Little Things, but They All Add Up

Finally got back to working on the plane over the weekend.  First thing up, I upgraded my SkyView to 11.0.  It’s the new version announced at Oshkosh.  Nothing dramatic, but there are some nice goodies in there.  I particularly like that it squawks at you if your altitude is set wrong while sitting on the ground (it grabs pressure data from ADSB and compares it to what you’ve got set, and warns you if they differ substantially).  One less thing to forget.  As always, the upgrade was painless.  Just download the image, throw it on a thumb drive, plug the thumb drive into the SkyView, and tell it to upgrade.

I’ve been searching for a way to put USB connectors on the panel for months.  No luck.  I need (or at least want) to be able to plug in a thumb drive with SkyView updates, flight plans, etc. without having to fish a cable out from behind the panel.  I’d also like to be able to plug in a phone, iPod, etc. for charging while in flight without having to mess around with cigarette lighter cords and adapters.  I finally found these connectors (below) at an electronics shop on a business trip to Denver the other day.  Nice panel-mount USB connectors.  Should solve the problem perfectly.


I got my ECU back from Viking before I went on vacation, but didn’t have time to install it before I left town.  Got it installed again yesterday, and did some test runs.  It’s still having trouble starting on the primary, but starts just fine on the secondary.  I talked with Jan via e-mail, and it sounds like my injectors are probably clogged from sitting for so long.  The fact that it starts on the secondary (which runs much richer) seems to support that.  So either new injectors, or taking the current ones to a shop for cleaning is now on the agenda.  Lesson:  don’t let your plane sit idle.

When I originally installed my coolant overflow tank, I did part of it as a temporary install just to get things up and running.  I ran the coolant line in through the top of the container just so I could run the engine.  I also used the wrong tubing, for the sake of expediency (no danger on the ground, but wouldn’t want to run it that way in the air).  That would never work for “real” flying, so I finally decided to fix it proper.  When I went to drill a hole to run the coolant line in, the plastic shattered.  Apparently, this type of plastic gets brittle when exposed to heat and/or UV.  So the lesson here is that if you’re going to use these tanks for coolant overflow, check and possibly replace them at each annual.  The good news is they’re only $10 from Amazon.

I ordered a new tank, and thanks to Amazon Prime, it arrived in two days.  It needed a few modifications (just like the original that shattered) to fit.  Had to take off the bottom mounting tab, plug the drain hole in the bottom, and modify the top left mounting ear to clear the cowling.  And drill a hole for the coolant line from the engine.  This is all pretty straightforward, except for plugging the drain hole in the bottom.  In the original temporary solution, I just put a screw in the hole (see above).  Bad solution for flying, but fine for running on the ground.  I couldn’t decide how to do it “right”, so I finally settled for kind of the same solution on the permanent tank.  The nipple at the bottom is very heavy plastic, so it’s very strong.  I ended up finding a deck screw that would just fit and coating it in 5-minute expoxy, then screwing the entire length into the fitting and letting it set.  It’s very solid, very strong, and held pressure.  It looks a little odd (see below), but engineering-wise, I feel like it’s a good solution.

I also did some work with Adel clamps and clamping and restraining various hoses and cables on the engine to prevent and potential vibration problems.  That seems to be a never-ending task.  There’s always something shaking, even with an engine as smooth as this one.




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