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I’ve got a short list of RV–8 maintenance items to work on while the aircraft is out of service, and today I knocked the first two items off the list.

I opened up the right lower wing intersection fairing to check out the blue fuel stain I had noted during the annual inspection. The situation didn’t look any different than it had before, so I’ll leave it alone for now.

Next I attacked Service Bulletin 12–08–14, “AN4 Bolt Installation, Wing Attach”, that Van released recently. There is a large vertical bar between the lower and upper spar caps on each wing root. This bar fits tightly between the two spar caps, and ensures that they cannot come closer together by collapsing the spar web. These bars are temporarily riveted in place when the wings are constructed, but they must be secured with 1/4" bolts when the wings are attached to the fuselage. It is not possible to insert the attach bolts until the wings are installed, as the attach bolts also go through the wing centre section. Apparently Van’s Aircraft has become aware that some builders have neglected to install these bolts during the final assembly phase, as this step was not clearly indicated in the instructions. The Service Bulletin (SB) calls for the aircraft owner to check for the presence of these bolts prior to the next flight.

I couldn’t remember whether I had installed those bolts or not, and none of the photos I took showed this area during the final assembly phase. Another Ottawa area RV–8 builder had found that his bolts were missing when he did his inspection, so it was quite clear that this was a potential problem.

The SB suggested that the bolt heads would be visible if a mirror was used to look into the side of the fuselage through the aileron pushrod hole, after removing the upper wing intersection fairing. I duly removed said fairing, only to be rudely reminded that I had installed flexible aileron pushrod boots to stop cold air from coming into the fuselage through the aileron pushrod holes. These boots also did a perfect job of stopping me from peering through those holes to find the all-important bolts.

I looked for other easy ways to visually check for the bolts, but quickly gave up. I decided to remove the pilot’s seat and the passenger footwells, which then allowed complete access to the back side of the wing centre section, where the bolts should be. I was very happy to see that the four bolts were in place.

Getting everything back together was a painful job, as there are an awful lot of screws, and I had to be all bent over at an awkward angle to reach them while standing on the wing root. My lower back was talking to me in no uncertain terms by the time I was finished, and I learned a long time ago that when my lower back starts complaining I should drop tools and give it a rest. So, I called it a day.

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