PFM Logo Fokker Triplane Model T Curtiss Canuck

February 7, 2004 Project Update

Tom Gaylord arrived mid-morning on Saturday. Roger Freeman and Dick Schenck were working on the Ranger's crankshaft and Tom was going to work on installing the new cabane fittings to the spars of the top wing. With nobody else available to help, the work was very frustrating (not least because the wing is in the coldest part of the hangar).

Despite the situation, 3.5 out of 4.0 upper wing cabane strut mounts were installed, lacking only one bolt to be hammered home and snugged up. Roger will have to go back in and hog out the holes in the ribs where the internal bracing wires poke through to the "dog-bones", but they generally got mounted up properly. Kudos to the prior work crews who got everything laid out, measured and fabricated. It was done to about as high a degree of precision as was possible and truly made the job a whole lot easier!

In the coming week, Roger hopes to finish the installation job and if the weather isn't too cold, start applying the patches. Afterwards, the top wing, bottom wing and various struts can all be final installed. Everything else will have to wait till the engine is done, basically, as it involves installing the oil tank, an oil cooler, and plumbing up everything else.

So that leaves the Ranger engine. The crank had returned from the vendor polishing of the bearing surfaces, but it still needed to be cleaned up everywhere else. The part is too long for Roger's "new" solvent tank, so it was in the final stages of being dipped when I arrived. Dick Schenck was busy using Roger's new glass bead blaster to clean up the oil passageway components, end caps for the main bearings and sludge traps/end caps for the connecting rod big end bearings.

Roger later finished cleaning the crank in his small parts washer in the machine shop, scrubbing off all the goop. Crank looked pretty darned good when all that was completed. Next up was taking emery cloth to several segments of the crank to polish out some scratches and oiling the entire part to prevent rusting.

Roger wanted to include a modification to the sludge trap parts which would help retain oil pressure at the connecting rod bearings. This involved machining a groove on the ends of the traps so a rubber O-ring could be installed. After ruining one trap, Roger decided a tool was needed to hold the trap while it was being machined in the lathe. Version #1 didn't work too well, and another trap was ruined figuring that out. Version #2 was much beefier and required about 1.5 hours to fabricate on the lathe and milling machine. After the tool was made, finishing a set of traps for the engine took about a half hour.

By the end of the workday Sunday, Roger had assembled the crank and was cleaning bearing shells to slap on the connecting rods. The engine will be a top priority among the projects, taking second place only to getting the Canuck's OX engine assembled and running.