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Thread: Cessna 180 float kit

  1. #1

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    Cessna 180 float kit

    I know everybody cringes and gasps at the thought of installing a float kit on a 180 and looking at the parts break down it does look pretty extensive.......or is that expensive. What I am looking for is someone that has done it that has an idea what it takes and costs. I have called several repitable shops and the cost estimates range from $6000.00 (parts, labor, and paint mind you, they are crazy) all the way to $30,000 (also I think a bit crazy). Only one of the shops had ever done one before and he said about 12 years ago it was $10,000 and the price of the parts has gone up a bunch since then. So I am hoping someone has done one more recently for a comparative. I'm guessing $15,000 on the low end $25,000 on the high end.
    Shawn

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    aktango58's Avatar
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    Seaplanes West... $16,000 is their advertised price.

    Have it done by someone like them that has done it. Looked at quite a few planes that have aftermarket kits... all missing parts.
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

  3. #3
    T.J.'s Avatar
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    Shawn:
    I think there is 3 different float kits depending on A/C year and Model number. The first kit was for 170, early 180s. They were simple, light and easy to install. The other 2 were more complicated, heavier and harder to install. The hardest part about the install is bucking the rivets on the door sill.
    I don't have any recommendations for an installer.

  4. #4
    Jake's Avatar
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    I installed the float kit on my 1955 C-180. About 180 hours and $9,000 worth of parts. Had to make quite a few owner produced parts as well,mainly doublers, as those were no longer available for purchase. I have drawings for all year C-180 float kits if you need them.

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    Thanks for the input TJ. Yeah those door sill rivits are a bugger. I've installed several baggage doors in 170's and I fought it everytime. However I did find a new bucking bar that at least made it doable on the last one I did. We don't live too far apart so if you ever want to borrow it just let me know.
    Thats good info Jake, that atleast gives me some idea. I would love to have a copy of those drawings if you don't mind. I'll PM you my info. Thanks,
    Shawn

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    Here's a great thread from the Skywagons site. Look at the attachments user "BGH" provided.

    http://www.skywagons.org/forum/showf...ge=0#Post14392

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    Jake, I'd really appreciate a copy the float kit drawing you used, I have a really nice 55 I'd love to look into putting on floats.
    thanks, Jeff

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    dalec's Avatar
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    Jake

    I would also like a copy of the float kit drawings for the 55 C-180 as I want to install one this winter.

    Thanks

    Dale

  9. #9
    Jake's Avatar
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    To everyone that wanted float drawings-I have some stuff I need to catch up on, but should be able to send them out by the end if the month.

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    Thanks Jake

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    Well I decided to just install the float kit myself. I am planing on starting the float kit install in the next week or two. I have installed one in a 170B before and this is a 1957 model so it is not as extensive as some of the later models. I was able to buy a wrecked 55' 180 that had an undamaged float kit on it. I have most of the float kit removed from the wrecked plane. However it was not a factory installed kit so I still need to make sure the kit was complete.

    Jake, if there is any chance of talking you out of a copy of those drawings I would be very gratefull. I think having that drawing would make this much easier. Thanks,
    Shawn

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    aktango58's Avatar
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    55 and 56 have a different gear position I believe...

    Beware, there are a number of differences between those year models, and I don't remember all of them.

    Have fun with the project!
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

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    Are you refering to the forward swept gear legs? As far as I know the gear boxes on all 180's are in exactly the same position it is just differences in gear legs. The research I have done says that everything pre S/N 50662 uses the same float kit and mine is S/N 50114. By all means though if I am missing something, I am all ears. Thanks,
    Shawn

  14. #14
    180Marty's Avatar
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    ak2711c, you are right, the gear boxes are the same. 1953 and 1954 have gear legs that come out of the fuselage straight and starting in 1955 they rake forward for less of a nose over tendency.

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    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ak2711c View Post
    Well I decided to just install the float kit myself. I am planing on starting the float kit install in the next week or two. I have installed one in a 170B before and this is a 1957 model so it is not as extensive as some of the later models. I was able to buy a wrecked 55' 180 that had an undamaged float kit on it. I have most of the float kit removed from the wrecked plane. However it was not a factory installed kit so I still need to make sure the kit was complete.

    Jake, if there is any chance of talking you out of a copy of those drawings I would be very gratefull. I think having that drawing would make this much easier. Thanks,
    Shawn
    Not sure what year this started, but the later 180 s all require the. Ella skins to be doubled,which is the biggest part of the task.

    MTV

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    OK Mike, I'll bite, I have looked at lots of 180 and owned a couple with float kits, what is an "Ella skins"?

    Thank's
    Tim

  17. #17
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bat443 View Post
    OK Mike, I'll bite, I have looked at lots of 180 and owned a couple with float kits, what is an "Ella skins"?

    Thank's
    Tim
    BELLY skins.....damn I Pad.....

    MTV

  18. #18
    180Marty's Avatar
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    Glad you asked,bat,because I couldn't figure it out either.

  19. #19
    Dave Calkins's Avatar
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    ak2711c, check your Personal Messages.


    I have the drawings and the Cessna service kit instructions. Also, some of the doublers for the kit. DAVE

  20. #20

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    Thanks Dave I messaged you back.


    Your right Mike those belly doublers are going to be a challenge. Thankfully the early model ones use a separate doubler for each side instead of a one piece doubler that wraps the whole belly and up the side of the fuselage so that will help. I do have those doublers off of the wrecked 180 but I have my doubts that the rivits will all line up, if nothing else atleast it will give me a templete to make a new one. Another challenge with this particular aircraft is back in the 60's it was owned by the Forestrey in Montana and they modified it with three camara ports two of which are in the baggage area and one under the pilots feet. Go figure. One of the ports is massive in the baggage area. It is tear drop shaped and roughly 18"-24" wide and about 24"-30" long. They rerouted the cables in the belly and you can pull the cover off of the belly and off of the baggage floor and it is open all the way through. The thing looks like you could mount a belly gun turret to it. I would rather not have to remove that whole conversion to do the float kit just because how much extra work that would be. Once I have some good drawings I'll be able to tell what I have to do.
    Shawn

  21. #21

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    After looking at the page after page of the float kit in my parts book, I consider you a brave sole!
    Last edited by OLDCROWE; 02-03-2013 at 05:53 PM.
    Remember, These are the Good old Days!

  22. #22
    aktango58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ak2711c View Post

    The thing looks like you could mount a belly gun turret to it.
    Shawn

    Maybe you should donate that bird to the arial 'lead' applicators for pig and wolf control and skip the whole float deal
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

  23. #23
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ak2711c View Post
    Another challenge with this particular aircraft is back in the 60's it was owned by the Forestrey in Montana and they modified it with three camara ports two of which are in the baggage area and one under the pilots feet. Go figure. One of the ports is massive in the baggage area. It is tear drop shaped and roughly 18"-24" wide and about 24"-30" long. They rerouted the cables in the belly and you can pull the cover off of the belly and off of the baggage floor and it is open all the way through. The thing looks like you could mount a belly gun turret to it. I would rather not have to remove that whole conversion to do the float kit just because how much extra work that would be. Once I have some good drawings I'll be able to tell what I have to do.
    Shawn
    If I were you, I would have a nice talk with your friendly FSDO inspector or DER before I drilled another rivet. With those big camera holes, I would have serious doubts that it could be approved on floats. At one time Cessna offered an extra large stretcher baggage door. You could not get the float kit with that door because the seaplane loads just were not compatible with the big hole.
    Good luck. You have an enormous job in front of yourself.
    Last edited by skywagon8a; 02-04-2013 at 05:34 AM. Reason: I should have said DER
    N1PA

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    I was thinking how handy that might be for some preditor control. LOL

    If I have to I can replace that belly skin and the baggage floor to return it to stock configuration, and I do have that skin and a spare floor to do it with but I would rather not. The camera bay goes through the floor between the float attach bulkhead and the bulkhead at the rear door post. So it consists of a tear drop hole in the belly skin with a really beefy tear drop doubler that is a good 8"-10" bigger than the hole and extends beyond the bulkheads on each end. The floor has an equally beefy doubler on it as well as and 1/8" aluminum plate over that for the rear seat tracks to bolt too. Other than that the only change was another set of pulleys to route the cables around the hole. The bulkheads are not modified at all. Structurally I think it is stronger than stock. Ether way our FSDO is not known for common since or friendliness so I don't think I will be talking to them about it. About 10 years ago I would have agreed with you but sadly things have changed there.
    Shawn

  25. #25
    T.J.'s Avatar
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    Why would he want to talk to a DAR? The way I read it, all they can do is issue certificates.

  26. #26
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    T.J., I meant DER.

    ak2711c, I am not an engineer. However, I do know that when you are trying to combine two major alterations such as you are describing, that you definitely need some good and valid engineering input. The seaplane structural loads will have to be carried through all of those photography holes. If you choose not to do this, you could end up with a very expensive yard ornament. I'm not trying to discourage you. Just a heads up.

    This could also then need a field approval to combine the two.
    Last edited by skywagon8a; 02-04-2013 at 05:52 AM.
    N1PA

  27. #27
    Charlie Longley's Avatar
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    I have almost the exact same camera hole in my 180! It's cool but it limits some of the mods you can do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skywagon8a View Post
    T.J., I meant DER.

    ak2711c, I am not an engineer. However, I do know that when you are trying to combine two major alterations such as you are describing, that you definitely need some good and valid engineering input. The seaplane structural loads will have to be carried through all of those photography holes. If you choose not to do this, you could end up with a very expensive yard ornament. I'm not trying to discourage you. Just a heads up.

    This could also then need a field approval to combine the two.

    Thanks for the input, I'll keep that in mind.

  29. #29
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    If those "holes" could handle it landing as a tail dragger... I can't see them being any bigger deal landing as a float plane. TD.. tries to stretch the lower tailcone floor as you paste it on on all three..... and floats will try to compress everything behind the rear float attaches during an "arrival" !

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    Skin wrinkling just aft of the rear float fittings is common on Skywagon seaplanes. The need for adequate reinforcement is real. Floats are hard on the airframe. That's why lots of sellers note "never on floats" in aircraft descriptions.

  31. #31
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by irishfield View Post
    If those "holes" could handle it landing as a tail dragger... I can't see them being any bigger deal landing as a float plane. TD.. tries to stretch the lower tailcone floor as you paste it on on all three..... and floats will try to compress everything behind the rear float attaches during an "arrival" !
    "stretching" and "compressing" are two opposite forces. Therefor they require different stress considerations.
    N1PA

  32. #32
    irishfield's Avatar
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    Yah guys.. as an electro-mechanical engineer I understand which way forces go and know how to calculate them...

    Are these holes aft of the rear float attach points?

  33. #33
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ak2711c View Post
    they modified it with three camara ports two of which are in the baggage area and one under the pilots feet. Go figure. One of the ports is massive in the baggage area. It is tear drop shaped and roughly 18"-24" wide and about 24"-30" long. They rerouted the cables in the belly and you can pull the cover off of the belly and off of the baggage floor and it is open all the way through. The thing looks like you could mount a belly gun turret to it.
    Quote Originally Posted by irishfield View Post
    Yah guys.. as an electro-mechanical engineer I understand which way forces go and know how to calculate them...

    Are these holes aft of the rear float attach points?
    Those are big holes right in the middle of the seaplane landing loads. Would you really feel comfortable just bolting on a set of floats and signing them off? As an IA, I would not, without having engineering look at it.
    N1PA

  34. #34
    dalec's Avatar
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    Dave

    I am looking to do this to my 55 C-180 this summer as well. Looks like the cub is sold so I can buy floats and install a float kit. Do you still have some of the pieces for the Float kit and drawings available?

    Thanks
    Dale Carlson

  35. #35
    aktango58's Avatar
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    Hey Dale,

    Sorry we missed in Skagway. Long night.

    Bring one of those birds over, grass is cut.
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

  36. #36
    dalec's Avatar
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    George

    I will try to bring the C-180 down your way over the 4th, weather permitting. I am leaving Skagway mid next week and won't be back here other than for a short visit until October.

  37. #37
    Dave Calkins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dalec View Post
    Dave

    I am looking to do this to my 55 C-180 this summer as well. Looks like the cub is sold so I can buy floats and install a float kit. Do you still have some of the pieces for the Float kit and drawings available?

    Thanks
    Dale Carlson
    Hi Dale. I have the drawings and a couple of the doublers.

    I am on my rotation at Kulik Lodge for several more days, but will be back in town next week. It's Saturday evening as I write this.

    PM me your number and I'll talk to you when I am back in the scary real world. It has been an amazing run of stellar days here. Opening day of fishing, the lodge is hopping, and people are happy.

    Katmailand.com .........if anyone wants to know.

  38. #38
    dalec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Calkins View Post

    I am on my rotation at Kulik Lodge for several more days, but will be back in town next week.
    Dave I have fished the Kulik and it can be a blast.. I never feel sorry for anyone fishing out there I caught one just over 30" on the Naknek March 30th... I know the addiction. My contact info is in your PM... enjoy the rest of your hitch

  39. #39
    Matt 7GCBC's Avatar
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    Looking for a water retract lever and a set of rear fuselage attachments for EDO 2960s if anyone has some stuff laying around the hangar that they would like to donate or sell. Going to try to spend some time in SE later this summer. Thanks very much! Matt

  40. #40
    irishfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt 7GCBC View Post
    Looking for a water retract lever and a set of rear fuselage attachments for EDO 2960s if anyone has some stuff laying around the hangar that they would like to donate or sell. Going to try to spend some time in SE later this summer. Thanks very much! Matt
    First contact should always be Doug Ronan... never know what he has in the barn! doug@dougronan.com

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