Seriously? More throttle quadrant stuff?

Yes, really. Just one minor detail though. Through all the fitting of the new three-lever quadrant, the one thing still left to do was to replace the pivot bolt with a longer one. Since I added a spacer to tweak the throttle’s lateral location a bit, this made the whole assembly a bit wider. I had the right bolts on hand to replace the four that hold the whole thing together, but not the pivot. The pivot bolt is capped by a little friction lock lever, followed by a nylock nut. With the original bolt, it was impossible to put any tension on the pivot.

So a few weeks ago, I decided to order the horizontal stabilizer SB kit from Van’s, and while I was at it, I threw in the one single AN bolt I needed to fix this up, and tonight was install night. And yes, it did take half an hour (a bit more actually) to replace one single bolt. See, first I had to unbolt the quadrant from its mount plate, and then disassemble the quadrant itself. The pivot bolt is actually held captive to one side of the quadrant by a little metal fitting, which traps the bolt head against the side plate. This fitting is riveted on, so I had to drill out the old rivets and then re-rivet it with the new bolt in place.

The pivot bolt also needs more thread depth than a standard AN bolt, so I had to get out the tap & die set and cut some additional threads. Then everything got assembled one more time. And viola – now I have a quadrant with a functional friction lock!

In other news, I’ve had the build on my mind a lot lately. Been doing a lot of more concrete research and budgeting for the big purchases, particularly the engine. The basic engine choice is either a box-stock Lycoming or a slightly-more-polished Lycoming Thunderbolt, both available directly from Van’s. Then there are a number of aftermarket builders out there. I’m really wanting to be closer to 200hp than the 180 provided by a regular old IO-360. An angle-valve 360 will provide that, but there’s a weight penalty (about 30 pounds) and also a nontrivial financial one.

Another option is a stroked 360; these are sold by both Aero Sport Power in Canada and Titan in Alabama. The result is a 371ci engine, but for some reason Aero Sport calls it a 375, while Titan calls it a 370. Anyway, I put in a quote request to Aero Sport a few weeks ago for an IO-375. It took about a week to get a response, and the quote was…um…high. It made that angle-valve 360 seem like a bargain in comparison, and was pretty disheartening.

Titan, meanwhile, claimed on their site that the -370 “started” at something like $27k. It almost seemed to good to be true, especially compared to the Aero Sport quote, which was over $10k higher than that figure. So last week I shot an email to James Ball, who’s the official POC for Titan. I was impressed when not only did he get back to me (answering my barrage of questions) within about an hour, but he also provided me a best-guess quote that was extremely competitive with the stock Lycoming offerings.

Long story short, I was super happy with Titan, both from a customer-service and value perspective, and I’m pretty well set on buying an engine from them now. If I put a deposit down before the end of August, I’ll get the $500 Oshkosh discount, and James said he might be able to get me free shipping too (not a trivial amount since it has to come freight). I have a bit of legwork to do to get the funds lined up, but I think I’m going to go ahead and order next month.

I’m really trying to firm up a lot of these decisions. Last year after Oshkosh I decided my goal would be to fly the -8 up for my next trip in 2020. I haven’t made very good use of the past year, but I do still want to make that goal. It’s not going to be easy, but getting ahead of stuff like this will help. Obviously, the main requirement is that I get my butt out in the garage and get work done more often.

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