Miscellaneous ongoing maintenance


Replaced and re-glued the screens over both left and right fuel vent intakes.

There was a small weep of oil at the oil cooler / oil hose connections. I used steel fitting in the oil cooler (instead of aluminum) and did not get the oil lines tightened enough. I tried tightening them just a bit more while holding the steel fittings with another wrench. This seems to have stopped the slow weep.

I re-installed the engine air filter which had popped up from a small engine backfire during a previous start.

The alternator wire was chafing a bit. Fixed.


Changed oil. Took oil sample (was from end instead of middle of draining by accident). Changed oil filter. Did not change or check suction screen during this oil change.


Removed all 8 spark plugs. Determined 3 of 4 bottom spark plugs had lead build ups and decided to replace them (200 hours). Gapped the 4 upper plugs to < 0.020 and > 0.015 quickly but not very precisely.

Installed lower cowl heat shield material from Vans on the inside of the lower cowl to protect the fiberglass from the exhaust areas where it was starting to discolor.

First Annual

Aileron travel limits: section 15, page 15-2

Max Up/Down= 32/17
Minimum Up/Down= 25/15

Elevator  travel limits:

Max Up/Down= 30/25
Minimum Up/Down= 25/20

Measured 2016-12-10:

Ailerons: LU: 30, LD: 17, RU 32, RD 17

Elevator travel: 29 Up, 23 Down

max end of the range. i.e. 30* up and 25* down

Changed Oil

SB 14-02-05 Elevator Spar Cracks – Inspected – None found

SB 14-01-31 HS Front Spar Bend Cracks – Inspected – None found




Found wet B-Nut on rear side of fuel pump

Found loose spare AN365 nut under passenger seat pan
Found rivet junk in footwell area
Found plastic cap in footwell area
Removed passenger stick, cut zip ties
Removed left and right gear tower carpet covers
Found cracked engine baffle near oil cooler mount on #4 cylinder, added reinforcement
Each aileron trailing edge droops 3/16 when opposite aileron/flap/tip are in alignment
Routed GDL cable to dash top through hole
Added pin #15 on roll servo via spare white wire (CWS Disc) and spliced it into green CWS Disc wires for sticks under right passenger seat pan
Added prop leading edge tape

/80        HOT_______COLD__Y__1._76__2._78__3.__78__4.__78__



1B: 0.018 (Original)  1T: 0.018 (Newer Tempest)

2B: 0.018 (Original)  2T: 0.018 (Newer Tempest)

3B: 0.019 (Original)  3T: 0.018 (Newer Tempest)

4B: 0.018 (Original)  4T: 0.018 (Newer Tempest)

Install bottom plugs to 360-420 inch lbs torque (30-35 foot lbs)

Checking Magneto Serial Numbers

The magnetos installed on my IO-360-M1B Lycoming engine are as follows:

Left magneto: SN: 13050795, M-2983LH, Model: 4373

Right magneto: SN: 13050824, Model: 4370

According to Lycoming operator’s manual, the left magneto should be model 4371.

Slick/Champion service bulletin SB1-12 (corrected copy) is not applicable (SNs: 11110001 thru 12030902).

Magneto gasket part number: 62224?

Slick Mag gasket part number: LW-12681 (need 2 for impulse mag side)

Useful VAF Post

Mag parts

Slick SB

Current TODO List

Update checklist & laminate

Add toolkit to plane

Make a POH

Install upper cowl air ramps

Install co-pilot stick

Do best glide speed test

Do max speed test

Install spare fuses

Calibrate AoA Probe

Block some of the heater air inlet to slow the heater air and keep more pressure in upper cowl


Wire fuses or fuseible link for ammeter shunt

Install prop leading edge tape

Get repariman certificate

Repair passenger side canopy air seal weatherproofing

Install IFR GPS Databases

Block more of the oil cooler

Download flight 6 data

Tape over the holes in the belly that may let fumes in

Get G3X Lean assist mode working/enabled

Install nutplates for 2 extra screws for upper landing gear fairing

Prime the spinner to protect from UV

Mount 1.3 lb. halon fire extinguisher

Mount the PLB

Register the PLB

Check EFIS V-speeds

Add checklist to phone

Test GoPro ships power

Test GoPro aviation radio audio

Get Iphone mount

Install wire booties to protect magneto P-leads

Order & install aileron pushrod boots (to prevent cold air infiltration)

Install autopilot roll servo

Connect autopilot pitch servo actuator arm

Glue canopy fiberglass front lip split

Install dynon d6 compass

Buy tire air filler extension

Left front cylinder, 1 engine bolt weeping oil (1 drop per hour)

Organize flight logs/receipts

Caulk or firedip the firesleeve ends

Buy Hoppe #9 Gun Cleaning Solvent for cleaning the injectors

Buy ultrasonic cleaner

Fold safety wire & cut clamp tangs

Make gaskets for outside front dash access panels

Get the EAA prop balancer and perform dynamic prop balance

Install main gear fairings

Positively retain the pins on main gear fairings

Seal lower antennas with caulk (Comm #2 & Transponder)

Order sandpaper

Order sanding blocks

Get aircraft polished

Record control surface deflections

Compute W&B for flights

Record serial numbers of all avionics

Record service bulletins on here

Document we swung the compass

Safety wire G3x harnesses

Document engine limits / color bands on here

Document fuel calibrations on here

Document fuel flow testing on here

Take screen shots of each EFIS screen and document on here

Get XM radio working

Trial Install GDL39

Link to or attach Bob’s first flight test info

Buy triple-A batteries

Buy power strip

Buy an instrument cover for behind the panel

Buy Cowl Plugs

Buy fuel tank drain plugs

Install forward floor carpet




2nd Oil Change

6/25/16, Tach: 52.7

Drained oil, removed and replaced oil filter (nail hole in top + 1/2 turn to drain filter works well), removed oil suction screen (clean), replaced oil suction screen & new gasket. Refilled with Aeroshell 100 Straight Mineral Oil for final break-in oil. This oil was used for the oil change prior to first flight, for the replacement oil at first flying oil change, and for the replacement oil at this 2nd flying oil change. The next oil change will be to synthetic.

IMG_1168 IMG_1169IMG_1170

Purchased Aeroshell W15W-50 synthetic for next oil change.

Replacing top spark plugs

After talking with Nabil yesterday, he confirmed that the new spark plugs that I had purchased in bulk a while back were indeed OK to use in this engine. When I was removing and gapping the spark plugs a while back, I wanted to replace them just to be sure, but the new plug tips were different from the old ones, so I waited.


Today I replaced the original Champion REM38E with Tempest (formerly Unison) UREM37BY in the top 4 spark plugs. I torqued to 30-35 foot-lbs (360-420 in-lbs). I used oil instead of anti-sieze this time.


I started the engine and flew for two touch and goes. The engine started nicely…but will see if this is consistent. On the 2nd touch and go, touchdown cracked the right wheel pant fairing…same thing that happened in the past to the left wheel pant fairing. The holes in the bottom of the wheel pants were not carved out enough, so when the wheel compresses and bulges in just the right way, it catches the rear lip of the wheel pant and breaks out a chunk of fiberglass. I heard the rubbing right away after touchdown and aborted the takeoff part of the touch-and-go. I taxied back and sure enough, now I have two cracked wheel pants.

I removed all 3 wheel pants, applied fiberglass and epoxy to the two main pant rear halves to fix the cracks, and will plan to carve away more fiberglass for clearance when they dry. I also removed the wheel pant fairings, gear leg fairings, and upper intersection fairings to take home for paint or vinyl.

I also removed the left wing tip to investigate why my left landing light (HID) had stopped working. I confirmed that power was being delivered all the way to the wing tip. I removed the right wing tip bulb and connected it in the left wing tip HID ballast. No light. I connected the left wingtip bulb to the right wingtip ballast and it lit. Thus both bulbs work and the problem is in the left wing HID ballast unit. I reinstalled the right wing bulb and right wing lens cover, and removed the left wing ballast, and left wing bulb. I reinstalled the left wing tip and the left wing lens cover.

Engine Maintenance

A few weeks ago while searching for a possible cause for my slightly elevated CHTs, I decided to re-check the engine timing. This was at about Tach: 91.6, Hobbs: 102.2. The timing had drifted from 25 BTC to 27 BTC on one mag (didn’t record which) and 25 to 29 BTC on the other mag. Resetting this to 25 & 25 helped cool the CHTs on subsequent flights, but the engine became more difficult to start when cold (maybe unrelated). Since removing & gapping the lower plugs to 0.016 (earlier entry) seemed to help with the subsequent cold start (may be my imagination), I also removed and gapped the upper plugs (earlier entry) to 0.016. Subsequent starts did not seem to improve in difficulty. I’ve tried various combinations of priming durations and no longer suspect it is a rich/lean mixture thing, rather a weak spark on left (starting) impulse coupled magneto.

Yesterday, a very experienced aviation maintenance technician stopped by (Nabil) for over an hour to help me trouble shoot. He wanted to confirm several things before agreeing with me that the mag spark was weak. First we removed top 4 plugs and re-checked the timing. He agreed it was correctly timed at 25 BTC on both mags. He was also suspicious of my left&right independent DPDT mag switches (since I used the 2nd poles to route my starter relay wire to prevent starter engagement with any combo other than left mag on, right mag off). He wanted to verify that the mag timing box lights didn’t change when pressing the starter switch (they shouldn’t and didn’t). Since the prop cranks with gusto when starting, and coughs several times before catching, he finally agreed with my diagnosis that it could be a weak spark from the left mag. Still seems strange since after start, all running is beautiful and mag drop checks are OK at 1800 RPM with engine slightly leaned from rich (140L drop/150R drop). I understand 175 max drop and 50 differential is the Lycoming limit.

He offered several ideas: Buy new left impulse coupled mag…he estimated $900. Send left mag out for inspection and overhaul…he estimated $300-600. I said what about buy new P-Mag EI for left mag replacement (more expensive and reputed to be much less dinosaur technology with much hotter spark and easier starting). His opinion was that was “too advanced technology” that didn’t belong in this style plane/engine…I let that one go by. He also was a fan of eventually replacing the right mag with an impulse coupled mag also since that would allow me to wire for starting with both mag switches on. I was very grateful for his help and learned a bunch. He wasn’t charging, but I figure I will buy him a six pack.