Bringing a Kitfox 1 back to life

114 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

Hi,

 

I took a wrong turn and wound up in the teamkitfox forum. A couple guys pointed out to me that this forum is geared more to what I am doing. Rather than reproducing my posts in the other forum, I’ll try to post pics to get up to date. 

Kitfox Model 1, serial no. 29, Rotax 503 dual carb, single Bosch points ignition. 

Bought it last month. Had some fun taxiing it around my yard, then tore it all apart. Most of the way apart. 195 hours total, when I bought it, but it sat for the last seven years.

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Edited by Good old number 29
Typo

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Posted (edited)

I’m irritated at the A&P who put 23 holes in the spars, plus some in the cap strips, to mount a cover for the wing tank, which still leaked. Debating what to do with that. Not sure if the new, 13 gallon wing tanks will work around that attachment that’s securely fastened to the rear spar, but I’d sure like to get rid of it. 

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Edited by Good old number 29

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Posted

Nice to see you made it here. sharp looking bird there. I love my model 1 and I'm sure you will too.

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Posted

I got the engine mount cleaned up and repainted, today. I trimmed off the front of the aluminum mounting plate, so I’ll be able to change the gear lube without removing the engine, now. Just waiting on parts to get it put back together. 

I don’t want to tear the ribs and other structure out of the wings until I get the new wing tanks. Well, I kind of do want to, but I’ve been holding off, just in case something happens.

Can anybody tell me how much the 13 gallon fiberglass wing tanks weigh? I ordered them a couple weeks ago, but I’m having some second thoughts about adding the weight. My plane was originally 414 lb, empty. My scale has it close to 400, after I junked the battery, ELT, and the aluminum wing tank with the heavy stainless steel cover. They said the boxes weigh about 30 lb. each.... that made me think.

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Posted

I read all the posts on your project, TJay. You did a great job on it. So much attention to detail. It really came out nice. I don’t recall the history on it. Was it an original, unfinished kit? I saw you put the improved spar braces in. Mine has the z-metal. Still, with the low empty weight, it will have a high useful load. One of my next projects will be to weld the doubling plate on the lift struts.

I took the time to read the old article on Jim Chuk’s KF1. He got the later, I-beam, spar reinforcement, too, and 950 GW to go with it. I’d kind of like to find some of that, and strengthen my spars. Jim helped me out and sold me a new panel tank, which I also pushed into place, tonight, after I touched up the paint.

I’ve been taking a “get it done right, and get it done now” approach to the project. My goal is to make it airworthy within a month. It won’t be the work of art that the Freebird is, but I’ll make good and sure that everything is as it should be.

 

 

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Posted

Glad you joined us over here as well Matt.  We always want to have tons of fuel available to us, but really, how often do we fly for that long.  If you stick with the panel tank, and just one wing tank, that's still about 22 gallons.  The 503 will probably burn 3.5 gph in a medium cruise.  That's 6 hrs of fuel.  It's also 132 lbs.  With only 850 gross weight to work with, it all starts to become a factor.  I think this could be a good starter plane for you, go through it, learn as much as you can about these planes while doing so, fly it for a while, and eventually up grade to something like a Kitfox 3 or 4, or perhaps an Avid MK IV which all have higher gross weights, and more fuel capacity to go with it.  Glad you joined us though, and will try to help any way I can.  JImChuk

PS, just to clear up another point, my Kitfox 1 spars were extruded with the center stiffener as part of the outer pipe part.  All 1 piece.  

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Posted

If you make it airworthy within a month, I'll just quit on mine! I figured the winter at the least on mine. I've got mine for sale on barnstormers but if it don't sell, I'll continue to restore it to new condition. And start with new logbooks and a new aircraft. Did get the airframe sandblasted and primed with epoxy. Got the new wing tanks from Stace and installed so about ready to cover. Haven't decided on an engine yet, but that can wait till spring. But I do think the model 1, 2, or 3 is probably the best for the money. And probably the most fun. Same with the older Avid's.

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Posted

Thanks for the kind words  Matt. I love the way mine turned out exactly how I dreamed it to be. I started with an 1985 unstarted kit I bought from Jim Chuk then built the airplane I wanted to see around it. 

And about those tanks I think there quite light weight. Maybe 4 to 5 lbs a piece would be my guess.

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Posted

All the rolled up extra wire in this plane is ridiculous. Probably twice the amount of wire that was needed. I guess they never heard of voltage drop. I’m tidying it up as I go along. Tried the skis on for size while I worked on the brakes. They’re nice, but they’re 600 pounds apiece. I might improve the design, or drill some lightening holes. I can’t find 1/8” aircraft birch plywood in the state. I ended up buying some 1/8” mahogany. Cut a couple false ribs, then aborted the project, because the ply didn’t pass muster. It was like ply and a half, with cork (maybe basswood) sandwiched between, instead of the five ply that’s on it. Had to go to Kenai for work, today, so only got a couple hours working on it. I think that tomorrow I’ll do the welding work. Doublers on the struts and move the attaching points on the brake pedals. Still plenty to do, but I’m starting to need the plywood and fuel tanks, so I can proceed with the big stuff. That, plus a number of things that were backordered; crankshaft bearings, carb boots, and a few other little things. Oh, and the panel fits in the tank, but the mounting bolts are an inch off on one side. Easy to fix, anyway. Back to work. It’s not midnight yet. 

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Posted

The right brake had a broken pad, and the caliper bolts had rubbed on the wheel, for some reason. I’ll have to investigate that a little further, to make sure it doesn’t happen again. It could have jammed a piece of broken brake pad, pushing it to one side. The wheel bearing should have been tighter, which could also have caused it to rub. 

I did go up to 158 main jets in the carb. Moved the needles to the top notch. Looks like he had to back off the throttle with the fine pitched prop, so richened the midrange by dropping the clip on the needle, but leaned it out on the top end with 145 main jets. I have 45 pilot jets, 8L2 needle, and 2.74 needle jet. Haven’t checked the air idle screw, yet. I figure I’ll be putting a stiffer prop on it, so I want the bigger jets to get enough fuel on the top end. I’m a big fan of getting enough fuel at wide open throttle. I once melted down a Ski-Doo Summit 700. It was tuned good, not a jetting problem, but the result really made an impression on me. About five seconds at wide open throttle, crossing a muskeg, and the pistons melted to the point that the piston rings came up off the pistons, and tapped the spark plug, closing the gap. Cracks in the carb boots let air in, giving it enough oxygen to burn the tops of the pistons off in a matter of seconds. Don’t fool around with cracked rubber on your carbs. If it’s not perfect, replace it. 

Speaking of props, I’ve had a hard time getting a good recommendation for my 52 hp B box 503. It seems like people pay attention to diameter, but not pitch. Has anyone tried a Tennessee two blade? If I go with a two blade, I’d probably go with wood, for the vibration factor. I emailed for a quote on a Warp Drive, and they responded that I’d be better off with an Ultraprop, which I had been discouraged from getting. The props they recommended were 60”, which again seemed underkill. 2.58 is a good ratio. I’d like to have a decent sized prop. 

 

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Posted

Allen, if I get it going in a month, I’ll come and help you. I’m a firm believer in having goals that are hard to reach. Anyway, I can work on it as much as I need to for the next 35 days. No problem getting it done in 300-400 hours. I do have it all disassembled, but three weeks ago, I was taxiing it around the yard, so it’s not like it was a basket case. Just needed some TLC, and I’m trying to be thorough.  

 

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Posted

TJay, thanks for the info on tank weight. 10 pounds isn’t bad, and that extra capacity will be great. 

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Posted

Those skis steel or Aluminum?

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Posted

I hope you get it flying in a month, would give me incentive, too.  I ran a Tenn wood 2 blade on my 503 for about 6-7 years. It is easy to nick and damage unless you have the hard leading edge. I am interested in the performance of a model 1 with a 503.

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Posted

Plus, its good to see these older Avids and 'Foxes' brought back to life. Way too many of them rusting away hidden in the weeds.

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Posted

The reason for not going with a fixed prop is being able to adjust the prop to where you need it.  The wood prop is great if it's right.  Not so good otherwise.  Did you ever figure out how many of the false ribs you need?  I know I have some of them.  I recently sold a couple of props that would have worked for you but they're gone now.  JImChuk

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Posted

The skis are aluminum. They’re not bad, but they’re quite a bit heavier than the wheels, tires, and brakes. I could make a pair that is bigger, for more flotation, but also lighter, without sacrificing strength. I’d also turn up the tips further. Comparing them to Buckchop’s fiberglass skis, his are lower profile. These are about the same height as with the 20” tires. I like that it gives it a bit more prop clearance. I’ve seen picture somewhere of Kitfox skis built with a tubular aluminum framework, that looked lighter. 

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Posted

Pulled out the storage box and removed all the false ribs. Since so many had come loose, I wanted to completely clean, prep, and prime the spars before reattaching the false ribs.  

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