Friday, July 8, 2011

A wheely tiring day

Yeah, I know, it's a hokey title, but we did work on wheels and tires today, and it was very tiring indeed. Our difficulties didn't arise from lack of help, though, since Cadillac Pete was back in the shop with his son 'Warthog' (everyone gets a bl

What? Don't look at me, his dad came up with that.

So, as I was saying, Pete and Warth

What??? Hey, don't be so judgmental. Pete came up with that sobriquet because he felt it apropos for a young man whose very laudable career goal is to pilot an A-10C Warthog for the U. S. Air Force.

So, again, Pete brought Warthog along to help because we had planned to start the installation of the landing gear. That job actually begins with the drilling out of the mounting holes for the top engine mount. I took care of that.

Before starting on the wheels, we had a brief meeting to put together an action plan. Personally, I thought that was a big waste of time; I've been disassembling and reassembling the wheels on the RV-6 for years.

While I have never had to do anything with a nose wheel, it really wasn't very much different from the wheels I have had so much experience with.

The Matco wheels and brakes on the RV-12 main gear, on the other hand, are like nothing I've seem before. I suddenly wished that I had paid more attention at the planning meeting!

I let Pete and Warthog figure the wheels out while I returned to my comfort zone: packing the bearings.

After a suitable period of letting them figure things out, accompanied by dealing with a faulty axle that held onto the wheel nut like an old widow hugging her last remaining cat, it came time to assemble the wheel halves with the tubes and tires in place. The way the valve stem works with these wheels is completely different from the way my old wheels work, and it fell to Warthog to figure out how they were supposed to be installed while the two old guys stood slack-jawed on the sidelines. It's pretty slick how the Matco's work, but it is a massive pain to get everything to fit into place. That nut in particular was horribly reluctant to grab the two or three threads available to it.

Too bad this part won't be visible when the wheels are mounted - it's all kinds o' sexy.

Sitting there looking at pictures, it's probably hard for you to believe how much effort went into this. I think it was a good three and a half hours of sweaty work to get these things put together, and it still isn't done. The wheels need the bolts that hold the halves together installed and torqued, and the tires need to be aired up. And I still need to call Matco for some help on the really tough axle nut problem. But it was quittin' time and Warthog had earned himself an RV-6 ride, so off we went!

What?? Oh, for crying out loud. He was that dirty when he showed up, I had nothing to do with it.

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