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Right tank done

After numerous attempts (nearly all leaks were through the fuel cap) the right tank has held air for 3 days w/o balloon leakage! I’m pronouncing this war won and moving on.


Holy baffle, batman!

Yes, a hole appeared in the baffle…I coated the inside seams of the outboard rib with proseal. Re-riveted the baffle (it was being held together with clecos) and balloon tested…

Leak at the BNC connector for the resistance fuel gauge. Popped off the access panel on the inboard rib (it was held on with aviation gasket sealant) and smeared the backside of the BNC connector.

Finally, sealed up the tank with the allen screws Id bought from Grainger, and let the proseal set.

Testing today or tomorrow…

Two steps forward, one back

I found a leak in the seam of the outboard rib and leading edge. My poor balloon held air for a few moments before deflating to empty.

After drilling out the 250-300 rivets that held the baffle to the tank skins, I realized that drilling out the pop rivets that hold the z-brackets to the aft rib flanges would be a pain in the a$$. So after a little thought, I decided not to continue to remove the rear baffle.

So I gave in… I cut a rounded-rectangular hole in the baffle at the outboard end, to re-proseal the leading edge at the end rib seam, where the leak is.

I filed and scotchbrited the hole and a matching cover I made, the glopped a bunch of proseal along the inner seam. Unfortunately, there’s no way of knowing if I plugged the leak until the tank is sealed up again, so I’ll add a dollop of proseal to the rear corners of the outboard end of the baffle, just in case. Then we’ll seal it up and retest!

Not again!

Leaking at the outboard rib of the right tank…auuugh!

It looks like I’ll try to go in through the filler hole with a few toothbrushes full of proseal. Unfortunately, I need to recruit a small-handed individual since mine are far too fat!

No leaks! No leaks!

Well, at least I *think* there are no leaks in the left tank.

All the leaking I could detect was through the fuel cap, but as long as that wasn’t sealed, there was no way to determine whether other pathways were still open.

I finally figured out how to seal up the filler cap (used transparent 2″ wide shipping tape, because it had much better adhesion that duct tape, and any air pathways and/or pockets were easier to see through the transparent tape).

After 3 hours, the balloon is still inflated! I’ll check back in the AM to see if it’s still holding.

UPDATE: 12 hours, balloon still big!

You can see the clear package tape on the tank skin…the folds and bumps are on the top layer (there are at least three layers of tape covering maybe 12 sq in of surface area above the cap).

Left leading edge

Deburred and dimpled left leading edge and ribs. Prepped for priming. I found a hole in my paint can cover so went to Harbor Freight looking for a replacement…no luck.