After fixing the main wheels, there was also some things to attend to at the back. We’ve had a replacement for the ridiculously dinky tailwheel since before I became a co-owner but never mounted it. Since we were doing wheel work anyway, we decided now was the time.
Replacing the tailwheel looked simple until we realized that it did not have a hole for the bolt that holds it to the titanium rod that makes up the tailwheel spring. Drilling this hole so that it matched the hole in the rod was not going to happen lying under the tail with the plane jacked up, so I took it off and brought it home so I could rig it up in the mill. I’ll let the pictures tell the story.
So that was not a big deal. But just as we were about to do this, Sonex came out with a Service Bulletin that said that failures of the two small screws that hold the steering link, at the top in the final picture above, had occurred and that the should be replaced with AN bolts instead. This required drilling out the threads in the aluminum tailwheel mount, so the tail wheel went back on the mill.
While we were at it, we also replaced the steering link. The steerable Sonex tail wheel is linked to the rudder, and the old tail wheel also had this steel link that used loose bolts as “bearings” and that had ground against the bracket that holds the rudder cable and steering link. Sonex builder Peter Anson makes a much better link that uses rod-ends and completely eliminates any binding and play in this link, so we ordered that.
With that we now have new wheel bearings, new brakes, and new tail wheel. The wheels felt really smooth just rolling the plane back and forth, and the brakes worked to stop it, so I guess the next thing is to go for a short taxi to see how it works when you get everything rolling a bit.