Brian & Brandi's Van's RV10 Build

First engine start

by Brian Wednesday, May 23, 2012

An impromptu engine start erupted yesterday afternoon, which has sent my motivation level skyrocketing. I have already been busting ass on the project because I can see the light at the end of the tunnel but after hearing that big bad 540 cubic inch Lycoming roar to life, its all I can think about now! It was AWESOME! Special thanks to all the usual hangar rats, Keith, Dan, Bill, Jim for being my mentors and pit crew. Next step is to taxi Brandi and I around the hangar block a few time as a special treat and reward for all the hard work that we've put into it so far. 

Baffling progress

by Brian Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Child labor pushes the baffling section closer to completion. My sister Hannah was visiting for the weekend and she got tasked to help measure the trim lines on the baffling tops. She helped me gently lay the top cowl on while paper clips were in place so that we could tell how much of a gap there was all the way around and trim accordingly. Only thing left for baffling now is to attach the fabric on top.

Engine Tour 2

by Brian Thursday, February 16, 2012

Showing off some of the tasks completed since the engine was hung. Have not had this inspected yet so some things might need to be changed. One thing that I have already addressed was to redo the exaust cabling system. The wire it hangs from is suppose to be pretty straight and I wasnt happy with how crooked it was. Also worth noting is our front baffling piece on the left side was cut a little short. This is different than plans because I kept the cowl inlet fiberglass a bit long. 

Exhaust system

by Brian Friday, February 03, 2012

Brandi and I went out in the shop last night after dinner and I got started on the exhaust and she was going to do her interior/fiberglass stuff. She stared into space for about 15 minutes and I could tell she didnt want to do anything fiberglass related. I cant blame her. I asked if she wouldnt mind helping me take the temporary gaskets off of the exhaust ports of the engine while I prepared the pipes. She seemed to perk right up at the prospect of something NOT fiberglass. Brandi hasnt really had much involvement on engine type stuff yet and it was so funny to watch her meticulously keep all the oil cleaned up and keep herself nice and tidy. She handles herself so well in the shop that it was pretty amusing and unexpected when the girl side of her came out and she goes ewww as a little bit of oil poured out from the gasket and spilled onto the floor. Some oil got in her hair and she was not very happy about that. It was fun working together again since lately we have each had our own list of things to tackle. 

I'm amazed at how easy the exhaust system is coming together so far. I imagined it as a big deal but so far its pretty easy breezy. I shouldnt speak too soon though because perhaps the harder part is setting up the cable and support system where the pipes exit. 

Baffling attached

by Brian Friday, February 03, 2012

The baffling work has been fairly enjoyable. Its a nice break from fiberglass. I got the baffling attached and built up the front baffling, which is where there are a couple of challenging spots. The plans call for bending a conical shape piece to contour to the air inlet of the cowling. Wasnt too bad but takes some tweaking. The trickiest thing about baffling seems to be that sometimes you can just put the back or front ones right on or off but then the very next time you get it all snagged and it doesnt want to go on or off. I think I have figured out the trick most of the time is to push in the little curved parts on the baffling that scoop under the cylinders while installing/removing. The curved part I'm talking about is the parts that the cable will tie the baffling together underneath the engine. 

Also, when I went to attach the control cable to the prop governor it wasnt going to move through its full range of motion. I loosened the screw that held arm on the prop governor and was able to adjust it. Sometimes its the little things that make me proud of myself :)

Engine tour

by Brian Thursday, December 29, 2011

Engine mounting

by Brian Thursday, December 29, 2011

Our good friend Kyle helped us acquire an engine hoist from a friend of a friend. That helped out a bunch. Thanks Kyle! Keith came over and helped us get it mounted and we were all so excited we ended up starting at like 9pm, which is when we got the hoist and then got a chain that we needed. I even skipped one of my hockey games, which is very rare. I play sick, injured, at midnight on christmas, when ever. Ask Brandi. I dont usually miss my games if it can be helped.

Engine arrives today!

by Brian Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Our new Lycoming IO-540 will arrive today via Fedex Freight. I'm so exited!! I took today off work to be here for the shipment, and the rest of the week too for good measure :) Have to stay home to make vroom vroom noises with the new engine. Oh, thanks Kyle for curiously pondering out loud the theft/hijack rates of delivery trucks. Very funny. :) Shipping was $200 direct from Lycoming. Cheaper than I thought it might be.

Engine dilemma

by Brian Thursday, November 10, 2011

The engine choice has been on my mind ever since day 1 of starting the project. The cost of an engine is staggering so the immediate knee jerk response, for me at least, was to just get a mid-time engine and have it overhauled. Makes perfect sense that if a new engine is expensive and you can have an old one rebuilt to be just like new and save some money then why not, right?

Well, turns out its not so clear cut. In the end Brandi and I deliberated, researched, asked around, got quotes, and thought about it a lot before we decided on our engine choice. We choose to go with a factory new Lycoming XIO-540 from Vans. The reason we went with this choice is because of a few things and as I tried to convey, was not an easy decision to come to. Under different circumstances, a mid-time engine might be fine but for our mission it made sense to just have a few more payments and get a new engine.

Here is why we decided on a new XIO-540 instead of an overhauled engine:

  • The cost savings were not huge. About 15-20% cost difference between new and overhauled
  • We are not very knowledgeable of engines (yet) so our comfort level for risk and the unknown is zero to none
  • We heard of some success stories but have also heard some horror stories from people we know with overhauled engines
  • We intend to keep this airplane for many years to come so the long term reliability is important
  • No worries of modifications to get different engine models to work with the Vans firewall forward kit/mount
  • Peace of mind. If Brandi is happy then Brian is happy.

The new engines sold from Vans dont allow you to change out any parts and we wanted to have an electronic ignition so we're going to have to take out one magneto and hopefully install a P-Mag if they will ever release a 6 cylinder version for purchase. The P-Mag is suppose to be available 'any day now' but apparently thats been the story for a long time (years?!). Dont really have a backup plan yet because I really would prefer to do the p-mag so those suckers better be released soon. Other than the p-mag and a second alternator, we really arent straying from stock configuration at this time. I thought for sure we would put a remote oil filter mount on until I found out they are $500+. That can definitely wait/maybe never for that cost.

We ordered the engine a week or so ago and it should arrive in the next 30-60 days.