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Vent Tube Installation

August 18, 2012

Man, it sure seems like these jobs were harder on the other wing. I guess that is what experience will do for you.

Last weekend I was trying to get my ribs completed, but I did slip that milestone. I needed to get the vent tube installed and I need to replace a few rivets that I didn’t do very well the first time, before setting the last two ribs.

The vent tube really isn’t that bad, but the first time I did it it was new at everything, so I was learning a lot of technique and trying to figure out the process.

It starts with measuring out the amount of tube you want to use. 54″ seems to come to mind. As you can see it is all lumpy and twisty.


There are a lot of suggestions that you lay it on a flat surface and roll it between your hands and the table, like modeling clay when you were a kid. I didnt get good results with this. so I just held it up and bent it until I was satisfied that it was right. I next cut the ends off so that they would be clean and flush.



I fit the tube into place so that I could be sure that the length was good. Because I was going to have to add a bend to one end of the tube, I purposely made it a bit longer than I strictly needed. I could always cut it off of the other end if needed.


Next, I added a bend on the inside end. This is too allow the tube to connect to the fitting that lets it leave the tank. On the last tank I just couldn’t get it right. I think I messed up a ton of tube trying to get the bend right and never did get it perfect. This time, I just bent it on the first time, just right. I only had to tweek it a little.



Now that the bend is good, and you can see that the fittings are in place it is time to put on the flare. Aviation uses a special flare (of course) so you have to have a special tools to make them. You cant just drive down to NAPA and buy the $25 flaring tool, you have to order the $120 flaring tool from Avery or Aircraft Spruce. Nobody else was home, so I couldn’t get any shots of me making the flare. Dont worry, when fuel lines come around I’ll have pleanty of opportunity to take action shots.



Though not important with a vent line, I decided to give the flare a really good look in a jewelers loupe. My loupe is a 20x and 40x so I can see some serious detail. When I get to the fuel lines I will have to be very diligent my flares. Mostly I’ll have to look for cracks in the aluminum. Fortunately, this flare is good, so it can fly.




Now you can see that the fit is nearly perfect on the end with the fitting. On the other end I have a mark for where I want the clip to bend over the tube to hold it in place. The mark is just about perfect.



Thats pretty much it. Time to get the tank closed.

From → Fuel Tanks, Wings

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