SDS EFI 540 Installation (Rocket)

Discussion in 'Member Project Logs' started by Toobuilder, Sep 20, 2016.

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  1. Mar 14, 2017 #21

    Toobuilder

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    Below is my version of a filter airbox. Inspired by the offering from Van, I expect this one to be more effective. Shown below is the plug (MDF, tooling foam and glass), and the resulting mold half.

    [​IMG]

    Shown for perspectice is the 2x10x14 air filter element which has about a 50% increase in filter area over the previous cone style element. With the generous area and resulting low velocity, I expect essentially zero loss with this filter. Will have to flight test to confirm, but I'm betting the engine won't even feel the filter in practice.

    [​IMG]

    Next step is to pop out a pair of CF housing shells and bond them together as an airbox.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017
  2. Mar 25, 2017 #22

    Toobuilder

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    Here is the evolution of my air box. Plug, mold, part.

    First half came out of the mold nice. Its a keeper. Second one is under vacuum right now.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Apr 4, 2017 #23

    Toobuilder

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    Like the first, the second half of my FAB is a keeper and they are ready to be trimmed and joined. Need to work out the interface to the throttle body next, but I think the hard part is over.

    [​IMG]

    Debated simply modifying the existing instrument panel one more time to allow the addition of the SDS programmer, but in the end I decided that it would be almost as easy to build new. The new panel's lower edge is raised about an inch and a half to give me more knee room, so that will be welcome. The large piece of empty real estate on the left side will be occupied by my Ipad mini, which gets it off the floor or side pocket.

    The rework of this panel represents lessons learned from hours and hours of cross country time. Its tough to tell exactly how you are going to use an airplane until you've covered a few miles in it.

    [​IMG]

    This shot shows the ragged pie cuts and horrible riveting in the original top brow of the panel, compared to my new version, which employed my recently aquired metal shrinker/stretcher. Im far from an artisan with metal and this airplane is not winning a gold Lindy at Osh, but its a bunch better than before!

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2017
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  4. Apr 9, 2017 #24

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    Major surgery- no going back now!

    New inlets and outlet.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2017
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  5. May 1, 2017 #25

    Toobuilder

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    Not a bunch of progress, but this installment deals with brakes. I have rebuilt the rudder pedals to incorporate bushings in the pivots instead of snugged up bolts. While I was at it I decided the crude and heavy brake pedals had to go. Additionally, I tried something different with the brake line themselves and went with 1/8 OD stainless and compression fittings at both ends. I figured if Van used plastic tube and compression fittings, then this should be worth a look.

    Heres a graphic illustration of just how small that 1/8 line is. Same size as the FI lines on a Lycoming. Very easy to work with.

    [​IMG]


    I machined a pair of firewall fittings which accept 1/8 NPT fittings. On the cockpit side they are AN nipples for the existing hose.

    [​IMG]


    Nothing wrong with the existing brake pedals except they were not done very well and way heavier than required. The flat part is 1/8 plate riveted with #30 fasteners to that heavy extrusion.

    The new parts start with a hoop of 1/8 X 3/4 strap with the web being a folded up piece of .032 sheet. The good news is that I reduced the weight by 50% with the new parts, but the tradeoff was about a day spent to save 6 oz for the pair.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2017
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  6. Jun 29, 2017 #26

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    The theme of this installment is "10 pounds of shi.. Stuff in a 5 pound sack".


    First up is this fuel pump module. Those of you who have been to the SDS webite should recognize the design. Ross offers a very slick pump module with an integrated filter, but unfortunately its a bit too long to fit in the space I want it. So I talked Ross into selling me two of the "outlet" manifolds so I could build a shorter configuration. As it is, I had to machine down the center inlet boss to get another half inch back. In addition, I added a new center inlet port on the top side.

    [​IMG]

    As you can see below, even this new configuration is a tight fit. I was driven to this location by the need to get the pumps as low as possible relative to the fuel level. My planned use of auto gas brings elevated vapor pressure issues, so I want these pumps pushing, not pulling.

    [​IMG]

    This is my swirch panel which connects the panel to the battery area. Its as thin as I can get because I still need ready access to a planned storage area just in front of the stick area.

    [​IMG]

    The front panel is hinged to reveal the "guts" of the electrical system. It will also serve as a "spinal column" for the bulk of the power feeds going to the panel.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2017
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  7. Jul 7, 2017 #27

    Toobuilder

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    "Hell Hole"

    That's todays theme. Aircraft maintainers know the term - it is reserved for that particular spot in the airplane thats just a flat out ***** to deal with. In my Rocket, the center stick bay is that place. A lot of plumbing and "stuff" in a very tight area.

    Interestingly, all of these fuel lines can be removed in one piece if needed.



    [​IMG]

    This shot is looking forward to the firewall and shows the pressure and return lines. I did these in stainless steel primarily for abrasion protection. There will be a fiberglass bucket in this area and it will hold my tool bag and/or O2 bottle when required. With the bucket in place, its going to be hard to inspect so I figured a little extra durability was warranted.

    [​IMG]

    The need for a duplex valve makes this a busy spot. As it turns out, the center port I added to the pump module didnt work as well as I'd planned, so i went back to the standard side inlet that Ross has provided. Thats an Andair fuel filter at the bottom of the picture, feeding into the inlet on the right, under the torque tube.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2017
  8. Sep 26, 2017 #28

    Toobuilder

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    After weighing the pros and cons of an open baffle system I've decided to run down the full plenum path. New fwd baffles will seal one end of the box. The red rectangle inked on the left side indicates the representative area I need to have open to equal my 6 inch diameter inlets. Ideally, the transition duct will bellmouth into the plenum, but it's going to be a challenge to work it around the prop governor without an area reduction. I see some more composite work in my future.

    Also visible is the 3" diameter alternator pulley procured from the aviation section of Summit Racing. I did run it across my lathe and removed a bunch of excess weight (note the dish). Hopefully this will slow the alternator down and help it to live a long, trouble free life.

    [​IMG]

    Engine wiring is about done. That is a lot of wires running through that bulkhead pass through. The bundle is about an inch in diameter, and yes, the zip ties are temporary only. The proper string ties will be applied before flight.

    Also noteworthy in the background is the standard GM high pressure filter protecting any errant trash from getting to the injectors. This is a low cost, disposable piece that unfortunately requires specialized tube flare dies to work (which I have), as well as metric tube nuts (which I didn't have when I took the picture). The nuts arrived yesterday and the tubes are all in place. Also visible at the bottom of the picture is the O2 sensor which will be used for initial ECU tuning.

    [​IMG]

    Coils in place, injectors installed and wired, and the mock up fuel rail. Ultimately, the fuel rail will be stainless tube with 6 bungs welded on for the AN fittings. Short sections of #3 AN hardline will connect the rail to the injectors. If this doesn't work out, I'll fall back on the aluminum monoblock manifold that Ross sells with his EFI kits.

    [​IMG]

    Despite some debate concerning the long term effects of wrap on aircraft exhaust, I've decided to explore the benefits. This system is not long for the ship anyway, as it will be replaced with a tuned 6-6 before too long. We'll see.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2017
  9. Oct 23, 2017 #29

    Toobuilder

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    More electrical stuff. Finally got the backup battery installation figured out. Since I am now "electrically dependent", a robust scheme to keep electricity pointed towards the computer, pumps and ignition is high on the list. There are several ways to do this but I landed on a second battery as the most reliable. This battery was my former "primary" and will run the engine systems as long as there is fuel on board. Since the new "primary" battery is mounted forward and I've removed a bunch of equipment from the aft fuselage, a CG change is in order. This means moving the backup battery aft. And this was no fun, let me tell you!

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. Jan 29, 2018 #30

    Toobuilder

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    Long time with nothing picture worthy, but last night saw the prop go on and I shoved it outside to hose the dust off. Hopefully, next weekend has the engine running.

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. Aug 25, 2018 #31

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    Long time since an update. First turn of the starter happened some months ago, but never posted it. Better late than never?

    https://vimeo.com/286679098

    I had some wiring crossed on one of the MAP sensors which really screwed up the mixture, but even still, it fired immediately and ran. Since correcting the wiring it runs MUCH better today.

    Have not figured out how to imbed the video, but at least the link worked.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2018
  12. Sep 22, 2018 #32

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    Filter air box work today. Whipped up a quick mold to create an inlet bellmouth for the throttle body. This is a fairly short airbox so I need to give the air every chance to "turn the corner" into the vertical inlet.


    [​IMG]

    Pictured is the upper half of the box with the humps for the throttle arm and TPS, the mold, and the raw bellmouth.
     
  13. Sep 23, 2018 #33

    Toobuilder

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    Bellmouth installed and starting to get it faired in. Intake temp sensor plate drilled in. Other side of temp sensor plate is a similar sized tianium L bracket which will be used to hang the airbox from.

    [​IMG]

    Lots of cowling work today as well, but nothing picture worthy just yet.
     
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  14. Sep 24, 2018 #34

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    Tried press forming as well as spin forming today to create the induction inlet. Cheated a little in that I started with a 3 inch flange from Spruce. All I did was add a crown to the flange. Annealed the flange and pressed it into rubber. It didn't quite turn the corner at the outer edge, so I chucked it in the lathe and leaned on it with a tire iron. Worked out well.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2018
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  15. Dec 3, 2018 #35

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    Filter airbox pretty much complete. Still have to polish it up a little and add a seal to the lid.

    The concept of adding a very low profile (2 inch thick) filter into the tight confines of the lower cowl is illustrated here.

    [​IMG]

    The lid is WAY overkill. Its a .250 foam sandwich with 3+ plies of carbon. Pretty sure I could mount trucks to it and use it as a skateboard. Will probably layup a new one without the core but add a stiffener lip around the perimeter and add a "dome" over the throttle body bell mouth to add a little bit more room for the air to turn the corner. Both features will serve to stiffen the resulting lid, so why not take advantage of the real estate?
    [​IMG]


    Illustrating the design challenge of using a TB intended for horizontal mounting in a vertical application- the TPS impinges on the airbox. Throttle linkage is similar.


    [​IMG]

    Pretty decent offset of the inlet down into the fat, effective part of the propwash. My testing on other airplanes indicates this will give me a bit of a boost over pure dynamic ram.


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2018
  16. Jul 9, 2019 #36

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    Lots of work with no updates but the engine is now in the flight configuration. Zip ties are gone, Adels and string tie are in place, and this is as good as the engine will ever look. Might as well get the picture in for the record.

    [​IMG]

    Some noteworthy items include the final version of the oil cooler rigidly mounted to the accessory case and the fabricated fuel rail. Both are contrary to "normal" practice but I'm looking for some practical advantages. Flight test will verify.

    Concerning the fuel rail - I did a high power engine run yesterday and with the plenum top on it got pretty heat soaked in there. I put my hand on the "return" line on the accessory case and as it's solid SS tube it was very warm to the touch. As an experiment I turned on the fuel pump to see if I could detect the temperature change as it flushed fuel back to the wing. Almost immediately after pump activation the tube got almost too hot to hold as the heat soaked slug of fuel from the plenum area moved past, but within 5 seconds it cooled down to match the temp of the wing tank fuel. That pump moves a lot of fuel! Bottom line, there will be no need to "purge" fuel even after a quick fuel stop... By the time you turn on the pump, clear the area and hit the starter, the hot fuel will be back in the wing. Pretty cool (pun intended).

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2019
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  17. Aug 26, 2019 #37

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    Since all of my pictures are posted on a sharing site that will soon shut down, I thought a final post without pictures is appropriate. The Rocket flew yesterday for an hour, and 30 minutes today. Today's flight included a fuel stop and a brutal heat soak event. The SDS EFI didn't break a sweat and the engine started with "push button ease". Ross delivers on his promises. My cooling mods are "too" effective apparently, with stable temps under 380 with yet to be seated rings, high power and high ambient temps. I was expecting to see 450 for break in - and I'm running less inlet area than a stock Rocket and much less than the typical RV. It's going to be tough to keep this thing warm enough when LOP this winter. Induction airbox is already showing promising gains over the original Rod Bower inlet. More qualitative data to come. My oil cooler is the one disappointment. Temps are tracking higher than expected but I suspect that is the result of outflow impinging on the firewall. This was an easily seen outcome that I should have caught in the design stage. My bad.

    My plan for "a few months" project ran just shy of 35 months and that's disappointing. I really love this airplane and my wife and I gave up a lot of windshield time these last 3 years. Time to make up for that.

    Thanks for following along and offering encouragement.
     
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  18. Aug 26, 2019 #38

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    Ok, trying a new thing here. Made a short clip showing the easy starting of the SDS EFI. For those of you who have experience starting a heat soaked aircraft piston engine after a quick fuel turn, this video should be worth a million words:

     

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