Yesterday and today. I’ve been blowing this off, mainly because there was no good time to spew fiberglass dust all over myself, and the fact that I accidentally sheared off the cord of my Dremel tool with the fiberglass bit last time. The sparks were epic. Yes, that was stupid. So yesterday I went to Home Despot and picked up a new Dremel 4000, and this time, I got the flex-cable attachment that lets me use the thing a lot more like a pencil or some other fine instrument.
I tried to take a lot of pics, because the process of fitting the VA-132-1 snorkel to the AFP FM-200 fuel controller and the front inlet ramp is a complete and total whore. Hopefully my documentation can help somebody have less of a ride thorugh hell. There is very little in the way of direction in the plans that actually provides useful information. About the only thing I needed the plans for was to tell me which side of the snorkel the filter mount flanges go on. It’s the inside, in case you’re curious. Oh, and the reference photos on the plans are terrible, and there aren’t enough of them to give you any in-depth information as to how things are supposed to fit. Yes, I get that there should be a big square hole in the front inlet ramp that should have an air filter under it. All aboard the NS Sherlock. Even so, fitting it to the AFP fuel controller brings with it its own set of travails, which is largely the root of the issue. Now, the FM-150, released the year after I got mine, has a square flange on it, like the Bendix or Precision Silverhawk servo, which means the snorkel will fit a lot better. Too late for yours truly, however.
So today, I was determined to make the filter mounts and mash up the parts necessary to make the filter fit.
This was the state of affairs after trimming the snorkel to match the contour of the inlet ramp, bend and all. This was a tweaky, iterative process, the first of many. With the snorkel attached to the fuel servo (throttle body), I had to trim away millimeters of material until it was kinda sorta flush with the contour of the inlet ramp, including the bend in the material designed to match the contour of the cowl opening.
With this in place, I was able to trace the shape of the snorkel opening onto the bottom of the inlet ramp.
View from the top, before anything was cut. At this point, I’m test-fitting the filter retainer, which is going to connect to the whole apparatus by way of #6 screws.
I gave myself plenty of room to work. The initial cutout for the opening was about 3/8″ inward from the actual edge. I wanted to make sure things could shift around a bit when installing the W-sections that would become the filter mounts.
First step was the aft side, which is the hardest, because there’s a joggle downward from the angle attached to the cylinders and block to the actual ramp. This means that the W-section of metal designed to accommodate the filter needs to fit in there, and match the angle of the snorkel’s surface. This was not easy, and I think I’ve got enough edge distance to get by, but I’m not altogether sure.
So after cutting away a good amount of the flange on the filter mount, and bending the metal to match the angles, I got a pretty decent fit. Here, you can see the metal flange through the fiberglass, with positions marked for where the rivet holes are going to go. It was at this point I figured I should take a look at the drawings, useless as they are, to make sure I wasn’t committing an obvious error.
Once this one was nailed down, everything stopped moving, and it was much easier to work with the whole assembly with it anchored at both the servo end and the filter end. Good thing I checked the plans. As mentioned before, the flange goes on the INSIDE of the snorkel chamber, not like it is in the previous photo. Fortunately, there was enough give to let me squidge the snorkel back enough to make this work. But blocking it out like this gave me a perfect reference as to where to cut down the snorkel to clear the joggle on the W-section.
The next filter mount section was relatively easy. Too bad I cut the W-section too short with the bandsaw. Stupid muscle memory. I thought about it, I double checked it, I marked it, but I wound up cutting it too short anyway. Not a big deal, I have a template now, and I know how it’s supposed to go. Replacing it will be simple. The next step beyond the filter mounts will be opening up that inital cut to clear the horizontal part of the filter mounts. The idea is that the air filter rests on the joggle in the W-sections, but the forward lip of the filter just slides in under the opening.
To get the outboard one, I had to shave down the filter mount flange at a slight angle. I also finally had to bend the lower flange on the outboard baffle to match up with the inlet ramp. But this actually made things easier. Plenty of edge distance, and the third filter mount went on no problem.
A closer look at the outboard filter mount, from the front. The little piece of metal that looks like a ‘J’ is the horizontal part of the W-section where the filter lip rests. The snorkel will still have to be trimmed up front to allow the lip to clear. Probably should have photographed the filter a little. I will next time.
So that was the scary bit. I had no desire to start anew with a new snorkel (which is pricey), and other than the inboard filter mount, I don’t have to order new parts. It’s an iterative tweakfest, but eventually, things stop being awkward and you can actually get some stuff done. Just to make sure I wasn’t crazy, I put the lower cowl on, and everything seems to clear just fine, but the cowl will require a little bit of trimming.
Next is to enlarge the filter opening and make the filter retainers, and install the K-1000-6 platenuts that hold the whole thing together. Once that’s done, I can finish the front baffles, which are going to be interesting on their own.