Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Landing Gear Struts On The ParkZone T28

I recently purchased a Parkzone T28 from Horizon Hobby. All I can say is WOW! What a fun model to fly.

As seems to be typical, as soon as I bought this jewel the weather went South as we had nothing but rain and high winds for a month or so. Being as I love to tinker with stuff, I decided while I was grounded I would do some modifications to the landing gear. I started by adding plastic strut covers to the nose and both main gear. They are very easy to install and really add some scale detail to the spindly stock wire struts.

I started by ordering Robart part #106 from Tower Hobbies. These covers  required that I trim a little off the top of the main struts and only a inch or so off the nose gear one. At first I tried to use the original wheels, axles and retaining nuts, but the covers reduced the axle length and I felt there was too much binding and the retaining nuts could not be threaded on enough that I was sure the wheels would not come off in air. Because of this I chose to extend the axles by soldering on a length of 1/8" brass tubing over the stock wires. I then used two round retaining collars to secure the wheels.

To the left you can see the axle extension. I had to take a Dremel tool with a sanding drum and sand down the wire axle slightly to get the brass tube to slide over it. This resulted in a tight fit and with a bit of solder applied to finish things up, I don't have to worry about the axle coming off. Once the axle was done, I mounted the covers. It takes a little finessing to get the retaining rings and cap over the covers, but it can be done where there is very little gap between the top of the cover and the bottom of the wing.
To the Left you see one of the main struts after it has been painted. Also notice the inner retaining collar which helps keep the strut cover aligned and secured. The collar also acts to keep the wheel from binding against the strut cover. For a finishing touch, I added a small strip of chrome tape to the center section of the strut to give it the appearance of a hydraulic piston that you would see on a full scale strut.

I also changed out the stock wheels to 2-3/4" diameter Dubro lite wheels as I will be flying her off a grass runway. One final item I did on the main gear was to apply packing tape over the plastic plates that hold the wire gear to the wing. I've read that these plates are known to pull loose on a hard landing. Many suggest you pull the plates off and re-glue them to the foam using epoxy but as mine seemed pretty secure, I chose to tape them Scotch® Extreme Tape for now.

This stuff has fibers running both directions and is as tough as they come. Great tape for any RC repairs.

All in all I'm quite pleased with this modification. The struts look great and the larger wheels are excellent for use on a grass field.

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