N14YT - Firewall Forward Finishing
With this update, the end is finally in sight. Were it
not for rules and regulations, this plane could probably be at
least airborne and back on the ground safely, within maybe 10-15
hours of work. Thankfully there are regulations such as
the need for an airworthiness certificate, to keep the
excitement under control, as there are realistically quite a few
things to tidy up yet before any attempt at flight should be
made. Additionally, I would like to have at least the
fuselage and wings painted before I fly, just so I don't have to
take them back off again. I will probably wait, against my
own advice, on doing the wheel fairings, until after I fly it,
simply due to wanting to get the time flown off. Sadly,
any work you do AFTER flying, seems much more like general
drudgery, so I'll have some hours of suffering after I fly, just
like I did on the RV-10.
My registration paperwork has been sent out, so this is one of
the first write-ups made where the actual N-Number will be
posted. I had 2 of them reserved and didn't want to choose
right away. Whereas on the RV-10 there is much signficance
to my chosen N-Number (N104CD), on this project it was done much
simpler. First, I wanted a 2 number N-Number...and why not
go with 14 since it's an RV-14. Then I didn't really care
about the lettering, as long as it looked nice, and was easily
spoken to ATC. I find that having a 3-number with 2
letters gets tedious when speaking to ATC on IFR trips...so
anything short is much better for me.
For this write-up I'll start with some general photos. The
first set being mainly for my notes. I would like to
introduce, however, my seats by Flightline Interiors!
Abby did a fantastic job on the seats! Also, I was
thinking of skipping my N-Number on the seats this time, so I
spent some time with my younger, student pilot daughter, and we
drew up an RV-14 emblem that we could have sewn on the seats, and
probably later used on some shirts. This emblem is available
from Abby if anyone wants to use it on their seats as well.
It's a design that encompasses the RV-14 as an aerobatic, and
cross country IFR capable airplane.
Regarding the prop governor, I spent a LOT of time figuring out
what governor to buy, because I was going to buy it
pre-availability from Van's. They used the Hartzell S-1-79. The
nice thing about the governor is simply that you can use the RV-14
cable bracket if you buy it. That said, I have an MT
governor that has worked fine on the -10 and the same governor
would have worked on the -14, so I'd have had an automatic
spare. You just need the proper gear ratio for the IO-390
which on the front governor mount is .895:1. The only real
"special" thing about the S-1-79 is that the arm is pre-mounted in
the 180 degree position. But, when you go to install it,
you're going to have to adjust that anyway...and, if you're like
me you'll want to not install it per plans, so you'll be buying a
new arm too. More on that below.
The other special picture is a tiny thing but may be handy for
tons of RV-14 builders, since Van's INSISTED on drilling headset
jack holes for us, and many of us will never use them. I
have Bose Lemo jacks so I only have 1 hole needed...so I had to
find and buy plastic plugs to cap off the other pre-drilled
hole. Would have been nice if I could have just drilled my
own plain-jain hole...
|The Air Filter used
|Van's uses a NAPA hose
|Initial pics of my new
|My Prop Governor
|Cap plugs to cover unused
Headset Jack Hole
|My VDO (ignore the SF and
|My Manifold Pressure sensor
RV-14 Vetterman Exhaust
This is my final configuration of my Vetterman exhaust.
You'll see all the heater hoses are run. In these photos,
there are many loose nuts or disconnected wires, so ignore
those. But you can see the exhaust system now. They
did make a slight tweak to the heat muffs to provide better hose
routing for future buyers, but these should work for me. The
system is a work of modern art, with all its' tuned curves.
It differs from the factory exhaust by being a pair of 2-into-1
systems rather than a single 4-into-1. It should provide
better engine breathing with less back pressure due to the lesser
restriction on the out flow.
LED Nav Lights
With LED lighting packages being astronomically high, I went the
route of D-I-Y and copied a few other RV-builders in their
design. These are Cree super bright LED's, picked for their
proper wavelength of color, mounted on 1/8" plexi mirror stock,
with an aluminum backplate that functions as a heat sink.
The LED's are driven 3 in a row, with 2 parallel rows (6 total
LED's) in a series-parallel circuit, driven well below their
potential power, using 700mW LED Drivers. So 350mA each
series. On the opposite mirror plate, I have a strobe, and 2
more LED's, which are in series, driven at 300 or 350mA if I
remember correctly. The LED's are soldered together,
temporarily held in place by RTV to the mirror just so I could
position and glue them using Arctic Silver thermally conductive
adhesive, to the aluminum plate. They are extremely bright,
and will leave you seeing spots if you look at them.
Whelen Orion Tail Strobe
One thing I certainly didn't expect to be an issue, but gave me a
couple hours of added work, was the tail strobe. Many people
these days are using the AeroLED's strobe systems. But, I've
also heard from many people who had issues with electrical noise
coming from the tail strobe from AeroLED's. So I wanted
something more quiet, and the whelen light was not much if any
more cost. It's also certified, and I personally think it
looks nicer. So I got online and bought mine from Mike
Stewart at the TeamAerodynamic.com
store. He's a great resource for things related to
lighting. I'm really happy with the product, but as you can
see below, it turned out to be a small headache. You see,
the Whelen tail strobe is built rugged, with a nice heat sink body
on it. I'm sure the thing is practically bulletproof. But,
it doesn't fit inside the RV-9/14 tail fairing (and I'd suspect
may not fit perfectly in some of the others either). The
taper is too sharp on the fairing for that length of a light.
I fixed it by chopping a hole in the side of the fairing to get
clearance. Then I wrapped the entire LED in 2 or 3 layers of
masking tape, and 2 layers of clear packaging tape. Then I
scuffed up the outside, and laid over a layer of e-glass, cut to a
triangle, and on top of that I overlaid some epoxy with fairing
filler in it so I could sand it down later. My tail
fairing was also weak in the back and wanted to split, so I
reinforced that inside with some colloidal silica and epoxy.
Additionally, whereas the RV-10 didn't have a doubler, the RV-14
has an EXTERNAL doubler (not really a doubler then), that you
drill and tap and epoxy and rivet onto the tail fairing. I don't
consider that all that secure, so I did it more like the
RV-10. I drilled a couple of holes larger into the fairing
tail, using the Van's doubler as a guide. I should note that
the doubler won't work well with the whelen strobe anyway because
you have to oversize the center hole which cuts into the 2 rivets
holes that you attach it with. Once I had the 2 screw
holes enlarged enough to embed the nuts, I lubed a screw with
silicone spray and put 1 nut, 1 washer, and another nut on it, and
embedded that in the hole and pushed epoxy all around it on the
inside. It's pretty secure right now but you can see in my
photo below that the nuts didn't get enough epoxy around the very
outside nut, so I'm putting epoxy in from the rear face to fill
those voids. When all is said and done, the fairing should
be stronger than before, faired nicely for the whelen strobe, and
the strobe should be more secure than the plans method of
installing a tail strobe.
Lightspeed Ignition Coil Mounting
I waited a while to complete this step, just to ensure the baffles
were all done so I know find any gotchas as to the mounting
bracket. In the end, the baffles were mounted just like the
RV-10 so it was a non-issue. It was a bit harder to find a
good mounting location for the coils than it was on the much
longer IO-540. I wanted to mount them in a way that would
not cause me to have to build many fancy brackets, nor have them
interfere with the stainless fuel lines. The coils needed to
be mounted high enough to route wires off each coil, one to each
side of the engine, without hitting the fuel spider either.
In the end, the best place I could find was right over the aft
baffle bracket. To do the job I chopped up some custom
brackets out of 2x2x.125" angle aluminum. Being this tall of
a bracket, the moment arm on any vibrations would be more than I
wanted, and I needed 2 brackets to avoid interference from the
baffle bracket, so I decided to tie them together with a single
bolt and spacer as well. This would make the entire assembly
much more rigid and should never break. Additionally, the
wire routing ends up being very nice.
In the first few photos below you'll see the original length
wires. In the end, I decided to shorten the wires to the
proper length to get rid of any excess. This is real easy if
you have the proper tools and parts.
The wire is MSD 8.5mm Super Conductor wire. (DO NOT use
regular automotive wire!!) You can get a 25' roll of wire
for a bit over $50, part number MSD-34019. (To
shorten these wires you do not need wire...but for replacement at
500 hours you will) The crimp tool required to install new
ends is the MSD Pro Crimp tool MSD-35051. This is
the most expensive part, but you will want that for replacing the
leads later anyway. The terminals are sold in sets of 8 with
new boots (I re-used my old boots), for about $25. MSD-8852
is the part number. I had all this stuff on hand from the
last time I replaced my RV-10 wires, but ordered more wire and
boots anyway, so I'll have plenty of parts for my next wire
replacement. To shorten the wires, I simply cut the wire
where i wanted it cut, then pulled the chopped off wire out of the
boot. Strip and install a new end, and stuff it back in the
boot. Wala, a custom length plug wire!
For those of you wondering about the extra wire clips that I have,
you buy those in a 16 pack, part number MSD-8841.
That helps to neaten things up.
I have not installed my plugs yet, but those are Denso Iridium
plugs, p/n IKH27 (5347), shown HERE and HERE. (Note
that these are special long-reach plugs used for the
IO-390...for my IO-540 I use the Denso IK24 or IK27 plugs)
Aircraft Specialty FWF Hoses
With Aircraft Specialty doing all of my aft-firewall fuel and
brake lines, with their very high quality, lifetime, conductive
teflon hoses, I wanted the same quality for my FWF as well.
Steve at Aircraft Specialty feels strongly (as do I) that all
hoses forward of the firewall should be firesleeved.
Additionally, since I'm using the Grand Rapids EIS for an engine
monitor, my sensors aren't the same as what Van's would deliver
parts for...they only provide things for the Garmin G3X and Dynon
systems now. So it was time to order up some hoses! What I
got was a very nice set of firesleeved hoses, that fit
perfectly! When looking at the pictures, realize that
many nuts/bolts/wires are not tight or final yet, so if things
don't look complete, it's because they aren't. One thing NOT
to forget though in your install is that you definitely will want
to heat shield the fuel hoses (and push-pull cables) from the
exhaust. There will be more pictures at a later date that
shows the heat shielding. Look down at the Throttle Quadrant
section for more info on the heat shielding things I'll be using.
RV-14 Throttle Quadrant
One place where I think Van's dropped a MAJOR ball is on the
throttle quadrant. First of all, many formation groups will
not let you fly with vernier push-pull cables. You need a
fast-acting quadrant lever to rapidly adjust when flying
formation. But beyond that, a quadrant is more comfortable,
looks far nicer, is very smooth and allows very good control over
precise power and mixture settings, and is generally the most
common way to go with the RV people I hang with. At OSH last
year we took a poll of RV-10 builders, and everyone but one person
built their RV-10 with a quadrant. Van's at that time had
the foresight to create 2 sets of plans for that section, so you
could choose to install a quadrant or vernier controls. A
large number of people used the quadrant. On the RV-14 they
obviously are showing some ignorance because at present it isn't
in any plans, or even an option. When I brought it up
on a forum, I was even told that it would probably be at a bad
angle or in the way with your knees in the RV-14. This
comment was done with ignorance as well, I can only assume the
person hadn't even tried to mock one up and test it for
themselves. Me, I did mock it up, and not only does the
standard RV-10 quadrant work in the RV-14, it is in a great
position, and does not interfere with your stick or your knees at
all. It's a very natural feeling quadrant.
Having to do it myself though, did provide me with opportunity to
improve on things a bit.
First of all, Van's buys these Cablecraft cables too, for their
kits. But, they buy the green covered cables. When I
had these on my RV-10, they didn't fare the heat well, and my
jacket started melting off on one of the cables that went somewhat
near an exhaust pipe. These cables are available with a
black jacket that is higher temp rated, which is what would be
more appropriate. Note the laughable "Not for use on
Aircraft" label that is put on them. Can anyone say "The US
needs tort reform!"? Yeah, that's for the lawyers. These are
excellent cables for this purpose.
To route the cables, I used the normal per-plans routing, except
for the prop cable. The standard routing is tough on these
cables. The throttle cable is pretty well routed, without
too many sharp bends, but the mixture cable really snakes around,
and every sharp bend will increase resistance to the cable.
Sadly, I didn't find a better route that was just super simple
easy. It would be do-able, but just not easy. So I
went with their routing. Both of those cables route out the
right side firewall passthrough.
For the Prop governor cable, I installed an eyeball passthrough,
the same as this one HERE. It
is located on the upper firewall, which provides a much smoother
cable run for that cable. In the end, if I were drilling it
again, I'd do it the same way but maybe raise my hole another 1/2"
or so, but it did work out just fine.
I'll explain more inline with the pictures...
Here are the cables I got as-delivered. The mixture
and throttle cable should work for anyone doing the
quadrant as I did, but the prop cable will likely be
slightly different depending on how you drill the hole and
route your cable. I purchased these part numbers,
for just over $70 each.
The first number, 176 denotes the higher temp
jacket. VTT is the cable type. The next
number is the cable throw. When you order, you will want
2" as a minimum for ANY cable you use on the
quadrant. On the throttle I actually ordered 2.25"
because the control arm required 2.25" to get full
travel. Unfortunately, the quadrant delivers a
pretty standard 2 or more like 2.125" of travel when going
stop to stop. The issue isn't really the quadrant,
but the throttle body itself. It is very common to
have to re-drill the arm on controls, or buy an arm of a
different throw length. More on that below.
I didn't want these control cables to have early failure
like the green ones did on my RV10, and with the Vetterman
exhaust on my RV-14 the throttle cable is within .5-.75"
of the exhaust pipe that runs under the engine sump, so it
was time to heat shield the cable. For heat
shielding, I did 2 things. First, I bought 3 feet of 1/2"
fire sleeve (the silver stuff pictured above). This
is the same stuff used on hoses, but I bought silver just
because I could.
Next, I went on amazon and bought reflective "Thermaflect
sleeve" in the 3/4" size, that velcros over the
firesleeve. It fits about perfectly. This fire
shield says it's good for 1000F continuous, 2000F
intermittent, so it should do well. I'm going to put
this over my fuel hoses as well. Anything silver and
reflective will actually reflect a lot of heat away from
your hoses and cables. Below you can see pictures of
the 2 parts installed on the cable...the ends are sealed
with red hi-temp RTV.
Above are the clevis and clevis pins used to connect the
cable to the throttle quadrant. A standard 10-32
jamb nut, and small cotter pin and light AN960-10L washer
is also required.
Below you can see some parts baggies that I bought from
Van's. They provide control cable end kits. I
purchased these before I remembered I'd be getting some of
these parts with the FWF kit. So I have many spares
now. But these kits are pretty nice because you can
ensure you get the proper quantity of the special
washers/spacers and things.
Also below is the STOCK Hartzell arm. This arm, in
my opinion, is way too short. First of all, because
of the short length, it required Van's to mount the
control cable rod end on the OUTSIDE of the arm, which
means the control doesn't pull in a straight line, but
pulls at an angle. Not ideal....but by having a
LONGER arm you can mount the rod end in a straight line
with the cable pull, on the INSIDE of the governor
arm. MUCH nice...I should stress MUCH a little
more. If you don't have a longer arm, the rod end
would bind with the arm spring catch. With a longer
arm it works perfectly. Also, the quadrant only gets
about 1/2 throw with the short arm, but by using the
longer arm you can get nearly full (not quite full) travel
on the quadrant. Call Hartzell and they can set you
up with the better arm. It comes with 3 holes in it, and
they call it the universal arm. It's about $30.
A little more painful to deal with than the governor arm
is the throttle arm. The stock IO-390 fuel system
comes with an arm with 2" reach from pivot point to
control hole in the arm. It also joggles over about
.75" from vertical, being a bent arm. This is not
ideal in 2 ways....
1) With this arm the way it is, you get ALMOST full travel
with the quadrant, but you will either not get fully to
idle, or full throttle.
2) Just like the prop cable, in order to have this arm be
pulled straight, Van's has you add a spacer to the inside
of the arm.
I did drill my arm (see pics below) and by drilling a 2nd
hole just above the first, it did work just fine. The
cable throw was PERFECT. My effective arm length now
is a hair over 1-5/8". It actually functions fine
that way, and I almost left it as-is. But, I wanted
to improve the offset spacer/bolt situation a bit...
Having that spacer (in my case about 3/4") in place, means
that there is one other place that you can get a twisting
torque on that bolt shaft...because if there were anything
broken internally holding the throttle arm from moving,
and you forced it, you could put a lot more force on the
bolt shaft and potentially snap it or bend it.
Reading through the forums, a lot of people have
discovered that you can fix this by replacing the
arm. Avstar sells a mixture arm that is
straight...same type of arm as the throttle arm, but
straight, and it's 1-5/8" long. By using that arm,
you can have it all....a cable that doesn't require the
spacer, pulls in straight alignment, and gives you full
control travel with a bit of cushion on both ends so you
can guarantee you get full throttle and full idle out of
your throttle cable. The only down side is you'll
bay about $78 plus shipping, for the new lever arm, part
Once installed, my cables can get full control throw to
both stops on the throttle body.
|These pictures above and below
show some of the hole drilling on my existing lever if you
go that route, and also show the new prop lever and it's
new control throw on the quadrant. No binding and I
can put the rod end on the inside of the arm now.
Final Throttle Quadrant Photos
These are the final pictures from after I completed bolting up all
of the cables, tightning the jamb nuts on the rod ends and the
cable brackets, and testing it all out. It isn't imperative
that a builder replace these arms on the prop governor or the
throttle body, and you could use it the way it was (other than
drilling the hole in the throttle arm), but by replacing the arms,
this is what you end up with.
See the new throttle cable throws at the full forward
position, and the fully aft position. In both positions,
the device on the far end of the cable is hitting it's
top, but the quadrant has a little cushion on both
ends...more on the bottom than than the top. I left
only a small cushion on the top end because if you push
hard on these levers I didn't want to bend anything if
you're doing a full-power go-around and you start slamming
the controls forward.
Above are the pics of the new straight throttle lever (see
the last pic in this section for the bag it came in for
the part number). You ca see it has a nicer
Here is the bag that the new prop governor arm came in,
and the pics of it moving full travel. Note the rod
end is now on the inside of the lever for a straighter
And here is the mixture control mechanism. It all
works very nicely too. Above you can see a couple of
pics of my firewall passthrough eyeball right near my
fuel/oil pressure manifold. I'd probably move it up
another 1/2" if I did it again, simply because it tends to
settle on the engine mount in this position. It does
clear it but if you push the cable down it will then touch
the mount. So I added some silicone baffle gasket
material, RTV'd in place, to prevent any wear.
I also used a double snap bushing arrangment on the
baffle...one large one that the cable fits thru, then a
smaller one, slit to go over the cable, installed from the
opposite side, to take up some space. I'll top that off
with some RTV to seal it from allowing air to leak out.
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