Category Archives: Long Ez

Oil Cooler Replacement

I mentioned in the last post that after getting the wheel pants on Betty, the airplane was ALMOST ready to fly. The reason it wasn’t fully ready was during the wheel pant installation I removed the cowl. When I removed the cowl, I found this floating around inside the bottom cowl.


When I initially found it, I couldn’t figure out where it was from. So I set it aside, and knew that I was going to have to figure out where it was from. After thinking about it on and off for a few days, the type of aluminum and shape reminded me of the oil cooler attach flanges. Sure enough, the forward upper oil cooler flange had cracked through.


It certainly didn’t do all of that in the last flight. So this problem serves as a reminder to spend more time and be more thorough inspecting. With the forward flange cracked, the oil cooler found a new “home.” The new place the oil cooler wanted to be was about 1/8″ off the top forward mounting location. This said to us that there was some slight misalignment in the mounting bracketry  for the oil cooler. This placed the flanges under pre-load. The flanges are very soft aluminum and when under pre-load are prone to cracking.

After consulting with Greg, Pacific Oil Coolers, and a few other folks, the plan for the fix was to eliminate the pre-load and also to add cross tube supports between then flanges of the oil cooler. These cross tubes make each pair of flanges a unit and will prevent the flanges from “working” under vibration and engine operation. To eliminate the pre-load we added a spacer in the mounting brackets that took up the 1/8″ gap. The spacer is made out of baffle seal material (silicone) and has some give. Hopefully this will also provide some vibration isolation.

With Oshkosh coming up quickly, I decided to buy a new oil cooler to expedite Betty’s return to the air. Then I would send in the broken one and have Pacific Oil Coolers repair the flange. This way I have a spare, and if the fix proves successful, I can either use the repaired oil cooler on my next airplane, or sell it. Then again, having spare parts is always nice too… I have to note that Wayne at Pacific Oil Cooler really treated me well for all of this. After all, the problem was my fault, but they went out of their way. Terrific customer service.




The oil cooler installation will be a watch item over now. It will require more frequent inspection to verify that we have appropriately fixed the misalignment and that the flanges are no longer prone to cracking.


A cold Garaggio Ez, and lonely Garaggio

Ol Man Winter has arrived in Minneapolis, and I woke up to frigid temperatures this morning, -10 ferenheight. But I need to get some of this flight testing done so I can get the airplane to a warmer location. So when the temp warmed up… 

I went flying. It’s amazing how cold I got when the oat was between -8 and -10. I really need to find a way to keep my feet warm. The airplane flew well. Disregard the trim indications. I am running a tank low to recalibrate the gage. We are over 30 hours of flight time. Getting closer to phase 2!

Oh. And the Garaggio was feeling lonely without an airplane in it. So we moved Greg’s Long Ez in to do some modifications. We are going to find some more speed and efficiency for him through drag reduction. Time for me to help him out for all that he helped me with. 


Maintenance and Flying

There was a few things on this list this morning before flying the airplane again. As usual, things took longer than planned this morning, starting with procaffeinating. 

The before flying tasks consisted of doing another inspection on the engine compartment area since I had been gone for almost a week. I also wanted to go back and check Gregs work from the other day on the fuel system. I completely trust him, but we never did a “verbal briefing” handing off the work or communicating that it was all done. So I didn’t know the status. As I expected, Greg left the system in airworthy status. 

There was just one more thing I wanted to do to the fuel system. Greg checked the fuel filter at the fuel injection servo, but there is one more after fuel comes out of the fuel selector. So I had to take the front seat out and check that one. It had a little very fine sediment that it caught, but over all I was very happy with how clean it was. 

With that all cleaned up and re installed, I pulled the bottom spark plugs. I wanted to check to see what they looked like. I have been told that if they are black/wet that the rings are still not seated and you are still breaking in. And that was the case for cylinders 2 & 4. The rest of them looked pretty good actually. No signs of lead fouling or moisture.


So I cleaned up the spark plug adapters and put new plugs in. I didn’t have a good way of cleaning them at the hangar and auto plugs are pretty cheap. They got torqued down and I finished up a few miscellaneous things like reinstalling the rear seat interior. I also did a quick run up without the cowl to ensure there were no leaks in the fuel system and nothing vibrated loose. 

Then it was cowl up and go fly. Greg and I arranged to rondesvous in the flight test area. Here is a little video of me passing him. I had about 45 knots on him in level flight. 

Then this evening I brought the cowl home to add an air diverter scoop inside the cowl. This is to try to lower the CHT on cylinder #3. I don’t have the room to do it the same way as others have done like James Redmon and Curt Martin, but I think mine has a chance of working. So I made it out of pour foam and covered it with aluminum tape. After further thought I may need to cut the height down to make it fit, but I won’t know that until tomorrow when I try to fit the cowl. Let’s hope this works to even out the #1 and #3 CHTs. 


Moving Day!

The title says it all. We moved to the airport today. All went well, the only damage was a single zip tie that broke. I’m pretty excited. 

As a side note, I know I haven’t blogged in a while. It’s not because I haven’t been working on it, in fact the opposite. We have been working so hard and such long days I haven’t had the time or energy to post. I’ll be sure to at least get the photos posted soon from the last 3 weeks of work. 

The Garaggio is looking sparse. I keep getting surprised when I look out there that my airplane is no longer there. 


8 Year Anniversary

Today marks the 8 year anniversary of purchasing the Long Ez project. When I originally bought the project with Marty, I figured we would have it flying in 2-3 years. I have heard other builders jokingly say, “take your cost estimate times three, and your time estimate times four, add 10% fudge factor, and you are probably in the ballpark.” I always thought it was all in good fun. Turns out the joke is on the builder because there is no joke about that statement.

In all seriousness, it really isn’t that bad. I have moved, had 3 jobs, got married, and had a few other life events go on during the course of the project so that added quite a bit of time to the project thus far. In addition, I didn’t come anywhere close to following the plans, which is responsible for at least an extra 2 years on the build. But I digress. If you aren’t a Facebook friend of mine, here is the last 8 years in photos. Each one is taken on or as close to September 17 each year.

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Back Camera
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Its been an interesting but overall fun 8 years, but the project isn’t done yet, so lets keep going, shall we?

I cleaned up the layups from yesterday, and I am happy to report that the relocation of the rudder conduits and enlarging the aileron bays is done. The ailerons operate to more than the minimum travel with more than minimum clearance on the bottom skin. So we can move on to finishing the rigging.

I also cleaned up the layup from the intercom jack mounting plate and mounted the jacks. Nothing special there.


Since this worked well, I decided we would do the same mounting method for the rest of the peripherals that are in the arm rests. So I made and mounted a plate for the left side of the front cockpit that holds the 12V receptacle as well as the seat heater switch. I actually have an engraved cover to put over this one. Though I made some errors in how I designed it and we will eventually need to have a new one made.


While I was working down there, I made a replacement U-shaped fuel line for the inlet to the fuel pump. The last one we made worked really well until we tried to install the left console, which conflicted. The best way to solve that issue, in my opinion was to make the U shape longer to put the fore-aft part of the tube behind the console.


I also bonded in a ez-point nut as a hard point to accept the bolt of the adel clamp that secures the fuel filter. Now the fuel filter is rigidly mounted and the fuel system redesign can be called complete.


Eric also came over tonight and worked on wiring. He finished the last of the antenna BNC connectors, this one was for the ADSB. He is going to bring over his ADSB transmitter so we can see if it is working. He also fished wire through the wings for the nav/strobes and we got them final mounted.


Of course, then it was time for a light show. And Eric took a video of it. Never mind the goon working with 5-minute epoxy in the video.

Not bad for a celebratory, leisurely anniversary work session.

More with ailerons

Today I moved on to the left aileron and made multiple cuts along the bottom seam of the aileron bag to et the aileron to fit. As was expected, the rudder cable conduit was in the way again. So I started the surgical extraction. If the conduit. Unfortunately almost right away I damaged the conduit. It is somewhat visible in this photo, where he discoloration is. 

So I kept going and cleared out the glass, micro, and foam that was in conflict. Then I had to repair the tube. Seemed that the best way was to splice it. Luckily I have the proper tuning here to do that as I had to do it once before. So I cut a chunk of the damaged tubing out.  

Then I cut a chunk of the new tube to about 1/8″ longer than the original. The extra length allows me to very easily move the routing of the conduit as it naturally want to move further into the wing with the extra length. This new piece of conduit is inserted into a piece of tube that has the ID the same as the OD of the conduit and that is 2 inches longer than the splice. This extra is slid over the two ends of the existing conduit, and we have a splice. 

All that remained was to micro and layup some glass. It is curing right now. Tomorrow we will trim and get the ailerons mounted so we can proceed with the rigging. 

I also got the “service bulletin” done on the Strong Pitch Trim. If you haven’t seen it yet, James Redmon has a good description of the problem and solution on his website, It basically is adding 2 safety chains to the assembly as well as a witness mark so you can see if the motor slips in the mount. The safety chains prevent any failure from jamming the pitch system. 

I need to finish the reinstallation, but the safety measures are now done. I want to finish mounting the pitch trim position sensor first though. 

Lastly, Kevin and I bonded in a mount for the pilot interphone jacks. It is basically just a piece of phenolic that is bonded to the fuselage side. Then we cut away the matching area on the console. Before doing this, I verified that it wouldn’t be in the way of my arms when they are resting in their natural location in flight. 

I ought to be able to get that cleaned up and the jacks final mounted tomorrow. 

She’s Alive!

Well, the title pretty much says it all. We were able to get the Lycoming pre-oiling procedure and first engine start in today. Oh, and second, and third. It is getting to be about bed time for me, so I will give some more details another time (probably when I get all the videos edited), but thought everyone might like to  know.

The engine started right up, in a few blades of the prop. Seemed to run well, though our run time was limited by keeping the CHTs from overheating. All engine indications seemed to be reasonable except for maybe the fuel flow. It was showing a fuel flow before engine start. That may be a ground or programming issue. So we will have to look into that. But most of the instrumentation appears to check out. The alternator is charging. I did do a “mag check” with the electronic ignitions and the drops were larger than I expected, but it still ran smooth. We will see if that improves as the engine clears out the preservative oils etc. I have some data from the G3X data logging that I can look at as well.  But without further ado, here is the iPhone video of the first engine start.

Here are some screen shots of the EFIS during the engine run.

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Oh, and we got a few kills already too… I couldn’t believe how many bugs we had to clean off the prop.


Victory! Don’t think we will be needing to run the engine again until we get to the point of taxi-testing.


Since engine stuff is pretty much wrapped up for now, or at least until we get to the airport, we decided it was time to put the wings on so we can whittle away at the remainder of the airworthiness items remaining before we move to the hangar.