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Old 01-15-2015, 06:26 PM
wirejock's Avatar
wirejock wirejock is online now
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Estes Park, CO
Posts: 5,230
Default Tanks

That's great Dave. Congratulations.
Larry Larson
Estes Park, CO
wirejock at yahoo dot com
Donated 12/01/2021, plus a little extra.
RV-7A #73391, N511RV reserved (3,000+ hours)
Empennage, wings, fuse, finishing kit done. Working FWF
I cannot be, nor will I be, held responsible if you try to do the same things I do and it does not work and/or causes you loss, injury, or even death in the process.
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Old 01-17-2015, 07:19 PM
David Paule David Paule is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 5,308
Default Riveted LH Outboard Rib

I'd persuaded the tank sealant in the outboard rib to cure rapidly with a very simple trick: I put the LH tank, in its support jig, on one of my living room heater vents. It gets warm enough to accelerate curing.

One by one, I removed the clecos and installed rivets. The rib is now riveted in place.

I re-verified that the right hand tank fits the wing. About 20 of the screws are installed here.


Last edited by David Paule : 11-28-2019 at 02:16 PM.
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Old 01-18-2015, 07:24 PM
David Paule David Paule is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 5,308
Default Hatch Day!

Here's a picture of the three types of tank sealant I've been using. Left to right,

Type A - honey-like consistency for things like dotting the rivet heads.

Type B - The thick sealant we all know and love.

Access-Hatch Sealant, Type B - The pink stuff, used for removable parts like the fuel tank access hatches. I moved it from the SEM tube to the easier containers.

When it's mixed, it's a bit thinner than the normal Type B sealant, but closer to that than the thinner Type A sealant. It's also a distinctive dark pink color, almost purple.

I smeared it on the access hatches and on the inboard rib. I was trying to be generous. I put some on the screws, too, just under the heads. Here's the right tank, the first one I did. The color doesn't show well in this photo:

And then I mixed a bit more and did the left one:

The only glitch was late last night, when I started to do this using the standard Type B sealant. I got it all buttered up and then remembered that I'd gotten the access hatch sealant specially for the access hatches. Had to clean it off. Sigh.

Ah, one more thing - the sealants had been stored in the freezer from when they arrived until I needed them. They all work fine, and the expiration dates aren't valid for that storage condition.


Last edited by David Paule : 11-28-2019 at 02:25 PM.
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Old 01-24-2015, 06:40 PM
David Paule David Paule is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 5,308
Default Right Tank Closed

It finally dawned on me that I'm more than a little bit apprehensive about closing the tanks. A friend has a non-RV with a serious leaking issue in his wing tanks that are a bit similar to this sort of construction and the familiarity with that airplane's problems has affected my progress on my tanks.

Well -- we can't have that.

With that understood, I realized that the right tank is fully ready to be closed out, so I did just that this afternoon. I used tank sealant, the regular type B sealant, to stick the baffle in the tank. All the skin to baffle rivet holes are currently clecoed, and the Z-brackets are riveted on. I laid a strip of wax paper on the wing spar and screwed the tank skin to the spar flange, every hole, both sides. It will stay there till cured

Here's the top of the tank:

The chain coming out of the tank filler hole is the lanyard for the cap. Can't have stray shop debris getting into the tank, so I'll have to either tape over the hole or install the cap.

Here's the root end of the tank, some details still remaining undone. But you can easily see the odd color of the access hatch sealant.

That's it for now. Have a good weekend!


Last edited by David Paule : 11-28-2019 at 02:29 PM.
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Old 02-04-2015, 08:31 AM
David Paule David Paule is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 5,308
Default LH Tank Closed

Last weekend, I installed the baffle on the left tank. Like the right tank, it's screwed in place on the wing while it cures.

Since I had to remove the roll servo in the right wing to install the harness connector, it seemed like an excellent time to start the maintenance manual. This first entry will show the top mounting bolt of the servo from the inaccessible side:

Moving on to something more fun, I saw this on a different thread here and immediately realized that this is the RV-3 I should be building, not the full-size one:

Oh, well.... Might as well press on with things, eh?


Last edited by David Paule : 11-28-2019 at 02:36 PM.
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Old 02-04-2015, 09:08 AM
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southtarnation southtarnation is offline
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Punta Gorda, Fl
Posts: 325

Deleted. Picture corrected
'89 RV-4, N2626C - purchased flying
Converted to Fastback - Sliding Canopy - Tall Gear
Dynon Skyview w/ acc. & VP-x Sport
Catto 3-Blade (gen. 1)
Based: KPGD

Last edited by southtarnation : 02-08-2015 at 06:19 PM.
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Old 02-09-2015, 07:24 PM
David Paule David Paule is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 5,308

The tank sealant on the right tank is cured. I'd installed the baffle and screwed the tank to the wing to let the sealant cure in place. I protected the spar with a piece of wax paper.

With the sealant cured, I removed the tank and riveted the baffle to the skins. I'm sure that I'll need to replace a few rivets and I left a difficult one for the next work session, but here's the tank.

I also slipped some plastic-coated fiberglass anti-chafe tube over the autopilot's roll servo wiring and added a couple nutplates to secure the wires so they can't interfere with the controls. There's absolutely no room to install the plastic exit guide on the wiring connector.

The wiring will eventually be secured across to the nutplate on the left, and then forward to the plastic busing on the left. The wiring from the light will cross from the right to the left bushings - you can see where the nutplate is for the clamp - where they should be clear of the controls.

The black electrical tape in the upper left is simply there to simulate where the pushrod will be, someday.


Last edited by David Paule : 12-02-2019 at 06:49 PM.
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Old 02-16-2015, 03:16 PM
David Paule David Paule is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 5,308
Default Both Tanks Riveted

I finished riveting both baffles on and dabbed some tank sealant on the rivet heads and a few other places. I put the tanks back on the wings so that if there's any sealant close to the spar, there won't be any interference; it'll press out. I've got a piece of waxed paper between the tanks and the wings, so the tanks get to come off again.

That being the case, I only have a few screws installed and am using some Cleco clamps to secure things for now.


Last edited by David Paule : 12-02-2019 at 06:51 PM.
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Old 02-16-2015, 03:43 PM
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ppilotmike ppilotmike is offline
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 2,018
Default Lookin' good, Dave.

It's a nice milestone to finish the tanks.
Mike Rettig
EAA Chapter 301
VAF Dues Current
RV-10 - Working on engine / prop installation
F-14 (Pedal Plane - Daughter's Project) "Flying"
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Old 02-22-2015, 08:07 PM
David Paule David Paule is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 5,308

My tanks will be ready to pressure test as soon as the latest batch of sealant dries. They are in the house, out of the shop, for warmer night time temperatures.

The top skins are ready for riveting (the right one) or almost ready (the left one).

In the meantime, I'm making aileron stiffeners. I drew a full-size drawing of the ailerons per the plans to compare with the as-built wing and the plans seem reasonably accurate. I brought the aileron and flap skins, spars and stiffeners home from the hangar.

For you folks who are building one of the pre-punched kits, the stiffeners on the RV-3B are simply strips of plain angle that come four feet long. It's up to the builder to mark, cut and trim them to fit. I marked one strip and clamped them together and gang-cut on the bandsaw and then edged them on my 12" sanding disk. It went well. But I had to taper them individually and when I separated them, I found that the vinyl had fused the stiffeners together. I had to remove about half the vinyl to get on with the job.

There had been some issues with the flap and aileron skins, the way the factory bent them, I learned. David Howe sent me a sample of his flap skin and mine are bent much better. Van's has taken a lot of heat over the quality of the RV-3B kit and it was heartening to see that they've apparently put some effort into correcting at least these issues. My kit was shipped April 2012, best I can recall.

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