Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tanks a lot, I had a great time...


But we will get to that.

First I want to share some of the pictures I took when the co-owner and I attended the 2014 RV & Boat Show. Note that the 'RV' in this instance is the traditional ground-bound type. We're still in the multi-year "let's go look at them" phase, of course, but I continue to be amazed at these things, 5th wheel trailers in particular.  These are not the campers I had imagined them to be - rather, they are quite roomy and well appointed. The following pictures signify nothing other than some of the more intriguing styles available. Well, that's not entirely true. They also are indicative of the lengths that I have been going to in order to avoid for as long as possible performing the SB work on the fuel tank.

So, yeah, I thought it a good use of an early Sunday afternoon to go look at trailers.

This one caught our eye for an unbelievably simple reason: it was the first we had seen (and only, to date) with a little desk for the computer.

It had a pretty nice TV and faux fireplace too.

We really liked this one for the faux stone fireplace and the swivel-mount TV.

I was sitting in one of the two plush leather recliners when I took this picture. The love seat opposite is also a pull-out bed.

Nothing super fancy in the kitchen, but it had a full-size refrigerator/freezer.

This one took a more open but somewhat minimalist approach. Note the lack of an entertainment center. The benefit of the relatively spartan interior was a gross weight low enough to be towed by a 1/2 ton pick-up.

Everyone, and I mean everyone that looked in this bathroom said "Wow!"

I cheated a little bit here. This isn't a trailer, this is a $310,000 motor home. It even has a dishwasher!

Having run out of delaying tactics (by which I mean the co-owner had no interest in looking at boats), I had no choice but to get started on the tank. The first step was a doozy: I had to get inside.

The ProSeal was going to be a royal pain from beginning to end. I started by trying to cut off as much of the "squeeze" as I could.

That did precisely nothing to loosen up the circular panel. I mucked about trying one thing after another to get that thing off, with no progress whatsoever.  As is my norm, I finally got frustrated enough to progress to the "over-tool" stage, in this case by grabbing a small jeweler's screwdriver and an anything-but-small tapping device, also known as a bloody big hammer.  The idea was to get the little blade down in there just far enough to open a gap.

Which, as it turns out, actually worked.

The gap allowed me to get the razor blade down in there to cut through the ProSeal that had such a firm grasp on the panel.

It eventually began to look like a crazy acupuncturist had stopped by to help.


The ProSeal left quite a mess, as did the screwdriver. I am not optimistic about getting a leak-proof seal ever again.

Before starting on the main show, I diverted long enough to install the new mechanical fuel gauge.  Naturally, it needed a hole to live in, and the only way I know of to make a hole that big is to use a hole saw, one of the most violent tools available.

With the hole done, the rest of the installation was as simple as dropping in the gauge, match drilling five screw holes, and bolting it in.

Moving on, the next thing that needed to be done was the drilling out of the rivets in the area that would soon be inhabited by the new internal doublers.

Blind rivets are super easy to drill out. The hole keeps the bit centered, and the 'caps' pop off pretty much of their own volition.

The mandrels are another story. They need to be punched out.

All of this tomfoolery left a lot of detritus inside the tank, as was to be expected. What was not expected was the finding of the remains of a housefly.

This is the inside view of one of the new doublers.  They mean business this time!

A number of methods were used to clean out the tank. This was one of the more effective.

Getting ProSeal on the backs of the new rivets (plus three sets of nuts & bolts) was a very messy job.

At some point in its curing cycle, ProSeal decides that it will only stick where you don't want it.  This is right around the time that co-pilot Rick stated that I had probably reached the point of leave-it-well-enough-alone, or words to that effect.

The newly renovated tank is currently sitting out at the hangar with a couple of gallons of fuel in it, just to see if it's going to leak. While I was out there, I went ahead and did one of my other projects, which was to find a way to protect the cockpit floors. They're only thin aluminum, and they double as the exterior skin of the fuselage. It seemed that years of dragging my heels across them could have a detrimental effect, so I bought some floor mat material at Walmart and cut out some mats. They're held down with Velcro tape.

There are still more jobs to be done, but I did manage to get the re-weighing done with the help of Kyle, Inspector of Weights & Measures for The Jackson Two.  The results show that the plane gained twenty pounds of weight from the paint.

I have enough additional little jobs to do to allow me to stretch this out until February 1, at which point I will sign off the annual inspection. By doing that, I will be able to push the annuals into March within a year or two, which is right where I want them.


Anonymous said...

As usual, great stuff Dave! How much ProSeal should I order? Would two small one ounce containers do the trick for a careful user?

DaveG said...

I got by with one, but just. I used quite a bit on the inside where I couldn't see if I was completely covering the new nuts/rivets and really globbed it on. I have a second jar in reserve in case I need to touch up any leaks.

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