<September 4, 2006>

Left Tank Wiring & Baffle

A big day today... I installled the fuel senders and closed up the tank by installing the rear baffle. I spend a lot of time out in the shop today, but I wanted to get all this done in preparation for completing the tank in the next few days. Installing (riveting) the baffle is a big job, and not something I would want to attempt without ample time.

First things first... I installed the vent and fuel return lines onto their fittings and installed the flop-tube using the appropriate torque values for their AN fittings.

I then installed the outboard sender plate and routed the wire through the snap bushings, and around the vent line. As per the instructions, I put a dab of sealant on the wire/vent line to hold the wire in place.

Once the outboard sender was installed and the wires routed to the appropriate bay, I installed the inboard sender plate. This was sort of a pain as the space is limited and you have to cut the wires to the right length, crimp on the terminals, attach the terminals to the sender, and then goop it all up with sealant. It was tight, but it is done.

When I first looked at this picture I couldn't figure out why I was seeing two wires, it took a few seconds for me to realize one was a reflection. Everything checked out in here.

Before turning my attention to the baffle, I sealed up the nose section of the inboard rib. I also put some sealant on the inside of the tank, making sure the nose area was sealed well and around the AN fitting for the flop-tube.

It's baffle time, so I mixed up a fresh batch of sealant and got to work. Here you can see the tank all gooped up with sealant and ready for me to drop in the baffle. Before I applied sealant to the inside of the skin, I put a strip of electrical tape just behind (above in the picture) of the skin to baffle rivets. Just before I took this picture, I removed the tape to reveal a nice clean line of sealant on the inside of the skin. Oh yea, one more thing, before I installed the baffle and/or z-brackets, I made sure I marked the orientation of the z-brackets with marker on the outside of the tank (see August 19). I think it would be easy to get confused here, so take the time to get it right by double or triple checking your work or you will be drilling out blind-rivets.

By the time I took this picture, the baffle was clecoed into place and the z-brackets riveted. As another builder warned me, make sure you get the alingment of the skin to baffle holes spot on before you start installing clecos. If there is misalignment between the two, your rivets may not sit well in the countersunk holes of the skin, causing them to sit proud or tip over when riveted. Don't worry so much about the baffle to rear rib flange holes, you can coax the rib flanges into position using a pin punch or similar aparatus.

It was a lot of rivets, but it is done. I am tired and hungry, but I am glad this is behind me. Say it with me... please no leaks, please no leaks, PLEASE NO LEAKS!