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Thread: Giving a J-3 the back country treatment

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    Giving a J-3 the back country treatment

    Hey all, I was looking for some advice on giving a J-3 (with the C-90 engine) the bush plane treatment (STOL kit, Bush tires, climb propeller, etc) and was wondering if you all had advice on any modifications you would do. I don't want to do anything too drastic and have a fairly limited budget, but I still want to make it bush-worthy. Thanks! I attached a picture of the plane.Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
    12Geezer2's Avatar
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    Nice lookin Cub---limited budget ????----pour gas in and fly---you don't need anything else---buddy has a 90 H.P. cub and has a blast---AS IS !!!
    Likes Joe McMillen liked this post

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    Prop, safety cables, and 26 or 29 inch Airstreaks should give you the best bang for the buck. Looks like you have disk brakes move the caliper to the 10 o'clock position with the brake line on top. When was the last time you had a good inspection (sandblasted and inspected) of the gear? The lighter you stay the better for STOL work.
    DENNY

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    DENNY, this was my grandpa's cub, and he gave it to me. He is incredibly meticulous and careful with his work, so I'm guessing that the gear was inspected recently.
    Thanks Goodolboy thanked for this post

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    Just wanted to say that cub is beautiful, I might be mistaken but I think I was in that hangar a couple weeks ago looking at it being built, Santa Ynez Correct?

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    n40ff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by overlandandover_land View Post
    DENNY, this was my grandpa's cub, and he gave it to me. He is incredibly meticulous and careful with his work, so I'm guessing that the gear was inspected recently.
    I wouldn't bet/guess on ANYTHING! Inspect airplane and the logs. Probably A-OK, but it's YOUR airplane now, no J3 is young anymore. There is a very good reason people pay in excess of $100K for a new cub.

    Jack

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    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    McCauley prop and some 29" Airstreaks should make for some fun. Never tried VGs on the J3 but that is next.



    Last edited by Steve Pierce; 07-10-2016 at 09:15 PM.
    Steve Pierce

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    I was in a similar situation a couple years ago with my father's PA-18. He's done flying it and I get to use it until some point when he decides to sell it, and I wanted to get it set up for backcountry use. In talks with my mechanic and other experienced pilots, I settled on spending my money on the tires (31" ABW) and a belly pod. I already had a McCauley prop, and was told that was one of the other essentials. The only thing I'd still like to add at this point is a baby bushwheel, but all things in time. At this point I'm dumping as much money into AvGas and time in the air as possible rather than adding any other mods.

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    cubdriver2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
    McCauley prop and some 29" Airstreaks should make for some fun. Never tried VGs on the J3 but that is next.




    Thats not the J3 video that Joe and Tom showed me.

    Glenn
    "Optimism is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brute View Post
    Just wanted to say that cub is beautiful, I might be mistaken but I think I was in that hangar a couple weeks ago looking at it being built, Santa Ynez Correct?
    Thanks! It is in Santa Ynez! My grandpa builds cubs for a hobby, so I think that he is in the process of building another. This one has been completed for a few years now

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    Awesome! Thought I recognized the poster, but I only met your grandfather for a couple minutes.

    For those in this thread concerned, overlandandover's grandpa is an award winning cub builder..

    not saying things shouldn't be looked over in any case though
    Last edited by Brute; 07-11-2016 at 02:15 AM.

  12. #12
    aktango58's Avatar
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    The very first mod I would get would be a fuel tank... 200 gallons.

    Fill that up, and pump it into the plane. When you run out of the 200 gallons, then ask again. Until you have a bunch of time getting the feel of that bird, everything else will just complicate your life.

    You can get the prop re-pitched for better static RPM if you feel like it, but learn to fly that wing.
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

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    Quote Originally Posted by DENNY View Post
    Prop, safety cables, and 26 or 29 inch Airstreaks should give you the best bang for the buck. Looks like you have disk brakes move the caliper to the 10 o'clock position with the brake line on top. When was the last time you had a good inspection (sandblasted and inspected) of the gear? The lighter you stay the better for STOL work.
    DENNY
    What pitch would you guys recommend for the prop? I'm not too concerned about higher cruise speeds, but want to maximize STOL performance. Also, I was a little misleading with the way I worded the "I'm guessing that the gear was inspected recently" part. I will give it (and the logs) a look-over ASAP. Sorry for any confusion this may have caused!

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    Quote Originally Posted by aktango58 View Post
    The very first mod I would get would be a fuel tank... 200 gallons.

    Fill that up, and pump it into the plane. When you run out of the 200 gallons, then ask again. Until you have a bunch of time getting the feel of that bird, everything else will just complicate your life.

    You can get the prop re-pitched for better static RPM if you feel like it, but learn to fly that wing.
    I definitely agree. I will get as much time as possible in the cockpit, and the majority of the mods I would make are going to be a couple years off.

    I just want to get some advice so that, when the time comes, I will have a plan laid out for what do modify.

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    I'm running a mccauley 1b90 71/41 on the 85 stroker in my champ and it does pretty well, don't have experience with anything longer/flatter though. I would second the gear inspection. I went through the gear on my champ recently and the trailing tube near the bottom (hub) was rotten. Inherited this plane from my father who bought it in the seventies and recovered it.

    Sent from my HTC6525LVW using Tapatalk

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    Dont go much beyond tires, check cables, VGs and prop. I vote Catto when he gets them approved. Light weight is everything in this case. And I will echo what has been said above, GAS GAS GAS GAS and GAS!
    "Always looking up"

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    n40ff's Avatar
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    Now knowing that Gramps is more than the average Cub owner, I suspect your airplane is in "reasonable" condition. Yes, Buy gas.

    I use to build custom .45 autos(back in the 80's before the factory's did it fairly cheaply). Beginner would give me a stock gun and $1000 to build it into a race gun. I'd suggest just smooth it up, new sights and a trigger job for $200 and spend the other $800 on ammo and/or reloading equipment. THEN think about a "better" gun.

    Usually they had more gun than they could use.......Likewise, many if not most pilots(myself included) will never gain the skill to fly a stock Cub to the airplane's full capability ............ Maybe mods to help keep you from breaking it?

    You can only do and/or haul so much on 90 HP..............

    Jack

    PS The best thing I could do to/for my airplanes is to lose about 40 pounds from around my waist and/or off my big butt!
    Last edited by n40ff; 07-11-2016 at 06:29 AM.

  18. #18
    12Geezer2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by n40ff View Post
    Now knowing that Gramps is more than the average Cub owner, I suspect your airplane is in "reasonable" condition. Yes, Buy gas.

    I use to build custom .45 autos(back in the 80's before the factory's did it fairly cheaply). Beginner would give me a stock gun and $1000 to build it into a race gun. I'd suggest just smooth it up, new sights and a trigger job for $200 and spend the other $800 on ammo and/or reloading equipment. THEN think about a "better" gun.

    Usually they had more gun than they could use.......Likewise, many if not most pilots(myself included) will never gain the skill to fly a stock Cub to the airplane's full capability ............ Maybe mods to help keep you from breaking it?

    You can only do and/or haul so much on 90 HP..............

    Jack

    PS The best thing I could do to/for my airplanes is to lose about 40 pounds from around my waist and/or off my big butt!
    Best mod ??? try a nice light Super Cub with 150 or 160--- think that is where the "Super" comes into play---meanwhile fly that J-3 till it is an extension of "you" good fun but the view up front in the Super is much more fun....geezer Dan

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    Quote Originally Posted by skukum12 View Post
    I vote Catto when he gets them approved. Light weight is everything in this case.
    Don't hold your breath, I turned blue year ago...
    Last edited by OLDCROWE; 07-11-2016 at 07:55 AM.
    Remember, These are the Good old Days!

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    cubdriver2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 12Geezer2 View Post
    Best mod ??? try a nice light Super Cub with 150 or 160--- think that is where the "Super" comes into play---meanwhile fly that J-3 till it is an extension of "you" good fun but the view up front in the Super is much more fun....geezer Dan
    Solo a lite C90 J3 or Pa11 with the right prop will beat almost anything off the ground. My 11 with a seaplane prop turned 2700 taking off and with me in the backseat was airborne in 125' no wind. 50 to 75' with a little breeze. I soloed my 15 year old 105lb son on a calm evening and he was off in 40' 50'. That was before I discovered 25" Goodyear's or Bushwheels that lengthened the takeoff roll. Lite and RPM are all you need

    Glenn
    Last edited by cubdriver2; 07-11-2016 at 08:40 AM.
    "Optimism is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you!"

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    Honor your grandfather, and keep it stock. Sure, put a big time climb prop on there, but don't do anything else until you have a couple hundred hours in the pattern with her.

    Big tires are great for touchdown on stuff you probably don't need to be landing on, but they sap the handling when airborne. And in California there are not that many places to land off-airport anyway.

    This airplane wouldn't have been Howard Goldman's way back when? He and Shy took over Sta Ynez in the 1970s.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bob turner View Post
    Honor your grandfather, and keep it stock. Sure, put a big time climb prop on there, but don't do anything else until you have a couple hundred hours in the pattern with her.

    Big tires are great for touchdown on stuff you probably don't need to be landing on, but they sap the handling when airborne. And in California there are not that many places to land off-airport anyway.

    This airplane wouldn't have been Howard Goldman's way back when? He and Shy took over Sta Ynez in the 1970s.
    It's actually Ellis Clark's. He moved out from Michigan a few years ago. Does Oregon have many off-tarmac landing areas? I'm going to be moving the plane up there fairly soon

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    Those aircraft are impeccably finished, and not designed for beater operations. If you want to look like a bush pilot, choose an aircraft that looks a little rattier - Ellis' gloss finish and perfect everything else is designed to look like a really good show Cub, not a bush mobile.

    Choose your IAs carefully. The Ellis Cub I looked at had mods without approved data. For the C-90-12, approval is trivial, but the fuel tanks were kind of sketchy. I think the PA-11 wing would be a trivial field approval; my PMI gave me a field approval for PA-11 struts without batting an eye.

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    How many hours do you have? I have a modded J-3 with the C-85, front seat solo. Modifications were done when I bought it and learned in it. Only about 100 hours and am no where near figuring out how to use the planes capability. It all depends what you are using it for and how far you plan to go, lots of good info on the J-3 Cub forum, but most guys don't like modifying them.

    I could easily drop probably 20 lbs from my plane. Remove 26" Airstreaks, remove safety cables, remove fuel steps, switch to lighter landing landing gear, remove shoulder straps, put on a wood prop, does dropping any of that weight make sense? Not to me at this point. As she sits, she's 806lb (actually weighed on scales, don't do that if you can avoid it, all are heavier than the factory said), heavier than a lot of what people say their cubs weigh (a lot not weighed on scales), about average for PA-11 weights I found. Another thing that adds weight but no way would give up having is the wing tanks, far better than carrying gas in the plane if that is the alternative, depends on the mission.

    My advice would be 1) enjoy building time burning less than 5 gallons an hour (love that!) 2) don't modifiy anything that can't be easily undone 3) learn it stock so you know if what you changed did you any good 4) don't tell the other cub guys if you ever paint it a different color (mine's red and black, which melts the ice off really quick in the winter!). Mine was already modified and I learned in it so have nothing to compare it to, but I still love it.

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    My next one will be red with a yellow stripe and L-4 windows. I see nothing wrong with mods, just hate to see performance- sapping mods done on airplanes predominantly used on improved strips. But if you want to LOOK like a bush pilot, it is your choice and a valid one. Just remember what you are doing to handling and performance.

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    L-4 windows look nice. Agreed that if operating solely on pavement Bushwheels are mostly for show, and I do think they look cool so burn the money if you have it, easy to switch back to stock. From my stand point, at my skill level, in Alaska, everything I am intentionally doing at this point could be done with 8.00's (8.50's are not an option without getting new landing gear), but big tires may help in an unexpected off airport landing (not at lot of roads to land on up here), certainly provide some cushion to a 1940 frame, and are getting use on some long, well used but still unmaintained strips that could contain soft spots or larger rocks, swales, etc. Think it's hard to beat a J-3 as a LSA off-airport plane for a low time pilot unless you can afford a carbon cub.

    There are actually a couple more things I would add to my plane if allowable: a battery operated transponder and LED anti-collision lights.

  27. #27

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    I have a battery powered strobe on mine. Don't fly over stuff you cannot safely land on? If I lived in Alaska, one of those ELTs that broadcasts lat/long and my health would be in order, along with a "spot".

    I bet you could find a mechanic who would certify a transponder and strobes as minor alterations. And why can't you just put 8:50s on there? I think they fit the same rims as the 6:00.

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    Pretty hard to fly over only stuff you can safely land on unless you stay in the pattern, always look for a spot to put down just in case, and try to stay in gliding distance of those spots, but they aren't spots I would intentionally try to land. Always carry an InReach for two-way com and have an ELT, tested regularly. 8.50's do fit but Atlee STC is only available for 1 1/2" axles, Bushwheels STC is for both 1 1/4 and 1 1/2 axles, if PA-18 style gear.

  29. #29
    soyAnarchisto's Avatar
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    I would go climb prop first - not much else is necessary. I had 29" airstreaks on my J3, but really they are mostly for aesthetics cause you can do a lot on 800s. fly it.
    Where the hell is soyAnarchisto? Spot:

    http://share.findmespot.com/shared/f...SWNtWd0Trffc0F

  30. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by bob turner View Post
    My next one will be red with a yellow stripe and L-4 windows. I see nothing wrong with mods, just hate to see performance- sapping mods done on airplanes predominantly used on improved strips. But if you want to LOOK like a bush pilot, it is your choice and a valid one. Just remember what you are doing to handling and performance.
    I totally agree. I want any modifications to be function-based, rather than solely to look cool.

  31. #31
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    This 90 hp J3 went everywhere we went in our Super Cubs and more. It made a great bar hopper just a PITA to go anywhere with only a 12 gallon nose tank. Tom was a good sport and was his tanker.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Steve Pierce

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  32. #32

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    The Ellis Cub I am familiar with has an 18 gallon tank in one wing and an 11 gallon tank in the other. No fuselage tank. Plenty of range, works fine.

  33. #33
    Cub@H20's Avatar
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    It's actually Ellis Clark's. He moved out from Michigan a few years ago. Does Oregon have many off-tarmac landing areas? I'm going to be moving the plane up there fairly soon

    Ellis is a good friend and I owned one of his J-3's a few years ago (NC92012). I'll bet your ship weighs in around 835 lbs. Unless it's been changed, your Cub has a C-90-12 with two 18 gallon wing tanks, a gel cell battery and a B&C 320 starter. You're already bumping into the MGL weight the way it's configured. Adding more stuff will further reduce your carrying capability. Enjoy it the way it is. Gary

  34. #34
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cubdriver2 View Post
    Solo a lite C90 J3 or Pa11 with the right prop will beat almost anything off the ground. My 11 with a seaplane prop turned 2700 taking off and with me in the backseat was airborne in 125' no wind.Glenn
    I thought Max RPM is 2475 for a C-90 powered 11.

    MTV

  35. #35

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    2650 for 5 minutes but what it is is what it is for a 90, glenns is a 200. rpms is a 200s best friend.

  36. #36

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    I bet the paperwork says two 18 gal tanks. We found an 11 gal tank on one side.

  37. #37
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tempdoug View Post
    2650 for 5 minutes but what it is is what it is for a 90, glenns is a 200. rpms is a 200s best friend.
    Ummm, not according to the Type Certificate:

    D. Model PA-11:
    (1) A-65-3 of A-65-8
    Engine Limits: All operations, 2300
    r.p.m. (65 hp)
    -1 lb. (-40)
    (2) A-65-6 or A-65-9
    Engine Limits: (same
    as Item 311D(1))
    +2 lb. (-40)
    (3) A-65-14
    Engine Limits: (same
    as Item 311D(1))
    +12 lb. (-40)
    (4) C-85-8FJ or C-85-12 with Item 101,
    3 or 8 propeller
    Use actual weight and arm
    Eligible on landplane only.
    Engine Limits: All operations, 2575 r.p.m. (85 hp.)
    Propeller Limits (with Item 101 propeller):
    Static r.p.m. at maximum permissible throttle setting:
    Not over 2350, not under 1950.
    No additional tolerance permitted.
    Diameter: Not over 72 inches, not under 70 inches.
    NOTE: C-85-8FJ engine should be inst
    alled in accordance with or equivalent
    to Piper Dwg. No. SK-192. Because fuel valve is not accessible from rear
    seat, rear cockpit must be placarded: "Solo flying from front seat only"
    Page 13 of 21
    A-691
    Engines and Engine Accessories
    - Fuel and Oil System (cont.)
    311. D.
    (5) C-90-8F (with propeller Item 5,

    6, 7, 9, or 101)
    Use actual weight change
    (Bendix-Stromberg carburetor, Continental Part No. 530726 and engine

    cooling baffles per Piper Dwg. 11258 Cha
    nge E are required with this engine.)

    Engine Limits: All operations, 2475 r.p.m. (90 hp)
    Propeller Limits:
    Static r.p.m. at maximum permissible throttle setting:
    Not over 2350, not under 1950 for landplane and not under 2050 for seaplane.
    No additional tolerance permitted.
    Diameter: (with Item 5 propeller) not
    over 71 inches, not under 69.5 inches.
    (with Item 101 propeller) not
    over 76 inches, not under 70 inches.

    What am I missing?

    MTV

  38. #38
    cubdriver2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvivion View Post
    I thought Max RPM is 2475 for a C-90 powered 11.

    MTV
    My C90-8 in my 11 had an 0200 cam and timing, not my choice it came that way. It had a Mac 6948 that was 67" and when you poked the throttle it jumped off the ground.

    Glenn
    "Optimism is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you!"

  39. #39
    Ken Kennedy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OLDCROWE View Post
    Don't hold your breath, I turned blue year ago...
    Two best mods besides 100LL are a good prop and 29" Airstreaks IMHO.

    As far as a Catto goes...

    From the J-3 / PA-11 TCDS

    "101. Propeller - Wood (fixed or adjustable pitch)."

    Sounds like a Catto is already named in the TCDS to me.

  40. #40

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    What diameter and pitch would you recommend for a propeller? Maybe a Mccauley 7141? I don't want to risk too high of an RPM, but want it biased more towards climb than cruise

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