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RV-10 Finish Kit

This page documents the RV-10 finish kit. This includes the doors, engine mount, seats, landing gear, tires and brakes. The cronological order of this section followed the section numbering until after the Sec 46 Engine Mount/Landing Gear. I then went on to Sec 48. Gear Fairings which are best done without the engine and wings mounted. Then FF1 of Firewall Forward kit to mount the engine. Then back to Sec 47. Spinner and Cowl which requires the engine to be mounted.





Notes and Photos


2 hrs


This kit had a lead time of about 2 months. FedEx was not as kind to this shipment as they have been to others. I received my propeller at the same time and it had a forklift fork put through the box. Fortunately it missed the propeller inside the box. The main finishing crate was in pretty good shape until a not so good forklift operator went to put it in my pickup and put two forks into the bottom of the box. Thanks to the excellent packing job by Vans Aircraft - no damage.

7/26 to 12/13/09

173 hrs

Sec 45

Cabin Doors and Windows
Initial Cabin Cover Flange Trim
The doors come with four alignment holes around the windows and two in the lower part of the door for alignment to the fuselage. In theory, you drill the holes on the two door halves and when joined, the doors will be properly aligned. Problem is that when the two door halves are brought together, none of the alignment holes align. Apparently there is quite a bit of slop between the two door halves. I used the two lower alignment holes which were pretty close to matching and then set the two halves together from there. I brought the door halves together during cabin cover install(sec 43) to facilitate my trimming of the cabin cover door flange. This was done with the cover off of the airplane to keep the dust away.

Rear Window Install
The work shown in the following table was performed during cabin cover install in section 43. I drilled the hinges early so I could close off the interior area where the bolts project through. See the Cabin Cover Modification page for details of the close out. I installed the rear windows with the cabin cover off so I could use gravity as my helper since I did not have any assistance. I tilted the cover up on its side so a weight could be applied to the window. I masked the interior and exterior areas of the cover and the entire window inside and out except for where the adhesive needed to be applied. I roughed the window with 400 sandpaper and the cover with 60. I only cleaned with a tack cloth and did not use any chemical cleaners. I mixed the Weld-On in a zip lock bag, cut the corner and then spread a bead around the mounting flange. I placed the window on the goo and weighted it down. I wiped off what little excess there was that squeezed out and then duct taped the window in place to cure. I waited about a half hour and then removed the interior tape. I did not have enough adhesive ooze out to make a good interior bead so I will need to apply more with a syringe. The one kit of weld-on was slightly too little and I was left with a small gap in one area. I plan on filling this with a syringe once the other window is installed.

Hinge drilling.

Left Window fitting.

After glue set.

Door Gluing
Door gluing is absolutely a two person job. I used a total of 20 pumps which is about 16 oz of epoxy - more than the 10 oz that Vans calls out in the plans. Remember that most of the flange is going to be cut off in door trimming so you only need to epoxy the inner portion of the door and window flanges. The procedure I used is as follows:

  • Person1 mixes 2 pumps and gives to person2 for wetting bonding areas
  • Person1 mixes 4 pumps and wets the parabeam
  • Person1 mixes 4 pumps in one container and 4 pumps in another container for Cab-o-sil mixing.
  • Person2 mixes remaining wetting epoxy with 2 more pumps for Cab-o-sil mixing
  • Person1 is spreading cab-o-sil on bonding areas
  • Both people place door halves together and cleco/clamp to airplane
  • Clean up excess with Acetone

Clamped for Gluing.

After Initial Trim.

Door Trimming
With the door held in place by just the fore and aft cleco, I used an edgefinder tool I made to trace an outline of the door frame on the outside of the door. I then used a cutoff wheel to get me within about 1/4" of that line. The rest was taken off with a belt sander. I used a sanding block to make a 45 deg angle on both the cabin top and door edge. The angle was set using a gauge that I made from wood. The door was trimmed from the top down. As I made progress in seating the door, the cabin top door flange would have to be relieved in some areas. In essence, you are hand carving the door and cabin opening. The entire trial and error process takes about 10 hours per door. I stopped before doing the bottom edge and installed the hinges. Then I completed the bottom edge.

After the door would seat pretty flush, I moved on to the frustrating task of installing the latch and pin mechanism. The pins have to be precisely bent to the contour of the door to prevent binding either against the door or in the pin blocks. I found at least one pin too short and I will have to make a longer replacement. I also installed bronze bushings in the door pin blocks for smoother operation.

The next stage of door fitting was to match drill the door latch pins to the fuselage. Once this was done, the doors pulled in a little more and I had to re-trim the interior flange. Then I took the flange in a little more to allow for door covering that I will be adding later. The total time on this section from start to having doors that can close and be latched with a proper gap is 95 hrs. I still have about 10 hours of exterior build up work to do for a consistent exterior fit.

Edge Finder.

Hole Finder.

45 deg Gauge.

After Initial Trim.

Adding Locks
The locks I used are exterior rated and are available from McMaster Carr as part number 13105A75. The locks can be set for 90 deg or 180 deg action and come with three different lenghts of cam latch. The hole is 0.625" tall by 0.750" wide. I made a reinforcement plate from 0.060" sheet and bent the end up so it would butt up against he lock mechanism. That helps prevent rotation when a locked door is attempted to be opened. The reinforcement/anti-rotation plate is also blind flush riveted in place. That provides a pretty strong foundation for the lock. The bolts holding the lock are a temporary fastener. I eventually replaced them with a flat head screw and a fiberglass stainless washer on the exterior of the door. It was pointed out to me that I have the nut plates mounted backwards. They should protrude into the latch mechanism(outboard), not inboard.

Reinforcement Plate

Door Open Unlocked

Door Closed, Locked

Exterior View

Gas Struts and Door Windows
I had Thanksgiving week off and put in about 35 hours on the project. The Gas Struts were installed after modification of the upper bracket to lower the piston pivot point. The window install was the same as the cabin side windows and I used the recommended weld-on. I had no problems. When the glue cured, I covered the seams in fiberglass strip and then went over that with Super-fill. Another feature I added to the doors is a limit switch to sense the rear door pin. This is different than the sensor that comes with the kit in that it's sensitivity is adjustable and it does not have a magnet to confuse the ships compass and magnemometer. I fabricated cover plates for the latch pocket, pin blocks and hinge pockets. The interior lip of the doors have been painted. The last thing I have to do is fabric cover the door interiors and then I will be done.

Door Pin Sensor

Window Install

Final Fit Check

Finished Door Interior

The windshield install is being defered to a later time. I am going to wait until I have some panel work done before I install the upper forward cockpit.

Final Thoughts
This section of the plans took longer than building the wings or the tail kit. These doors are the most BLEEP design I have ever BLEEP seen. I would like to meet the BLEEP that designed them and BLEEP his BLEEP. BLEEEEEP. BLEEEEP. At least it is over and there is no more fiberglass work to do...well except for the cowl, spinner, windshield install, gear pants and gear leg fairings.

12/12 to 12/26/09

31 hrs

Sec 46

Engine Mount and Landing Gear
This section requires a lot of drilling of steel so be ready with sharp drill bits and cutting fluid. Don't panic when your engine mount holes don't line up, the mount can be muscled over the holes. It took a couple of hours to install. I thought I was going to have help with the landing gear but wound up raising the fuselage with Zeke. Gear legs went in with no problem. I used a brake hone to prep the receptacles and greased the gear leg before inserting. The hardest part of the job was drilling the axel to accept the cotter pin which holds the main wheel nut in place. It was nice to be working with metal again. The airplane is now too tall for the workshop and has been moved to my main garage. Wow, what a difference with it being up on gear!

Note from the future: Before mounting the nose wheel arm, make note of the lower center most empty rivet hole in the firewall to fuselage skin joint. This will later be drilled to a #19 hole for a bolt and nut to hold F-10108A. Now would be a great time to rivet a K1000-08 nut plate here before the nose leg is in the way. See page 47-11 of the plans.

Zeke pulling on rope to raise fuselage.

Standing on the mains.

Nose Wheel
The kit ships with a Matco NW501.25 wheel which is not correct for a 5.00-5 tire. If you haven't mounted it yet, Matco will switch the wheel for a NW511.25 which is correct for that tire. This will prevent valve stem interference with the nose fork. I also upgraded the axle to the Matco axle (WHLAXLE24 and WHLA24SPKIT) to prevent axle rotation and damage to the nose fork. Both of these issues are documented on the Matronix RV-10 newsgroup.

Regarding installation of the Matco axle, after you grease the bearings and install on the race, clean any grease off of the exterior of the bearing grease seal. This is important because you are going to depend on friction between the seal and the axle to keep it from rotating. Bearing preload is set by tightening until the grease seal does not rotate reletive to the axle. See my post on Van's Airforce forums if not clear. Also, before drilling the hole for the axle anti-rotation bolt, the bracket for the wheel pant must be in place so you know where the slot is located.

Nose wheel.

Machining main axle extensions.

I am using exterior brake hoses from Bonaco Inc. You wouldn't know it from his web page, but if you call him and tell him you are building a Vans RV, he already knows what length hose and fittings you need. I just need to install the brake hoses and bleed the system and then I am finished with this section. I am using the method of pulling the system down from the slave cylinder but am having trouble getting rid of an air bubble in between the co-pilot and pilot master cylinders at the high point of the brake line where it passes over the center tunnel. I tried having Zeke press the pedals for me while I am under the airplane but his paws don't fit on the pedals correctly. (Note: On another occasion Bonaco had quite an attitude with me on the phone and I no longer do buisness there.)

The annual inspection on the Piper Dakota was completed this week. Now that the lonliest holiday of the year is over I will get this finished up and move on to the next section. Maybe even do some flying. :)

5/26 to 6/18/10

41 hrs

Sec 44b

Wing Attach Part 2
Now that the airplane is up on landing gear and the engine is mounted, it is possible to mount a wing without tipping over. The airplane with one wing will still fit in the garage. I mounted the right wing using under sized bolts and then match drilled the upper and lower covers to the flanges on the fuselage. The flanges were then removed, dimpled, primed and riveted to the fuselage. The rear spar was drilled to .343 and then reamed to .371" to accept a AN6 bolt. I also cut holes in the fuselage for wire pass through and for mounting a connector for the servo motor wires. I put terminal blocks inside the fuse on the vertical rib and that will be where wires transition from the wing to the fuselage.

On another day, I pulled the airplane from the garage and put it back in nose first. I then mounted the left wing and did all the tasks described above. I also ran wires from the sub-panel to the terminal blocks in the fuselage and soldered the servo wires to the connectors.

Right wing attached.

Flanges riveted in place.

Mike Andresen
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Last update 20Jun2010