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Tank Testing

December 29, 2011

Of course I tried to over-engineer the test kit.  It’s really didn’t need to be difficult.  I disassembled it all this AM and put it back together correctly.

Clamped the tube to the vent line in the tank.

This is the vent line in the tank.  You attach a hose to this and clamp it down.  I suppose you could just put a balloon on it, but the thread might cut into the balloon.

Bolt stand off that comes with wing kit

One of the problems that I had with my quickie method before was having something to clamp the balloon onto without crimping the tube down.  I found a bolt standoff in my hardware collection.  It was perfect.  It slid into the tube perfectly and provided a good solid spot to attach the balloon.

A couple of cable ties for the balloon

So why the balloon?  Apparently back in the olden days builders were told to test their tanks by inflating them with air.  Invariably people put too much air in and popped seams and rivets all over the place.  15 lbs is enough to ruin your day, according to Vans.  Someone came up with this method.  The balloon acts as a safety valve.  When there is enough air in the tank, the balloon inflates.  You cannot put too much air in without rupturing the balloon.  Simple, effective.

I sprayed down a few spots, but found no bubbles  with the exception of a very very tiny bubble around the fuel cap.  Vans says not to worry about leaks around the fuel cap.  Its the highest part of the tank, and unless you fly from Bentonville to Denver upside down it won’t leak.   So hows it doing?

1 - hour

3 - hours

5 - hours

6 - hours

I think that this is a success.

Now time to finish the prep on the wing skins.

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