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Thread: Building the EX3 - Tips & Hints

  1. #51
    Senior Member
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    Jul 2015
    Broken Arrow, OK

    Default Re: Building the EX3 - Tips & Hints


    Next you will be glad you jumped ahead and fitted the interior panel now instead of on Page 17.1 of the FINISH MANUAL. You have to fit and drill out the panels to connect to the floorboard, sides of extended baggage area and to each other. It's much safer to do it now than after covering because you will be drilling from inside the cockpit outwards through floorboards, etc. and it would be easy to go through the cover by accident.

    Also, I will install some web pockets into the panels since it will be easier to see the best places to install them so that the nuts don't interfere with anything on the inside of the interior panels. Now we can simply look from the outside in at fuel lines, stringer, tubes, etc. and mark them on the inside of the panels.

    The first thing we will do is take some wide masking tape (green tape actually works better than masking tape as it comes up better, later) and put it down all the way around the floorboard edges where the panels will touch. This is to protect the floor and also to give us something to mark the hole locations that we drill through the interior panels and into the floorboard. If you left the plastic wrap on the aluminum extended baggage area panels, you can just mark on the plastic as long as you leave it on until the finish.


    Then I mark the masking tape where the ends of the sides of the floorboards end so I know I can't drill a hole in the interior panels past that point. The manual is missing the figures that show where to drill the holes so I will add them later. They are not exactly correct so just use it as a general guideline on where to drill the holes. It doesn't really matter just so long as you get them into places that will secure it. Some of the holes they call for in the figure to drill would be outside the raised, outside lip on the floorboard (where I marked the ends on the tape) so you will have a hole in your panel that won't work because there is nothing behind the hole you drilled in the panel to secure the plastic push rivet into! At least with there being no cover on the fuse yet, you can just LOOK BEFORE YOU DRILL and see where you are drilling into.


    The reason for the masking tape is that after we drill the holes through the panel and floorboard edge, we will mark the holes and after that, you can't see the holes in the floorboard behind the panels once it's covered. Later on the finish we will set the panels in place and line up the holes in the panels with the marks on the tape on the floorboard to make installing the push pins easy..

    After drilling and marking the masking tape, we will leave this tape down until we are completely finished installing the panels during the "finish" stage of construction.

    Also put a few layers of tape over the bolt heads on the outsides of the rudder pedals to keep from scratching the panels. We didn't install the rudder cables yet because it's easier if they are not in the way when we do this.

    I guess I'm cheap.....but I save the big masking paper used to protect the interior panels during shipping. You will need to use them later when working on fitting your cowl to the boot cowl after paint. This "gerbermask" is very expensive and it's perfectly reusable, so just save it out of the way somewhere like I do with it stuck on the side of this cabinet.

    Also, I found it easier to just drill the holes from the outside of the fuselage since we don't have the cover on, especially up around the seat base that gets in the way and you have to have a side drill. Plus, by drilling from the outside, you can see your edge clearance better from the top of the floorboard.


    Start setting the panels in place. Note that you will have to remove the pre-installed throttle/prop control cover plate on the big, left panel and slide the handles through the slots already cut into the panel.




    Just follow the FINISH MANUAL around page 17.1 along except for a couple of things:

    DON'T install any of the actual black push rivets yet, just use clecos in every hole for now since we are going to remove the panels now.

    DON'T install all the fuel selector fittings yet;

    DON'T stick any velcro on BOTH sides of anything yet. I just cut and stick one side onto 1 surface (like under the upper lips of all the interior panels where it sits down on the fuselage window areas.) On the side tubes that get velcro, you can stick them to the fuse side now and leave the paper on the sticky side of the other side on for now and we will pull it off when we do the final install. We just want it in place now along with the felt so the panels will be in the proper places before we drill the bottom and side holes in the panels.

    For "Adhesion Promoter" I like these small packages you can get. They have a saturated sponge inside the package that is good for 1 time use and then throw away. These are a 5 pack on Amazon.


    So just set them in place and see if you need to trim any areas (like around this fuel line on the left side).


    The left, center panel is the first to fit because it HAS to have it centered on the fuel selector fittings sticking out and with the round tension know centered on the hole. Install that and then fit the other panels around it.

    Next, take your silver sharpie and mark the locations of any tubes, fuel lines, stringers, etc. on the outside of any panels that you may want to install the web pockets on so you won't position it so there would be any nuts interfering with any of these things.


    Here are a few locations I like for the pockets:




    These are some pockets that CHUCK & RYAN found and I get them off Amazon. They have rectangular ones and some with rounded corners. The rounded corner one is also great to put on the back of the front seat. Recently the rounded ones I have not been able to find anywhere.

    I use #6 machine screws 32x3/8" ; #6 washers and 3/8" locknuts to install them.
    Last edited by Daveembry; 12-30-2021 at 12:39 PM.
    Dave Embry
    "You only live once.......but if you do it right.........once is enough."..

  2. #52
    Senior Member ceslaw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Carterville, IL

    Default Re: Building the EX3 - Tips & Hints

    Looks like deja vu!

    Tips on placement of the pockets. First, carefully consider the feet of the passenger. I did not install the pockets low on either side for that reason. This effectively rules out a pocket on the right side below the door opening.

    Second, the pockets will be slightly out of 'shape' due to being under tension. The upper holes need to be drilled with a slightly wider placement to assure the right and left sides of the pocket will be parallel.

    Third, the only place the rounded one will be used is on the back side of the pilot's seat. But that is a definite place to put one. It gets used all the time. I would also consider putting a pocket in the extended baggage area. I may seem out of place, but there are some items that need to be handy in the baggage area that are small. I would use riv-nuts in that location so it could be removed if needed. That is one location I wish I had added one or two before I covered.

    Finally I would consider not putting on any of the felt or velcro. With all the work remaining, including paint and masking, they could get damaged. In addition with doing the final install you may decide you need less (or more) of the velcro than called for. The slight difference in positioning caused by placement of the velcro and felt won't affect the preliminary holes being drilled for placement of the plastic inserts.

    Your project is looking good, I sure enjoy your detailed updates.


  3. #53
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Broken Arrow, OK

    Default Re: Building the EX3 - Tips & Hints

    Good points Chuck. Thanks for jumping in. I was going to just copy your post about this so I'll go ahead and do it here as it talks about the squaring up of the pockets at the top, hardware, etc.

    The reason I do put the felt and at least put the velcro on 1 side is that I did have some mismatch problems on the last one I did. I did it without doing that and it was slightly off especially on the left panel where Velcro goes under the lip that goes over the top of the window. Without the increase height the 2 pieces (hook and loop) of Velcro add, your holes will be too low on the floorboard side. The 2 pieces of Velcro are around .20 thick or a little less if you compress it alot. If you don't want to install them, then just lay them up there or put some spacers the same size up there when fitting. I go ahead and stick the velcro to the bottom of the panel in this area now but leave the sticky side of the loop side (the part that will stick onto the fuse window ledge itself) with the paper on so it won't install on the fuse yet. I cover the fuse in the plastic/paper before paint so didn't have a problem with damage to felt, etc.

    The lower side pocket on the right side I used on my current plane. It is about a foot back from the pedal so out of the way of shoes but if someone jammed it full of stuff, it could stick out and hit their leg. I use that pocket to put my fuel strainer; screwdriver for baggage door in there only (low profile things).

    Another thought also is that I tried to use some of the "Velcro on" web pockets but with the heat the velcro always seemed to pull away from the panels, so I'd stay away from those and only use ones like this that you can bolt on.

    Good idea on baggage area pocket. I had thought about that too so may add a couple there as well. Thanks.


    Map Pockets

    After a lot of searching and ordering some that did not measure up to their advertising, we found storage pockets that look like they are up the Carbon Cub standards. They are made in Italy. One is curved, making it a perfect fit for the rear of the seat. The other is flat, 14Ē x 7Ē.

    Google ďBritta Products Map PocketsĒ and a number of suppliers will pop up.

    The map pockets were mounted using 8/32 stainless hex head screws and hardware. Note that on the side panel the top side screws need to be placed ľ to Ĺ inch wider than the distance between the holes to assure that the sides are parallel. I suspect that the tension of the elastic net causes the sides to flex inward. .

    By laying out the location carefully you can avoid hitting any vital organs behind the interior panel skin

    The curved map pocket is an ideal fit on the back of the seat. But we really did not want to take the seat apart to tighten a nut on the back side of the seat frame. So instead nutserts were used. After drilling the holes a bit of epoxy was used before they were tightened in place. Unless someone gets really aggressive this should work just fine.

    Quote Originally Posted by ceslaw View Post
    Looks like deja vu!

    Tips on placement of the pockets. First, carefully consider the feet of the passenger. I did not install the pockets low on either side for that reason. This effectively rules out a pocket on the right side below the door opening.

    Second, the pockets will be slightly out of 'shape' due to being under tension. The upper holes need to be drilled with a slightly wider placement to assure the right and left sides of the pocket will be parallel.

    Third, the only place the rounded one will be used is on the back side of the pilot's seat. But that is a definite place to put one. It gets used all the time. I would also consider putting a pocket in the extended baggage area. I may seem out of place, but there are some items that need to be handy in the baggage area that are small. I would use riv-nuts in that location so it could be removed if needed. That is one location I wish I had added one or two before I covered.

    Finally I would consider not putting on any of the felt or velcro. With all the work remaining, including paint and masking, they could get damaged. In addition with doing the final install you may decide you need less (or more) of the velcro than called for. The slight difference in positioning caused by placement of the velcro and felt won't affect the preliminary holes being drilled for placement of the plastic inserts.

    Your project is looking good, I sure enjoy your detailed updates.

    Last edited by Daveembry; 09-16-2018 at 10:08 AM.
    Dave Embry
    "You only live once.......but if you do it right.........once is enough."..

  4. #54
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Broken Arrow, OK

    Default Re: Building the EX3 - Tips & Hints


    NOTE - UPDATE: I have started using nutplates instead of these plastic push rivets in the panels. I just install them onto the floorboard by drilling and installing the nutplates. I also use the plastic screw covers to go over the screw heads. I use these parts:

    - AN526C632R6 Truss Head Screws into the nutplates
    - 91620A100 Screw Covers, #4, #5, #6
    - MS21059L06K Nut Plates

    Here are the figures I got for the locations of the holes to drill. Note that when CubCrafters puts dimensions in (parentheses) that means "approximately" so you can move them around, delete them, etc. So these dimensions are in parentheses so just locate them to appropriately secure the panels together and to the floorboard and rear baggage panels. Just look before drilling and be sure you are going through the floorboard.

    Note that the figures says to make holes .194 and that that is a #10 drill bit. WRONG...... it's a #9 bit that is .194.

    Velcro only goes on the top of the left front window; right and left rear "D" window tops and the 2 vertical posts on either side where the center and rear panels meet.





    Also pay special attention as this is a safety issue. The right and left FRONT PANELS GO ON THE OUTSIDE OF THE FUSELAGE FRONT TUBES, NOT ON THE INSIDE. If you don't do this and leave them on the inside, they could get in the way of the rudder pedal when flying.


    When you later install the push rivets (during the FINISH stage), a great way I found to install them was using this $1.50 Harbor freight pliers that are curved. This lets you hold the rivet between the head and the end of the rivet which lets you push it in hard without pushing the pin in.


    Be sure you go ahead and cut out the rear seat bar areas on the left and right center panels as shown in the manual. It's easy to use a drill bit or Dremel with the end bit while the panels are in place. Do it from the outside and you can use the fuse welded pieces as a guide.



    While you have the front, left panel in would be a good time to do the "stand-offs" for that 1 fuel line that goes around there so you can be sure they are positioned correctly for the cut-outs in the panel at the top.


    Be sure and mark the exact hole locations on your bottom and back holes on the masking tape or onto the baggage panels before removing the panels.



    An area of confusion can be the 2 rear panels.

    There should NOT be this gap at the top of the panel. You will use the velcro there but that is it.

    (this gap is NOT correct)

    You first take the rear panels and place them so that the BOTTOM of those panels are touching the floorboard. Drill the holes and install the clecos.

    Next, you drill and install the hole BELOW the "tube" part
    (that goes over the rudder cable) to fix it in place.

    (Note the "Tube" part going over/around the rudder cable)

    Next, you simply press DOWN on the TOP OF THAT TUBE AREA until the top of the panel comes down and meets the middle panels so they align.

    So that panel is not's FLEXIBLE and you simply press down (or squeeze the top and bottom of that "tube" area) on it until it lowers the upper part until it meets the middle panels correctly. You are simply adjusting that panel to the perfect size using that bowed out tube section.

    When I pre-install these panels, I first cut the velcro (both sides) to the proper lengths (the upper part of the left, center section that goes over the window and the upper part of both rear sections going over the D window areas. I go ahead and clean and use the adhesive promoter on the carbon fiber parts and stick the loop side to the interior panel pieces. I do NOT install the velcro anywhere on the fuse yet. I then stick the loop side onto the hook side on the panels and leave the paper on the sticky side for now. I just want to have the thickness of both sides of that velcro on before making my final holes in the pieces.

    When I actually install the panels for the final time at the very end of the build, I remove the loop side from the panel where I left it.....and go ahead and clean/adhesive promotor the fuse top of window areas where it will go.....and stick it onto the fuse. I then take the wax like paper that I removed from the sticky side and use a little masking tape to hold it into position ON TOP of that loop velcro I just installed on the fuse and leave it there until my panel is perfectly in place and positioned correctly with all the holes lined up at the bottom and sides of the floorboard. When it's all good, I then hold the panel in place where I want it (to be flush with the outsides of the window areas) and pull the paper out. It's easier that way. If you just stick it together to start with, that stuff is so good of a grip that it's hard to move the panel around getting holes lined up, etc.

    Remove the panels and set aside until you are ready to install the web pockets or to install after the paint and wiring is all done. Since you have marked the tubes, etc onto the backs of the panels, you can install the pockets anytime later.
    Last edited by Daveembry; 07-21-2021 at 07:04 AM.
    Dave Embry
    "You only live once.......but if you do it right.........once is enough."..

  5. #55
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Broken Arrow, OK

    Default Re: Building the EX3 - Tips & Hints


    Now that I have the interior panels fitted and out of the way I will go ahead and install the rudder cables.

    The anti-chafe tape goes here on this diagonal. You can see how the 2 elevator cables cross that cable as explained in an earlier post.

    Last edited by Daveembry; 12-18-2021 at 12:10 PM.
    Dave Embry
    "You only live once.......but if you do it right.........once is enough."..

  6. #56
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Minneapolis MN

    Default Re: Building the EX3 - Tips & Hints

    My ex3 kit arrived today and Iím reading through your thread. Man, canít thank you enough for your work on this blog, Dave! Iím thrilled to start my first ever build, and Iím sure youíll be a tremendous help with your guide. Thank you!!!

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  7. #57
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Broken Arrow, OK

    Default Re: Building the EX3 - Tips & Hints

    Congrats Pete!! Glad to have you following along. Just ask any questions you have and we will try our best to help out here on the forum. Now the fun begins (inventory...ugg...the first ....and ....worst part.)

    Quote Originally Posted by ex3pete View Post
    My ex3 kit arrived today and Iím reading through your thread. Man, canít thank you enough for your work on this blog, Dave! Iím thrilled to start my first ever build, and Iím sure youíll be a tremendous help with your guide. Thank you!!!

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Dave Embry
    "You only live once.......but if you do it right.........once is enough."..

  8. #58
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Broken Arrow, OK

    Default Re: Building the EX3 - Tips & Hints


    Sorry to jump around but I had to wait on a new yoke to come in but I'll finish installing it now. I originally started this topic back on post #50.

    The manual is pretty good on this. Just be sure you are noting that you need to put an AN416L washer on either side of the post on the fuse where the jackscrew goes through, so 1 in on the upper side on the jackscrew and the other is on the lower side and between that post and the coupler on the trim motor. Here are a few pictures:





    After you have it all hooked up, on page 162 (Dropbox) we will test the motor and move it up and down to set the limit switches. Pay attention to the manual telling you to have a helper hold the yoke straight while you move it.

    First you will need a length of wire with alligator clips on either end probably 16-18 gauge. We will use this to hook up to the ground bolt on the trim motor platform as shown in photo 255 and the other end to the negative on the battery. I'm actually using the PowerSafe SBSJ16 Aircraft battery here. (what CC is using now).




    Note that I'm putting the battery up by the boot cowl area of the plane to access the 2 orange wires we ran up front through the left side stringer. They are MB07D20O and MB06E20O as shown on FS56. Strip a little insulator off the ends of these 2 wires. We will first touch BOTH wires on the battery at the same time (one on the positive side of the battery and the other on the negative side of the battery) and the motor should move.

    If you have the MB06E20O on the POSITIVE side of the battery and the MB07D20O on the NEGATIVE side, the yoke should move DOWN. Then switch the wires on the battery and when they are reversed, so will be the direction of travel and the yoke should move UP the jackscrew.

    Pay attention to the manual and adjust both of the limit screws on the fuse so that the limit switches hits them so they will shut off the motor when the travel is as shown in the manual of 1/16" from max travel.



    NOTE: In this photo you will see a RED clip on my wire from the ground on the back on the battery negative terminal but it is only because I ran out of length of wire on my black one hooked on the rear ground bolt and I attached the red wire to it to give me more room to move up to the front of the plane to access the 2 wires more easily.

    When you have set the limit switches then move the yoke to about the center of the range so it will be in a good position later when you go to install the stabilizers after paint. If you donít do that now, you will have to dig out your battery and wires again later.

    I wish I could test the trim position sensor when testing the rest of your G3X wiring install but I havenít figured out yet how to do it without the G3X system installed. If someone else here can figure out how, please let me know. The problem is that to test it, you need to send a 5v power into the sensor via the orange/white wire, then you can manually move the string and see the voltage change on the output white wire coming out of the sensor, and know itís good.

    I'm adding this post after I finished my plane and found this problem. Hereís what happened:

    I went to configure the trim position sensor and it wasn't the calibration mode in the configuration menu (see below) you can actually see the voltage change as you move the trim motor as it pulls the string out or in. I pulled the connector that attaches to the sensor.....from the wire harness I installed down the fuselage stringer on the left side and checked the voltage with the master switch ON. It did not have power as it should. The blue/white wire is the ground and the orange/white wire should have 5v. The white wire is the variable voltage out of the sensor (it measures how far the wire is in or out of the pot).

    The trim sensor is a "string pot". There are 3 shielded wires in that harness that goes from the GEA24 unit in the panel (engine management module) to the trim sensor that is mounted behind the trim motor. The circuits are totally separate from the trim motor, so neither has any effect on the other.

    The trim sensor "string" is attached to the elevator trim so that it moves the wire when you move the trim on the front of the elevator stabilizers. The Executive Glass Manual shows that it should have a 4 pin connector on the front and aft end of the wiring harness....but this is wrong. The sensor is a 3 wire sensor and the 4th wire is the "shield" wire around the 3 wires. They just kill it in the harness at the sensor location but the front of the wires have a 4 pin plastic connector that connects to another 4 pin connector in the harness that is coming out of J433 inputs of the GEA24 until (just behind and left of the G3X GDU display). The 3 wires go into the unit pins but the 4th is the shield which goes onto the outside of the clamshell as a ground.

    For some reason, I did not have 5v at the orange/white wire at the end of the harness where it connects to the sensor so I went up to where my trim sensor wiring harness (the one going down the left side of the fuse in the stringer) connected to the white, 4 pin connector coming out of the GEA24 and disconnected the wiring harness connector and again measured the voltage of the wires there..........and it was a good 5v on the orange/white pin with the negative lead on the blue/white pin.

    So, now I know the wire harness is bad. These are very small 24 ga wires and it doesn't take much for them to mess up. I had a new harness in my new kit I'm about to start so I connected it (outside the plane just to test before taking all the left side interior panels out and running the new wire down the stringer!!!!!!) and tested it at the 3 pin connector that attaches to the sensor and it was all good. So.......I went ahead and attached it to the connector to the sensor just to test AGAIN.....and IT DIDN'T WORK!!!

    I took the new sensor I had from my new kit and attached it to the connector and it worked just great. So.......I had a bad wiring harness AND a bad sensor! What are the odds of that??? Not too good. I bet the wiring harness bad wire had something to do with the sensor going bad. Anyway, now I get to have all the fun of trying to get up in there and replacing the sensor as well as the new wiring harness.

    In the future for me, you better believe I will test that sensor before cover and boot cowl install. The trim position sensor has to be configured in the G3X. In the Garmin Installation Manual around page 800 is where itís covered. Just need to figure out how to test it. Iím not an electrician so not sure how to feed it 5v.

    Go into the configuration mode (hold MENU button while turning on G3X) and then down to the last item which is AIRFRAME & Something. Scroll down and you will see TRIM INDICATOR (or something similar as I go from memory). This will open another screen and you will see CALIBRATE button on the bottom, right side. Touch it then on the left side of the screen, you will see where you can select NEUTRAL, FULL UP and FULL DOWN. With your Master switch ON, run the trim motor until your elevator/stabilizer would be about in the middle. It really doesn't matter because you will re-calibrate it later.

    With it somewhere near the center, select NEUTRAL and then touch to STORE IT. Then run the elevator FULL UP and select the option of FULL UP in the box and then press STORE IT and the same for FULL DOWN.

    Touch SAVE and then the BACK button on the G3X until you are back to the main configuration screen and then press "SAVE AND RESTART".

    Then, after it reboots, you should see the trim position indicator down on the bottom left area of the display. Run the trim motor up and down and be sure the indicator works and you are done. Easier to see if you have a problem now than later. I tested everything..... all the light wires for continuity and power, trim motor, etc. but I didn't test this and sure as hell.......


    Well, we are done with the fuse build except for building the boot cowl. The last thing I do is to go over the blending in of the few places on the extended baggage door with the RAGE lightweight body filler. I also do the front, left side where the top window stringer meets the left fabric spacer and I also put a little where the ends of the stringers meet the "posts" on some ends or anyplace else where you need different parts to meet together and be smooth.


    Last edited by Daveembry; 07-03-2019 at 05:36 AM.
    Dave Embry
    "You only live once.......but if you do it right.........once is enough."..

  9. #59
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Broken Arrow, OK

    Default Re: Building the EX3 - Tips & Hints


    . The insulation being used now is not like the rigid, thick insulation shown in the manual and video. It's more of a "blanket" and can be compressed. I don't do like the manual shows for the old insulation of mounting the firewall on the board, etc and cutting it out around the edge. I just lay the vinyl down on top of my wood workbench (with the black, finished side facing down) and then spread the blanket of insulation out on top of that.

    Then lay the firewall on top of the insulation being sure the GASOLATOR HOLE (See FS55 on Page 25.4. When looking down at it, it will be the bottom, right hole level with the top of the tunnel) is on the lower, right side.

    With a razor knife I just cut out around the outside of the firewall while pressing down on the firewall (compressing the insulation and holding it tight as I cut). I then cut out with the razor knife around the big holes in the firewall with the razor knife. I then take a sharp awl and while holding the insulation and vinyl tight against the firewall, I just poke a hole through all the small holes in the center area of the firewall (NOT on ANY of the small holes for the angles rivet hole around the outside edge). I won't actually ever cut these small holes but will drill through them LATER when installing the screws, etc.

    Then just remove the firewall and then flip/lay the insulation blanket over on it's other side next to the vinyl. Then spray the back side of the vinyl (the white side that should be facing up) and the insulation with the 3M Hi-Tack 76 Spray Adhesive. Now just fold/lay the insulation blanket over onto the vinyl being careful to line up all the edges and holes. Then just press down across the blanket to get it stuck firmly and then set it aside to dry.

    I get the 3M here

    Recently I couldn't get it on Amazon and could only find it at my local Granger store.


    The video is good. You will note that now you have to use #40 cleco and not a #30 before you drill. They are now making the holes smaller and you will have to match drill all the holes with a #30 so you will also need to deburr the holes as well.

    Use the rounded head on your rivet squeezer on the heads.


    To set your rivets to proper depth, you can order a set of these gauges. This blue one works on #30 size rivets and it lets you simply place it over the head of the set side of the rivet. When you squeeze it to the proper depth, it will just fit over the head side to side and the 2 sides of the gauge should just touch the surface of the riveted part and the upper part of the gauge should touch the top of the rivet. If it's right, it will all touch all the way around the gauge (gauge to rivet).



    To make rivets set correctly, just be sure you have the head centered on the one side of your squeezer and then on the other side be sure and hold the squeezer so the it's completely parallel with the part as you squeeze, so the rivet is flush and square to the part.

    I do the order a bit differently than the video and manual. After installing the firewall angles, I like to install the 2 brackets (top and side) onto the firewall first. You can move the firewall out on the edge of your workbench and we will build the tunnel and just let it hang down over the edge.

    Then I install the tunnel onto the brackets.

    The firewall has changed a bit from the video. The "Top Angle" SC53103-002, is different that video in that it has 8 holes now on the side that fastens to the firewall and the one shown in the video only has 6. One side of that top angle has only 7 holes and a "tab" sticking out on it. If you line up the side with the 8 holes onto the firewall that are all pre-drilled, then you will have the 7 holes facing inwards towards the cockpit and the "tab" on it on the left side of the aircraft. You can see in these photos that I have also written the correct rivet numbers showing where they go as well.



    Some of the manual is wrong and the figures no not show all or the correct rivets. Here is a photo of the correct parts. You will see the 2 FLUSH RIVETS and the 9 rivets (same as used on the firewall angles). All the heads go on the cockpit side except the 2 flush rivets which goes on the outside (forward side) of the firewall.


    In the video Mitch bucks some of the rivets on the side angles but you can just squeeze them no problem.



    Measure the 3" back according to FS64 and I like to mark it with a silver sharpie myself instead of tape. Hemostats are super handy to me in LOTS of places throughout this build but particularly handy setting these cushioned clamps. I get them at Harbor Freight for almost free. I get the biggest, longest, heaviest duty ones and smaller ones with curved tips even.


    Put the clamps on the diagonal tube and then use some good pliers to squeeze them together over the tube with the holes LINED UP. DO NOT TAPE THE TOP OF IT TO THE VTUBES NOW. It makes it much harder because it makes the panel fight you. You can tape it up there after you have the clamps in place.

    Then, while keeping the front of the instrument panel touching your 3" line, slide the clamp up so the holes are over the lip and using your biggest, toughest hemostats, clamp it in place. Then you can drill the panel lip on the bottom out by drilling with the #12 bit right through the holes in the clamp. You might have to use another hemostat to hold the clamp in place while you move the first clamp so you will have room to push the screw up through the hole.



    Make sure before drilling that you have the panel centered in the opening by measuring how much sticks out on each side.


    Gordon Gilchrist has a good suggestion of using safety wire to hold the clamps closed until you get the bolts/nuts in. He also uses this on the fuse to secure the D-windows later to keep them from rattling.

    adel safety wire.jpg
    Last edited by Daveembry; 12-20-2021 at 12:01 PM.
    Dave Embry
    "You only live once.......but if you do it right.........once is enough."..

  10. #60
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Broken Arrow, OK

    Default Re: Building the EX3 - Tips & Hints


    The boot cowl isn't very hard but it is intimidating. The video is pretty good at showing it done.

    NOTE: I have added 3 good videos (3 parts) on the boot cowl build on YouTube. Here is a link to Part 1

    Here are a few tips:

    When you cut the wood for the backing, make it about 1-3/4" from the edge or at least measure your squeeze riveter and see first how much room you need. I cut my wood 2" from the edge and I still had to "modify" (grind) my rivet squeezer to fit.



    Use LOTS more clamps than Mitch did in the video. If you want to keep any bowing in the cowl out, you have to clamp every single tab which means about 50 clamps. I gave a link to really good, inexpensive clamps in the first post. By far the best price I found anywhere.

    Whichever end you START, then be sure and use your hand and press down tight on the boot cowl metal being sure it's FLAT FLAT FLAT with the firewall before clamping it. I think Mitch spaced the clamps far too far apart. I like starting installing the panels at the TOP instead of the bottom as the manual says. That way you can be assured of lining up the slits in the panel with the Vtubes in the fuse, which is probably the most important thing. If you start at the bottom you will probably be redoing it several times to try and make it come out right on top.

    Also when you do drill and cleco, if I start at the top, I drill 1 hole then go to the very next hole......I don't skip any! The manual says to count up from the bottom and start at the 7th hole and then go up and then down from that hole.

    Angle your drill slightly in the direction you are moving. For example, if you are working from the 7th hole down towards the bottom, angle your drill downward slightly when you drill the hole. That way when you install the rivet, it will slightly pull everything even tighter. But drill 1 hole at a time and then the next one. Don't skip any or you may get some of the bows between the holes.

    When you go to dimple....don't overdo it. You don't want to make a "bowl" around each rivet that you will see. Just dimple it enough so you can put the countersunk/flush rivet in; squeeze it and it be level with the surrounding metal. Maybe start at the very bottom holes (that you won't see) first to set your dimpler and then your rivets. Go small and gradually increase the set as needed. Then you can also take a straight edge across the rivet to see if the head is level with the surround metal, low or high and adjust before doing them all.

    (How do you like the way I number my planes? The numbers are the last number of the year of birth of me, my daughter and son and then my initials.... N638DE. For my 2nd and 3rd plane I just rotated the numbers around some.... N836DE.....N368DE, etc)

    Be sure and do what Mitch showed about using screws and big fender washers around the edge of the firewall to wood. The firewall is very flexible and this helps hold it up against the wood better out on the edges. I used the AN970 washers in the totes along with the screws to hold the firewall in place.

    Start at the bottom or top and see if it all works out. It has to be both flush at the bottom with the edge of the tunnel area and it also has to be centered on the vbrace posts up at the top to look good. I prefer to start at the top and not the bottom as the manual says because the most important thing is that the slits on top are centered on the fuse tubes.

    I start at the top first by getting the cutout in the metal centered on the brace and then I go down 1 tab at a time with a clamp BEING SURE THE EDGE OF THE FIREWALL STAYS FLUSH WITH THE WOOD AND NOT BOWED IN OR OUT. If it's bowed in away from the wood, reach in from the cockpit side and push it back out flush with the wood. The LEFT SIDE top will NOT be in the center of the firewall but more towards the right side. Then the RIGHT SIDE piece WILL be centered on the top of the firewall and between the fuse tubes in the slits. This should let both sides be centered on those tubes.


    Here you can see what I mean about the edge of the firewall not being flush with the wood.


    Line up the boot cowl all the way around and hopefully it will come out flush in the tunnel. If not, figure out why and just do it again. It seems it can all change with any of these 3 things. Either the firewall edge was not flush with the wood (the screws and washers remember); the metal isn't sitting down flush on top of the instrument panel or it isn't sitting down flat against the side fabric spacers. If it isn't touching all these areas, it will distort how it goes around the firewall tabs.



    Before installing the panels, first mark a 1/2" line back from the forward edge of each fabric space that you installed. This is so you can be sure you have it far enough back on it for the screws to go into the fabric spacer later on the finish when you install it after painting. On the right side, you will try and make it flush with the back side of the front door opening where it will screw into that fabric space as well as being 1/2" aft of the forward edge of that fabric spacer.

    (sorry. I just can't get it to put a photo taken with an Iphone to come out right and I can't rotate it! This should be rotated 90 to the right to show the left fabric spacer)

    When putting the shims in, 1 is W I D E and the other is SMALL. The purpose of these is for: The W I D E one....holds the cowl in place and the SMALL one is a spacer about the same thickness as the cowl where it meets the boot cowl. So it's important that the small one is completely pushed back under the boot cowl. If it's sticking out anywhere, it will of course keep the cowl from meeting up tight against the boot cowl.

    The manual and Mitch talks about putting the small and wide shim together and match the curve they are both cut in. Just lay them out and line them up and match them up. Also, he says there is a bigger curve at one end than at the other. It's kindof hard to tell but it looks now like they are cutting a little notch or dogear off the TOP end of the WIDE space.

    So install these 2 shims with the small shim matching the curve of the big shim......the notch in the big shim goes at the TOP of the boot cowl and the notch go INBOARD, inside the boot cowl. (Like in the photo....notch UP and the arrows pointing the way it goes into the boot cowl.)


    Like the manual says, they say to start the small shim on the bottom at the tunnel angle and the wide one at the top, center. Hmmmm. Hard to do unless you take all the clamps off and I'm not doing that. I just take about 12" - 18" of clamps off the top and then leaving all the other clamps in place (to keep all the work you have already done lining up the boot cowl and firewall!!!), just wrap both shims around the boot cowl and starting at the top, put them both at about the center where the 2 boot cowl pieces meet and then just work your way around taking off the top most clamp, lining up the shims, firewall edge and boot cowl edge.......and use that clamp to clamp the top as you go. When you get to the bottom, they should both end up at around (or just short) of that big bend in the boot cowl where it turns back into the tunnel.

    The manual says to do 1 side first and then do the other side. Don't know why.....I set them both up first and be sure everything is good, then start drilling. Also, the manual says to cut off the top end of the small shim at "the first notch". This is because you have overlapping boot cowl pieces at the top. You instead can just start the top end of the small shim on the 2nd side you do, where the end of the 2 pieces of boot cowl come together and then cut off the bottom end later....which is much easier. The goal here is to not have too much of a "spacer" up where those pieces overlap, so just remove 1 shim or the other where that overlap occurs.

    A small pair of "almost free" Harbor Freight curved pliers helps to reach in and pull out the firewall edge if you need to.


    and I use a small, flat blade screwdriver or a "pick" to push back the small shim. It is actually the same width as the tabs coming off the firewall, so if you have it shoved all the way up against the firewall, it should be dead even with the end of the firewall just shove it back and then push or pull the firewall tab until it lines up with the boot cowl and clamp it.

    Remember to keep working from the top to the bottom and put a clamp on every single tab as you go.....being sure there is no bowing or gaps. If you use this many clamps, it won't.

    Before you start drilling, do one last check. From the outside, look completely around it and be sure the small shims are not sticking out anywhere all the way around. Then, look on the inside of the (outboard) end of the firewall and look at the big shim. It should be touching (or almost touching) the firewall all the way around showing you that you have it pushed all the way in. Now just drill 1 hole at a time as stated previously, starting at the 7th hole from the bottom and work down to the bottom and then up to the top; dimple and rivet.

    REMEMBER DON'T RIVET THE VERY LAST SPOT THAT IS ON THE VERY BOTTOM ON BOTH SIDE. Where the firewall meets the tunnel there is 1 tab on the firewall that meets the tunnel on either side of the tunnel. Don't drill or rivet this tab to the firewall yet. Wait until after you have installed the hatch cover and then install them last. When we finish installing the hatch, then we drill, dimple and install the 2 MS20426AD4-5 rivets into these 2 holes. See FS56. I DO NOT install these rivets first like they say to do in the manual on Page 28.6. I install this LAST.


    In the video you can see Mitch bucking rivets on the tunnel to firewall but now most everywhere on the kit, they have changed the rivets called for in the areas that canít be reached with a hand squeezer, to use Cherrymax rivets instead (HDW-CR3213-4-1). Thatís what they did here too. Look at FS63 and see that now you can simply pull them instead of bucking.

    Just one last thought on installing the rivets and keeping the boot cowl as flat as possible between the rivets without it bowing out any more than we can help it.

    If we start riveting back where we first started drilling on the 7th up from bottom hole, then after dimpling go ahead and run your #30 bit through the holes again to be sure there is plenty of room around them to move a bit if needed (don't "wallow" them out..just clean them out so the rivet isn't jambed into it to start with). Remove the cleco, clean up the hole and install that rivet being sure not to over set it so that it dimples the surface of the boot cowl. When setting these rivets, pay very close attention to your hand squeezer over the head of the rivet. Be sure it is sitting flush on the rivet head and boot cowl and not tilted and that the other side is centered on the back side of the rivet and squeeze very carefully watching the boot cowl side. Keep that squeezer as flat as possible (flush on the boot cowl) throughout the pull so it is set flat and pretty!

    Going downward from this 7th hole up, pull the next cleco and clean the hole again. THEN......put a clamp on the area between the rivet you just set and the one you are about to. This will keep it flat until you can pull the rivet. Keep working your way down until at the bottom and then go back up to that 8th hole from the bottom and do the same as you work UPWARDS towards the top of the boot cowl. You can't make it any prettier than this. Remember not to do the very bottom firewall tab on each side yet.

    Here is a photo of me working upwards. You can see the rivet I just set, then the clamp and then the squeezer about to set the next rivet. The clamp is being sure there is no slack or "bow" in that small area between the 2 until you set the rivet.


    So here is the order I like to do this:

    - Put the firewall angles onto the firewall while on the bench
    - Attach tunnel angles and tunnel to the firewall while on the bench
    - Mount the board onto the firewall and screw on as many big fender washers with screws all around the edges where the board meets the firewall as you can to hold the edge of the firewall as stiff as possible as well as a few in the center of the firewall always using the existing holes in the firewall to put the screw through.
    - Mount the firewall onto the fuse (check to be sure the floorboard isn't sticking out and keeping the firewall from hitting the fuse mounts flush).
    - Fit both side panels around the firewall using clamps every few inches. Start with left side first because of the "lip" on the inside of it at the top. It will fit slightly to the right side of the aircraft so that the tube is centered in the slit. The RIGHT SIDE will be centered between the tubes and firewall.
    - Install the big and small shims by removing a few clamps at a time and working the shim in and using more clamps working from the bottom to the top of the cowl. I put them BOTH IN AT THE SAME TIME, not like the manual says to do it one at a time.
    - At the very top, mark the small shim where the 2 side panels overlap and cut it away so that you don't have a thicker area up there where the panels overlap. You will probably have to cut about 1/2" or so.
    - Drill a #30 hole in the 7th hole up from the bottom. Install a cleco and then a clamp between this cleco and the next hole down. Be sure small shim and firewall tabs are flush (or slightly inboard) of the edge of the cowl and that the big shim is flush up against the firewall on the inside and then drill the next hole and cleco. Repeat to the bottom of the cowl and then go up to that 7th hole and put a clamp between it and the next hole up and repeat all the way to the top. Do this for both sides.
    - Starting again at the 7th hole, remove that cleco and dimple that hole. Reinstall the cleco and install a clamp again between this cleco and the next hole and do just like above.......dimple and move on to the next one. Be sure to put a clamp between the dimpled hole you just did and the next hole to be sure there is no gapping up of the panel.
    - Once they are all dimpled, AGAIN go back to that 7th hole up and remove the cleco, run the drill through the hole again to clear it and install the rivets MS20426A4-5 in all but the bottom 5 holes on each side and the 1 on the bottom. Use the AD4-5 rivet in those last 4 side holes and the 1 on the bottom on each side. Do the same as above putting a clamp between the rivet and the next hole down before installing that rivet.......then go up and work your way to the top from the 7th hole. Using this method, it will be perfect with no gaps!
    - Next I clamp the bottom of the tunnel and both sides of the boot cowl on the bottom the fuse where it will eventually mount (not now). Line up the sides of the tunnel with the sides of the boot cowl and clamp as well. I go ahead and now drill out the holes and cleco and install the rivets MS20470A3-3 later on the bench after I take the boot cowl off.
    - Put a strip of tape along the joint at the top to hold it together. We won't put any rivets here until after we get the real instrument panel in place after painting the fuse so you will only have the 1 forward rivet in the top, overlap areas right now. Try to really tape and even clamp the joints at the top where it meets the instrument panel very well or mark it on the inside. The reason is that you have to install the defroster duct and it spans both sections at the top and if you don't have the same overlap when you install it, the boot cowl won't fit over the panel later when you go to install it if it's not the same overlap as when you made it. Go to post 78 and install the defroster unit now and it will lock in the panels.
    - Remove the boot cowl and trim any areas on the tunnel where the edges overlap. You may have had to trim to bottoms of the panels as well down on top of or around the strut attach fittings.
    - On the bench, follow the manual/video to install the gasolator hatch.
    - Now drill, dimple and install the 2 rivets......1 on either side of the tunnel where it meets the firewall. We left these out until we finished the hatch cover. Install the 2 MS20426AD4-5 rivets into these 2 holes.
    - Seal joints with the red RTV per manual.
    - Install the defrost unit (see later post #78) I would install it now to lock in the side panels.
    Last edited by Daveembry; 12-28-2021 at 10:43 AM.
    Dave Embry
    "You only live once.......but if you do it right.........once is enough."..

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