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Thread: Cessna 180 Questions

  1. #1
    lowandslo's Avatar
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    Cessna 180 Questions

    I have finally been given the green light to get back into flying after a 7 year hiatus and am looking at buying a C180. Being a former J3 owner and after spending alot of time behind the wheel of a C210, I figure the C180 will give me the best of both these worlds. I want the ability to carry 4 at a decent speed while having the flexibility that conventional gear offers. I have been doing some research online, but not finding too much info. I noticed there are alot of 180/185 drivers here and actually have found the best info so far on this site. So the question is...


    What do I need to be looking for in the purchase. (read potential pitfalls)
    Engine/airframe wise, best mods, etc...

    Also does anyone have a recomendation for a C180 instructor in D/FW, TX.

    Thanks - Juan

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    Cessna 180 good,no belly pod capability though.Late model 180 approx 1961 onward has higher bulkhead (3 inches) at rear of main cabin so more headroom/storage.O-470K engine or later best.Avoid A model engine,cooling problems.Corrosion if any at rear inboard of wing.185 early models lighter than later models.A 185f a good all around 185,heavier to fly,carries a lot more weight.On both models (180 and 185)check the stabiliser bearing have been replaced recently,this is an expensive job.Have fond engines with EC cylinders superb,my 185 does not burn oil after8 years of being fitted.Hartzell props on 180's can have AD problems.!85 3 bladers much smoother than 2 blader on 185.Finally the 180 with the 0 470 U (1976 onwards,has the 185 fuselage) a brilliant aircraft for speed and economy.I suggest the best except if you are flying tight strips.My experiences only.GOOD LUCK

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    Sorry,one more thing.Avoid flap seals,they destroy good lift reserve.Aileron gap seals good.

  4. #4
    Skywagon's Avatar
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    There are many STC's and after market parts that are not made for the 53-55's. Plus, they have either the A or J engine; like the above comment, go with a K or later 470. (the U engine seems bulletproof) Early airplanes are lighter in weight and control forces. Later models ( I think 78 and on) had 28 volt systems. You can research the differences in year models at
    http://skywagons.com/modelchgsweb.html

    There is a lot of junk out there, so be careful. I've seen alot of crummy airplanes prettied up with paint and interior. Alot of 180's have been damaged at some point. It's important to know that the repairs were done right, preferably by a reputable shop. Have fun...they're great airplanes.

    Chris

  5. #5
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    we were getting field approved pods on 180's, it was a 2/3 size(depth) one firman was making.... does Alaska Bush pods make this one still?

  6. #6
    Dave Calkins's Avatar
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    Mike, Bob has Bill's mold for that pod. Call and ask him about one if you need it.

    ....nothing beats a light early 180 that flies good for all around utility and joy of aviating, in my opinion.

    ....no 185 beats it off the ground empty either in the real bush. Sometimes at Valdez a 180-driver will screw up and let the 185's beat him. SMILE

    Lowandslo.....use the search function or google with "supercub.org" in the topic for a google search and you'll get old Cessna topics. Several professional mechanics on this site have given what to look for on a prebuy.

    DAVE

  7. #7
    slowmover's Avatar
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    Juan,
    I made this transition last year, for all the same reasons you mention. I wound up with a 1980 mostly stock 180 that's optimized more as an IFR x-c platform than as a bush hauler. For me, I wanted a clean airframe with a factory float kit (for the zinc chromate) and long range tanks. I have 84 gal of useable fuel, a useful load of 990 lbs, and get 140 KTAS at 12 gph around 7-9000 feet. I didn't give a crap about paint, interior, avionics, or engine since those are all replaceable. There's some airframe mods I'd like to do (GW increase to 3190 and PPonk gear beef-up) but so far I've spent my $$ on avionics. Corrosion (especially around the battery box), damage that was poorly repaired, damage around the gear boxes, etc. is what I hear guys complain about or what I've seen.

    There's some good info on model year differences on the www.skywagons.com website, and there's a 1977 POH in pdf out there if you google for it. The 180 club has lots of good info in their posts (www.skywagons.org) but they don't give you access to all the technical info until you own a 180 and join their club. I know there are several guys in that club that live in the DFW area but I haven't met and can't recommend any of them.

    If you pm me your email I'll send you some of the documents that I have come across in the past year. I can also share some of the operating cost data if you're interested in that. I've tracked every dollar (I know, I know) and it is about twice as expensive as my Super Cub was but it's also alot more capable, so worth it to me.

    Good luck!

  8. #8
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    There is a great, humble instructor on the west outskirts of Ft. Worth. He has had a couple of C180s.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers

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    SJ's Avatar
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    After a brief initial period of intimidation, I have found my C180 to be a very docile beast with predictable characteristics. I'd be hard pressed to choose between the cub and the 180 and am glad I don't have to (at least at the moment). I'm super happy with the Pponk engine Pierce did for me. Because it is a traveling plane, the only thing on my wish list is really more gas as I have only 60 gallons. Probably be a few years before I can swing that upgrade. The do make a fuel / cargo belly pod here: http://www.alaskaskycraft.net/ I assume it is still available.

    sj
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    ------------------------------------------

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    lowandslo's Avatar
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    I appreciate all the responses thus far... The plane I am looking at is a '55 model. It is well equiped, nice P&I, engine is timed (1700 SMOH) but still has great compression and appears to be pretty tight. ( No leaks, Low oil use) The owner says it is a -C engine. The time doesn't really bother me, as the 210 I was flying was well into the 1800 hours range when it was sold. I don't really care about a pod or any of the other bush mods, since we will be using this A/C to travel and have fun.

    Slowmover - you have a PM

    Steve Pierce - can you PM the instructors info

    Thanks again to all of you.

  11. #11
    fadec's Avatar
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    Just finished up a 1977 C180K, N64382 New Paint and leather interior, new PPonk engine, new 3 blade, Garmin530W w/GDL69a S-Tec30. JPI 930...I will try to get a detailed list if you like.

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    SJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fadec View Post
    Just finished up a 1977 C180K, N64382 New Paint and leather interior, new PPonk engine, new 3 blade, Garmin530W w/GDL69a S-Tec30. JPI 930...I will try to get a detailed list if you like.
    Obviously it's not for sale, as that would be advertising in the forums....
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
    ------------------------------------------

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    lowandslo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fadec View Post
    Just finished up a 1977 C180K, N64382 New Paint and leather interior, new PPonk engine, new 3 blade, Garmin530W w/GDL69a S-Tec30. JPI 930...I will try to get a detailed list if you like.
    Although it sounds nice, it is going to be too rich for my budget.

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    I transitioned from a cub into a C180 this summer too. I ended up with a '62, new pponk engine, 3-blade, sportsman stol, float kit, 185 gear legs, factory corrosion proofing, extended fuel, extended baggage, and BAS rear seats.. The short field performance is great, hauls a bunch, goes fast, and since the family is comfortable I find I get to do a lot more flying.

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    fadec's Avatar
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    Sorry Steve!

    Disclaimer; this is not an advertisement!

    I think he is going to ask 140ish.

    Its a very nice plane, 1400 AFTT.

    An old customer of ours bought it about 6 years ago to go along with his Baron... it was going to be his play airplane. When he called to get insurance, they quoted him $4000.00, he declined then ground looped it on take off his 3rd flight.
    The original owner had never told his wife of the purchase or the incident so we worked on it part time for the guy over the next couple of years. He finally lost interest and one of the mechanics that helps us bought it and finished the repairs. I would guess that he's put close to 50 hours on it since its been finished. He just got it back from the paint shop last week. He did an East coast to West coast trip last month.

    I will put together some pictures and more detailed equipment tomorrow, and post it in the CLASSIFIED section.

  16. #16
    lowandslo's Avatar
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    The plane I am looking at has a -J engine and not a -C as I originally posted. Any issues with this model?
    Thanks

  17. #17
    SJ's Avatar
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    There are some that say "A or J Walk Away", but the J engine I had was OK while it lasted (it sat a long time). The later model engines are certainly more desirable, but I know lots of folks that still overhaul the J's. I did a big fat upgrade instead, and when it times out you might consider a K, R, S or even a U depending on what kind of flying you do. The J is 225 HP instead of 230HP for the others. I can tell you that after the 285HP upgrade I did to mine the 55' is a force to reckon with being as light as it is.

    sj
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    ------------------------------------------

  18. #18
    Charlie Longley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skywagon View Post
    There are many STC's and after market parts that are not made for the 53-55's. Plus, they have either the A or J engine; like the above comment, go with a K or later 470. (the U engine seems bulletproof) Early airplanes are lighter in weight and control forces. Later models ( I think 78 and on) had 28 volt systems. You can research the differences in year models at
    http://skywagons.com/modelchgsweb.html

    There is a lot of junk out there, so be careful. I've seen alot of crummy airplanes prettied up with paint and interior. Alot of 180's have been damaged at some point. It's important to know that the repairs were done right, preferably by a reputable shop. Have fun...they're great airplanes.

    Chris
    I have a 1954 with an STC'd O470R. There are actually quite a few STC's for this year of 180. And of course the airplane is quite a bit lighter then later model.

    I agree there is a lot of junk out there. Don't sweat previous damage history. It seems like every 180 I've worked on has been ground looped in the past! Just make sure and get a very thourough pre-buy inspection and test flight!
    Last edited by Charlie Longley; 10-23-2011 at 09:43 AM. Reason: typo

  19. #19
    SJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fadec View Post
    I will put together some pictures and more detailed equipment tomorrow, and post it in the CLASSIFIED section.
    Excellent... $4000 for insurance? I insure mine for $150K for $1900 a year - of course if he was going to put it on floats that would explain the difference.

    sj
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
    ------------------------------------------

  20. #20
    Skywagon's Avatar
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    There is no problem with the J engine. I had one on my 54 and had no issues. The A and J have smaller jugs, different baffling, 2 bolt flanges..... If you ever upgrade, you'll have to replace all of those. Again, not a big deal. Early airplanes are light, unless modified to be like later airplanes, then they weigh about the same. I've put a PPonk engine, Big Mac prop, 185 gear, Steel axles, Flint Tanks on mine and gained over 100 lbs.

    Chris

  21. #21

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    When I built my 180 I decided to keep the J due to the weight difference, it's almost 40 lbs. lighter than a K or R. I have no regrets.

  22. #22
    Aktahoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fadec View Post

    I think he is going to ask 140ish.

    Its a very nice plane, 1400 AFTT.

    I will put together some pictures and more detailed equipment tomorrow, and post it in the CLASSIFIED section.
    $140K for a 54? I hope its a real nice plane wih mods and a glass panel. Heck you can get some really nice light 180's with mods now for $100K. They are everywhere. There are many lemons as well. Good luck! I am anxious to see photos of this $140K 180.

    Not boasting here but my own 180 has about every mod you can think of. If I could get 140K I would be surprised. Maybe 100K.

    You can see her here: www.bigtirepilot.com

    Again, good luck with it! Truly!

    AKT

  23. #23
    Dave Calkins's Avatar
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    Hate to say it, but 140K for a '54 180 seems like a LOT of money.

    Do yourself a favor and pay a professional to get a thorough prebuy before purchasing such a bird. ........read "annual inspection" by a 180/185 specialist.

    ...just trying to help here. D

  24. #24
    Stickman's Avatar
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    I think that the 180 for sale is a 1977 not a 54.

  25. #25
    lowandslo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stickman View Post
    I think that the 180 for sale is a 1977 not a 54.
    You are correct. Although, I have been seeing in my search many early models priced upward of $90K.

  26. #26
    Dave Calkins's Avatar
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    Not long ago here in Anchorage there was an original late model 180 with every factory option. A beautiful airplane in original paint and interior. The total time was under 1000 hours. 115K USD would purchase it. I could check with the owner and see if the a/c is still available on your request.

    140 K for a 180 is pretty nutty. A guy could have a decent early model AND a Cub for that money..............and SHOULD

    ....on the other hand....if a guy wants a pristine airplane and is willing to pay for it.........have at 'er. D

  27. #27
    Ruffair's Avatar
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    This has been a very good thread, I'd like to see it stay alive. Lots of good info has been shared.

    I just got my 180 out of an extensive annual. Got a lot of things that needed attention fixed.

    Thanks to this great site I learned about the Seat Stop that Cessna is providing, had it installed.
    Also replaced the front seat rail tracks on the pilot seat, they were very worn.
    Also 4 new rollers on that seat.
    Also the Pin that holds the seat in the hole on the track replaced, very worn.
    The tracks were replaced a few years ago, and they are still in good shape.

    Replaced, rather than rebuild the old Scott tailwheel
    with a NEW Alaskan BushWheels Tailwheel assy. and it's the Bigger tire too..! I really like the way it rolls, and breaks when you're
    turning.
    Had the fuel leak in the selector valve fixed with new O rings.
    Replace the old A/N attitude indicator with an overhauled RC Allen attitude indicator.
    Got some wiring cleaned up... the bugs washed off and it goes faster too.

    Oh, the last two photos got in by mistake.... that's Kyle hand feeding some cows, and a
    fix it job on a hay feeder..
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    "...We're fast enough to get there, But slow enough to see..."
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  28. #28
    Charlie Longley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruffair View Post
    This has been a very good thread, I'd like to see it stay alive. Lots of good info has been shared.

    I just got my 180 out of an extensive annual. Got a lot of things that needed attention fixed.

    Thanks to this great site I learned about the Seat Stop that Cessna is providing, had it installed.
    Also replaced the front seat rail tracks on the pilot seat, they were very worn.
    Also 4 new rollers on that seat.
    Also the Pin that holds the seat in the hole on the track replaced, very worn.
    The tracks were replaced a few years ago, and they are still in good shape.

    Replaced, rather than rebuild the old Scott tailwheel
    with a NEW Alaskan BushWheels Tailwheel assy. and it's the Bigger tire too..! I really like the way it rolls, and breaks when you're
    turning.
    Had the fuel leak in the selector valve fixed with new O rings.
    Replace the old A/N attitude indicator with an overhauled RC Allen attitude indicator.
    Got some wiring cleaned up... the bugs washed off and it goes faster too.

    Oh, the last two photos got in by mistake.... that's Kyle hand feeding some cows, and a
    fix it job on a hay feeder..
    I like the tailwheel! My hangar mate has one on his 180. I am going to put one on mine as soon as I get done with my fuel bladders. We both have 8.50's that seem to work really well with the tailwheel!

  29. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by fadec View Post
    Just finished up a 1977 C180K, N64382 New Paint and leather interior, new PPonk engine, new 3 blade, Garmin530W w/GDL69a S-Tec30. JPI 930...I will try to get a detailed list if you like.
    Hi, Have you still got that 1977 C180K? Email me if you have. kayre__shaw.ca Fill in the blank. Looking for one.

    Ken.......

  30. #30
    mvivion's Avatar
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    While there is always discussion of how light the early 180s are (and it is true that they are lighter than late models) my absolutely bone stock 1966 H model 180 mounted on EDO 2870 straight floats had 40 pounds greater useful load than the brand spanking new 1985 Cessna 185 on PeeKay 3500 floats I was flying at work. And, that was before the 180 got the Kenmore upgross.

    The 180 wouldn't get off the water as quick as the 185 when both were loaded to GW, but the difference also wasn't as great as many would suggest.

    There are advantages to the "somewhat later" 180s. Such as a center stack radio instrument panel. If you're operating IFR much, that makes life a LOT easier, and even if you're VFR only, the center stack panel is nicer in my opinion. And, converting that is a BIG deal. As noted earlier, the higher aft headliner is also nice, and there are other features of these later models that are very nice. These airplanes were born with an R model engine. I'd jump on a 64 to 70 model in a heartbeat if I were in that market.

    MTV

  31. #31

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    ??? Isn't the 180H's gross 2820# on 2870s while the 185's gross is 3350#? The empty 185 weighed 530#+ more than the 180?

    I had 2870s on my own 180. Weight concerns and the lack of eligibility with the Kenmore gross weight increase led me to switch to 2960s, which upped the legal gross from 2820# on 2870s or 2950# on 2960s (per TCDS) to 3190# on 2960s (w/Kenmore STC). These days Aerocet 3500s are eligible with the Kenmore gwt mod, too.
    Last edited by sierra bravo; 02-10-2012 at 11:17 AM. Reason: spelling

  32. #32
    slowmover's Avatar
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    I'm about to reupholster my seats as part of a larger interior redo. Any thoughts on leather vs. cloth seats, or any other materials I should consider? I'm looking for a lightweight, durable, utilitarian solution that's also comfortable, for what its worth.

  33. #33
    Dave Calkins's Avatar
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    Le-he-eather!!!!!

    It's what America wants.

  34. #34

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    I chose cloth for the seating surfaces and synthetic leather on the sides and back. Dog hair doesn't stick to the leather so it's easier to keep clean. Synthetic leather is far more stain resistant than natural, too, so I went with it since the dog is wet and muddy more often than not. The cloth seating surfaces breathe better, are warmer in winter/cooler in summer, and I tend to slip around less. If you go with leather look for perforated leather for the seating surfaces. In my truck seats it's more comfortable than the smooth leather they replaced.

    Hopefully your upholsterer will replace your cushions. My seat rebuild provided me with more supportive and more comfortable seats and they lost considerable weight. No doubt the cushions are more important than the cover fabric. Now's the time to refinish your pedestals, too.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  35. #35
    Dave Calkins's Avatar
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    When my leather is worn, distressed, stained, and trashed it will still smell good and look neato!

    Leather is my personal preference, but I do hear SB's points. The latest synthetic leathers are pretty good, also, but not my first choice.

  36. #36
    slowmover's Avatar
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    SB, thanks for the info. I was already leaning towards the cloth for the reasons you mention.

    I'm also getting BAS harnesses, the rubber leading edge for the horizontal stab, the 3190 gross weight increase, and the PPonk gear beef-up. I read somewhere that some guys don't like the PPonk gear kit. Any idea why?

  37. #37

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    Sounds like a worthy mods list. To the Pponk gear mod, some guys believe the kit reinforces the gear boxes to the point that it will cause major damage to the airframe in accidents that would otherwise see minor damage. Other guys swear heavier duty is better. I don't know who's right. I doubt it makes any difference to the vast majority of private operators. I prefer to avoid side loading the gear in any case. Funny that I've never heard the gear box mod advocated for ski flying. That would make good sense.

  38. #38
    Ruffair's Avatar
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    I will edit this and include a photo.

    Rudder pedals do need looked at.

    It's the LEFT pedal on the pilot's side.
    Was removed and replaced because of the wallered out holes.
    Not from pushing on the brake, rather just pushing on bottom of pedal.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by Ruffair; 12-10-2012 at 11:05 PM. Reason: got the photo uploaded
    "...We're fast enough to get there, But slow enough to see..."
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  39. #39
    slowmover's Avatar
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    Well I got my plane back. Boy do I like it. That's a good thing because I'll be keeping it for a while.

    I went to Beegles to get the following mods:
    -- 3190 GW kit
    -- PPonk Gear Beefup kit
    -- New interior (their no-interior method)
    -- BAS shoulder harnesses
    -- Rubber leading edge on the horizontal stab

    In addition I sent the seats out to an upholsterer to have them redone, and I went with an Airtex wool headliner.

    Plus when I got to Beegles we wound up doing quite a bit more maintenance. They sent the gear legs out for inspection and sure enough one of them was bad. So I bought a reconditioned gear leg. They also rebuilt the jackscrews, replaced the flap tracks which were pretty much worn out after 6000 TT, rerigged everything, put in door stewards, and polymer rudder and elevator attach bearings. And we put in new rear windows, new air vents, and a few other odds and ends.

    The GW came in at 1798# for a 1980 180 with a stock engine. With the MTOW of 3190 I have a useful load of 1392#. 88 gal of fuel means I can fill the seats and still legally put 864# in it.

    That ought to work for a while. I'm real happy with the finished product. My annual is just finishing up. I have 1300 SMOH on the engine so I think that'll be the next project in (hopefully) a few years. My IA said the engine is starting to show its age so we'll see if I make it to TBO.

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  40. #40
    Ruffair's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Lower Chena
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    slowmover,
    Good looking seats,

    Would like to see more photos of that "no interior" interior.

    Your floor looks like something I had once, but took it out as it was rather heavy... But your
    floor sure looks good, better that mine ever did.
    "...We're fast enough to get there, But slow enough to see..."
    Fron the song "Barometer Soup". By Jimmy Buffett

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