Tanya & Bryan Duke's RV-6 Panel Rebuild
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21 Aug 05: We started the day by finishing up the cabin heat connections. We installed the new locking pushrod cable and trimmed it to length. A couple of Adel clamps later, the cabin heat was done.

Next on our list was installing the little electronic ignition advance LCD. I debated even cuting the hole for it in the panel, but it works as a pretty good electronic ignition health monitor. I didn't put it in a very "up front" place since we should only really need to look at it every now & then. It'd be nice if the AF2500 engine monitor would display the advance for us, but it doesn't...at least not yet. For now, the advance gauge will live just above the hole for the EFIS repeater on the right side of the panel.

I soldered new leads on the ignition advance LCD for signal & ground. The power was next, but as I traced back where the power used to go I realized there wasn't power there anymore. It used to draw power from the ignition switch battery lead, but I removed that with the old Cessna engine gauges. In fact, I don't even have a breaker designated for it right now. Arrgh! In the old panel, there was a breaker that powered lots of little engine instruments that are now gone. I didn't notice in the aircraft wiring diagram that it also powered the ignition switch. So, I have to figure out what I'm going to do for powering the starter switch. I have several open fuses, so I might wire it to one of those. They are all on the avionics buss though. If I do that, I'll rewire one fuse holder to get power from the main buss. Frustrated...I moved on.

Since we don't have our homemade EFIS display done yet, Tanya decided to make a cover for its hole in the panel to make things look more finished. She did some great work with the Dremel tool, Scotchbrite wheel, deburring tool, and drill to make the cover. After test fitting it, she primed & painted it. She's thinking about decorating the cover somehow - maybe with our names & the tail number, maybe something else. We'll see!

We put the seats back in the plane & slipped the right stick into place. We moved the stick around to its full limits to see how much height we had for the new stick grips. We'll have to trim about an inch off the existing control stick tubes for the perfect fit. As it turns out, the new stick grips are about an inch taller than the old ones. The Infinity Aerospace stick grips require a 1/2" notch cut in the back of the stick and two 29/64" holes drilled in the sides. Once these are cut, there's no slop for the stick grips to move so you have to get it right the first time.

We slid the stick grip in place. Without any cuts on the stick tubes, the stick grips go on about an inch or so. That was enough for us to rotate the stick grip to fit confortably in your hand. I marked the stick grip & the stick tube and removed them. Then I marked the 1/2" notch in the back of the stick tube and the location of the two side mounting holes. I used a die grinder to cut the back notch & smoothed it with a grinding bit and then smoothed it further with emery cloth attached to a die grinder bit. I also drilled the pilot holes for the side mount holes. To finish it off, I have to expand the side holes using a unibit, trim the bottom of the stick slightly and drill a new hole in the bottom of the stick for it's mounting pin. More on the stick grips soon.

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