I finally made it home for the big Oshkosh airshow next week, but in the meantime, Dad and I got down to business on the fuel tanks.
First order of business was riveting the stiffeners to the lower tank skins. We used the Cleaveland C-frame backriveting attachment for all of these, with great success as usual for that tool.
There’s no doubt that the Proseal (or whatever sealant product Van’s is selling these days) is messy stuff, and if you’re a perfectionist like we are, you sort of have to get over the fact that this stuff is going to get everywhere. We kept telling ourselves that no one was going to be inspecting the insides of our tanks, and we just wanted to make sure we wouldn’t have any leaks.
We applied sealant to both the stiffeners and the tank skin, ensuring that the rivet holes were saturated as well.
After the stiffeners were in both the left and right tank skins, we moved on the the fuel drains. For these, we used the standard backriveting plate and backriveting set in the rivet gun.
We followed the advice of other builders and make a “star” pattern out of electrical tape on the inside of the skin around the drains, so that the fuel, water and particulates at the low point of the tank have an easy path to the drain, and don’t get caught up on a big ring of sealant.
We finished up by riveting the sexy Van’s Deluxe Fuel Cap flanges onto the tank skins. Here we used the mushroom set and the bucking bar, and held the skin steady in its jig while we riveted.
Finally we clecoed the ribs into the left tank skin and set it up in the jig, ready for more goopy riveting tomorrow!