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RV-10 Firewall Forward



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RV-10 Firewall Forward Kit

This page documents the installation of the Lycomming IO-540 engine and Grand Rapids Engine Information System (EIS-6000).





Notes and Photos


2 hrs


The engine was delivered to my door by a young man that backed a full-sized semi-tractor trailer truck through a 20' gate, and down 200' of driveway without putting a scratch on anything. Great job! The engine comes hermetically sealed in plastic inside a sturdy crate. The FWF kit came via Fedex in two boxes direct from Vans. It includes the exhaust system, baffles, alternator, and stuff like that to make your engine complete.


Firewall Forward Kit.

3/14 to 3/27/10

35 hrs

Sec FF1

Engine Installation
The actual hanging of the engine was easy. It was all the work leading up to it that was hard. I wanted to make sure I had my firewall finalized and that involved having the EIS holes and grommets in place as well as the manifold pressure port. I also found that the upper forward fuselage riveting that I deferred had to be completed. Some of the rib rivets were now behind the brake reservoir. Some others were difficult to reach with just the enging mount in place. With help from Pete, we managed to get them all. The hours I list for this section include 20 hrs of upper forward fuselage work and 15 hours of FF1 work.

Attaching the mounts to the engine was a bit of a PITA because they are angled forward which makes it difficult to tighten the forward nuts. The bottoms were worse than the top and I had to grind down an open end wrench to get it to fit to tighten. Pete and I then hoisted the engine in position and tackled the upper motor mounts first. Then we put a floor jack under the bottom mount and used it to nudge the engine into position to get the bottom bolt to slip through. The actual attaching of the engine did not take much time at all. Make sure you have the torque wrench on the nut and not the bolt because in this case it makes a big difference.

Firewall Finalized

Attaching Fittings

Motor Mounts

All Done!

I did not order any engine hoses with the kit. I chose to have custom hoses made from a certified shop using Stratoflex teflon hose with integral firesleeve. I ordered them from Precision Hose Technology. They pressure test the hoses before shipping. Here is what I ordered:

    Stratoflex Teflon with Integral Firesleeve Hoses for RV-10
  • 124-4J hose, 524-4CR fitting, 15.50" Long (124J001-4CR0154) (Fuel Press. VA-102)
  • 124-4J hose, 524-4CR fitting, 27.25" Long (124J001-4CR0272) (Oil Press. VA-133)
  • 124-6J hose, 524-6CR fitting, 14.00" Long (124J001-6CR0140) (Fuel Supply VA-138)
  • 124-6J hose, 524-6CR and 528-6CR fitting, 25.50" Long (124J002-6CR0254) (Fuel Line VA-189)
  • 124-8J hose, 524-8CR fitting, 16.50" Long (124J001-8CR0164) (Oil cooler VA-135)
  • 124-8J hose, 524-8CR fitting, 27.00" Long (124J001-8CR0270) (Oil cooler VA-190)

5/27 to 8/8/10

85 hrs

Sec FF2

Cowel Baffle
I am really enjoying this section of the plans and feel that I have finally escaped fiberglass hell. This section takes you back to pulling blue plastic off of parts, drilling, deburring, bending, machining and priming, namely the good old days of airplane building.

The building of the cylinder baffles is straight forward per the plans. They are then cut to fit to the engine and top cowl. I had no problem with bracket alignment as reported by Tim Olsen. I did find a crack in bracket CB-1010D at a flange bend and replaced the flanges with 0.060" angle so check for that. I have been trimming the height of each cylinder baffle to fit the cowl as each one is installed. This is different from the plans which has them all installed and then trimmed. I think my method is better because it isolates the high points and once a particular baffle is cut, it is finished for good.

When placing the hole in the forward left ramp for the propeller control cable, offset it to one side or the other of the govenor control arm and do not place it directly below the arm.

Cyl 5,6

Cyl 1,2,3,4

Left Air Ramp

Initial Trim

To fabricate the tension rods you will need a 6-32 die to thread the ends. I used my lathe to turn the rods at a slow speed and held the die holder by hand. When I installed the tension rods there we interference with the cylinder oil return tubes. I found removing them, holding them in a vice and adding more twist to them was the best way to obtain clearance.

There was no guidance in the plans for the width of the baffle material so I copied what was done on my Piper Dakota, 1 inch over the metal baffle and 2 inches extended over the baffle. I did not make paper layouts except for the forward air dam which was the most complicated shape. I mounted the baffle material to the metal baffle on the workbench rather than on the airplane and that worked out OK.

Alt Blast Air

Magneto Blast Air

Tension Rod Interference

Almost done.

I aborted a trip to Oshkosh this week due to various reasons but used my already scheduled vacation to make headway on this section of the plans. The only remaining tasks are to run the spark plug wires, wire the SlickStart and wire the ignition switch. These should be finished this week and then it is on to FF3 Controls.

8/15 to 8/27/10

12 hrs

Sec FF3

Control Cables
There are no directions in the kit concerning mounting of the throttle body. After consulting with the Lycoming service manual and looking at the gaskets provided with the kit, this is what I concluded. From the intake manifold down goes gasket, bracket, gasket, throttle body, two washers, star washer, then nut. Standard torque applies as there is no special call out in the service manual.

I've gotten really good at installing control cables. Mainly because after I installed them all, I had to remove them to put a nut and washer on that has to be in place before pass through. Then they were removed and reinstalled for routing around the engine mount. The plans depict the cables passing above the engine mount which I think pinches them to the engine casing so I moved them to below the engine mount cross brace. Then they were removed and installed to add the nut for the firewall eyeballs that I forgot to put on. All in all, they were on and off quite a few times.

The propeller governor and the throttle control arms needed to be reclocked from the positions installed at the factory. The prop governor was way out of position and to adjust it you remove safety wire from 6 screws that need to be loosened and then rotate the body to a position that puts the least stress on the propeller cable. The throttle arm is removed by a single nut and I moved it 3 teeth aft for better throttle control. The mixture arm did not need any adjustment.

The propeller cable is slightly long and the cockpit control does not completely seat in the full forward position. I'm not going to worry about it right now until the governor stops are actually adjusted in test flight. The throttle cable that comes with the RV-10 Firewall Forward Kit is definitely too short. The mixture cable they ship is 51.5" long and the throttle cable is 47.5" long. This makes no sense to me as both cables start in the same place and one goes to the right side of the throttle body and the other to the left. Van's sells a throttle cable for the RV-7 that is 50.5" long and I have ordered one to replace that which came with the kit. The RV-7 cable was a much better fit and allowed the cable to go below the engine mount.

I am also hooking up the air vent control cables for the firewall flapper valves. This is a real PITA with the engine in the way and I wish I could have done it sooner. The reason I didn't is that I didn't have the cockpit cross brace in place to keep access to the sub-panel for ease of wiring.

Mixture Control

Cockpit Controls

Prop Control

The predecessor to any action is a thought.

9/5 to 9/26/10

36 hrs

Sec FF4

Fuel System
The Filtered Air Box (FAB) construction was much more involved than I thought. About 12 hours was spent redesigning and machining an improved mechanism for alternate air. The original design could only be opened once in flight and then could not be closed without removing the lower cowl to put the flapper back under a tab. My design keeps a sliding door captive over its full range of motion and can be opened and closed as many times as you want in a flight. This allows you to try opening alternate air to see if it makes a difference in engine performance and then close it if it doesn't.

Getting the lower cowl on and off with the FAB in place is a chore. I sanded the inside of the cowl a little more square to avoid interference with the FAB, but took off a little too much material and had to add three layers of glass to the outside of the cowl to reinforce. I finally realized the ultimate solution is to extend the cowl inlet about 0.75" using fiber glass and shorten the FAB by the same amount. This eliminated the interference and I am able to get the cowl on and off easier. I also extend the nose wheel gear leg slot in the lower cowl by 0.5" to allow more of a tilt in the cowl during installation.

Alt Air Open

Alt Air Closed

FAB Mounted

Unfinished cowl inlet extension

9/6 to 9/9/10

5 hrs

Sec FF5

Oil System
Everything installed in this section can be seen in the photo below. In the background is the crankcase oil breather tube. It is mounted to the firewall using cushion clamps. The oil cooler is mounted to the bracket on the fire wall and the hoses were connected to the engine. I added a quick drain with hose barb to the oil sump. I have one on my Piper Dakota and it makes oil changes alot less messy. It is part number: Curtis CCB-37000. Lastly, I connected the 4" Scat tube from the engine baffle to the oil cooler bracket. It is impossible to get the spring of the Scat tube over the flange so don't even try. Cut the wire back about an inch from the edge and then turn it inside the tube.

Oil System

9/25 to 10/3/10

14 hrs

Sec FF6

Exhaust System
The Vetterman exhaust bolted onto the engine and everything matched up with the collector. Be ready to catch engine preserving oil when you take the covers off of the exhaust ports though. I then drilled holes for the EGT sensors three inches down from the exhaust pipe flange. The next step was to mount the mufflers. I am only going to have cabin heat derived from the right muffler so the shroud was removed from the left muffler before installation at the recommendation of Vetterman.

The right muffler mounted up to the provided stainless steel hanger bracket with no problem. The left muffler is about one inch aft of the right muffler and the hanger bracket is a little too short to be mounted further aft on the engine mount. Also on the left side, the firewall mounted oil cooler becomes an obstacle to the bracket. After finally getting the muffler mounted, I had to readjust where I had run the fuel line and oil breather tube to provide clearance. It took quite a bit of adjusting but I am happy with the installation.

The last step of this section was to run the scat hose for cabin heat and air and test fit of the cowl. All done!

Right Side

Left Side

3/7 to 8/15/10

26 hrs


Engine Information System (EIS)
This may sound odd, but I started the Grand Rapids EIS-6000 install by relocating my fuel filter out of the forward tunnel. It all started because I am going to locate my EIS in a console above the forward tunnel. I don't want to have to go into the tunnel for a maintenance item so I decided to move the filter to a more accessable place. It only took 8 hours labor, three orders from aircraft spruce, an order from summit racing, an order from a hose supplier and 53 trips in and out of the airplane to install.

Fuel Filter Relocation

I ran all the wires along cushion clamps at the bottom of the subpanel. Cockpit wiring included OAT, Manifold Pressure, and Amp Sensor. Running from the cockpit to the engine compartment were fuel pressure, oil temperture and oil pressure sensors. Then all the EGT and CHT probes for the cylinders. I ran the CHT wires along the bottom of the engine along with the heavy starter and alternator wires. The EGT's were a little different in that the left side EGT sensor are aft of the exhaust tube and the right side sensors are forward of the exhaust tube. I ran these wires along with the spark plug wires.


Subpanel Wiring

Right Side

Left Side

Final Thoughts
The completion of this section marks the finish of pretty much everything in the kit plans. All the work is far from complete but I am now off of the script. From here on out, I am on my own for installation of the flight instruments, avionics and interior. Another milestone that came to fruition this month is that due to the recession I made it to the top of the hangar list at my home airport. I now have no obstacle between me and flying this airplane other than my doing the work. I took another major step toward making this a flying airplane by mailing in the federal registration forms and placing an order for the avionics.

Mike Andresen
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