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Aircraft Brakes

I waited to install my aircraft brakes until very late in the building process.  I didn’t want the lines and the rudder pedals to be in my way as I worked inside the fuselage.  I had already completed the electrical system, the forward upper skin and baggage door, and the canopy.  I did the brakes just before I jacked the plane up to install the main gear.

Brake linesI started at the pedals and worked my way out from there, bending the lines to the right shape, and flaring the ends to fit the AN fitting in the floor that connect to the lines leading to the brake calipers.  Then I installed the reservoir on the firewall and ran the plastic lines to it.  I know Vans does a lot of engineering on everything, but I’m a little skeptical about the plastic lines.  I also know that there are a lot of RVs flying, and can only assume most of them have the plastic too.  I’ll give it a shot, but I won’t wait long to swap them out if they leak or give me any other problems.

Brake lines
Brake lines

Brake fluid reservoirI moved the reservoir over slightly from where the plans call for it.  I know I need that spot on the firewall for some of my engine components.  So I moved the reservoir outboard a little.

I figured out where the lines were to run before I cut them.  Then once they were installed, I went back and clamped them all in place.  This took a little effort.  I wanted to ensure all the lines had proper standoff so they would not rub and wear.  Because they were stiff, it was hard to get them to stay in the proper position while I tightened the clamps.  I really needed three hands to do the job, but I managed by tightening the clamps enough to cause some drag on the lines.  Then I pushed and pulled everything into position and the drag from the clamps held everything where I wanted it. Then I finished tightening.

Outside brake lines
After the main gear, axles and wheels were installed, I finished the outside lines.  I started at the top and worked down.  The tight fit next to the main gear meant I needed to get the lines to just the right shape, while the 180° bend at the bottom made final adjustment a lot easier.  I used some short pieces of rubber hose to wrap the line at three spots on each side.  Then I duct taped the line to the main gear at those spots.  Finally I made the bend at the bottom, and cut and flared the line.

Outside brake lines
Outside brake lines

I will finish the brake system by filling and bleeding the lines just prior to testing.  I don’t want to do it now just in case I will have to remove any of the parts to gain access for installing something else.  Brake fluid is corrosive, and bleeding the brakes can be a messy and long process.

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