VariEze N388DT – Start of Engine Mods
It’s been a crazy few weeks of some really cool projects, much to the detriment of this blog. Some of these will be sharable here in the future, but for now, they are under wraps. However, at the end of this week, James had some time to start modding the VairEze O-200 a bit. There was a 2″ prop extension on there, but since we are going to be redoing the cowl and plenums, we swapped it out with an 8″ extension from Saber, which everyone agrees is the way to go on these planes. The extension is very nice – extremely well made and sturdy. Klaus Savier of Light Speed Engineering was kind enough to sell us a used B&C 200G alternator. These things are very light as is – 4.25 lbs – but Klaus shaved a bunch of metal off the mounting plate and made it even lighter. With an 8″ extension, you want everything as balanced and true as possible. Klaus told me a while back that he found the spinner back plates that Aircraft Spruce sells are very out of true – somewhere to the tune of 0.050″ – and so he has been getting them machined down in Santa Paula, and was kind enough to get one for us. So, we now have this very true, very nicely machined spinner back plate.
Here’s the old alternator and the new one. You can see the old one is about the size of a can of Brim.
We owe Klaus the gear off the old one. Would you believe that gear costs more than twice the alternator? Here’s a pic of the prop extension on the engine:
And here it is with the spinner backplate on:
There’s still a bit to do before we laser scan the engine for the new cowl and plenum. Those brake cylinders are going to get moved up front as the rudder pedals are going to get swapped out with the more conventional toe brake variety. The exhaust system is currently 2-into-1 on each side, which exits outboard. It seems to be accepted wisdom that this is not the way to do it – rather there should be four individual pipes, each exiting inboard to help augment the cooling flow through the plenum. I’m going to have to figure out if anyone makes one like this, or if it’s a custom job (anyone know?). The vacuum pump will also come off, as we will be upgrading the instruments and no longer need a vacuum system. Good thing, as I hate vacuum systems. Klaus also suggested that I remove the second magneto, which I’m pretty sure was his way of telling me we should buy another Plasma ignition. That’s not the worst idea, but we’ve got a whole lot of places on this plane needing money, and have to set priorities. It’s very exciting to finally be making some progress on the VariEze, can’t wait until she’s airworthy again!