Matt Throckmorton's ("DocThrock") Team Rocket F1 EVO Kit Plane Construction Pages
[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Team Rocket F1 Engine and FWF  Page       Last Modified: Monday, 25-Nov-2019 15:04:10 UTC


Mike Moore Engine Saga   - Where NOT to do business!
  I NEVER received my engine or a dime back from that cheating lying crook.

Mattituck TMX IO540-D4A5


My Mattituck Red Gold TMX-IO-540-D4A5 engine finally arrived May of '06. WOW, what a beauty. Everything I expected and then some. The crate was shipped Yellow Freight, and the whole thing weighed in at 569 pounds. The wooden crate was substantial, and the packing was top notch. I opted to go get the crate at the Yellow Freight Terminal in my pickup. It was easier for me to work with at my home that way.  


After tearing down the crate, I found that all I had to do was remove two lag bolts, and the entire top of the crate came off the palate. Oh well, live and learn. I would have had to take the box apart anyway because I was working by myself and would never have been able to lift the 5 sides of plywood and framing.


I had wondered how they would mount the engine in the crate. There are custom steel feet that are bolted to the engine and the crate. Very nice. looking over the engine, it sure is a beauty. And it's amazing how complete it is!  Now to get it on the hoist and get it inside before it rains. A little tricky to do since I have to take it though my walk through gate, along my winding walkway, and into my basement.


Out comes my Harbor Freight cherry picker (collapsible hydraulic engine hoist). I used 2 ratchet straps (there are TWO engine loops!) and left the palate bolted to the engine. I then SLOWLY attached the hoist and lifted the engine off the truck. The palate served to help keep the engine from swinging, or bumping into anything. I rolled the hoist back and scooted through my gate, then lowered the engine to just above the cantilever legs. It took me quite a while to get into my basement, but it wasn't too tough a job, even by myself.




Engine Mount

I picked up my engine mount directly from the fabricator in Indianapolis. This was a mistake, as I'll explain later.

As soon as I got it home, I cleaned it up and primed it.


My buddy Bruce Dallman (RV6 builder) and I had to run some errands in Indy. It was a good excuse to pick up the engine mount. I offered to Mark at Team Rocket just to pick my mount up, and save him a little shipping expense since I'm over there often enough.

The mount appears to be well constructed, but is essentially raw steel. I had to do some considerable scotch brighting to get the thing cleaned up and ready to prime. I used a retail self etching primer for a base coat and I'll use 1500 degree high heat tolerant paint for the top coat. Still haven't decided on a color. It will probably be white. I know, I know, I'm just asking for trouble with white. But at least problems should be easier to spot with a light color more so than a dark one. Well, it can always be changed later.

I probably won't have an engine until next year. Attaching the motor mount to the airframe should happen much sooner than that. As I am still waiting on updates of the plans for the EVO changes, I have to keep busy. So I'll probably mount the mount, and also work towards attaching the main gear and legs.

I GOT "REAMED"  :-)   

Mark Frederick sent me the gear leg reamer. I bought some cutting oil (Oatley, readily available) and used a 1 inch open end wrench to turn the bit. Instructions from Mark say to just get the nut to engage all the threads on the titanium gear leg at 10 pounds of torque to establish the proper depth of reaming the gear leg receptacles on the engine mount. After reaming for about 2 hours, and only getting one leg most of the way done, and the other about half, I ran out of gas. I will not offer to get parts on my own anymore. The engine mount is supposed to come with the kit, and already reamed. Well, I reamed myself on this one! I volunteered to take the time to pick the mount up at the engine mount builder in Indianapolis. And the gear leg support tube reaming is kinda hard work. Albeit brainless, it was not fun.


This is as far as the nut goes on the leg after another hour of reaming with Oatley cutting oil and a "breaker bar". I ruined a ratchet doing this little chore. I was really leaning on the reamer, and it was moaning all the way around. It felt like I was really biting into the metal. But this process is much slower, and a lot more work than I ever care to try again. My recommendation: get your EM from Mark and make sure HE reams it for you!

One of my pre-Oshkosh chores was to finish reaming the engine mount. Mark F. advised that the threads needed to be totally engaged on the nut, and he wanted the reamer back at OSH. So I tried again to get the thing finished. I worked on it for about 45 minutes. I finally figured out that I was using too much cutting oil. I spun the reamer around with light force until it started to feel dry. Then I really leaned on it and it started biting in. At that point, it only took about 20 minutes to get the thing to go down in the tube about 1/8 inch, which was all it needed. After that, I was able to complete the other side in about another 20 minutes.

For those of you who will not have to ream your mounts, be thankful. The Team Rocket policy is that you get your "Indy" mount already reamed. Don't be a schmuck like me and get it without being reamed. It was not fun.

I haven't had an aerobic workout like that in years! I got no instructions how to use a reamer, just what the results should be. I was drenched with sweat and my hands still hurt. Not a good thing for a dentist. Anyway, the trick was that I cleaned everything out, put cutting oil on the tip of my index finger and ran it down one spline on the reamer. That was even too much oil to let the reamer bite in, so I had to spin it a bunch to spread and thin it out (I guess). Once it started biting, you really had to use some muscle to pull the wrench around.

Now that THAT is over, it's time to go to AirVenture 2004!

NOTE:  about painting the EM. I used a 1500 degree heat tolerant paint originally.  It was a waste of time and money. Now I'm going to have to strip it off. The paint is very soft, not durable at all. Not that it's going to get banged around under the cowl much, but it's VERY easy to scratch off this stuff. I'm going to have to strip it. Then I'll either have it powder coated or used some kind of epoxy. I don't think heat is as much an issue as protection from bumps and scratches while working under the cowl. I ended up painting it with PPG Concept.

Mount The Mount

Here it is October '04 and I'm just getting back to the engine mount. I've decided it's time to get the airframe on the gear.

First of all, I noticed that the engine mount holes in the firewall are pre-drilled to position. That's cool!

Now that my engine mount (EM) has been reamed, it's ready to hang. I haven't put the gear legs on and trued up the wheel mounts or anything. I wanted the mount to be ready to bolt on the firewall first. That way I'm not fussing with the leg's weight and bulkiness when I hang it.

I found 3 firewall holes line up perfectly with the engine mount, but one was offset. The hole was located completely within the engine mount hole (looking through the tube on the mount at the firewall), but at the very outer wall of the bolt hole though the mount "foot" or "pad". That entire tube does look to be off just a wee bit. The foot does not sit flush on the firewall. All I can figure is that it was jigged wrong. Perhaps the firewall was not drilled properly. I really don't know. I do know that there is a slight mismatch of the mount to the firewall.

I didn't HAVE to  fix the Engine Mount. It's just that three holes are perfect and one hole is off. I got to thinking a bit more about this problem. I wasn't sure if I hadn't drilled the two top holes up in size and screwed up the position. I removed the mount from the firewall and got out my tape measure. I confirmed that the engine mounts where the rubber parts sit behind the engine appear to be spot on. Then I flipped the mount over and checked the pads at the end of the 3/8 inch FW bolt tubes. Sure enough, it isn't square and the corner in question appears to be out of whack. Well, I feel better knowing the mount is off, not my hole drilling.

The next step is to crank down the bolts in the upper holes and see if it makes a difference on the bolt tube position in reference to the pre-punched FW hole. If I'm lucky, cranking the mount down will improve the hole position. After trying two bolts, I'll go ahead and finish drilling the lower right hole and bolt that down and check it all again. We've come to the conclusion that if the hole is within the 3/8 inch bolt tube diameter, we are just going to punch it and start a new hole. As long as we can incorporate the pre-punched (or pre-drilled) hole completely, there is enough "meat" in the FW and supports to proceed. Fortunately the engineers allowed for some variance in Engine Mounts.

The factory hole in the FW for the lower left engine mount was at the very outside edge of the 3/8 inch engine mount tube hole. It could not be punched. I went ahead and drilled it anyway, and the original hole was all but ablated. Just a hint of the little factory hole remains at the outer edge of the new 3/8 hole through the firewall. The discrepancy isn't enough to be concerned about, let alone try to repair. I was told that I could take up the slack in the mount hole with J.B. Weld. Had the discrepancy been greater, I would have done this. As it was, I didn't need to do anything. Big sigh of relief!

Four hardware bolts have been used at this point to trial fit the engine mount. Once the gear legs are finalized and the engine mount is repainted or powder coated, I'll use the Team Rocket provided AN hardware to attach the mount to the firewall. I'm not using the good stuff until I "permanently" mount the mount.After having knocked the engine mount around a bunch, I realize that the high heat paint I used to cover it was a waste of time and money. That stuff is not very resistant to chipping and scratching, and even worse when it comes to solvents. All the paint is coming off and I'm either going to have it powder coated or I'm painting it with a hardened polyurethane. Dangit!

Another boner was painting the gear leg "feet" with Rustoleum rattlebombs. I thought it would be good enough, but it isn't. That stuff is just not tough enough or solvent resistant, so they are going to get stripped and painted with the PPG Concept that I purchased for the interior. That coating should be durable enough for use anywhere on the airplane. I've come to learn that everything that I topcoated is going to be stripped or heavily sanded and repainted with the right stuff. I was hoping to keep the carcinogens down to a minimum, but alas, it was not to be. Airplanes have a pretty rough service life, so I need coatings that are very durable. I've used the Concept before and it's pretty good stuff. That catalyzed urethane is very tough!

Rubber Engine Mounts

The Team Rocket F1 specifies a Barry mount, #94011-02 for vibration isolation between the engine and the mount. These rubbers have a lip for a 2 inch diameter "ear hole", and I believe that the overall diameter is 3 inches.   

My Mattituck TMX540 engine actually came with smaller (incorrect) ears, and has 1 3/8 opening hole for the mounts, so the set I ordered above will not fit. Well, Mark Fredericks (and other builders) confirmed that the mounting angle of the smaller ears is wrong, and the ears have to be the specific ears for a C4B5 with the larger isolators. I've emailed Mattituck about the problem, and hope to get the correct ears back so I can mount the engine soon.

In preparation for getting the proper parts, I started to remove the ears from the rear of the engine. Pretty easy stuff... until you get to the sump side of the lower ears. Those 9/16 nuts are just nestled away in there where it's nearly impossible to get to with a standard socket or open end wrench. I think I'm going to need to buy a set of crow foot wrenches just to get on those 4 nuts. I'm waiting for the good word from those who know better before I proceed.  

I bought my Barry isolators from They were $267 for all four in 2004, shipped to my door. That's a pretty good price. You can also get Lord mounts: #J-9613-53. I don't think there's a qualitative difference, but there sure is a cost difference. Expect to spend about $25 - 50 more for each mount!

Coating the Mount... Again

Getting the engine mount powder coated ended up becoming a bit of a PITA, so I decided to go ahead and finish it with the PPG Concept that I'm using on other interior and exterior parts. So light gray it is. The paint isn't perfect by any means, but it's a helluva lot better than that hi heat crap I had on there originally. Perhaps not as durable as powder coat, but more repairable? We'll see.

As soon as I get the crowfoot wrench from SnapOn, I'll get the gear legs on and torqued up. So far, the local SnapOn driver/salesman has dissed me two weeks in a row. One more chance, then I'll order it online or go somewhere else. I would have already ordered it online, but the price is the same as the local driver's and online charges you $9 shipping and handling. I thought I was going to save a few bucks, but now all I've done is wasted 3 weeks. Now that the mount is painted and ready to install, time is of the essence!

The Engine Decision

I was originally going to get a high performance Lycoming engine for my Rocket.  
I deposited an engine builder a substantial amount of money, and waited. And waited. After waiting months and months past the original and subsequent agreed finish dates, I finally gave up and requested my money back. It makes it VERY hard to get enthused about building with so much disappointment.

When I finally decided to change to a different engine source, I was compelled to go with something more along the lines of a "gold standard", as well as an engine made from completely new parts. I didn't want to putz around with Joe Blow make you promises they won't keep fly by night part time used parts lying  engine builder. What I decided to do was go with was a Mattituck TMX-IO540. I put a deposit (only $1K) on a Mattituck TMX IO-540 experimental engine. The engine and all of it's components will be new, factory Lycoming parts, with new optional components. I opted for dual electronic LSE Plasma III ignition and the RED GOLD option which flow matches, balances, dyno testing, and gives you an extended warranty. I also opted for higher compression pistons, an alternator and Airflow Performance fuel injection and boost pump.

The TMX engine is essentially stock. This isn't going to make it a barn burner, but the engine should have at least all the "rated" performance it's supposed to have (260hp stock). And with the RED GOLD option, it should be as smooth as silk and potentially last a very long time. Dual Plasma III ignition should help keep it running smooth and efficiently as well.

Mattituck was having a hard time getting parts. I was the 10th TMX ordered after OSH 2005. When I emailed Mattituck to inquire, they told me that they had the parts for the first 8, and that those engines were starting to be built. Finally, I heard that all of my parts were in stock, and that I was on the production calendar in March '06.

Finally, at the end of March, '06 I got a call from Michael at Mattituck telling me the engine is ready to ship. WOOOHOO!!!  Only 15 months since I first committed to buy an engine, I finally am going to get one!  Now all I have to do is get the cash. Since the first builder stiffed me, I have to dig deep to pay the balance on this baby. Time to pony up and get that engine on the mount!

On The Gear - at least for now...

March '05 I was finally getting the engine mount remounted. I borrowed a 3.25 inch jobber bit to drill the 3/8 bolt hole in the middle locations of the engine mount. That went very well. Like the plans say, you take a small head drill ( I borrowed a right angle cordless) and chuck onto the bit with it in the mount hole. Zip zip, went that quick.

The reason I started jumping on this remount was that I was told by my first engine builder that my engine was going to be done early. I suspect he told me this just to get me to pay the second third of the money for the engine, because it turned out that after waiting 8 additional months, the engine never materialized. It was a year later before I got an engine from a second vendor.

I beat all the bad weather and rolled my 2 ton folding hoist ("cherry picker") into my basement. I started putting the bolts supplied with the kit into the  mount, and I cannot for the life of me figure out how they go. No, the plans don't say. No torque values, either, although they have cotter pinned castle nuts. At any rate, I figured the longest bolt goes in the bottom and the shortest at the top. I tried several different combinations and that's the only one that comes close. Problem is that the bolts are too long in 4 of the 6 locations. Only the top bolts are spot on. I already have washers behind the castle nuts on those 4 bolts and I ran out of threads. So I've emailed Mark to ask what the ^*(% is going on. I think I'll need at least 3 washers on each one, and I don't think that's kosher.


The mount is tight, so I figured I might as well see what an F1 looks like on the gear in my basement. Well, it looks sort of like a giraffe. Or something WAY too tall to be in my 7 foot ceiling basement. The plane is taller than me...not that that's saying much. The plane at this point is 80 inches width outside the rubber and 80 inches or so tall. Hokey Smokes!  I need a step ladder to get in!

I nutted up the gear legs just for funsies. I'm going to have to take them out, lower the fuse and take off the mount. Or at least take the load off the mount to change the bolts, or add more washers. Here I was getting all excited about being "On The Gear", and then fight this bolt length problem. It's frustrating and disappointing, to say the least.

Ok, I took the improper length bolts out one at a time. I added two washers (total 3 each bolt) and finally got results. Not good results, just results. One pair is still too long. The other pair of bolts are just right.  Well, ACS knows me well. I placed an online order for replacement bolts ( and lots of other "stuff"). Cad plated AN6 bolts with drilled shanks. New size: 3 inch for the middle of the mount (at the footwell) and 3.5 inches for the bottom corners of the mounts. I went ahead and ordered the next size larger with both bolts, just to be sure the size wasn't somewhere in between.

Now the mount is on and the bolts are cranked down. I can hang the engine and start installing the cowl, baffling and FWF. The cowl fixture is on it's way and I should have the engine core hung just in time to use it with the cowl. Lots to do yet, but it's starting to look like an airplane!


The cowl is stuck on with duct tape. It stays put pretty well that way. But I have it on without bottom support just for this photo op.

The new bolts and some other things from ACS are supposed to be delivered to my office today. In the mean time, had ordered some hardened steel flat washers that were 1/8 thick. I left one standard AN washer under the head of each of the 4 too long bolts in the engine mount, and removed the two AN flat washers from under the nut. I replaced them with the hardened steel thick washers and got results. Not good results, just results. I'll be glad when the new bolts are here. I could get away with the way it's set up now, but I want that mount to be tight and right.

Footwell Area Mount Gap

EDIT: Even though there MAY be a gap between the footwell of the stainless firewall and the two inner mounting pads of the engine mount, you can't really shim the gap unless you change the hardware and get two longer engine mount bolts. I originally installed stainless fender washers inbetween the mount and the firewall footwell.  In the end, I removed the two washers and just pulled the firewall to the engine mount pads with the TR provided bolts and castle nuts.

Fuel Pump Mod

Note: Tom Martin suggests instead of a hose barb: drill longways through the center of a bolt, cut off the head and tap it into the bottom of the drain port. He said Locktite was all you needed to seal it in.
Addnl note: there is a manufacturer that will sell you the pump already modified with the drain port clocked to the right, very close to the output port.

Now, we got trouble, right here in River City....   I was worried about clearing the motor mount (oil filter), but hadn't thought about firewall clearance. Once the engine was set to position, I noted that the mechanical fuel pump was VERY close to the firewall footwell. There is a plastic cap covering a port on the pump right at the footwell. 

MechFuelPumpClearance.JPG    MechFuelPumpClearance1.JPG

Word from Mark is that the mechanical pump configuration is a common rocket problem. One solution recommended is to plug the hole, and tap the bottom of the barrel, then JB Weld on a drain hose from the bottom. If there wasn't another port 180 degrees from the orange capped port, you could perhaps just rotate the bottom of the pump by one screw hole to solve the problem. Tapping the capped port may be the way to go, but I emailed Don Riviera at Airflow Performance to see if there is a different configuration available for the lower of the pump. There isn't, but there is a complicated way to disassemble the pump and rotate the drain out of the way. Not for me...

I read how Vince Frazier and Tom Martin modified their fuel pumps and figured I was good to go using their brass hose barb technique. Regrettably, I couldn't find a small enough barbed fitting to suit me. The one in the pic on Vince's site looks WAY smaller than anything I could find. So I had to figure out a different way to do it. It's not pretty, but should be effective.

FuelPumpMod.JPGNote: In the pic at the left the hose clamp is oriented poorly. The screw needs to be on the outboard side of the port.

I bought a 1/8 x 1/4 brass (I think) hose barb and an "inny" 1/4 inch plug. I bought other parts, too, but these are the ones I ended up using!

The threads of the hose barb fitting were too big for the job. I really wanted to tap and thread a barb in there, but just didn't feel comfortable with the diameter being close to the size of the port. Next best thing (maybe) was to epoxy a barb on from the outside.

Turns out that the diameter of the port is precisely the same as a dremel drum. I used a dremel cut off wheel and removed about 2/3 of the threads from the barb fitting. Then I used the drum to grind it to match the curvature of the port. I dremeled the fitting all the way back into the nut (perhaps a bit TOO much?), but not into the recessed area near the barb. Well, maybe I got into it a little. But I didn't want to weaken the "neck" of the barb, so I tried to leave the thing beefy enough to hold up against the weight of the dangling hose shaking around with the engine.

The mating surface of the brass sat extremely flush with the port (with just the use of the dremmel drum!). And the mating surface of the fitting appeared at least 2 times the diameter of the ID of the barb all the way around!   SWEET!!

Once I had the fitting mating nicely against the bottom side of the port, I grabbed up a small stainless worm gear hose clamp. And I drilled it large enough to accept the hose barb (from the "inside" of the clamp). Then I clamped the hose barb onto the port and positioned it carefully. I got the largest size drill bit that would insert into the barb and back drilled the port. Of course I stuffed paper inside the port to block the filings from getting into the pump.  I drilled the port out enough that I could insert the butt end  of the drill bit back into the barb and all the way into the port. This is a handy thing to be able to do.

FuelPumpMod1.JPGNext, I grabbed a 3/16 allen key and the plug and test fit it. It screwed in easily, without resistance, all the way in to the drill bit. So I pulled out the drill bit, and drove the plug in until there WAS resistance. Then I back drilled through the barb again. Interestingly, the drill bit wasn't even half way into the face of the plug. I took the plug to the scotchbrite wheel and buffed the plug through the trench caused by the drill bit. With the drill bit back through the barb, the plug went quite a ways in, with considerable resistance. Woohoo! Now I won't block the hole with the plug.

I carefully removed everything and cleaned out the port. I inserted new paper and prepped the surfaces of the port and the barb fitting for epoxy. I lathered up the two parts with epoxy.  I set the drill bit into the barb, aligned the barb and the hose clamp onto the port and cranked down on the hose clamp. I cleaned out the excess JB Weld, but made sure that the brass fitting was adequately covered. I made sure that the port was glued to the fitting and that the fitting was glued to the clamp. I then ran the butt end of the drill bit in and out and made sure the drain was open.  

Out came the paper blocking the port, and I used thread sealer and cranked the plug in until it butted against the drill bit. I removed the bit, and gave the plug about another 1/4 turn. It was snug.

Time to let the JB and the Formagasket set. Theoretically, I should be able to remove the stainless hose clamp and just let the JB take over. That ain't gonna happen, the hose clamp is staying, as ugly as it is.

Once the parts set, I ground down the Allen key plug, and I removed just a bit of the upper inboard most "corner" of the housing so that I have some firewall clearance. After I had the engine and the pump reinstalled, it turned out that you DON'T have to adjust the plug, but on my ship, I still needed to remove more of the housing from the inboard upper "corner" of the housing. There just isn't hardly any clearance, maybe 1/16th? Probably should have just taken a ball peen hammer and made more clearance on the stainless.

BTW, when I changed the hose clamp, I really pulled hard on the hose barb to see how sturdy it (and the JB) is. Plenty. Still, the hose clamp is in place for piece of mind.

Hanging the TMX540

**** NOTE **** : Don't hang your engine until you have modified the fuel pump drain port!!!!!

Hanging the engine wasn't all that difficult, or time consuming. I did a little research on the internet and read a short explanation about the process on a Van's Airforce page. Wasn't all that helpful, but I got a bit of info, perhaps the most helpful was about starting to bolt the engine to the mount starting in the upper right corner.

I had to change out the ears on my 540. Mattituck made me a D4B5 instead of a C4B5. They fixed the problem and sent me new ears in less than 5 days. I mounted the ears with a 9/16 SnapOn universal joint socket (Thanks Bruce!), and hoisted the engine to position. My engine came complete, with a spin-on filter adapter and the filter safety wired to position. I chose not to cut the wire yet, so I wrapped the engine mount and the filter with heavy cloth and carefully hoisted the filter under the mount. After just clearing the upper bar of the mount, I raised the engine about half way. At that point, you have to be careful about the mechanical fuel pump and the sump clearing the hard parts. A couple strokes of the hoist, and then scoot the hoist back. Little by little, I swung (very carefully in small increments) up and back to position. I left the cloth on the filter and mount until I was finished.  You don't have to go all the way back against the mount, remember you have to stick rubber isolaters in there.

The Barry mounts insert in a special way. I'm not sure the orientation of each rubber mount is all that critical, but getting the correct mount facing the proper direction is VERY important. The mounts come with directions, and there's a copy of it in the F1 plans.  I put the mounts in the proper orientation and taped them there.

I hoisted the engine by the hydraulic "cherry picker" and the two ratchet straps as close to hole alignment as I could get. I inserted the first bolt and washer  through the back of the mount, through the rubber, the sleeve, the forward rubber,  and the fender washer. Then another washer and the nut was threaded on a couple turns to allow maximum movement of the engine in the mounts.

The second bolt went in the upper left, and the third I put into the lower left. It was pretty easy to this point, and I started the nuts on these two bolts. The 4th bolt at the lower right took some effort. I actually released the tension on the hoist to the point where I could UN-ratchet the straps and change the front/rear orientation of the engine to drop the nose down a wee bit. Then, I hoisted the engine back upwards,  and then I swung the hoist itself over to the right side of the ship a little to swing the engine to the mount. At that point, I had to manhandle the motor a little to coax the bolt through, but it wasn't a major effort.


Not bad, eh?  I was able to hang the engine all by myself.  

One thing to keep in mind, here.... if you don't have a tail on your fuselage and the empennage is sitting up on a saw horse, and the gear legs don't have the wheels attached, LOOK OUT!  The plane is going to be so nose heavy that if you release the hoist, the engine will tip the ship right over to the ground (and in my case the empennage will crash against the ceiling!)!!!  I had to sand bag my emp deck with two 40 pounds of salt. I finally put a couple eye bolts in the wall studs and strapped the tail spring down. And left the 80 pounds of salt on the spring.

Engine Control Cables

Prop/Engine Control Cables, Brackets, Retainers and Installation

Team Rocket recommends (and sells) ACS cables for the F1 Rocket. The throttle and mixture typically use 60 inch (ACS A-920-600 series) cables, and the propeller governor uses a 66 inch (-660 series) cable. These cables are VERY nice; made to accept threaded hardware on the ends, have rubber boots in 4 places, and where the threaded rod is swaged on the inner sleeve, there is a fitting that allows that part to nearly swivel. Not bad for a $35 cable. One end at the lever will use a clevis and pin, and the other a rod end bearing with  a castle nut which is cotter pinned through an AN3 bolt through the apparatus arm.

You have a choice with the Prop Governor Control Cable. You can run the cable from the bottom of the engine or over the top.  Most Rocket builders go over the top (in more ways than one), so that's my take. Since my fuel injection system is already cushion clamped to position, slightly repositioning the FI lines is necessary. Mostly what I intend to do is make a cable attach bracket that clamps on to the pushrod tubes with Adel clamps. I'm going to replace the setup installed by Mattituck with my own bracket. First I loosened the existing clamps, then formed a template bracket out of scrap.

/PushTubeAdelClamp.JPG     PropGovCableBracketTemplate.JPG

The largest part of the ACS cable is 3/8 diameter. I located the area where the 3 ACS cables (and eventually another push pull cable for the purge valve) will go through the firewall. This is typically done outboard of the motor mount. I bought some pre-made stainless firewall shields from Wicks and used them to locate the holes on the firewall. Then, using my small unibit, I ran the prop cable hole through the FW. I removed the rubber boots from one end of the cable and slipped the cble through the FW into the cabin. At this point, the quadrant is NOT in a fixed position. I'm waiting until I have all 3 cables hung before I decide the final resting spot for the quadrant.

The ACS cables have over 3 inches (nearly 3.5) of travel. The MT prop governor arm moves about 2 inches, and so do the throttle quadrant levers. So far, so good. I attached the rod end bearing on the forward end of the cable and nutted it down about in the middle of the threads. I marked the shaft on the cable rod at 2 inches travel for reference.  I went ahead and set the cable in the cabin into the cable bracket on the #2 bulkhead. So far the location of the cable end  looks good.

At this point. I have the cable just slung over the top of the engine baffles and I have LOTS of slack. I'm starting to think I can just use a 60 inch cable if I route this cable quite direct to the prop gov. Rather a tight fit than a lot of extra slop to tie down. I have an extra 60 inch ACS cable, we'll see how it goes.

There's lots of choices on cable retainers. You have to have some method of holding the ACS cable to the bracket. The #2 bulkhead cable retainer that I made seems to be doing well.  Now I need something at the other end. KISS. I went to the hardware store and looked for tiny U-bolts. They'd have to be about 1/8 diameter and fit inside the round 1/4 inch slot in the 3/8 inch "ferrule" on the cable. And in the case of the 3 quadrant cables, you have to cantilever them from a bracket, as well as keep the rubber boot from contacting anything. So, I went to Rural King, the farm store, for some airplane parts. I bought a stainless cable clamp (1/8) and I bought a stainless EYE BOLT (also 1/8). They both are still too wide to fit in the slot, so I ground them both down and scotchbrited them to fit. Of course I had to open the eye bolt to get it around the cable. Turns out that the eye of the bolt is right at 1/4 inch, and you can effectively completely close the eye back around the cable. Now the question is how will it hold up in service?


At this point, I'm using the stainless steel eye bolt. I may scrap the idea and remake the entire bracket using only 1/8 angle and safety wire. The stainless eye bolt crimps around the cable quite securely. The problem is that the tension for and aft on the eye bolt in service may tend to loosen up the rather small diameter shank and nuts. Not a good situation. Although in a test fit, the setup seems quite secure. Either way, I'm definitely adding some safety wire.

The template bracket that I made was a wee bit short. When I was setting up the cables, I put them at the maximum extension with the clevis and rod ends at their midpoint. All three cables started out this way. So now the location of the slot in the prop cable is back about 2 more inches. So I need a longer and TALLER bracket. The farther back you attach the cable, the higher you have to make the attach point in order for the cable to clear the push rod tubes as the prop governor arm travels.  I still used the two Adel clamps. Instead of using formed angle, though, I cut up some 1.5x1.5x.125 extruded angle. Heavy, but strong. And no cracking on bending (a real problem of mine).

PropCableBracketTrialFit3.JPG      PropCableBracketTrialFit1.JPG  
The bracket is held in position on the pushrod tubes by 
#12 WDG (wedge)  Adel clamps. The fuel injection line has an Adel clamp, too. I cut up a piece of 3/4x/34 angle and stuck it to the big cable bracket with one AD4-6 rivet and some JB Weld.  

PropCableBracketTrialFit2.JPG      PropCableBracketTrialFit.JPG  
The prop governor cable bracket is just test fitted. It needs to be cut down some that then primed and painted. Also, I'll use a stainless eye bolt that completely contains (retained) the cable, unlike the "hook" in the picture. I might need to attach other cables or wires to the bracket, so I'm leaving it as is until I get a little farther along.  Still have to attach the purge valve cable and secure the spark plug wires.

The Mixture and Throttle cables are twins, and they will be routed more or less together and they'll be mounted in the same way. They typically run under the engine at the very bottom under the sump. There's nothing there to attach to (once you're passed the engine mount). You MUST attach these cables to something relatively rigid, like angle or bolts. So the next big project is to fashion one BIG bracket or a couple small ones that attach to the AP fuel servo bolts. This is going to get ugly.

The construction manual shows some elaborate brackets for the twin cables. It's made of plate and angle, and it goes between the sump and the AP elbow. I didn't have an extra gasket to do this. I also determined that the massive bracket only sat on the face of the elbow attach to the sump, about 3/4 inch wide are. The advantage of the plate type of bracket is that it has 4 attach points. Since the throttle cable needs a retainer about 4 - 5 inches aft of the elbow, having extra attach points up front is a benefit. It's BIG though, and gives you another potential source for leakage (although I think that's probably a very minor/slight risk... but what do I know?!).

I tried to make two brackets, each of which would attach to 3 bolts, therefore making it possible to take the bracket on and off without removing the AP unit. Well, that didn't work and I scrapped the idea. You CAN NOT use the two forward bolts holding the AP fuel controller elbow to mount anything below the elbow flange. There's just no room for anything but a nut and two washers. I decided, what the heck, let's make a single bracket and sling it off the back two bolts of the fuel controller elbow and see what it's like. If it seems "floppy", screw it, I'll go with "the plate" mounted to the sump under the elbow.

Wicks sent me some pristine .063 alclad, so I chopped up a piece about 5x7. I took the AP unit off the sump and over onto the bench with the cables loosely attached by the rod ends. I sat the cables straigh out from the arms and then used the gasket to approximate the two bolt holes. Now the idea here is to have the AP unit already bolted up, THEN bolt the cable bracket underneath it. I'd still have to work around the big "tube" of the AP fuel controller elbow (about 2.75 inches dia), but at least I wouldn't have to contend with the steps around the elbow.  After marking up the .063 piece, I found that the plastic cap of a can of spray on contact cement was almost a perfect match to the elbow tube diameter. I drilled the bolt holes, and then used a dremmel to cut out the arch and fit the piece to the elbow. I Cut a couple 1x1x.125 angles and drilled them to the appropriate places on the sheet.

Ok, Ok, I went a little crazy with the rivets. AND I sure don't need that much angle to attach a little (hangar) retainer for the cable on each side. However, I'm a little timid about the placement of the retainers, so I want to leave in some "adjustability" (turns out I did).  

You might guess that one of the biggest concerns about this idea is the potential for failure of the bracket. That would cause loss of throttle and/or mixture control... that would be VERY bad. The .063 alclad is pretty strong, but a.) it's only going to have VERY small contact against a nut on the fuel controller elbow, b.) the edge distance of the bolt holes near the body of the elbow is questionable at best, c.)  the angles, particularly on the throttle side, are somewhat cantilevered  WAY away from the attach point, and d.) the cables are going to move with engine movement and vibration, and will put a load on the far outside of the bracket.

I decided to improve the strength as much as I could. I took two large AN steel fender washers and trimmed them to fit the body of the fuel controller elbow and of course aligned them with the bolt holes. I epoxied them to place. That takes care of the edge distance problem and small contact patch with the nuts. It also does a lot to strengthen the entire bracket. I think by the time I get this thing trimmed down, it should hold up fine in service. But it WILL be one of the things I monitor on a regular basis.

In order to reduce the "cantilever" forces, as well as the load induced by the weight and movement of the cables, I plan on retaining the cables (by the .125x.250 dia slot) as close to the fuel controller elbow as possible. The mixture cable slot will be within about 1 inch of the elbow, and the throttle cable slot about 4 or so inches aft (and about 1.5 inches laterally).

FuelCablesAndBracket.JPGWhen I marked the location for the eye bolt holes in the bracket, I had the cable and rod end (set in the middle of the threads) extended as far out as It would go. That gave me the aft most location of the retainer slot in the cable. I realized later that I had barely enough travel in the cables to go stop to stop. There were only 3 threads holding the rod ends on the cable. That made me nervous. So I redrilled the holes 3/8 inch farther forward on the bracket. Actually, I could have come forward 1/2 inch without any trouble. Now I have more room for adjustment and the rod ends are more securely threaded onto the cable.

What I did find out fitting this all up with the cables hooked to the quadrant and retained at both ends was that the cables are going to be subject to a lot of heat. Team Rocket recommends the cables be covered with fire sleeve. I'm not sure that will be necessary, but I'll know more when I actually get the cables clamped to their final position. Another thing I figured out was that with all the extra cable slack, and the location of the angle, I could actually mount the throttle cable retainer inboard on the angle on the bracket. That would serve to give it some heat protection. It also makes checking the retainer hardware a bit easier. Too bad that the mixture side of the bracket didn't have enough play to allow mounting that cable retainer to the inside of the angle. If I want to do that. I'd have to make a whole new bracket. I may do that later on. For now, I just want to get finished.


Engine Baffles

My baffle kit came from Vans. Yes, of the RV fame.  The kit is for the RV-10. It fits the Lycoming  IO-540, but not the F1 Rocket. So you have to modify it. And even as a kit, there is a LOT of work to assembling this baby. After having worked on it for a couple days, there's still a long way to go. I can't imagine how much work would be involved if I actually had to use templates and make my own set of baffles.

The baffle kit is quite complete, with hardware, supports, screens and flexible seal material. The plans are quite nice as well, with large pics and easy (sorta) to follow instructions. For about $250 when I bought it, this kit is WELL worth the money. It probably saved me about 20 or 30 hours of work.

BTW, I believe there is an F1 builder who also sells a baffle kit for the F1. I think the price was around $500 for the set, and it is supposed to be "plug and play".

About a year and a half ago, when I was told I would get my engine from the first loser that I did business with, I got the kit and started doing some work on it. Well, without the engine, it's kind of tough to assemble the baffles, especially when the F1 cowl is so different than the RV-10.  But I worked with it a little and pre-trimmed some of the pieces.

Now that my TMX is hung, I can start trial fitting the parts. The F1 baffle set is going to be quite small at the aft end, and there is hardly room to attach even a small oil cooler at the back. Most builders remote mount a large Positech cooler onto the engine mount, then fashion a duct from the baffles to the cooler. Knowing this, I did NOT cut any holes in the baffles for any ducting. In fact, I didn't cut any holes in the pieces at all. I just started fitting them up and screwing them down... loosely in their stock fashion.


Sorry about the slightly out of focus pic. My new digital camera sucks (or I can't hold my hands steady...). I need another new camera.

It may not seem like there has been that much cut off, but it took me about 4 hours to trim these pieces right on the ship with tin snips. Not that much has been removed from the aft wall, perhaps 1/2 inch. From the forward end of the cowl, however, quite a lot has been removed. I cut about 5 inches off the front end, then tapered the baffles to follow the inside of the top cowl contours. This is what the left side looks like rough cut. Again, sorry about the poor pic quality. I tried about 10 times to get it right.

TIP:  Take a metal rule (or something flat and straight) and lay it flat along the boot cowl skin. Project it parallel to the nose of the ship along the aft side of the baffles and use that to reference a mark for a cut line. It takes a lot of guess work out of how much to trim.


For those of you who are getting a Mattituck TMX engine, or dual Lightspeed Plasma III  electronic ignition and fuel injection, the top of the engine gets quite crowded. I had to remove the front sky hook and reposition it to the front boss and move two of the coil sets toward the middle of the engine. I had to move things around in order to fit everything inside the baffles as well as to fit the cowl over the top.

At this point, the front "floor" of baffles isn't really in place at all. I did have the governor set to place and the arch behind the starter ring. But the floors have to be matched to the lower cowl. You might be able to see in the pics above how the left floor hangs down at the front of the baffle set. That angle is quite severe, and the air inlet opening in the F1 is not that large. And not that deep, either. So some reconfiguring is in order to get that airflow ramp coordinated with the F1 lower cowl. That comes next.




GovernorBaffle11.JPG The lower cowl isn't too bad to place on the ship by yourself, even with no clekos or anything holding the top cowl on. I used a tall box and slid the lower cowl under the engine, then pulled the front tab up under the top cowl and clekoed it. At this point, the lower cowl is hanging by one cleko (through carbon fiber reinforcement). The zipper (hinges for pinning) lines up very easily at this point, so I pinned up the one side. Then I clekoed the tab on the other side, held up the lower cowl with my knee and my left hand, and started the pin with my right.

The front floor of the baffle (at least the left floor/ramp) actually fits in the cowl at a steep angle to match the angle of the prop governor baffle. That's fine on an RV-10, but on an F1, it's not necessary for the ramp to be that long OR at such a steep angle. That's going to take some custom work. You could certainly just install the baffle floor ramp as for an RV-10, then use the rubber seal material to create your own corrected ramp. However, I want to make sure that I get good support of whatever baffle material I use.

After setting the lower cowl in place, I looked through the inlets to get an idea of what I still needed to do. I noticed that on the ship's right, the pour foam ramp that I started from the inlet was about the right angle and depth (to the top of the front cylinder), but the left cylinder is a few inches aft and the ramp needs to be extended.  IOW, I still have a LOT  of work to do on the engine cowl.  Time to go back and drill the attachments for the engine cowl before proceeding any farther.

On the front floor baffles, the parts that form the ramps from the lower lip of the air inlets, you definitely don't want to follow Van's plans. Those parts need to be nearly straight, not bent down at 60+ degrees as recommended for the RV-10. At the same time, the middle pieces that arc around the prop shaft area also have to be modified. The left part has to have the formed flanges cut off , and then new bends made to raise the lower attach flanges to the level of a nearly horizontal ramp. The right part also needs a little trimmed off, but I re-bent it first. Not only does that part need the attach flange raised up, but the angle that it sits facing forward should be changed so that it angles toward the air inlet. IOW, instead of closing the area off over at the engine case, I chose to make this part close off the airflow over at the air inlet. After I trimmed and re-bent the parts, I also trimmed the forward edge of the ramps to where they just sit under the cowl lip.

With the ramps shortened and  bent upwards to accommodate the F1 cowl, there is enough meat under the side baffles that you can mark and bend those parts to form an attach flange under the front ramps. I think I'll attach a pair of nutplates on these and screw them down instead of  riveting them. Actually, I think I could just RTV them together since the air pressure is going to force the ramp down onto the side baffle flange, and the cowl won't let the baffle move laterally. Still contemplating how to do some of the final attachments so that these parts can all be made removable.

After I rough trimmed the baffle material, I considered where to run the lower spark plug wires through the side baffles. There are a couple of joggled areas that interlink and overlap between the pieces. Those joggled flanges are drilled to prevent cracking. I decided to use those holes to run the spark plug wires. I used my step drill and opened up the holes. The only problem with this idea is that when I finalized the height of the left baffle, the grommet and wire between 1 and 3 ends up being at the upper edge of the flange. It shouldn't pose a problem, but I will have to work the soft baffle material around it.

Now that the baffles are roughed in, and after routing a few cables and hoses, it's time to finish trim the top edge of the baffles where they mate to the cowling. Mark Fredericks suggests that a rule of thumb is a finger width gap between the cowl and the baffles. About 1/2 inch. That was my goal. Working with just the upper cowl clekoed to place, I eyeballed the upper edge of the baffles from under the engine, through the oil door and through the air inlets up front. Also, you can see the aft baffle pretty easily looking from behind through the motor mount. I ended up trimming off about another 1/4+ inch all the way around the side baffles and as much as 1/2 inch from the aft baffles. The only places that concern me are around the #1 and #2 cylinders. There's only about 1/2 inch of baffle material above the cylinder head. Not much clearance to attach soft baffle material.

With the aft and side baffles trimmed and dressed to shape, time to go back and work on the front baffles and then start assembling the hard parts. I've already got them nearly roughed out. For me, that means probably a full day or more working on them just to get them to fit.

After about 4 addtional hours working with the front baffles... trimming, fitting to the lower cowl, re-forming, then bending the side baffles to fit, and then finally drilling the side baffles to the inlet ramp baffles, I think I have something I can work with. Regrettably, I still don't know how to transition between the cowl and the aluminum baffles, but it's all really close.  

I cut the right inlet a little short. The ramp angle was VERY steep too. So rather than try to re-bend another ramp baffle, I decided to build up the cowl inlet. I had contemplated doing that a long time ago anyway just to lessen the ramp angle. Now I can improve the transition and make up for a slightly gapped right inlet ramp.

The gap was probably 3/8, and I could have easily made up the difference with soft baffle material.

The left side inlet ramp has a longer and more gradual angle at the air inlet. I cut the ramp on that one just right. I still may have to cut it back more soon as I decide how I want to transition between the fixed cowling and the movable (shaking with the engine) baffles.

There's still some minor fitting to do, and I have to drill the baffle around the governor to the left ramp. I'm not using the bracket to hold the "spinner" baffle to the engine case bolts, either, so I'm going to have to make up a little bracket for that, too. Then the baffle assembly process begins. Lots of countersinking  and riveting to do there.

For now, though, the micro on the ramp is setting, and I'm taking a break.

Here's a couple big pics of the left side baffles after they are doubled, riveted and the plug wires set. Note the mode around the prop governor, and that segment is made to be unscrewed from the air ramp from the bottom.



I may insert an air vent duct on the left air ramp scoop above. There's lots of room at the back, and logistically that may be easier. I'll insert that last. The right side is ready for soft baffle. Time to finish up the right side!

Part of finishing the right baffling was to finally get the oil cooler baffling  set. I didn't have enough clearance between the parts, so I remade the duct on the hard baffles. Also, Tom Martin and others thought I had TOO MUCH opening and that cooling of the #5 cylinder would probably be compromised. So I made the opening to the cooling fins about 1/3 or so smaller, and closed off some of the bottom of the cut out. After I installed the nutplates for the #8 screws, I popped two rivets in each flange to hold soft silicone baffle material. I used 4 separate pieces, but if I have enough soft material left at the end, I may drill out the rivets and just use one contiguous piece of silicone baffle on the baffle duct to the oil cooler. That will give me a tighter air seal there, although that seal is never going to be absolutely tight with engine movement.


Sorry, no pics of the silicone parts, they just wouldn't show up.There is about 1/4 to 3/8 clearance between the oil cooler duct and the baffle duct. The silicone material is riveted to the outside of the baffle duct flanges so that the silicone material seals between the ducts (of course!).

The rest of the right side of the hard baffles was pretty easy. That aft corner piece actually seemed easier to insert when it was fully riveted than with just individual pieces. Also, the left air ramp was pretty easy to fit up. After it was all set up, I tossed on the top engine cowl for a final look see at the hard baffle contour. I had to trim a little off of the front right top edge at the big turn towared the ramp.  Getting 1/2 inch clearance all around is pretty tough. Closer to 3/8 in some areas, but there's enough meat there to hopefully rivet on the silicone baffle.

The soft baffles were pretty easy to install. I cut overlapping segments so that they all fold in and overlap to the rear. That way as the air rushes in, it doesn't flap the baffles the wrong way. On the sides I used the unreinforced baffle material supplied with the Vans kit. Up front in the spinner area I used reinforced baffle material I bought from Spruce. The baffle material from Vans can't have wedge cuts and keep from tearing like the fabric reinforced baffle material. I had to make rather large pieces and then make "pie cuts" in order to get the material to fold aft.

The pop rivets supplied from Vans pulled so tight that they deformed the material. I had some baffle nuts, but opted to use some pop rivets that I bought for the fabric on my Citabria. I got those from Wicks. They are shaped the same as the Vans rivets, just a lighter aluminum not steel.

After installing the soft baffles and finishing the rivets and nutplates in a couple areas to hold the soft material, it was time for the cowl test. There certainly is some spring in the material when you pull down the lid. You want some, but not too much. With the lower cowl off, the oil door open and looking through the air inlets, it was easy to check the folds and the cuts in the front soft baffles. After checking, I buttoned both cowls up to "train" the soft baffles.

A couple days later I realized that I still needed to install the lower baffle rods. The ends of the hard baffles need to be pulled around the cylinder fins on the front and rear cylinders. There is a pair of rods for the inner lower baffles and a pair for the outer lower baffles.

The inner rods are easy. You have to thread the rod after making slight end bends in order to thread on the #4 nuts (3/16). The recommended bends for the outer rods didn't really help at all and after bending them using the tempates, I actually took almost all of the end bends out. Then, where the inner rods didn't contact anything enroute from end to end, there was a LOT of interference with the outer rods. Those rods were putting considerable froce on the hard oil lines. You know that the engine vibration over time would just use the rods like a saw and cut holes in the oil line tubing. Now that's a recipe for disaster.

I removed the outer rods and played orthodontist. I put step bends in the rods in order for the baffle rods to completely clear the oil lines. I still might go back and tie some baffle material over the oil lines just as added protection in case the baffle rods rotate in service. Another solution to the outer rod problem would be to just use twisted stainless wire covered with nylon tubing. I thought it would be cleaner and easier in the long run to just use bent rods.

Next step is to test the baffle system in service. Most Rocket builders opt to put plenums in their cowls instead of simple baffle systems. My cowl is likely to bulge with considerable air pressure, however if the airflow works and the engine temps stay in the normal range, I'll call the baffles good and move on. I'm ready to fly!

Airflow Performance Fuel Injection

Mattituck (and others) has an option to purchase/install the Airflow Performance fuel injection, fuel pump, aux pump and filter. As a kit from Airflow Performance, the one that is specified for the Team Rocket F1 is 8000021and comes with just about everything but the actual fuel lines and connectors.This is a list of parts that Mattituck provided (list is from AP's website).  

Qty    P/N       Description      
1    5020006    FM-200 Fuel Controller       
2    1010059    FM-100 Gasket      
1    1020061    FM-200 Gasket      
1    3010081    95 Deg. FM-100 Intake Elbow       
1    2090162    5 Deg. FM-200 Intake Adapter      
1    2090124    Purge Valve Assembly      
1    2090183    Purge Valve Bracket      
1    3090009    Flow Divider      
1    2090148    Lycoming Flow Divider Bracket      
6    1090104    Nozzle Line Fitting      
2    AH-C3169X2-WH    1/8" Pipe Plug      
5    AH-3350X2    45 deg 1/8 pipe to 1/8 pipe      
1    AN911-1    1/8" Pipe Nipple      
1    AN822-4D    1/8" Pipe to #4 90      
1    AN-816-4D    1/8" to #4 Fitting      
1    LFDHDKT    Flow Divider/Bracket mounting hardware kit      
1    1090187-27    27" SS Nozzle Line       
3    1090187-21    21" SS Nozzle Line      
1    1090187-15    15" SS Nozzle Line      
1    1090187-14    14" SS Nozzle Line       
6    1090152    .028 Injector Nozzle Assy      
1    L6NLHDSI    Lyc 6 Cyl Nozzle Line Bracket and hardware kit      
1    3090050    Aircraft Boost Pump Package      
1    1090079    Maintainable Fuel Filter Assembly      
2    MS21919WDG26    Cushion Clamp      
2    MS21919WDG29    Cushion Clamp      
1    9001    API Catalog      
1    9003    Tech Manual     

My Mattituck TMX540 engine came with the AP flow divider and all the components, including purge valve, assembled on top of the engine. The engine is, however, shipped without anything below the sump. Mattituck sends a good amount of paperwork with the engine, including  an AP manual. The AP manual is repleat with lots of theory and diagrams to help you organize your fuel system. As far as I'm concerned, for the IO-540 and F1 Rocket kit plane installation, the AP manual sucks. The pictures are LOUSY and there's nothing specific about the Rocket setup. The manual is set up to accommodate everyone, mostly 4 cylinder RV's and has little to show for the big 6's. I had to glean as much as I could from going to various appendices and try to figure out how to set up the parts on the lower part of the engine. Well, it's not THAT hard to figure out how to bolt on the 90 degree elbow, the 95 degree adapter, and the main "throttle body" (fuel controller FM-200) assembly to the bottom of the sump. The studs for the elbow were on the sump, and Mattituck furnished the 1/2 inch course nuts. However, the nuts were wrong with the rest of the studs (already assembled in the AP parts) because ALL of the 1/2 inch nuts with the package were course, and the studded AP parts require fine threads. Fortunately, I bought the big AN hardware kit from Aircraft Spruce and I have what I needed to bolt it up. Not I have LOTS of extra course nuts should I need spares for the exhaust system.

The 90 degree elbow installs facing forward. You have to put the washer, the star washer and the nuts on all these AP studs and tighten them down sequentially to keep from binding against the body of the parts. The 95 degree adapter goes on so that the adapter tips the throttle body upwards toward the engine. You might guess this given the upward slope of the lower engine cowl. The main throttle body unit goes in place with the round part and fuel fittings upwards. I think that is going to make plumbing the parts a bit of a bitch, but based on the pics, that has to be the way it goes. Looks like I may have to drop the throttle body to connect those fittings first, then bolt it up to the adapter and attach the other ends of the fuel lines last.


The throttle mechanism is on the left side and the mixture is on the right. Notice in the picture above that there are TWO mounting holes for the cable rod end. The lower hole allows about 2 inches of travel, and the upper hole allows about 2.5 inches of travel.

 I can now rough in the cables to these armatures. As far as the plumbing goes, well, it's back to the manual to see if I can figure out how to put it all together.


Mark at Team Rocket sells a nice Vetterman stainless exhaust with all the hardware, including gaskets. I bought mine from another builder who decided to go with cold air induction. The Vetterman exhaust is a sweet bolt up unit. The parts fit very tightly, and I had to use a torch to heat up a couple of the collars to fit the parts together. Also, one of the pins would not insert into it's weldment, so I had to dremmel the pin so it would rotate into it's proper position.


With a test hang of the system, it looks like the tailpipe is going to hang too low into the cowl out of the box. Once the unit was bolted up, it was very easy to relocate the tailpipe by rotating it at the ball joint. The hangers are supposed to hold the tailpipe in position.

ExhaustHangerAssy.JPG     ExhaustHangerFitted.JPG

The exhaust hangers were fun to put together. The instructions are pretty basic and straight forward. You have to drill and bend some mild steel to correspond to the angle of the footwell engine mount bolts, then bolt it up. Simple and effective. The pic shows the bracket on the outside of the tailpipe, which puts the two pipe tail end openings quite close together. I don't know if that has any effect on noise or performance, so I'm waiting to hear on that issue, too.

The exhaust stacks have to be drilled for EGT probes. I'm going to try to locate mine as far from the spark plugs as possible and of course away from the engine cowl. They may end up oriented toward the inside of the engine, but perhaps I'm over thinking it. I could easily just drill the holes outboard as far aft as possible and clear everything. I'm waiting for recommendations from Mark.

Time to order heat muffs from Rick Robbins. Mark doesn't sell those, so I'll have to call Rick and get those going. The heat muffs can be 7 inches for the left side and 9 inches for the right side.  Randy Pflanzer's description of his muff system: ..."on the left muff, you want the aft inlet clocked at 1:30 o'clock and the forward output clocked at 3 o'clock.  On the right muff, clock the forward input at 9 o'clock and the aft output at 10:30 o'clock.  All clockings are looked at the muffs from aft to forward.  I just used the standard size hoses, whatever that is so that all the other stuff like heat valve and rear baffle fittings from Van's can be used.

Once the exhaust was located by the hangers, I clekoed the engine cowl back on the ship. I wanted to see how much clearance I had around the pipes.  Keep in mind that I used the cut lines embedded in the fiberglass from the factory. Some guys have told me that I was not going to have enough space at the air exit under the cowl. Well, the exhaust has just enough clearance between the mount, the belly and the cowl.  It looks SWEET!  And the UGLF fits up along the leg against the ship and the cowl beautifully. I think this is what Team Rocket intended!  Down the road I'll just have to see if the cowl lets enough air out to cool the engine compartment. Lots of discussion on that item on the TR email list.


Again, I have the two tailpipes hung as close together as the hangers would allow.  This may change. Also, the tubes rotate, and that changes the orientation of the end tube and the tip to the belly of the plane.  I'd like to minimize drag as well as maximize getting the exhaust away from the belly. Not so much to keep the belly clean, but to keep the sonic pulses from beating me to death through the belly. That aluminum floor becomes quite a drum when being pounded by exhaust gases. I'll probably cut the tips parallel to the floor once I get the end tubes oriented so that the exhaust is directed down away from the ship as much as possible.

Heat Muffs and Heat Valve

I bought a pair of heat muffs from for my 2 inch Vetterman exhaust. Rick Robbins made me up a pair of stainless exhaust heat muffs per Randy Pflanzer's specs. Work on these units is VERY nice, and you get everything you need but SCAT.

There's no  HVAC to the rear seat in my Rocket, so the plan is to daisy chain the pair and run the heated heat through a stainless heater valve on the firewall. I may purchase or fashion a "Y" and tap the heat into the NACA duct and run it through the eyeball vent, as well as let it disperse to my feet right out of the box.

The structure for the units are the end caps held together and onto the exhaust pipes by two long screw rods. The end caps are captured by the body of the heat muffs then steel band clamps are used to hold it all together in place

These Rick Robbins heat muffs are eccentric, too. you can tell by the pic of the assembled can below that the muff sits off center.
It looks to me like you can rotate the end caps and perhaps slow down the air by letting the air in through the narrow side. You'd get less airflow, but a lot more heat. We'll see how the install goes, but I think I'll allow a little slack in the SCAT, just in case I want to re-orient the end caps to change the airflow inside the muffs. That's just cool! Well, maybe I should have said shit hot?



Oil Cooler, Cooler Plenum and Baffles

The oil cooler for the F1 Rocket needs to be pretty large. Regrettably, the space to install it is pretty small.  The cooling area "face" of the Positech 20006C cooler that I'm using for my IO-540 is about 6x6 inches.
The left side of the ship has enough room to mount the cooler easily, but the baffling doesn't give you enough surface area  without resorting to a split duct and a couple of linked 3 or 4 inch scat tubes. Do-able, but others have reported poor cooling results with paired ducts.

I chose to put the oil cooler on the right side. You can firewall mount the cooler, but I chose to hang this behemoth cooler on the engine mount with Adel cushion wedge clamps and a single simple bracket. I'm hanging it vertically, I.E. parallel with the rear baffles along the engine mount down tube. That means the air has to take a bit of a jog to get in there. Some builders tip the cooler somewhere approaching 45 degrees so that the flow goes more in line with the flow over the engine then out the bottom. I am just keeping my setup simple and easy. The cooler hangs directly on #14 Adel clamps on the inboard side, so I only have to make one bracket to hang the outboard side.

Oil cooling on these ships does not seem to be a big issue with these humongous coolers. However, if you don't get the air to the cooler and through the cooler, the thing isn't going to work. I think my install with allow marginal but adequate airflow to the face of the cooler. Time will tell.

My install started with buying about 10 #14 Adel clamps. The Rocket engine mount has 7/8 tubing for the main structure and 3/4 for the support structure. It turns out that my main oil cooler hangars are on the main engine mount members, so I needed lots of #14 wedge type cushion clamps.  The first thing I clamped was the most forward inboard side of the cooler. I used Adel clamps direct to the cooler brackets from the 7/8 upright on the mount.

The baffling part (HAH!) about this setup was the bracket  I needed to fashion to attach the outboard side of the cooler to the engine mount. I made a couple templates and really was having a hard time. Then I decided to make a few individual brackets, one for each of the cooler bracket holes. Well, after two hours of wasted time, I decided to move on to other projects and sleep on this one. Bright and early the next morning, while half asleep and the coffee still hot, I decided to make a very simple bracket and still use Adel clamps to hold the cooler.

The problem here is that the engine mount sits at a very awkward angle in regard to the cooler. The mount actually crosses between the bracket holes on the cooler flange, making it nearly impossible to go direct to the mount. So I thought. I was over thinking the problem. I was thinking I had to keep the bracket square and straight with the mounting flange of the cooler. All you really have to do is keep the thing flat for mounting the AN3 bolts. I had a nice piece of scrap sitting there, with a wide flange bent at a 90 degree angle. I started fitting it up. What I did was to keep the bracket parallel to the engine mount down-tube and then made the bolt holes in the bracket offset on the wide flange. I drilled the holes for the oil cooler and bolted the template up. Then I marked and drilled the locations for the Adel clamps on the engine mount.  Turned out to be VERY simple, easy and effective.

Note that in the test fit in the pic , the inboard Adel clamps are reversed from where then ended up. I turned them around and mounted them so that the oil cooler was closer to the baffling.

The template bracket still needs trimmed at the bottom, but I left it long for measurement purposes just to make it easy when I make the real bracket. Man, this setup is rigid, even with .032 material. The plan is to use .063 to make the outboard bracket.

Now for the duct work. Well, turns out I'm out of .020 and .025, so I made another order from Wicks. In the mean time, I did have a piece of .025 laying around that was large enough to make a faceplate for the air inlet side of the cooler. This faceplate covers the bolt hole flanges on the cooler AND it closes the small gap at the top and bottom of the face. The faceplate is about 7.25 inches square, with the center 6.25 inches cut out. Actually, I left a lip inside the faceplate of about 3/16 and bent it toward the fins and flanges of the cooler to help form an airtight seal around the face of the cooler. I think it will still need some RTV, but it'll be a pretty good seal all around once the cooler is bolted down to place (through the faceplate).

Now the big question is... will I get adequate airflow through the cooler with the jog down from the engine baffling?
I asked the F1 builders group about my setup. I was told to make the flow very smooth, and uninterrupted as much as possible, and that if I was going to hang the cooler vertically, I should get it as close to the engine baffles as possible. It was recommended that I make a truss out of 3/8 steel brake line tubing, and put the cooler to within 1 inch or so of the baffling. I was also told that I didn't need to expose the entire cooler face to airflow.

OilCoolerDuctShape.JPG   OilCoolerIIMeasurementA.JPG

What I decided to do for now was to hang the cooler in the vertical manner as I had originally planned. The pic above shows the cooler with the Adel clamps facing aft. I reversed them and faced them forward. This made about 1 inch difference in how close the cooler was to the baffling. Now the cooler is just about 3 inches from the aft baffle. It also allowed me to bring the cooler up slightly. In service, there will barely be daylight between the cross member above and the cooler.


I had to remake the outboard cooler bracket. Based on my template, I needed at least 1.25 wide angle, but I didn't have any. So I used 1.5x1.5x.125 and cut it down. The angle sits on the face of the aft side cooler flange. It just isn't oriented parallel to the flange. It's actually sitting parallel to the engine mount down tube.

The pic to the left shows the large .063 plate which is drilled for 3 evenly spaced #14 Adel clamps. They are spaced wider than the AN3 bolt pattern on the cooler flange.

After I cut down the angle and dressed up the parts, I drilled the plate and angle to #30 and riveted them together with hard rivets at 1/2 inch spacing.

BTW, the pic shows a test fit. In service you absolutely have to have long AN3 bolts through both sides of the cooler flanges. Matter of fact, you should also sleeve the bolts between the flanges to give them extra support so that they are less likely to crack.

With this install, my hose fittings on the cooler and on the engine need to have 45 degree angles. I bought 4 of them from Summit Racing. The fittings need to be 3/8 NPT to -8 AN. The hose is going to be Aeroquip -8 AN "Socketless" hose and fittings. Aeroquip assures me that the grip of the socketless hose at the fitting is superior to the burst pressure of the hose.  

I'm using Permatex Form-a-gasket #2 to assemble the NPT fittings. It's a good practice to keep the first thread clean so that no sealant material is introduced  into the flow of the lines.

The oil cooler plenum was troublesome for me. On the order of many of the canopy procedures. After working with the whole concept and mounting the cooler canted a bit, I decided to square up the cooler in relation to the engine mount and aft engine baffles, then make a plenum out of .020 T6. I already had a faceplate made for the forward face of the cooler. Originally, I was going to make the plenum riveted to that faceplate. Since then, I'd decided I need to make this thing able to be completely disassembled, but it turns out that it is NOT necessary. I'll also decided to make the aft engine soft baffles for the cooler able to be disassembled.
OilCooolerPlenumFinalized.JPG   OilCooolerPlenumFinalized1.JPG

The opening to the plenum is about 4x6.25. I was shooting for more, but the top cowling and  aft engine baffle limits how tall you can make the plenum, particularly at the outboard edge. And if you taper the inboard side up the "crown" of the aft baffle, well, the angle of the air going into the cooler plenum gets quite steep, perhaps enough to actually deter the airflow. Ideally, I wanted to make the top of the plenum completely up against the upper cowling. Indeed, I thought about not using soft baffles at the top of the aft baffle, and cutting it completely away.  

I made the cooler plenum as wide as I could for the mounting location I chose. It is open completely from the side engine baffle to the engine mount ears on the engine. I have the maximum width you can get. The angle down to the lowest part of the cooling fins is VERY steep and may work against me, but the cooler is mounted as high on the engine mount as possible.... completely against the cross member. So I went ahead and used the lowest "flat" spot on the aft engine baffle as the lowest part for the soft baffles and angled the plenum from there to completely open the face at the bottom of the cooler (I've been told you don't have to have the entire cooling surface exposed to the airflow for it to do it's job. I'm using all the flat face of the aft baffle from the highest point along the outboard side down to where the baffle turns under the cylinder. In fact, when I construct the soft baffles, I may actually have to make a hard baffle to keep some of the air from getting to the cooler and keep it in the #5 cylinder.  So the height and width is maxed out given the way I'm hanging the oil cooler.

I chose to make the plenum square (actually rectangular) instead of my original idea which was to use the entire crown, or arch, of the aft baffle. I built the plenum so I can still do that if I need more airflow than I'm getting with my configuration. If I make that change, there won't be any soft baffles along the top of the engine baffle, and the top cap of the oil cooler plenum will be up against the top engine cowl. I don't think making that change will be necessary, and in fact might be a waste of time. I'll know aft my first couple flights.

The soft baffles will sit deep inside the oil cooler plenum. They will be free to move with the engine inside the oil cooler plenum. I plan to keep the soft baffles tight inside the plenum, but I don't want any hard parts rubbing. Time to figure out how to insert the soft baffles...

Boy, this is getting about as bad as the canopy!  I made two sets of 4 brackets to screw to the aft engine baffle and hold the soft baffle material inside the oil cooler plenum. Afterwards I decided to make a "bracket" to help tie the side baffle to the aft baffle around the engine. At the outboard (right) corner, the aft baffle curves down the side and gets very thin. So I thought maybe I could kill two birds with one stone by making a bracket that goes from the side, across the top and down the inboard side of the engine baffle. I started making it out of .032 and scrapped that really fast. Back to the new .020 material. EASY to work with. Strong enough to hold silicone baffle material as well as help hold the engine baffle intact.  

In my setup, the outboard side cooler baffle is flat to the engine side baffle. It's a straight shot along the side into the plenum. That's why I put the outboard bolts inside the plenum, so I could come straight off the side and gain a little more airflow (hopefully). The top and inboard sides are angled just like you would imagine. And the whole thing sits in there at an angle due to the pitch down of the plenum to the face of the cooler.  I ended up using a 10x4 piece of .020 and cutting and flanging it by hand. Took a lot of trimming to make it insertable into the aft baffle while in place on the engine. It will be screwed to place to aid in engine baffle and oil cooler removal.

OilCoolerBaffleBracketTestFit.JPG  OilCoolerBaffleBracketTestFit1.JPG

Now I have to attach the soft silicon baffle fabric to the bracket parts. Then drill them to place and install some screws. So far there is clearance between all the hard parts. Well see how it goes once I attach the soft baffle to the brackets. It's kinda close in there!

Months later, the fuselage is in the hangar and I'm heading for final assembly. Time to finalize the oil cooler install. For a while, it's just been hanging on 3 Adel clamps. Time to bolt up the support bracket and get the Adel clamps tightened down.

OilCoolerBoltTubes.JPGThe 6 bolts that hold the oil cooler need some support the way I'm hanging it. The flanges on the Positech can be used as is if you bolt them to the front and the back. I'm hanging it by bolting THROUGH the front to the back, and from the back to the front. The flanges are aluminum, and they'll crack if you tighten the bolts too much. So at the suggestion of Mark at TR (and others), I got some 3/8 steel brake line tubing for semi trucks at NAPA, and cut 6 each tubing segments that are 3 3/8" long.

Originally, I was going to Rollo-Flare the ends to make the ends wider for additional support. They ended up flaring wider than a washer width, and I didn't want to reduce the size and more (got tired of hand filing), so I abandoned that idea. But I oversized them slightly, then dressed each one to sit flat and go between the flanges freely, but closely.

The pic at the left shows the 6 tubes sitting in place above 2 of the support bolts.

Time to take this all apart, insert the tubes and put the cooler in final position. When finished, the cooler will sit very close to the upper engine mount cross members, if not directly against them. I may also need to put at least one hangar above the cooler to stop it from sliding south on the Adel clamps. The cooler has to stay put to get the max cooling air from inside the baffles.

OilCoolerInstalled.JPGHanging with Adel clamps was a bit of a bitch, but it worked, and the cooler is very secure with AN3 bolts, the mounting bracket/plate that I made, and 5 Adel clamps. I still may need to fabricate an additional hanger and an additional Adel cushion clamp, it just depends on whether or not the cooler slides south on the vertical tubes of the engine mount. I can't budge it, but a few hours of massive Lycosaurus shaking could send it south. If so, I'll make a vertical strip and connect it to the top horizontal engine mount tube that goes just over the top of the cooler.

Once the cooler was locked in, I went back to the baffles to try and finish that aft right corner. I didn't like the clearance between the oil cooler duct and the engine baffles. Two of the sides had about 3/8 to 1/2 inch clearance, and 2 sides were actually touching. So I'm going to bend up a new piece for the engine baffle oil cooler duct that allows more room for engine movement. I'll make those parts screw down to the baffle, then add the soft baffle material to seal between the two ducts. But for all intents and purposes, the oil cooler and it's hoses are finished. Later on, if I every have to remove the cooler, I'll probably cut some lightning holes in the big aluminum plate on the outboard bracket. I LIKE it!

Engine Hoses

Now that the exhaust and baffles are roughed in, I can start running the hoses and wires. A bit of a sticker shock (nothing new in building an airplane of this caliber) was that even though I bought and engine, and it came with one hose, I still need to buy over $500 worth of hoses. Part of this expense is brake line materials (I decided to go with stainless braid instead of nylon on the high pressure side).  

Here's a break down of the engine hoses:

-4 AN  from the FM200 controller to the flow divider.  Mattituck provided one of these with fire sleeve. Regrettably, it's about 6 inches too long. I'm using it anyway. There is a purge valve on my Airflow Performance FI system, and that line is -4 AN. It has to go back through the firewall and be tapped into one of the fuel tank lines. The fuel pressure sensor needs a -4 AN hose from a special fitting on the mechanical fuel pump to the firewall. The manifold pressure and oil pressure sensors also need special fittings and a -4 AN hose to the firewall. The pressure side of the brake lines are also -4. I hope 20 feet of braided stainless steel -4 hose is going to be enough!

-6 AN  Most of the fuel lines in the airframe are -6, or 3/8 aluminum. From the inflow of the fuel controller, back through the mechanical pump, back to the electric pump, tank valve and wing tanks, the lines are all -6 (dash 6, or 6/16, or 3/8 ID). Team Rocket provides a bunch of rigid lines that you can use, and the kit contains a bunch of AN fittings to work with it. NOTE: The fittings into the mechanical fuel pump ports are actually -6 AN, and require special O ring fittings!

-8 AN  The oil cooler hoses are -8. The Positec 20006c takes 3/8 NPT fittings, and they should have -8 AN male ends to attach the oil cooler hoses.

I'm assembling my own hoses. Summit Racing has many high quality options for making your own flexible lines .  That includes fuel lines. I opted to make my -6 fuel lines from braided stainless steel Summit racing hose and Aeroquip reusable fittings. I bought 20 feet of -6 braided hose (and 20 feet of -4 braided hose for the brakes, fuel purge, manifold, fuel and oil pressure lines), and then put together a list of fittings to get to either side of the firewall.  I also bought about 6 feet of fire sleeve in -6 (and -4) AN to protect the fuel lines. I'll use stainless band clamps over the ends of the fire sleeve.

***For the engine  Oil Cooler Lines, I chose to use Aeroquip's Socketless -8 AN hose and -8 AN fittings. I went ahead and bought the tool to help stick the oil cooler hose over the socketless (hose barb) fittings, although I'm sure I could just have manhandled them together. I emailed Aeroquip and asked about the strength of the hose/fitting connection. Aeroquip replied that the hose itself will fail before it would ever pop off or leak at the fitting. The oil cooler hoses are pretty straight forward. One hose from the engine to the cooler, and another hose from the cooler to the engine. I don't think it matters much which one goes where, so I'm just hooking them up however it is convenient. I did buy 45 degree fittings  that a re 3/8 NPT to -8 AN for all four ends of the hoses.
*** Warning One of these Aeroquip Socketless hoses failed in service resulting in a forced landing. I'm not sure that the choice of hose was erroneous, it may have been my assembly (doubtful) or my application.  I actually think I made the lower oil cooler line hose too short, and after 150 hours in service, engine movement pulled the hose apart at the cooler fitting. Use these hoses with caution. Make sure there is enough length/slack for engine movement!

The engine  Fuel Lines are a little trickier. From the Top (output) of the AP FM200  controller, you need a -4 AN hose to make an immediate 90 degree bend, then run up through the lower cylinder baffles  and in between the cylinders to the purge valve (if you have one) inflow and to the flow divider (spider).  Then you have to have a -6 hose with AN  fittings from the top front of the FM200 controller and run along the sump screws (under the intake tubes)  all the way back to the left side of the mechanical fuel pump. That will probably require a 45 degree fitting on the hose. Both sides of the mechanical fuel pump require special -6 AN filltings!!!  From the right side of the fuel pump, you run a fire sleeved -6 AN to the firewall. From the aft side of the firewall, you run a flexible line back to the electric fuel pump. Somewhere in there I have to tap in for a fuel pressure sensor (after the mech pump) and put my 3/8 NPT fuel flow turbine type sensor

My Mattituck TMX540 engine came with the AP system installed. I paid extra for a purge valve, although I don't think I need it in service.  So I have to also run an additional -4 AN from the purge valve, curve it down through the cylinders (or go over the top), through the baffles, then to an additional -4 AN bulkhead fitting. From there, another flexible line has to go back and "T" into one of the tank lines (aft of the tank selector valve). 

Mark Frederick recommends Permatex Form-A-Gasket #2 for all fittings, and consistently recommends never using Teflon tape on engine fittings.

When my 1st  Summit Racing order arrived, I found out that I had next to NONE of the proper engine oil cooler fittings. Major bummer. I bought 1/2 NPT fittings to -8 AN (WRONG!!!) and it turns out that they are WAY too large. Looks like the oil cooler ports need 3/8 NPT to -8 fittings. 

OilFromCooler.JPG   TachCablePort.JPG

In the first picture, the red plug at the arrow is for oil going to the cooler. It requires a 3/8 NPT fitting, and needs to make an immediate 45 degree turn to get around the filter. In fact, when I hook the fitting up, I actually will have to remove the filter. I hope I don't have to remove the housing, too.

The second picture has an arrow pointing to where the tach cable goes into a 7/8 fitting. I bought a special cap for that nipple, since I won't have a mechanical tach.

At the bottom of the  2nd pic, the plug in the green circle is for oil return to the engine from the cooler, and that takes a 3/8 NPT fitting. For ease of hanging a hose, I will use a 45 degree fitting here, too.

Fuel Pump Hoses

I started with the -6 AN hoses because they are less flexible than -4 AN hoses. I'm trying to work with the hardest to install first and easiest last (wiring).

The mechanical fuel pump requires special fittings with O ring gaskets (available at Vans). I used a 90 degree fitting on the outlet side because it has a built in port to tap off a fuel pressure line. On the inlet side I used a straight fitting. Both are steel, and it is recommended that all fuel line fittings in the engine compartment be steel to resist melting in case of fire.

I had my fuel lines laid out in the cabin pretty well, and chose to penetrate the firewall in the center at a low point. The fuel inlet line ended up having about 10 inches of hose plus the fittings. I used straight on one end, and a 60º fitting on the other.

HoseFuelPumpToFirewall.JPG   HoseFuelPumpToFirewall1.JPG

I made the mistake of making the 2 oil cooler hoses out of Aeroquip "Socketless" hose and fittings, thinking they'd be easy to work with. The hose seems very durable, and the ratings are much higher that what I require. The fittings are beautiful -8 AN fittings with barbed ends. I bought a special wrench to aid in assembly of these hoses. That was a waste of money because it's only good for straight fittings, of which I used one. I had to manhandle the other hose end fittings, and it was a major bitch. Even with Summit assembly oil, it took as much effort as I could muster to push/twist the hose onto the barbs. I won't use this system again.

Spark Plug/Wires

The LSE Plasma III system has coils that mount to the top of the engine (or elsewhere) and use spark plug terminals. The system came from Mattituck already bolted up with the plugs and wires in place. The plugs are automotive style plugs (14mm) in aircraft engine type plug hole adapters (18mm). That pretty much makes the $2 plugs "throw aways". Also, the plugs and wires have the normal automotive snap connector terminals and caps.

The wires sure looked pretty when I opened the crate. I was, however, a bit concerned about the length of the wires going to the bottom plugs. Some of them are WAY too long, perhaps as much as 6 - 8 inches. One or two are too short. YIKES!  So I've contacted Mattituck to see about swapping those wires out. On most magneto fired engines, the wires come all the way from the rear of the engine. On the Plasma III, they only come down from the coils at the top center of the engine, then go on a short and rather direct route through the baffle, around the valve cover and to the bottom plug.  I think I need shorter wires....

SparkPlugWireslongLeft.JPG      SparkPlugWiresLongRight.JPG

What I didn't know is that these spark plug wires are not molded and can be modified. The caps just pull off. So rather than mess around with going back and forth between Mattituck and Klaus Savier, I decided to just buy some 8.5 mm super conductor components from Summit Racing and make/modify my own spark plug wires.

A nice package of wires promptly came FEDEX  from Summit. I ordered 2 replacement wires that are 50 inches in length with a spark plug cap on one end and distributor cap on the other. These babies are pristine, and have extra high temp and strength racing caps. The new MSD wires make the ones I got from Mattituck look like crap. The MSD wires from Mattituck look like they'd been sitting around for a long time. They actually looked somewhat used. Not in bad shape, just not as pretty as you would expect on a new engine that cost this much. Anyway, I bought a package of MSD replacement caps and double crimp terminals as well. The replacement wires also came with replacement terminals and a crimping tool (one of the reasons I bought a replacement wire instead of bulk wire).

EngineRightPlugWires.JPI pulled apart one wire and stuck the cap on the spark plug. I then routed the wire and screwed it down with an Adel clamp. I gave the wire about 1 inch or so of slack, just in case. Then I went ahead and cut the wire to length. Cutting and crimping the wire was VERY easy. You do need a set of needle nose pliers and a vice. I slathered the inside of the cap  and the wire/termianl with some dielectric grease and slipped the parts back together. Ahhhh, very nice! Now before going any farther, I need to go back and finalized the baffles.

CHT Probes

My Grand Rapids Technology EFIS came with CHT probes. Well, actually they came with the engine monitor. At any rate, the GRT installation manual has lots of "aircraft" parts, but no instructions how to install them. Now, as I have said many times before, for most of you, a lot of this would be straight forward. But for me, this stuff is kinda tricky.  So I emailed Mark Frederick again to ask if I was putting the CHT probes in the correct location, which I think is just inboard of the bottom spark plug.


The CHT probe is a nifty unit. Simply, it is a thermocouple type bayonet probe with a spring sleeve. You thread a receptacle into the cylinder at the head and then you spin the locking collar up the spring on the wire. When you can barely get the pin on the collar into the detent, you lock the collar onto the receptacle and that holds the bayonet against the deep inner part of the cylinder head.


EGT Probes

The Grand Rapids Technology engine monitoring system can be purchased with their EGT bayonet type probles. It makes sense to buy them from GRT because they are already wired to mate with the GRT engine monitor.

I bought an exhaust system from another F1 builder who got the system from Team Rocket. Mark gets the systems direct from Vetterman.  There is no accommodation for the probes, nor is there any information in the manual. I gather that the important task is to make the #30 holes in the exhaust so that the probes are not near the spark plugs or going to interfere with anything. Most importantly, they all need to be equidistant from the mounting flange so that they read the gases from a similar distance from the exhaust valves.

EGTProbesLeft.JPGMark suggests 1.5 inches down for the probes. I surveyed the exhaust flanges, stacks and cylinders and made my own decision. I want to keep the probes, easy to service (relatively) and away from the curve at the bottom of the stacks.  

My measurements make the best location at 2 inches down from the flange.  That clears the plugs and their wires, the lower baffles, the bottom of the cylinders, and the oil lines to the cylinders. That puts the probe at the very start of the bends on the front exhaust stacks. I wonder how much cooler they will read being at 2 inches down versus 1 inch down? Well, it's all relative, according to Einstein.

On the left side of the engine, the spark plugs are in front of the exhaust, so it's easier to get the probes in and run the wires aft. I'm choosing to put the probes in at about the 4 - 5 o'clock position in order to clear everything. On the right side, the probes pretty much have to penetrate directly in perpendicular to the long axis of the plane. The probes will sit a the 9 o'clock position (the nose/spinner being 12 o'clock).  The mounting of these probes on both sides kind of suck because the stainless worm bands that hold them in position will have to screw down from the INSIDE. That pretty much means I'm going to have to drop the exhaust any time I have to contend with a bad probe. Which has happened more than once in my short tenure as a pilot.

The only real trouble I had on this installation was interference on the #2 and #4 cylinders. I drilled those holes just a wee bit too far north on the stacks, and the probes got in the way of the oil lines to the cylinder heads. The rest of the install was pretty straight forward.

EGTProbe6Cyl.JPGYou can really see the probe on the #6 cylinder. There won't be anything behind it to interfere with it, once the cylinder baffle is tied back. I installed all of the probes from the back side so that they essentially wire out along with the CHT's. Man, there's two wires per each pair of probes on each cylinder. That makes a big bundle of heavy gauge CHT and EGT wires going through the firewall.

Oil Temp Sensor

The GRT engine monitor also came with an engine oil temperature sensor. My Mattituck engine, however, came with little to no instructions other than a Lycoming operators manual. Since the engine came with a funky spin on filter attachment, there wasn't any sensor housing in the normal location. There was a small cap closing a port, so I ASSumed it was for the temp sensor.


Team Rocket now has started a forum based information system instead of an email list. Mark hope to get away from emails so much and be able to have a common area for information storage. Also, a lot of the other 150+ builders can also share their opinions and methods there as well. So I put the question about my sensor location to the forum.  Soon as I see confirmation on the forum, I'll crank the sensor down, safety wire it, and hook it up.

Remote Sensor Manifold

***Note:  I"m not using this. Want to buy it from me?

If you are building a kit plane, better get used to ordering from Vans RV. Here is certainly a place where you really have to order from them, unless you know exactly what you need and are exceptionally handy. Well, I decided to keep it simple and just order the stuff from Vans. You don't have to use these manifolds, and in fact, I may not use one. But I thought I'd show it, regardless.

ManifoldSens.JPG  ManifoldSens1.JPG

You have three choices for the remote manifold, and you have 3 1/4 NPT ports for each line. Typically, you bring the feeder line up from the bottom and then the sensor threads in at the front, and you just thread a plug into the top hole.

If you remote mount a sensor, preferably away from the harsh shake of the engine, you need to use a restrictor in the line. Simply put, if you get a leak in one of the lines with the restrictor in the fitting (on the engine side of the line) , you will be less likely to cause a fire or run out of fluid as quickly.

Also, it looks like it might be tough to get a line to the manifold from the bottom port with the unit bolted to the firewall. I'm either going to have to make a spacer for behind the manifold, or use a 45 degree angled fitting.  Aha! The restrictor fittings from Vans are 45 degrees, so more than likely they go right under the sensor.

Restrictors on Sensors

The sensors for oil pressure, fuel pressure and manifold pressure require restriction. Vans and Aircraft Spuce sell premade restrictor fittings. Another option is to pup a rivet into a fitting and then drill a very small center hole. A restrictor hole reduces the fluctuation of pressure and helps keep those gauges from bouncing all over the place. Nice to know, even though I don't remember ever reading that information or getting it from the instrument suppliers.

Oil Pressure Sensor

The oil pressure sensor, as well as the fuel pressure sensor should be remotely mounted off of the engine.
The remote mounted sensors are going to be subjected to a lot less vibration and fatigue (theoretically) on the firewall than on the engine. Vans sells a manifold that you can mount on the firewall that will accept 1/4 NPT fittings. You  tap the source at the engine with a restrictive fitting (also available at Vans, or you can make them) and run a hose to the manifold. From there, you can just run the wires through the firewall. 

Again, the TMX didn't have an over abundance of information, so based on the Lycoming operators manual, I surmised that the oil pressure ports (blocked with a plug) were on the right side of the engine just above the magneto cap.

OilPressureSensor.JPG    OilPressurePorts.JPG

It's hard to tell by the image above, but there are two plugs inside the pressure ports (according to the Lyc manual).Either of the two plugged holes will accept a restrictive type fitting suitable for a -4 AN hose.

I didn't have an Adel clamp large enough to hang this sensor on the firewall. Originally, I was going to use Vans' sensor manifold, but through it just took up too much space. I only have 2 fluid sensors to mount, not three like on the manifold anyway. I decided to use Adel clamps (made one of my own) and hang the sensors on existing screw holes. I made an Adel clamp/bracket for the oil pressure sensor with 2 layers of 1 inch wide silicone baffle material, and a 1 inch strip of .032 scrap. The scrap was about 10 inches long when I started, and by the time I trimmed it, I think it would be closer to about 8 inches.


The oil pressure sensor has a large lip around the outside, and the baffle layers are more for spacing than for shock absorption. There is a flat area on the sensor, and I tried to get that to the flat spot on the back of the clamp.  My little apricot colored shadow "indy" was there helping me, while my fat grey shadow  "Belle" was snoring over on the couch.


The oil pressure sensor hose comes from a port next to the right mag hold down bolt. I had to remove the hold down to get a 45° restricted flow fitting in there. Sealed with #2 Formagasket. A -4 AN 45° Summit Racing reusable swivel hose end fitting leads to the stainless braided hose, then a 90° fitting on the other end into a straight -4 AN fitting mated to the oil pressure sensor by a brass coupler. I probably won't use fire sleeve on this line, unless I happen to have extra laying around. It's too expensive to have extra, and too expensive not to use if you do have it.

The oil pressure sensor has to have the case grounded. There's no accommodation for this easily the way I have the senor mounted because it's attached with the silicone. So I soldered a ground wire to the body of the sensor and crimped on a ring connector. The ground is to the bracket screw. The firewall is a decent ground.

Fuel Pressure Sensor

The fuel pressure sensor that GRT sells is a nice little MSI pressure transducer. It has 1/4 NPT fitting that should be mounted remotely to a manifold on the firewall. Vans sells the manifold and restrictive fittings, as well as SPECIAL FITTINGS FOR THE FUEL PUMP!

Mark (TR) recommends that you tap directly into a fitting just forward of the mechanical fuel pump output (left side). Vans also sells a fuel pump fitting Tee specifically for branching off a -4 AN line (actually 1/4 NPT at the Tee) to the remote manifold. Regrettably, this means about another 2 foot of hose and fire sleeve. The money is just adding up.

A #12 Adel clamp is about perfect for this sensor as a bracket. I used an hole I had already drilled for the grommet shields for the sensor wire firewall pass through to hang the sensor. That screw also holds the avionics tray on the other side of the firewall.

I used a tee fitting off the 1/8 NPT threads because I had it laying around. I plugged the unused end and sealed the parts together with a straight -4 AN to NPT male adapter. A 45° Summit Racing reusable swivel hose fitting mates from the sensor fittings and the stainless braided hose ends up with a 90° swivel hose end to a 45° flow restricted -4 AN to 1/8 NPT adapter (from Vans).

The restricted fitting fits into a special fuel pump fitting from Vans. The threads on the fuel pump are "straight", not tapered (NPT). The Vans fitting has a O ring to seal, a port just for the sensor and a -6 AN male end for the outflow fuel line hose. Very nice.  

I'm not crazy about the immediate right angle turn in the fuel pump fitting, but there really wasn't much choice. I could have made two hoses instead of one from the pump to the fuel controller, then spliced in a tee for the sensor hose. I thought that would be more chances for leak and failure, and a bunch more money. I figure Vans knows whether or not the setup works, and wouldn't sell the part if the fitting caused a flow problem. The opening inside the fitting is cavernous, so there is lots of room for fuel to make the 90° turn inside the fitting. It's a done deal.


Manifold Pressure Sensor

The engine monitor and the EFIS system relies on accurate manifold pressure information. GRT sent a MAP sensor with the system. Now I have to figure out how to hook THAT up. The Lycoming operators manual suggests that you use the port near the intake tube flange on the #1 cylinder. Hopefully that just tells you where A port is, not where THE port is. It would make much more sense to tap into the intake system at the #5 cylinder. That would point the fitting aft and get it a lot closer to the firewall.     

The GRT MP sensor unit appears pretty chintzy. The thing is almost all plastic. The nipple on the end of the unit has no barbs and is recessed. It's going to be hard to even zip tie the tube on there.  So the weak link in the MAP system is at the sensor unit. Now I'm wondering how much trouble to go to to get the vacuum back inside the cabin. Just use regular vacuum hose, or make up a REAL hose with threaded ends, at least to the backside of the firewall. Guess I'll be buying another bulkhead fitting, too. 


Make sure you write down the AuxSF and AuxOFF numbers so you can program them into the EIS. Otherwise you register gibberish on the EFIS. The numbers are evidently specific to each individual unit.

ManifoldPressureHose.JPGI decided to go with a real -4 AN hose and aircraft grade An fittings for the MAP line. Probably wasn't necessary. Simple fuel line hose and NPT fittings would work. The main reason I did the MAP install this way was because I didn't want to use a hose and grommet if I didn't have to. So I used a bulkhead fitting. And I still had plenty of braided stainless hose. And it looks cool!

I tried to get this hose out of the way as much as possible. There's not much room outside the engine mount for much of anything, but a little -4 AN bulkhead fitting can get in there.  I used a regular straight -4 AN to NPT male fitting in the manifold port on the cylinder head, a 45° swivel fitting on that end, and a straight reusable Summit Racing fitting on the other.

On the aft side of the firewall, there is a simple "tygon" 1/4 OD tube adapted to a -4 AN hose fitting. I used RTV to seal the hose to the fitting barb and create an airtight seal. That fitting makes a 90°  turn and guides the hose around the brake reservoir toward the avionics shelf where the GRT MAP sensor will be mounted.

Somewhere in line, there will need to be TWO tees off  the line before the sensor, feed raw MAP to the LSE Plasma III CDI units.

Tach Cap

Since I have dual electronic ignition and dual EFIS with engine monitor, just about everything is monitored electronically. That includes engine RPMs. Since I don't need a mechanical tachometer cable, I had to cap off the cable port (threaded 7/8 nipple) on the 540 engine.  I could have done this with a pipe fitting, but I chose to buy a tach cap from Aircraft Spruce. You can get an open end wrench on it, it has a gasket inside, and it's already drilled for safety wire.

By the time I got the cap installed, it was a little tough trying to decide where to safety wire it down. Finally I decided to kill two birds with one stone, and I safetied the tach cap to the oil filter. That worked out pretty well, but it was tricky keeping the safety wire between neutral and positive pull.

Plasma III Dual Electronic Ignition

***NOTE: the LSE Plasma III CDI analog tach and map output are not compatible with the GRT EFIS. The older version of the LSE CDI (Pre A & A1 serial numbers) do have a 10 volt pulse available from the input connector and may be used for a tach pulse signal. Klaus Savier can modify newer serial number versions to accommodate the pulse required for the GRT units, and in fact can configure the CDI units for just about any system.

Now that the engine and firewall forward installation is coming along, time to think about installing the ignition. I need to penetrate the firewall to run a bunch of wires, and the biggest ones go to the alternator, starter and the LSI Plasma III ignition coils on the engine backbone. Ideally, the big starter and alternator wires are going to stay in the upper outside corners of the firewall as planned. The rest of the wires are going through the center of the firewall directly forward of the EFIS Screens and above the avionics shelf I constructed to hold the  GRT AHRS and the EIS LCD unit.

PlasmaIIINewBrackets.JPGFirst off, I decided that I did notneed to cantilever the GRT EM LCD unit so that I could get to it and see it better. I can set just about everything up at the EFIS DU's. I took the swank brackets that I made for the unit and tossed them. In Fact, I ended up scraping the whole Plasma III shelf and made up a pair of individual brackets to mount the CDI's over the top of the AHRS and the EIS units. The bracket on one side is .025 and the other is .032. There's no offset and getting the screws out of  the bottom CDI are a little tricky. But the new configuration saves a lot of space. The lower Plasma brackets are just "L" shaped brackets that screw into the center avionics shelf.

I made the upper brackets for the LSE CDI units out of scrap. It was originally the rear shelf in the baggage compartment. Already primed. Better than trash pickin'! The brackets are probably .025, I didn't measure. The units are not very heavy, so I really didn't need anything super strong.  The Brackets are as wide as the CDI units (7.25) and raise the units to allow air circulation and heat dissipation.

One thing I also did was make a bracket for the GRT MAP sensor. I decided to make an .020 bracket for it that would mount on the top Plasma III CDI unit's case. There are two little machine screws on top of the CDI. Doesn't take much to hold the MAP sensor.


I put the cable sides over to the ship's right. The "computer" plugs that go in the other side of the units are much deeper, and would probably contact the avionics stack on the right side. So I put them on the left.

Klaus Savier (owns Light Speed Engineering) confirmed that I can use 90º right angle adapters on the BNC cables that go to the coils. In fact LSE sells AMP® adapters for just this reason. They are about $5 a piece. Or you can get crimpable right angle terminals. I chose not to cut anything off, so I bought the right angle adapters from Radio Shack. Klaus warned me that the quality might not be good enough, so I may have to replace them down the road.

I learned from GRT that the manifold pressure (MAP) signal output from the LSE CDI units is not compatible with Horizon 1 EFIS, and that I would in fact have to use the MAP sensor unit that I bought with the EFIS. I was trying to eliminate one box, since I have to have the 2 CDI's in place and both  of them have MAP output.

This incompatibility issue is bigger than I thought. After a couple emails with Klaus and GRT, it seems that the newer Plasma III unit tach output is not compatible with the GRT units, either. I just got my CDI units back from Klaus to be upgraded to the latest specs, and it's the later serial numbers (A & A1) that are not compatible. Well, my units are now configured A1. Fortunately, Klaus emailed me and told me that the tach signal was NOT changed on my units and that I am good to go. All I have to do is solder a shielded wire to the input cable D-sub connector(s) and splice it to the GRT unit. Sweet. Then all I have to do is make a big damn hole in the firewall to get the connectors of BOTH cables through as small a hole as possible. Easier without the covers on the pin connectors, but still going to be quite large holes.

The pre-made input cables from LSE come with a cover (computer looking). I removed it not only to solder the wire, but so that I could feed the massive thing through the firewall.

If you have a LASAR ignition, or certain kinds of Light Speed Plasma ignitions (1 & 2 ?), GRT has ado it yourself fix to their unit to make it compatible with the existing tachometer pulse signal. Or you can send your CDI to Klause at LSE and he can make it work at his end. Options. Good.

As the Input cable is supplied by Light Speed Eng., it's nearly plug and play. The only thing is that depending on the EFIS or tachometer you have, you get to choose where the tach signal comes from. The LSE unit has analog for a regular tach. (You can use a cable from the engine, too...stone age...) If you need a PULSE signal, you get that from the INPUT connector. You have to solder a shielded wire on there. The diagram provided with the system shows where to solder the return/ground shield and the center wire. Easy Peasy.

FirewallSensorWireCutOut.JPGThe hole I made for both these cables was the largest hole my step drill would make. Even then I had to dremel the hole oblong in order to get the connector through the hole. Fortunately, Aircraft Spruce sells just the right size grommet for this part of the project. I'll have to make a vertical radius cut to get the grommet over the wire.

Also, they don't make stainless steel "half shields" this big, so I'll use two shields cut with a dremel to be mirror images with a slot for the wires. More on that later.

I'm not sure how many wires will be going through the "sensor wire" hole in the firewall. The two LSE wires have to be at least 1.5 inches from the high energy coax cables that go to the coils on the backbone of the engine. My sensor wires are about 8 inches from those coax wires and about 2 inches from the EGT & CHT wires.

The output D-sub connector of the LSE system needs to have a shielded wire soldered to terminals 1 (pos) and 9 (ground shield). Then, that wire is routed to the rotary key switch. This is sort of a "P-Lead" type installation. I crimped on a few ring connectors and screwed the wires to the terminals 1 & 2 (left and right "mag") and both shields to terminal 5 for the common ground.

The input connector power cable goes from the CDI units, jumpers across a pull-able 5 amp breaker, then connects direct to the battery. In this case, I will hook one CDI unit to the left battery, and the other to the right. Doesn't really matter which is which. So if one battery croaks, the other should be good and can still keep the engine running. Also, I can isolate one side or the other and also power/charge one side from the other. Sweet.  This cable was a bitch for me to work with. You have to split open the shield and pull out the center conductor, preferably without breaking the continuity of the ground shield. I butchered the first one trying to use a pair of dikes to separate the shield. I ended up having to cut the ground apart, lengthen the working end, then solder the ground mesh back together. It was pretty sloppy, but effective. The second wire turned out beautiful. I used a utility knife to slit the sleeve lengthwise, then peeled it back and cut it. No ground shield wires were harmed during the filming of this process (well, only a couple). I crimped on 4 ring connectors and screwed the terminals down. Then, after using some electrical tape to cover the ground shield, I zip tied each wire back to itself  to help protect the ground shield from being pulled apart. Sometimes gorillas get in there and start yanking on my wires, you know!

Crankcase Vent Breather Tube

BreatherHose.JPGI asked Mattituck about a breather tube. They couldn't/wouldn't provide one and just quoted milspecs and the fitting dimensions. That's actually typical of them, short on information and extraneous help. But the are long on engine building, so I'm not disappointed at all. They just don't seem to be in tune with the experimental market and don't really go the extra mile to provide builder help, especially through the web. Old School works well.

Since I had no idea what to put on that big crankcase vent breather, I jumped on the net and started reading and asking.  Lots of ways to tangle this little project. Finally, when I was ordering parts from Summit Racing for fuel line fittings, I went ahead and researched their radiator/heater hoses. I GUESSED at a 9 inch tube that starts at 1 inch diameter and tapers to 3/4 inch. It has two bends in it at almost the perfect position!  That's a Goodyear 63002, Summit part# GTR-63002. TIme to round up a couple hose clamps, an Adel clamp and a foot or so of 3/4 inch aluminum tubing for the drip end that exits the lower cowl.

Engine Start

On 10/6/07 the airframe was complete enough to risk starting the engine. Not much risk, and the reward would be terrific. Yeah, there's some debate on when to start your motor and how much to run it. My engine is brand new, so it needs broken in, not ran at low, cold RPMs. At the other end of the spectrum, I've been working on this project over 3 years, and I was some gratification. And the warranty on the engine is ticking away. So let's see if the engine will start.

First things first. I turned over the engine outside the hangar just to make sure the starter would engage. I got one blade on the first twist of the key. I got one blade on the second twist of the key. Nothing on EITHER battery after that. Hmmmm.... Not good. Charged the batteries (which were a little low after monkeying around with the EFIS and gizmos)... nothing. WIth the help of my flying buddies John Watler and Bill Foraker, we (they) actually figured out that the starter wasn't energizing. Then about 3 seconds of testing around with a multimeter showed that the 60 amp fuse had blown. Not because the alternator was doing anything wrong, but because I put the fuse between the starter and the battery, not between the alternator and the starter (which links directly to the batteries) . Crap. Need to relocate the main fuse block to the firewall, in line OUTSIDE the path of the starter to the battery. Check. Fortnately I was able to bypass the fuse block temporarily by pulling the wires together and bolting them to the same terminal in the fuse block. At this point, the ignition breakers are pulled, so the engine won't start.

Back to the cockpit. Master on, turn the key to start. SUCCESS!  Those MT prop blades turn pretty fast, even though I have the high torque flyweight starter which turns at a slower RPM than the other model Skytecs.  Good. Time to pressurize the fuel system and check for leaks.

Initially, I had the fuel truck put in just two gallons. There were no signs that the fuel system was pressurizing. We cracked open the hose that goes to the inlet of the wobble pump on the engine and tried again. Nothing. Hmmm...  Maybe there just isn't enough gas in the wings for the pickups to work with the airframe on it's tailwheel? We put in 3 more gallons. Nope. 10 gallons total. Nope.  Dangit!

Cracking open the main feed line from the fuel valve in the cockpit to the electric fuel pump showed that the pump was sucking OK. Reconnect that line, then check the left line side of the valve. Nothing. Check the right port, sucking. Hmmmm....   Scratch of the head...  John surmised that the pump was pulling on two lines and not the third. Yep, you guessed it, I had the lines hooked up incorrectly. On the Andair fuel valve, the ports don't line up with the engraved placard, left on the left and right at the top, but instead the ports take the left from the left, and right from the right (that makes too much sense!). The common feed line comes out the top of the valve (or in between the two inlet lines). You all probably already knew that, but I didn't. Maybe that's a standard for all of these 3 position valves. But it didn't come with any flow diagrams, and I didn't think to blow into it and check the position of the handle and how the ports flowed. Anyway, after all this disappointment we called it a night.

The next morning (10/7/07), bright and early, I climbed in the boot cowl and rearranged the lines that from the right tank. I was able to just move the braided stainless purge return line from the left side of the bay to the right side. Then I just re-bent the hard line from the tank to the new location on the valve. The two common lined from the Tee to the pump both had to be re-made. It was a little tricky, but not difficult. I did end up losing a little bit of usable space, and the cover for the fuel line bay will need to be boxy instead of trapazoidal. Glad I didn't bother making the cover before now!

A couple buddies showed up and manned the fire extinguishers. We tied the tailwheel to my truck's trailer hitch and purged some gas through the electric pump. SUCCESS!!  And some old smelly nasty gas came out of the pump. Nasty. Once the fuel was pretty and new blue, we closed all the lines and checked the fuel pressure and tested for leaks. AOK! Good to go. 

I climbed back into the cockpit and got ready for start. Chocked, tied and extinguishers at each wingtip manned and ready.  I stomped the brake pedals to hold the plane anyway. SSpllllffftt.  Oh shit.  Am I bleeding????? No, that's ATF fluid pouring out of a bad compression fitting. Shit.  Shut everything down, and roll the plane back into the hangar. It's early October, barely a cloud in the sky and already 90 degrees outside. Whew, 90 and high humidity under direct sun is miserable (when you aren't used to it). Record temps for central Indiana.

Back in the hangar, Bill Foraker (Sweet Old Bill) thought that the bad line was too short, which caused me to pull the tubing back out of the fitting in service. Man, I'd much rather find that out now, on the GROUND in front of my hangar, than later going 150 and REALLY needing the brakes! So we remade the line and "Gorilla Tested" the line, the fittings and the brake system after re-bleeding.

Back out in the sun, wreaking of ATF fluid, I climbed back into the sauna. Chocked and blocked, tied and safety crew at hand. Mixture rich, crack the throttle. I turned on the master. "Ignition is HOT!!!  CLEAR!"  I turned the key to the start position....

BRAP BRAP BRAP WAAAAAAA.... WOOOHOO!!!.....  WHOA!!!!!!  I pulled the throttle back after only a second or two and the engine stopped.  I probably had a dazed, quizative look.  I told everyone that the engine seemed to be running way too fast so I shut it down. Everyone else was grinning and excited, telling me about the flames and belching smoke.  Wha?  "Ok, let's try it again.  CLEAR!"  The engine caught on the first blade. BRAP BRAP BRAP WAAAAAA... Shit. Back on the throttle again.  Probably shaking my head.  I told every one that the engine still seemed to be running too fast, and when I pulled back the throttle to idle, it killed the engine.  They told me there wasn't as much smoke and fire, but it was still pretty cool looking.  Now there was a small crowd of onlookers. Great...

Ok, third time.  Here we go. "CLEAR??!?"  "Clear" and nods.  Hit the starter with the throttle cracked. OH YEAH!!!  The engine sounded lousy at first, but I let it go this time. The RPMs settled down and the engine PURRED!!! The prop just wooshed around, and I felt nearly NO VIBRATION!  COOL!  After a few seconds, watching for oil pressure, I wasn't showing any.  I reached up to pull the throttle back. I pulled back to idle and the engine idled. The EFIS showed the RPM coming down to about 400. Wow, low and smooth. Cool. I looked at the oil pressure and was getting a warning on the EFIS. I acknowledged the message by pressing the button. As I did, the red warning box disappeared, and positive fuel pressure showed on the EFIS!  I was already reaching to cut the mixture and shut off the engine, but evidently just as I did, the oil finally got all the way through the system!

I was a little concerned about whether or not I saw the engine oil pressure come up. Maybe I was just imagining it. I climbed out of the cabin and climbed off the wing.  I heard cudos and congrats from the crowd, everyone commenting on how smooth and cool the engine sounded. I went to the front of the engine and we all looked around for gas and oil leaks. And ATF . Nothing. Great! Checked the dipstick. It was reading 9 quarts before I started the engine. The dipstick showed about 7.5 quarts after running. Guess it takes about 1.5 to fill everything up (galleys, filter, governor and prop). 

Kelvin Roots and I noticed that the prop blades had changed position. They were in low pitch (where the aerobatic prop is in high pitch at rest). The counterweights were sticking out of the spinner front plate, and the pair of big nuts on the center spline were extended about 3/4 inch or so. We both noted that the nuts looked to be in a different position. After several minutes, the prop blades went back to low pitch and the center nuts pulled back to the front plate. COOL! Now I have a much better concept of what is going on there with that MT prop!

The Mattituck TMXIO-540 came through like a champ. I stumble stepped quite a bit to get to the point of starting the engine, but once it started, those bad feelings about the silly errors I made all went away. Now I'm motivated to get the plane FLYING!!!!  SWEET!!!

Injector Nozzle Tuning

The Airflow Performance fuel injection system can/needs to be tuned to each engine. Don Riviera recommends you break your engine in up to 50 hours before going through the relatively simple process of nozzle tuning.   Direct from Mr. Riviera:

Nozzle Tuning Data

The basis of nozzle tuning is to get each of the cylinder EGT’s to peak at the same fuel flow.  Your aircraft must be equipped with EGT information on each cylinder and fuel flow information.  A digital flow meter is preferred.

To gather correct data for nozzle tuning, set a cruise power setting.  Typically 24” MAP and 2400 RPM.  Set the mixture to be 0.5 GPH richer than peak on any cylinder.  At this setting record all the EGT’s for each cylinder.  Lean the mixture 0.2 GPH and record all the EGT’s again.  Lean the mixture an additional 0.2 GPH; record all the EGT’s again.  Continue leaning the mixture 0.2 GPH and record the EGT’s until all the cylinders have peaked.

An alternative method although not as accurate is to lean each cylinder to peak and record the fuel flow at that point.  You will get the same data, but since the EGT reacts slower than the leaning process you may go past the peak and not know it.  This is especially true if an engine monitoring lean find function is used.  We get more accurate data taking the EGT data manually.  If you use an automatic data acquisition function, allow 30 seconds or so at each fuel flow setting so the EGT value can stable out.

After the data is taken, we determine which nozzles to change to get all the cylinders to peak at the same time.  You will notice that the EGT number at peak may not be the same for each cylinder, THIS IS NOT IMPORTANT.  The cylinders that peak first (higher fuel flow) are the lean ones; the cylinders that peak last (lower fuel flow) are the rich ones.

Getting all cylinders to peak within 0.2 GPH is ideal.

Mr. Riviera said that the GRT EFIS with it's "auto" leaning was OK, but the technique explained above is more accurate. I asked about the cost of this process and if there was any exchange policy or buy back of the unused restrictors. He didn't answer that, so I'll have to wait until I get 40 - 50 hours on the engine before I get ready to do this.

When I was ready to do the nozzle tuning, I'll used the Airflow Performance's table to chart the data.

My first leaning test was done at only 5500 feet on a 61 degree F day at 30.11 altimeter setting.  The engine was set at 2330 RPM and 21.3 inches of manifold pressure.  The first cylinder peaked at 11.2 gph and the last cylinder peaked at 10.6 gph. The temperature differential between the peaked cylinders was about 90 degrees F. I think a lot of engine owners would be pretty happy with those differentials, but I think I can get it down closer. AirFlow Performance says I should be able to get the nozzles to make the cylinders peak within .2 gph and 50 degrees.

I emailed the data table to AirFlow Performance and got an email back that day from Don Riviera. He recommended that I start by ordering 2 injecter nozzle restricters that are .0275 instead of stock .0280. Two other cylinders should be changed to .0285 restricters. That's pretty interesting. Looks like he must have interpreted the leaning data, found the midrange cylinders, and then extrapolated what it might take to bring all cylinders to the middle of the leaning range. And the retricters appear to be only .0005 difference in aperture, which I think is the smallest change step you can make.  Well, I hope Don is right. The restricters are $25 each and not returnable or exchangeable.

The restrictors came from SC in about 4 days. Installation was easy. It's recommended that you use a "Scored" (read:slotted) 1/2 inch wrench or socket to hold the brass fitting that's tapped into the cylinder while loosening the B nut brass cap on the injector line. I just used the 3/8 on the B nut cap and removed the injector line. It didn't seem to budge the screened injector body in the cylinder, so I wasn't too worried about it, coming off or going back on. The replacement injector restrictors just drop into the injector body. The original .028s were easy to pull out with my finger tips. I dropped in the new restrictors per AFPs recommendations and tightened the injector cap back down. The caps are brass, and over torquing them will split them. I tightened them by finger until they were snug, then it took no more than 1/4 turn (more like 1/8)  to get the fittings tight... but hopefully not too tight.... and not too loose either. I went ahead and replaced the cowl. I'm going to carefully run the engine, then go for a short flight, then recheck the injectors. I'll keep the extinguisher handy, too!

Engine Stumble

*** After many hours in service, I noticed a stumble on leaning, particularly when switched to the left wing tank. I was unable to successfully lean out my engine to Lean Of Peak.  It turned out to be a fuel line nut had worked loose and was allowing a minute amount of air into the system. After tightening all the fuel line nuts, the stumble immediately resolved and I could lean the engine until it simply died. Without any stumble!

Injector Cleaning

More great information from Don Riviera (as posted on Vans Air Force)  about cleaning fuel injectors on your AirFlow Performance system:

Don’t sweat this too much. As much as been written on this subject by the “experts” we find that cleaning the nozzles on a time basis is sometimes unnecessary and can lead to premature wear on the restrictor caused by cleaning with caustic solutions (Hoppe’s #9). Some of this stuff will etch the brass and change the flow characteristic of the restrictor if left in too long. Sonic cleaning works great (that’s what we use). First clean with carb cleaner or “Choke Cleaner” to get the oil and grease off then put in a sonic cleaner with soap and water works well.

We have found that if the engine is running OK leave the nozzles alone. You can spray off the exterior of the nozzle with “Brake Kleen” or equivalent to get the dirt and bug stuff off the shield and screen, then just blow off with compressed air. You don’t even have to take the nozzle out of the head of disconnect the nozzle line to do this.

More importantly during your condition inspection clean the fuel filter screen on the inlet side of the boost pump, clean and inspect the inlet screen in the inlet of the fuel control unit, inspect the nozzle lines for security of the clamps and inspect the braze joints where the nozzle line goes into the cone at each end of the nozzle line. Also don’t forget to check all the cable connections and the lever connection at the appropriate shaft. Make the teeth on the levers are engaged properly and the lock nuts are secure, and cotter pins are installed where required. Make sure that all screws are re-lock wired if screws were removed for maintenance or cleaning of components. Check flow divider hoses/ fittings, purge valve fittings, lock wire etc.

If you do decide to remove the injector nozzle for cleaning, make sure your ½’ deep socket is broached deep enough so that the shield doesn’t get messed up. And be sure that if you had done nozzlenozzle tuning that you make record of where each nozzle is installed. Serious damage to your engine can result if you mismatch tuned restrictors in the wrong cylinder.

Top Of Page