Carlson Skunk Works

March 31st, 2014

AMF 14H MARANDA SN:1026 Making Sawdust March 31, 2014

Posted by Roger in AMF 14H Maranda SN1026, news

It has been a while since my last post. I have been holding off until I have some progress to report. I wanted to report that the ailerons were done and on the plane, but that is not quite true, yet. They are close, but the weather has been too cold to work at the hanger until very recently and there are a few details to finish up on the ailerons before they can be mounted.

However, Saturday was very nice, so I went ahead and mounted the engine on the plane in my spare moments.

I ordered the mounting hardware from Aircraft Spruce and found that the bolts that I ordered were about half an inch too long. So I put in another order. The bolts that were too long for mounting the engine turned out to be the right length to attach the engine mount to the fuselage. The new bolts arrived on Friday, so Saturday was a good candidate day for mounting the engine. The original bolts that I ordered were AN6-45 and the replacement bolts were AN6-41. After mounting the engine this time I find that the final mounting bolts may need to be AN6-40. Fortunately, when I made the second order I ordered both the AN6-41 and AN6-40.

Fred had built an engine hoist to mount the engine in his airplane and Cal had just gotten done using it to remount his engine. I drove down to Cal’s hanger over lunch on Thursday and picked up the hoist and took it to my hanger. The hoist had to be disassembled for transport, but it is not very difficult to tear down and put back together. So Saturday morning I went to the hanger and assembled the hoist and hooked it to the engine.

The engine was on a stand. The engine was pointing down with the crankshaft fastened into a hub which was bolted to the stand. I had to lift the engine and stand, then remove the bolts and remove the stand. With the stand removed the engine sat pretty level. Then I pumped up the hoist to be sure that it would lift the engine high enough and it did. However, when I tried to insert the bolts, the holes were just a bit too tight. I let the engine down so it was just off the floor and headed home to get the drill and do a few other things.

Later Saturday afternoon I had a bit more free time, so I went back to the hanger. First I drilled out the tubes on the engine mount. The problem was that there was some build up where I welded the large washers to the tubes and I needed to just open up that area. It only took a couple of minutes to run the drill through those holes and the bolts slid through just fine. I put the bolts in place, added another washer, then an engine mount bushing. This held things in place while I hoisted the engine into place. Then it was just to wiggle and jiggle things until I could add the other bushing, washer and then the nut. The lower mounts went together first and the engine had to be tipped back to get the upper mounts to fit correctly. The whole process of mounting the engine by myself took about an hour.

With the engine in place, I disconnected the hoist and moved things out of the way, then pushed Sawdust out of the hanger into the light and took some pictures.

With the engine mounted and without the tail feathers I can grab the end of the crankshaft and easily lift the tail. I don’t think that I will work on the cowling until I have the tail pieces in place. But then that is about the next thing to do anyway.

I was a bit concerned as to how the plane would look with the engine mounted. I was afraid that it would look like the nose was sticking out way too far, but I don’t think that is the case at all.

I really wanted the tail to be light enough that it would lift things off the ground early in the takeoff run and I think this will be the case.

The engine mount was built according to the specifications provided by Tony Bingelis in one of his books. The engine is a Continental C85-12. The starter and generator clear the firewall by about three inches.

The starter has the old “pull starter” arrangement. This uses a cable to pull on the lever which pushes the starter gear into place on the starter ring on the engine, then a bit more pull depresses the starter button to supply power to the starter motor. I think that the pull cable will need to be run over the top of the gas tank. I may use a solid rod instead of a cable, but haven’t decided yet. I will talk to Jerry about that since he has used this type of engine in his planes for years.

It has been a while since I welded up the engine mount and I guess I should have painted it right away. However, this is a temporary mounting of the engine to get the controls and instruments fitted. Then everything will need to be taken apart to apply the fabric and paint. The ropes are to hold the gas tank in place temporarily while I figure out how to build the permanent mount for it.

The hub that held the engine to the stand is still on the engine. I am not sure exactly how to remove it, yet. There is probably a very simple solution to this, but I will need to do a bit of research to find out the secrets. In the mean time the two bolts that held the hub to the stand are stuck in the hub and there is not enough clearance to remove them.

I wonder if those holes in the hub are the secret to getting it off.

The front view is pretty impressive. Well, at least to me. The red tag says that I need to add lock washers to the screws holding the heat muffs onto the exhaust tubes.

I was a bit concerned about the way that the wheels were sitting, but adding the weight of the engine helped things considerably. I didn’t get a good picture of their current positions, but there will be more weight added which will continue to make changes to their attitude. Fred and Cal recommended not making any corrections to the landing gear until I get everything else done. They think that the additional weight of the covering, windshield, gas tank, instruments, seats, etc. will make a big difference.

A look at things from the back. I am very pleased with things as they are at this point and am looking forward to a busy summer at the hanger.