the tank, I went through and labeled all the parts  so that it will go back together in the exact same position it was match drilled for.

I have to leave this process for a bit because I am not going to use the float fuel system that are in the instructions.  Instead I am going to come up with capacitive fuel guage senders.  Vans does not offer a kit for the RV10 at this time so I am going to make one.  This will be documented in another section called Capacitive Fuel System.

I got all the parts fabricated for the capacitive fuel system done so I can now move on to finishing the tank construction.

All the parts for the tanks have been deburred, dimpled and countersunk per the instructions.  The instructions are now requiring you to think about the process more as they do not specifically tell you to do steps that you should already be aware of doing.  For example, deburr every hole, not telling you what exact holes to dimple, etc.

Started final assembly on the tanks by mixing up some of this great pro seal stuff.  This is a process that I have been dreading from the very start.  Instead of applying the pro seal with a stick, I picked up some syringes from our pharmacy that have quite a big opening to make it easy to suck up the pro seal, and just about the right size to lay out a nice layer.  Worked great for me, although never tried any other method, so could be totally wrong.

Got all the tank stiffeners gooped up and clecoed onto the skins.  Tried at first to buck the rivets normally, but then has this great thought to try and back rivet.  Much better idea, not sure why I was lacking this judgement earlier.  Made a huge mess trying to do it the other way.

All tank stiffeners are done and on to the ribs.  I made up two ounces of proseal at a time which covered two ribs, top and bottom.  This worked out pretty well as by the time I was done riveting the second rib, the proseal was already starting to set up.  Bad part is that after each set of two ribs, everything must be cleaned before moving on to the next two.  The clecoes were the worst to clean.  Finally started to soak them in MEK over night and wiped off the next day before doing any more ribs.

Kept moving on with assembly in the order that the directions tell you.  Besides dealing with this very messy proseal stuff, it actually was going pretty good.  The biggest thing that bothered me the most was the amount of time it was taking me.  Seemed like I was never going to get to the end.

Well, finally getting close.  Got everything together except for the rear baffles.  I decide to waste some time to check for major leaks by filling each tank with water.  It also was to help clean out all the sanding mess I made from trying to get rid of all the proseal I ended up with all over the inside of the skins.  Glad I did this as I ended up with 1 rivet in each tank that had a very slight leak.  Not sure where it was coming from but decided to remove and replace these two rivets.  Now that I have become nervous that I have  a couple of leaks I decided to go around every seam with proseal.  This means every rib inside and out, top and bottom, along with all the tank stiffeners and the j stiffener.  Probably not needed but I do not want to have to cut into the rear baffle to fix leaks later.  I wanted to feel 100% that there was not going to be any leaks.

Before installing the rear baffles, I had to finish up the install on the capacitive fuel system.  That is now done.

Lastly, finished up the proseal and rivets for the rear baffles.  Once everything was dry, I sanded off all the excess proseal I had on the outside of the tanks and sprayed on a final coat of primer.

I am going to let the tanks sit for a couple of weeks before I do a pressure test. Have heard a couple of stories of builders that tried to do it to soon and the pressure pushed out the proseal and ended up with quite a few leaks.

Be back in a few weeks to finish up this section.

Well, with a lot of stress, I decided to pressure test the fuel tanks tonight.  I am pleased to say with much relief that neither tank leaked.  Yipeeeeee!!!!

The only thing left to do now is hang the tanks on the wings.  Started to do just this tonight and notice that I need to shave a bit off of the skin of the outer side.  This is due to the skin overlapping the leading edge.  Used a beld sander on low and only needed to take about 1/32 off.  Pretty easy.

I am leaving the balloons on the tanks to see how long they stay pressurized.

But for now, the tanks are on the wings so I am calling them complete.  On to the next section.

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