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Thread: PA-12 new Fuel Tank options.

  1. #1

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    PA-12 new Fuel Tank options.

    Hello, all.

    I am operating my PA-12 on wheels in the winter, floats in the summer, and the plane's come due for a refabric. It has the original (now leaky) 18 gal tanks, and I want to switch 'em for something with more volume.

    Dakota Cub tanks (23 gal each) require some wing modification, although how much work is involved is unknown.

    The FA Dodge (30.5 gal each) units also require wing mods. The installation instructions claim 40-60 hrs of work per tank for installation; though upon calling the vendor, they are saying that if I'm taking the fabric off anyways, that number drops to ca. 12 hrs/wing.

    It's a certified aircraft, so I have to be prepared to pay an AME (A&P, for you Americans) for the work. My question is: How much work is really involved with installing each kind of tank? More fuel cap is better, though on floats I only have a useful load of 650#, so I don't know how I'd fill a 60 gal tank and still have enough capacity left for a passenger.

  2. #2
    180Marty's Avatar
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    I just bought a 12 that was rebuilt about 5 years ago. It has Air Energy 19 gallon tanks that replaced the originals and the IA that did all the work said Dakota has a 19 gallon tank that will fit right in without modification if what I have becomes a problem. You might ask Dakota about that.

  3. #3

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    Dakota cub has the best quality parts.

    Maybe they could "help" you produce a set of tanks if you want original size but the modifications for the 23 gallon tanks are worth it since your recovering any way.

    I have the Dakota 23 gallon tanks

  4. #4
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    I used Dakota 23 tanks now... just buy 3 tank bay ribs and new butt rib for each side, takes a bunch of the labor out instead of modifying ribs..

    Atlee tanks take me ~24? per SET to install, covered or not same amount of work, not sure where they come up with that 40-60 hr per side timeframe, thats nuts...

  5. #5
    aktango58's Avatar
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    Gross weight STC???

    Not seen a Dakota Cub part that was not quality.
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by aktango58 View Post
    Gross weight STC???

    Not seen a Dakota Cub part that was not quality.
    That's my experience with Dakota Cub parts, as well.

    I haven't heard anything bad about FA Dodge, I simply haven't bought any of their products, before.

    I DO have small concerns about the gross weight STC, in that you do gain some capacity, but the STC also makes the plane heavier. So I don't know how much useful load I'd gain.

    Sent from my SM-G870W using Tapatalk

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by mike mcs repair View Post
    I used Dakota 23 tanks now... just buy 3 tank bay ribs and new butt rib for each side, takes a bunch of the labor out instead of modifying ribs..

    Atlee tanks take me ~24? per SET to install, covered or not same amount of work, not sure where they come up with that 40-60 hr per side timeframe, thats nuts...
    Thanks for the advice, Mike. Assuming I buy the ribs you reccomend, how much work do you think it takes to put in the dakota 23s?

    Sent from my SM-G870W using Tapatalk

  8. #8
    nanook's Avatar
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    You should put where you are located on your signature. We travel long distances up here (in Alaska), the Dodge tanks have served me well up here in both a PA18 & PA12. Plus you can ferry fuel to a hunting camp or wherever in the wings and not have to smell it inside the plane

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by nanook View Post
    You should put where you are located on your signature. We travel long distances up here (in Alaska), the Dodge tanks have served me well up here in both a PA18 & PA12. Plus you can ferry fuel to a hunting camp or wherever in the wings and not have to smell it inside the plane
    Thanks for the advice, nanook. I'm in Ottawa, Canada. Living where I live, I shouldn't have much trouble finding fuel, but few floatplane bases remain in operation, and the ones I count on the most are run by people who seem ready to throw in the towel.

    I also like your idea of using the wing tanks to top off a fuel cache @ camp.

    How long have you had the tanks for, & have you ever noticed any wobbles from gas sloshing around?

  10. #10

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    If you can find a set of Clarence Witte tanks(air energy), I'd put them in. No wing modification necessary.

    Dakota Cub does outstanding work. I would not hesitate to put their tanks in.

    Check out www.cubtanks.com They now own the Clarence Witte STC. They are working on getting the PA-12 tanks back into production. I don't know where they are at with this process.

    I would stay away from Wag Aero tanks. I've heard people have problems with them.

    Whatever you do, make sure you pressure check/leak check them before final installation.

  11. #11
    algonquin's Avatar
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    I've heard the Atlee dodge tank are a problem down the road, it's a lot of extra wt on the wings. I don't need the extra gas in my 12 so I'm going to put in the wag aero 19's @ $700 ea. Lots cheaper.

  12. #12
    cruiser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevin View Post
    If you can find a set of Clarence Witte tanks(air energy), I'd put them in. No wing modification necessary.

    Dakota Cub does outstanding work. I would not hesitate to put their tanks in.

    Check out www.cubtanks.com They now own the Clarence Witte STC. They are working on getting the PA-12 tanks back into production. I don't know where they are at with this process.

    I would stay away from Wag Aero tanks. I've heard people have problems with them.

    Whatever you do, make sure you pressure check/leak check them before final installation.

    The cub tanks link is n/g, it is now biplanesinvestmentsllc.com or close to that. I do not believe they ever got a PMA for the 12 tanks. Go with the Dakota tanks, IMO.

  13. #13
    nanook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy505 View Post
    Thanks for the advice, nanook. I'm in Ottawa, Canada. Living where I live, I shouldn't have much trouble finding fuel, but few floatplane bases remain in operation, and the ones I count on the most are run by people who seem ready to throw in the towel.

    I also like your idea of using the wing tanks to top off a fuel cache @ camp.

    How long have you had the tanks for, & have you ever noticed any wobbles from gas sloshing around?
    The 18 has had them for almost 30 years now, the 12 for 6. No sloshing or any problems at all. You rarely use 61 gal of fuel but having the capacity to fly for 8 hrs comes in handy now and then, Hunting up North or fishing down South.

  14. #14
    Gordon Misch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nanook View Post
    The 18 has had them for almost 30 years now, the 12 for 6. No sloshing or any problems at all. You rarely use 61 gal of fuel but having the capacity to fly for 8 hrs comes in handy now and then, Hunting up North or fishing down South.
    Agree. My Atlee tanks have been in for a little over 4 years now, no problem at all. The thing is, they have to be shimmed correctly to the wing washout. I rarely fill them, but when I'm going a distance 8 hr range sure can be convenient.
    Gordon

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  15. #15
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by algonquin View Post
    I've heard the Atlee dodge tank are a problem down the road,..
    nope!...
    just Idiot installers who are unable to follow the install directions, and others fail to follow the ICA's for 100hr inspections...

  16. #16
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevin View Post
    ....Whatever you do, make sure you pressure check/leak check them before final installation.
    DO NOT over pressurize them. The requirement is low. http://www.flightsimaviation.com/dat...rt_23-965.html

    Brush the seams with soapy water looking for pin hole air bubbles.
    N1PA

  17. #17

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    I am a big fan of more fuel!! With big tanks it will be a lot easier to manage you fuel if you add a fuel flow. I have a EI fuel flow and have it calibrated to within 0.1 gal per tank.
    DENNY

  18. #18
    aviationinfo's Avatar
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    I like having the extra capacity of the Atlee tanks and use it every summer on my Idaho trips. If there's a drawback, it's that you cannot adjust the wing wash as readily because the tanks don't allow for the torsion due to the nature of the installation---and can potentially be cracked. If after installation you find that adjustment is needed (Mike MCS can correct me on this) you'd need to re-shim the tanks so they can be clamped down securely afterwards without putting stress on them. Other than that issue, I have found the potential for extra fuel to be completely beneficial.

  19. #19

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    I installed a set of Dakota 23 gal tanks in my 12 project, it was one of the first things I did on the project in 2012 so my notes are a bit sketchy. With no experience, no specialized tools and no help on hand it looks like it took me around about 20-24 hours for the first side (including fitting the new very nice false spar panel that comes with the kit, and fitting the cover), much less for the second side. I also recall the Dakota kit came complete with absolutely everything I needed for the install. I wouldn't hesitate to take that project on again. Can hardly weight to get this project flying to move from 18 to 23 gallons. http://dakotacub.com/index.php?optio..._id=105&cat_id.

    And by the way the original 12 tanks were 19 gal.

  20. #20

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    I would highly recommend putting in finger strainers and fittings and even the fuel lines to come into cabin for fuel gauges. Working around the compression strut was very difficult once they were covered. Speaking from experience.

    You get what you pay for with wag aero tanks.

    we have been hearing for years the air energy tanks were going to be produced again. Most of us can't wait forever.

    I bought a lot of stc's and parts from dodge during my rebuild. I bought the elevators and horizontal from them. I happened to call and ask a question about them and they told me there was a problem during manufacturing and they were bad. They made it right and sent me a new pair but it made me wonder if they knew they were bad why didn't they reach out to me and warn me of the problem.

  21. #21
    nanook's Avatar
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    Well it is Univair now... When Atlee was alive it was a different operation. I remember being broke down on the ice at Kotzebue and and calling Atlee, he sent the parts that day without taking any payment (to make the afternoon Alaska jet) and just said pay me when you get the bill got to run to make the jet! Those days are gone but Steve is still there...

  22. #22
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PIPER J5.5 View Post
    I would highly recommend putting in finger strainers and fittings and even the fuel lines to come into cabin for fuel gauges..
    Not only is it a good idea, it is required.

    CAR 3.448 Fuel tank outlet.
    The fuel tank outlet shall be provided with a screen of from 8 to 16 meshes per inch. If a finger strainer is used,the length of the strainer shall not be less than 4 times the outlet diameter. The diameter of the strainer shall not be less than the diameter of the fuel tank outlet. Finger strainers shall be accessible for inspection and cleaning.
    N1PA

  23. #23

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    What I meant to say is put those items in before covering.

  24. #24

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    Mine should be airborne in a couple of weeks now... I used the Dakota tanks and had no problems installing. Dakota is a real breeze to deal with and they supplied everything I needed. Everything from them has been top quality too.

  25. #25
    Charlie Longley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by algonquin View Post
    I've heard the Atlee dodge tank are a problem down the road, it's a lot of extra wt on the wings. I don't need the extra gas in my 12 so I'm going to put in the wag aero 19's @ $700 ea. Lots cheaper.
    What he said!!

  26. #26
    nanook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Longley View Post
    What he said!!
    when you install their cheap junk, you not only get to do the job twice but get to pay twice...

  27. #27
    Charlie Longley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nanook View Post
    when you install their cheap junk, you not only get to do the job twice but get to pay twice...
    I put them in the last PA-12 project I did. They were very good quality drop in replacements! Wag aero was very accommodating and welded in forward outlets for the Cubcrafters STC. 5 years later and the owner has no problems with them!

  28. #28
    nanook's Avatar
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    Does he use them? I honestly can't get myself to buy anything from Wag Aero. Burned one too many times from their junk. If China started bootlegging aircraft parts, Wag Aero would sell them, maybe they both already are.

  29. #29
    Charlie Longley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nanook View Post
    Does he use them? I honestly can't get myself to buy anything from Wag Aero. Burned one too many times from their junk. If China started bootlegging aircraft parts, Wag Aero would sell them, maybe they both already are.
    To be honest I rarely buy anything from Wagaero most of my fabric Piper purchases are from Univair. Just in this one instance Wagaero's product worked out well.
    Last edited by Charlie Longley; 02-16-2016 at 09:54 AM. Reason: typo

  30. #30
    180Marty's Avatar
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    Funny how one subject, two or more people and all kinds of opinions and experiences. I put some WagAero 18 gallon tanks in my PA12 thirty years ago and they worked fine as far as leaking but was kind of unhappy that the fuel outlet fitting was off so had to modify some tubing with a couple of bends. Thats as I remember. They were way better than the factory originals that I took out.

  31. #31
    WhiskeyMike's Avatar
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    Anyone know of a shop in AZ or TX or near enough that would (has time to do) install Atlee tanks in a PA-12? I'm thinking one Atlee tank to have a total of 48.5 gallons. Less work, and as banner planes are constantly making left turns I'm thinking to put it in the right wing as it is frequently "up." I'd like to add the front outlet to the fuel system anyways. Can someone confirm that you have to replace the leading edge of the PA-12 wing with PA-18 leading edges?

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