Shop wheels, engine accessories

So, here we are, back at it. Vacation is over (well, vacation #1, at least), plus some other personal stuff, and I’m also having to deal with this super-hot Houston summer. This is actually work I did yesterday, too, I just forgot to write it up before going to bed.

Item #1 was to replace the actual main wheels with some smaller (and disposable) wheels to use for moving around the shop. This lets the fuselage sit a little lower, while still retaining the ability to go over the sliding hangar door tracks if I want to roll the fuselage outside. The wheels were removed from some heavy-duty casters I got at Home Depot, and the lumber is just scrap I had lying around.  Pretty straightforward setup, just took a bit of time to drill the mount holes and get everything assembled:

Next up was removing the engine and mount from the fuselage to give me some room to start working on accessories, as well as getting into firewall planning. Sliding this whole assembly off the fuselage and onto the fixture I made is really easy; all told I think it took maybe 20 minutes. The fixture is super stable, though a bit cumbersome to move around with all the weight on the casters. Gets the job done, though:

I decided from there to try the easy accessory first, namely the main alternator. The boss mount went on easily, as did the alternator itself and the belt tension adjustment bracket. Then I tried adding the V-belt I’d bought with it, and…it’s too short. B&S specifically mentioned using the shortest belt possible to pull the alternator tight against the engine, since RV cowls tend to be tight. I intentionally bought the shortest one they recommended, knowing this might happen, so it wasn’t a huge surprise. I’ve already ordered the next-longest one from Amazon, and it should be here tomorrow.

I also did a bit of working on where I wanted to mount the battery box. I already know I want to mounted low on the right side of the firewall, but I hadn’t really got into the exact location and orientation. I’ve seen several folks suggest mounting the box sideways, so the battery is removed by sliding out the side, as opposed to from the top. I’m not really sure I can make this work, though – if I orient the top of the box outboard, the the firewall flange interferes with sliding the battery out. This will only get worse later on when I add the hinge for cowl attachment. So maybe upright is the right way to go; I’ll just have to think through where to put the contactors and battery bus so they don’t block battery removal. I didn’t get very far with this before the midday heat drove me inside, though.

One interesting thing I found from some battery-box research was someone with the box sideways, but the top facing inboard – an interesting idea. I’m not sure this is great for me, though, as I suspect the prop governor on the back of the engine will interfere with removal. I might just have to rehang the engine once I get the governor installed to see how that works in practice, though. I’m a little intrigued by the idea, but also skeptical…

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