Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Doors, doors, doors

The Saga of the New Years Doors is growing ever more complex and, quite frankly, irritating. It's a bit of a distraction from more important stuff such as building airplanes and the like. The long and short of it is that there are two potential criminal charges against the Teen Kickboxer: criminal damage (the doors) and some other charge having to do with the fact that the alleged perp also saw fit to shoot paint balls at Egg and some of the other kids. The latter charge is out of my hands and will proceed apace through the court system, but it is within my realm of decision-making to put a stop on the damage charge if I so choose. I was informed of this by the officer that has been assigned to the case; he happened to mention that fact at the same time he informed me that he had given my phone number to young Bruce Lee's mother. Just in case I was desirous of settling this issue out of court, as it were.

Mom Lee called yesterday and we had a twenty minute talk. I'm sympathetic to her plight (which is completely out of character for me, to be honest) and I'm considering trying to work something out with her. The child has apparently been something of a handful for his entire life and has had a number of run-ins with the long arm of the law. Egg has met, and has a favorable impression of, Mom Lee, and as long as the Molester of Doors is still on the hook for the other infraction, she's agreeable to a civil deal for the damage to the car.


Little Bruce Lee is going to find that he is not the only person involved with this that has a temper if he continues to openly brag to his friends that "he ain't got to pay for nuthin, and juvie ain't that bad anyway." 

We'll see about that. Yes, we will.

As can be imagined, this whole ordeal has been a very unwelcome cause of stress, especially considering that I returned to the paying job today after a relaxing 17 day rest, only to find that all of the problems I left behind are still there.

Rats. No helpful elves for the likes of me.  Cobblers have all the luck.

And tonight I need to accompany young student Egg to a high school basketball game where she hopes to corner a minimum of 33 random samples, having achieved a count of 17 earlier today at the public library but having quit before reaching the requisite count of 50 due to the immense stress of asking a simple question of strangers, all of which is in support of a homework assignment from her Advanced Placement Statistics class.

Oh, bother.

That's time that I could be spending hanging an engine on an airplane.

Or not. It's 22 degrees out in the hangar. I'm thinking a sweaty, smelly gymnasium may not be all that bad after all.

In preparation for The Great Hanging, Co-pilot Rick lent a hand yesterday in finishing up all of the tasks that I wanted to get done before putting the engine in the way, so all I need now is a slightly warmer day...

I started out solo, figuring it would only require my two hands to prepare the radiator hoses. Easy first step: cut a 30" and a 20" length from the provided hose. A hack saw worked great for that:

I imagine everyone but me already knew this, but it seems that a spring has to be put inside a radiator hose to keep it from collapsing/crimping. Knowing that the outer diameter of the relaxed spring is identical to (or slightly larger than) the inner diameter of the hose, Van's suggests grabbing an end of it with a pair of pliers and twisting it to tighten it up and reduce the diameter. That can't be done with two hands, so I enlisted the aid of my trusty third hand:

That worked for awhile, but eventually the end of the spring reached the bend in the hose. I needed to straighten the hose, but the best way I could come up with to do that was to splint it:

That worked for awhile too, but not at all easily. After twenty minutes of effort, the spring was only halfway into the 20" hose. That's right around the time that I realized that I don't really need the hoses yet; I just need to concentrate on the things that get mounted to the firewall behind where the engine will be. I also had the uncomfortable thought that perhaps the 28 degree temperature might be a factor in the very tight fit between the spring and hose, and that isn't likely to change all that much for oh... about three months.

So, I quit.

It was much easier to fabricate this hinge:

The hinge then gets match-drilled to a stainless steel door. This door will sit between the back side of the radiator and a set of holes in the firewall. It will be controlled by a cable leading from the instrument panel. Opening the door will introduce hot air into the cockpit, which will be quite handy in the winter months. This is actually a better system than what I have in the RV-6. The -6 provides heat from a cuff wrapped around an exhaust pipe. There are two problems with that system:

- it can be a wonderful way to pump carbon monoxide into the cockpit, with dire consequences
- it works poorly. When you throttle back, the heat goes away almost instantly.

Match drilling through two pieces of stainless steel was every bit of the pain that I thought it would be, but all in all the hinging of the door was pretty easy.

There's another bracket that gets attached to the firewall. This is the bracket that will actually hold the radiator. It too has to be match drilled to a piece of stainless steel hinge, but this was the dreadful case of drilling though soft and thin and into thick and hard. That nearly always results in the elongation of the holes in the soft and thin. This case was no exception to that rule.

All that done, I ran into another firewall related quandary: the holes in the firewall weren't there. This is apparently due to the advanced age of the firewall that Van's sent me, just as was the spacing issue between the starter relay holes. Reluctant to incur the snippy, snarky cynicism of Mr. Ken S. at Van's tech support by asking him what I should do, I made the obvious decision without consulting with him: I went ahead and drilled the three holes that I needed.

The door needs a gasket to prevent leakage of fumes or unwanted hot air (heh, 'unwanted hot air' - it seems that we're still on the topic of Mr. Ken S.) and the easiest way to make a gasket is with RTV. A coat of wax gets applied to the firewall to keep the RTV from sticking, then a bead of RTV is run around the perimeter of the door. The door gets tightly closed and clamped into place while the RTV sets up:

All I have to do now is run the cable from the instrument panel and attach it to the control horn on the door and it's time to mount the engine!

Once Egg's door problems are solved too, that is.

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