If you don’t know what any of the terms or parts are, this won’t make a damn bit of sense to you. This is more for me to have a written plan of the order of operations to hopefully avoid some future FUBAR. So I’m going to lay out what I think is the proper op order for getting the baffles on and trimmed, the cowl finished, and the airbox done.
See, this is an interlocking puzzle, kind of like a Rubik’s Cube, but none of the pieces are square and there’s no colors to tell you when it’s right. You just need to end up with a shape that meets certain requirements, i.e. everything fits without rubbing on something else and nothing makes the prop stop spinning.
First thing to do: Clean the shop. I swear, sometimes I don’t even know why I bother having a tool box. Everything winds up strewn all over the place anyway. It’s reboot time, because when something I’m looking for is buried under crap I should have put away and it takes me 10 minutes to find it, it’s time to fix that.
So, the baffles:
1. Order new front left inlet ramp. This is because I may have already trimmed too much off the front edge to get the thing to fit inside the cowl. Have to check. I can still use the old one for lineup and getting the shape right, but there might not be enough meat on the front of it to brace the air filter.
2. Make the bracket that connects the ramp to the engine. With this in place, I’m not trying to hit a moving target as far as shaping the opening of the fiberglass snorkel/airbox, and also the angle of the front upper baffle that goes around the prop governor. OBTAIN PROPER BOLTS FOR BRACKET. Big, meaty 3/8″ Grade 8 bolts that connect to the pad just below the governor.
3. Find the rest of the airbox kit, especially the W-channels thqt hold the filter in place. I know they’re in there somewhere, I just have a filing system for parts that closely resembles the Sargasso Sea.
4. Make a collar for the opening of the fuel servo’s intake to assist in fitting/trimming the snorkel. Yeah, that should have FA to do with the baffles, but like I said, it’s an interlocking puzzle. The takeaway from this is that sorting out the snorkel before cutting any holes in the baffle means there’s no need to cut the snorkel in half and re-glass it.
5. Cut/grind off the extra ears on the starter so they don’t interfere with the snorkel.
6. Cut a relief into the snorkel so it clears the alternator bracket. This is a common mod. Why Van’s sells a part that doesn’t work out of the box with 90% of installations is a mystery to me.
7. Maybe not actual step 7, but finish the conical gusset, trimming, and fastening for the right-hand side, which seems to be working OK.
8. Glass in the top cowl inlet ramps. These will be necessary for the next step.
9. Begin the iterative process of trimming the top sides of all baffles down so the top cowl fits and the baffle seal strips will seal.