NOSE WHEEL PIVOT REPLACEMENT
(From CP44, Page 7, April, 1985)
VariEze AND LONG-EZ - Nose wheel pivot. Remove the aluminum collar that retains the nose wheel fork. Drop the complete wheel/fork assembly out of the NG15A casting. Check for wear in the bronze bushings. We found quite a lot of wear on a LongEZ with 900+ hours, and a couple of builders have reported wear in these bushings that warranted replacement. You can obtain replacement bushings from any bearing supply house. We installed longer bushings this time, for more bearing area and hopefully longer life. These were Oilite bronze flanged bushings, part # FF-838-3, obtained locally in Mojave at the King Bearing store. These bushings were 1" long. We cut them down to 3/4 long to leave space between them as a grease pocket. We also bought (from the same source) two Torrington thrust races parts #TRA1220. These are essentially large, flat, thin steel washers. They are 1/32 thick and have an 1.0. of .752 and an OD of 1.240.
We installed one of these between the aluminum fork casting and the bottom flanged bushing and one between the top flanged bushing and the aluminum retaining collar. Obviously this takes up more space than is available, so we miked the two Torrington washers, and faced that amount of material off the bottom of the aluminum retaining collar. We applied a generous coat of grease on all moving parts and reassembled the fork to the NG15A casting. We then carefully adjusted our friction "shimmy" damper until we had approximately 5 lbs of side force required to turn the wheel. When we tested this set up, we found that the nosewheel pivoted very smoothly, and nose wheel steering now required much less braking effort. At least 5 local EZ flyers have done this modification to date, and all have reported a big improvement. We are pleased with the results of this mod, and have found that we can increase the friction damping force, without making it harder to steer, thus dramatically decreasing the likelihood of shimmy or flutter on the nose wheel.