by Robert Lees
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November 2005: Now the wings are done, the fuselage comes back for doors and cowls:
|The fuselage comes back for final fettling & fitting of the cowlings & doors. I do some fettling of the D window trim pieces.|
|The engine gets reunited with the firewall...|
|To fit the new nosebowl concentric to the prop
flange, I have made a collar to fit snugly between the two.
OD is 6" to fit inside the nosebowl hole, ID is 5.18" to fit snugly over the prop flange.
|I have had the lower bootcowl made deliberately oversize, so that I can incrementally trim it to fit in situ.||I use Cleco's to hold the parts together...these holes will become holes for the Dzus fasteners.|
|I have had new stainless Dzus fasteners modified by drilling through...||..so that a tool with a pin will prevent the scratching of the paint.|
|After much fettling, I can start to look at the top cowls...I use my slip rolls to get the sheet to conform to the curve.||I use my shrinker to bend some aluminium angle to the shape of the top cowls. (This is the stringer in the middle of the top cowl).|
|Reinforcing the nosebowl where the top hinge meets, I use some stainless plate. There are three screws which attach the front hinge where the 1/8 clecos are; I will open the holes out later.|
|Using the original cowl as a pattern, I joggle the lower cowl to take the thickness of the top cowl to provide a flush finish. The stainless firewall has a recess to allow this.|
|I roll new top cowls using my slip rolls. Final trimming will be done in situ.|
|As I progress, with constant trimming, things start to look good. I use duct tape to hold things until I drill the Cleco holes.|
|The Cleco's mark where the Dzus fasteners will go. I will drill these out as one of the last operations. Note also I am leaving the bronze ring around the prop flange during the whole process, so that I can be as sure as possible of correct alignment to the crank.|
|An aperture is cut for the exhaust...|
|...and for the air intake.||New skills are learnt; here I folded the cut edges over to make a little bit of reinforcing.|
|All in all, the progress is satisfying.|
More cowling work:
|On the lower cowl, I make new stainless
reinforcing patches for the four corners
(the shrinking tool helps get the curve in the folded edge...
|...I do similar for the two lowest Dzus fastener reinforcing patches. All of these stainless patches are flush-riveted on.|
|On the new top cowls, I add an additional stringer at right angles to the original.||This will hopefully reduce the twisting of the
Again, all are flush riveted.
|I make new stainless patches for the new top cowls (why all of these were stainless is, I can only assume, to keep thickness to a minimum for a given strength).||After alodining all components of all the cowls
(except the stainless ones), I wet-rivet them up, then prime with etch prime.
Here is the two-pack epoxy straight on top of the etch prime.
|All of the flush rivets were treated with a
quick dab of "knifing putty" to seal the little circle of gap between the rivet
and the skins; the excess gets sanded off.
If this is not done, then the paint will not stick to the very sharp edge of the rivet head.
I used JB Weld, a well-known Aviation two-pack epoxy product.
|I am working on the doors too.
Here, I have added a stringer to the inside of the outer door skins, to reduce the pushing in of the bowed skin...
|...I do the same to the new inner door panels, but this is to prevent drumming of the flat panel.|
|While I am in the riveting mood, I rivet up the
This was another case of me hating those pesky steel rivets that manufacturers seem to love...
...so I de-riveted the lot and started again. It was an ideal time to bead-blast the steel spring & paint it front and back, separate from the aluminium cover.
After priming all the cowling elements, I encounter some contaminated paint, unfortunately after I had sprayed the cowls.
|The photos are self-explanatory, and are of samples I did after I discovered the problem. Of fours tins of two different colours, purchased from two different suppliers at two different times, two tins of red and one of white were contaminated.|
|The paint appeared to curdle, and would not cure correctly. Fingerprints would remain in the soft surface, even after seven days. I have no choice but to laboriously wet-sand to remove the film on most of the components.|
Poly-Fiber did replace the defective product, and also supplied materials necessary to get back to where I was. They however refused my invitation to compensate me for the additional hours I needed to spend correcting the situation. The UK agent, Tony Young, acted very admirably with his assistance, however, and I cannot fault his customer service.
But the experience has severely dented my confidence in their product, and in the factory quality control methods.
|I eventually get the white gloss completed, and mask off to paint the red.|
|Red top coat. After the last coat of paint, I spray a very thinned down coat, mostly thinners, to increase the gloss level, but one must be very wary of runs!|
|After removal of the masking, the effect is very pleasing.|
|The old and new lower cowls side-by-side.|
|I also paint the white on the doors first, then mask off for red...||...and again I am now pleased with the final effect.|
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A tally of my hours spent restoring is available here
Other restoration photos
Nosebowl Grille fitting problems.