Tanya & Bryan Duke's RV-6 Panel Rebuild
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19 Aug 05: My work schedule didn't allow any time out at the hangar yesterday, but I made it out there today. I started work on the remaining instruments. The vacuum gauge was the next thing that had to go in, but when I tried to install it the other day, it had issues. Aparently the Varga suction gauges have a fairly non-standard fitting for the vacuum lines that go to them. The fittings are tubes that stick out of the back of the gauge that get slightly thinner the further away from the gauge they get. There are no barbs on the slip fittings, so with the necked down profile, vacuum hoses just slide off when you tighten them down. That's not gonna work!

It looks like Jack glued on an O-ring to each of the fittings when he put the gauge in the first time. One of them had fallen off sometime since 1990, so I went o-ring shopping and glued new ones in place using medium thickness CA glue from a model airplane store. After the glue dried, I tested the o-rings' strength & they were definitely not going anywhere.

With the vacuum gauge ready to install, I knocked out the last little trimming the center sub-panel needed before it was ready to install. I test fit the panel a while back, but I didn't realize the nut that holds the prop cable in place had to be in a particular orientation for it to align right. The nut hit slightly before I trimmed the sub-panel - not any more.

Bam! Here's that center sub-panel installed.

Here's the vacuum gauge installed. It's a tight fit with the autopilot, but it clears.

Then the altimeter went in. After I installed the altimeter, I replumbed the static lines. New tubing & connectors. Simple stuff.

Time to populate the center sub-panel. The autopilot nav mode select switch was first. With the switch in the right position (as shown), the autopilot gets NMEA commands from the EFIS/Lite. In the left position, it gets commands from the external/handheld GPS.

The carb heat pushrod was next. I took the screws out of the intercom & painted them. I'll install it tomorrow along with the cabin heat pushrod.

I took a few minutes to unpack the new stuff that showed up in the mail last night. This is our Aerox 2M oxygen system. It's a "portable" system, but we're install brackets for it on the back of the flap motor housing. We ordered the older 400 series regulator since it's oxygen ports are easier to get to & it's filling port doesn't require any special adapters. Aerox ships their kits ready to go, including a filled oxygen tank. the "M" tank is 22 cubic feet - the biggest portable one they sell. It's actually the same height as the very popular "D" tank, but it's slightly bigger diameter lets it hold almost twice the oxygen. The M weights about 3 pounds more than the D when filled, so I figured I could deal with that 3 pounds.

The clock was the last of the guages that went in today. Before we fly, I still have to install (and wire) the electronic ignition's advance indicator, but that's it for the main panel. The g-meter will go in this weekend, but that has it's own sub-panel. The big gaping square hole on the right side of the panel is for our homemade EFIS repeater. I still have to machine the cover for that. Since it's not required for flight, I've been putting it off. I'll get to that soon - Tanya really wants her display done & it'll be very cool once it's installed.

The last thing I did today was connect the instrument panel lights. I ran new power leads & grounds from the panel lights & the instruments that have their own internal lights. I did a power on check & all the lights are good. With the new distibution of instruments, I'll have to adjust where they lights point.

Tanya & I are going to tackle some stuff that's easier with two people starting tomorrow. I'm hoping to get all the cables & pushrods connected tomorrow. There are still lots of odds & ends to do, but the biggest project left is the new stick grips.

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