Last edited by wingnut18; 02-09-2011 at 08:50 PM.
What model year of 180? Early 180's could be converted relatively painlessly, but later models would be a LOT of work. As in more work than most folks would even consider. It can be done on any, but.....
Originally Posted by wingnut18
I have a 1953 C-180 which I had a float kit installed. I don't know how relevant this is to your airplane, as I recall this is what was done to mine (it's been about 13 years) A mod to the engine mount, involved some welding as I recall. Replacing rubber grommets with solid aluminnum bushings on the lower engine mount attatch points, V brace in the windshield. Skin doubler extending from the rear attatch points to the front door post. Brackets inside for the rear attatch points. doubling the rivets (halving the spacing) along the front door post and along the leading edge of the wing out to the strut. I've been told that the factory float kit included stainless control cables, but as far as I know they are not required, just nice.
The newer model 180's, like your 79' vintage, is a 185 fuselage for all practical purposes, but has the small [smaller] engine. In other words, more weight, less h.p.....even with the P-ponk conversion.
I've been quoted $7,000-$10k for the installation of float kit a few years ago, and have been told its a big (((BIG))) deal to install, and then was also told by a few different machanic's "don't have time". I've been told its such a huge pain-in-da-azz that a lot of mechanic's simply don't want to do it.
However I can't help but think someone [mechanic] well qualifed, somewhere, would do the work and do a nice job...might cost more than $10k.
If you end up having the float kit installed I'd be interested in hearing the final cost.
Call the guy at Rapid River Aviation in McCall. Seaplaneratings.com I think he also flys for McCall Air? or one of the other outfitters and is a member on this site. They fly a PA-18 amphib out of McCall which is ~5000. The aircraft is listed by the FAA as a 150hp, but I thought he said he had at least a 160 under the hood. He may be a decent source of info regarding putting the SC on amphibs instead o' the 180.
The late model 180's like yours require a full belly skin doubler all the way aft of the doors. Take a look at a 185 or a later 180 with a float kit, and look carefully at all the metal that's there, under the belly. It is a huge job.
I've heard $10 K, but that was years ago, and frankly I think the guy who quoted that really got shorted on the job.
A 53 or 54 is not that big a deal, but these aircraft are essentially the same as a C170 aft of the doors, except for baggage doors, etc.
The 180 with amphibs and a 520 works fine. I've flown two of them, and they are nice airplanes. But I doubt that it's practical or cost effective to convert a 79 to floats these days. Consider all the sheet metal work, PLUS painting the plane as well.
The Cub makes an okay amphib, IF it's kept as light as possible, and I do mean kept light. You'll almost have to go with Wipline floats to get the increased gross weight kit to 2,000 or you won't have any useful load at all.
If twas me, I'd convert the Cub and continue to enjoy the 180 on wheels.