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Thread: Corrosion on PA14 - Would appreciate feedback on my best way forward

  1. #1

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    Corrosion on PA14 - Would appreciate feedback on my best way forward

    I recently acquired a PA14 in Kenya:
    http://www.supercub.org/forum/showth...-PA14-in-Kenya

    Upon getting set up with a local AMO - they have advised me the corrosion in certain areas of the plane is too extensive to pass the COA. The plane had been parked outside unsheltered for approximately 1 year before I purchased it.
    While I knew the corrosion would need to be addressed when I purchased the plane, the engine has 270 more hours until rebuild time and I hoped I could rebuild, inspect frame/repair/repaint and refabric all at the same time once through those hours.
    Now it seems I might have to go immediately to the refabric / inspection process.

    Before I just go ahead with what the local mechanics are telling me, I wanted to ask for some advice on here if you can see from the pictures the extent of corrosion. My hope was I could address the accessible corrosion immediately, and clean up/monitor the fabric covered corrosion until the 270 hours finish and then strip fabric inspect all, and rebuild all.

    Thanks for your advice,
    Ben

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  2. #2

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    That corrosion didn’t happen from sitting outside for a year. That’s been happening for a long time. It looks like rebuild time is upon you. With that level of decay being so apparent you might want to peek inside that engine, too.
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  3. #3
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    I agree, if you are seeing that much corrosion from the outside I can only imagine what it will look like when the covering is removed. The ailerons and flaps will probbly need replacing from the dissimilar metal corrosion between the aluminum and steel.
    Steve Pierce

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  4. #4
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    That is an interesting modification on the trailing edge of the aileron. Why are there rust colored areas showing where there should only be aluminum?

    N1PA
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    SkyWagon8a - yea I was surprised too - I thought they were all aluminum.

    Well if I have to refabric, I'd like to get some upgrades done while the fabric is off. What would you recommend?

    I am interested in increasing the range - i've seen Atlee dodge has 30.5 gal tanks.
    Eventually I would like to put some heavy duty suspension and larger tires, but I think I can still do that later after the refabric, correct?

    What would be some suggested mods to do while the fabric is off? Thanks

  6. #6
    Eddie Foy's Avatar
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    I hope you got it VEEEERY cheap!
    "Put out my hand and touched the face of God!"
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  7. #7

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    Was it advertised as airworthy? You might want to consider returning it and buying a better one.
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  8. #8
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Heinrich View Post
    Was it advertised as airworthy? You might want to consider returning it and buying a better one.
    In Kenya?
    N1PA

  9. #9

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    What is the final mission for the plane?? What engine is currently in the plane? When was the last time the fabric was off the plane and fuselage inspected? I am a big fan of the Atlee Dodge tanks!! With a fuel flow meter they are great for long flights. Weld on the tabs for HD gear while the fabric is off then it is just a bolt on swap latter. My advice would be to get your money back and find another plane to fly!! You are looking at a several month expensive rebuild. Don't tear into it until you come up for training and talk with local IA's that have rebuilt/restored a lot of PA 14's
    DENNY
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  10. #10
    Dave Calkins's Avatar
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    curved outboard trailing edge of ailerons is supported by round steel tube with curve on stock Cubs, for those who dont know.

    Pontier09, you have many areas of corrosion to address. To keep this a a "flying project" would be all the way to the edge of what I see as possible. Only an owner/mechanic should be the type to determine that.

    Do not expect a hired mechanic to let this fly as you fix it.
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  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by DENNY View Post
    What is the final mission for the plane?? What engine is currently in the plane? When was the last time the fabric was off the plane and fuselage inspected? I am a big fan of the Atlee Dodge tanks!! With a fuel flow meter they are great for long flights. Weld on the tabs for HD gear while the fabric is off then it is just a bolt on swap latter. My advice would be to get your money back and find another plane to fly!! You are looking at a several month expensive rebuild. Don't tear into it until you come up for training and talk with local IA's that have rebuilt/restored a lot of PA 14's
    DENNY
    Final mission for the plane will be mainly for sightseeing around Kenya - may occasionally fly around East Africa. Engine is O-320. Fabric last off and fuselage inspected in 92 at Mooney, South Africa in Port Alfred.
    I've been looking at those Atlee Dodge tanks - if I do have to refabric this early - i'd like to look into upgrading to them.

    Unfortunately not many other options for cubs out here - I'm vested in this one and want to see it through right. Just don't want to be in a position if I can avoid it where it has to sit a year or two while I save up to rebuild her.
    If she can safely carry out those next 270 hours it'd let me get more familiar with the plane and what I'm looking for in terms of upgrades and the rebuild. With no other experience if I have to rebuild now, i'm going in completely blind.

    I'm out of the country until late next week, but as soon as I'm back I'll get the mechanics to walk me through the concerns and see if we can't look closer removing the fabric on some of the isolated areas of corrosion. I don't know what's possible but if we can get by sanding and repainting the isolated areas to at least stop the bad portions of rust, it may buy some time till I can get through those hours and do the full engine rebuild/frame inspection and refabric. Thanks, Ben

  12. #12
    PerryB's Avatar
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    That's pretty much terminal.
    Last edited by PerryB; 04-29-2018 at 02:08 PM.
    After Monday and Tuesday, even the calendar says WTF !

  13. #13
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skywagon8a View Post
    That is an interesting modification on the trailing edge of the aileron. Why are there rust colored areas showing where there should only be aluminum?

    Is that rust, or mold?

    I wouldn’t even THINK about flying that thing without the fabric coming off.....

    MTV
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  14. #14
    aktango58's Avatar
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    The corrosion on the outside can be treated and slowed down for a couple years, granted; the corrosion on the INSIDE of the tubes is an unknown, and can cause no end of issues when it fails the tubes.

    There was a picture of a pacer posted a couple years ago that the longerons failed just forward of the tail on landing. Had that happened in turbulence it would be death.

    Looking at the photo with the leading edge shown, I see lots of bubbles- which are probably corrosion spots happening on the leading edge skins, that is a bad sign.

    I am not a mechanic, but I have had to fix tubing in the past due to a problem area. I had to fix one or two spots that were caused by either battery drain causing corrosion, or a particular spot getting worked. You have issues in critical areas. It is not one spot- but wide spread. It looks like this plane was flown on floats from salt without getting rinsed, and then ignored. The cost to address all of those issues will very high- and you still will have the other issues that are hidden.

    Time to bite the bullet and do the rebuild. If the inside of the engine is good, pickle it and run the hours out after rebuild. That will give you 270 hours, or more if you can run beyond tbo over there, to save up more $ for the overhaul.

    Sorry you are in this situation, Good luck.
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!
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  15. #15
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    clean rust areas, inspect, epoxy prime bad areas...

    you are about to learn to fly, you will probably wreck it anyways and need a rebuild then.....

    that don't look bad, compared to the flying planes up here from coastal areas...

  16. #16
    Dave Calkins's Avatar
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    the corrosion at back edge of windshield is terminal!

    There is an AD ON FABRIC COMING LOOSE FROM THAT CHANNEL. IT MUST be addressed. a good time to do a skylight and "retire" the AD there
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  17. #17

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    I would agree with Mike and Dave if you keep the plane, and don't mind flying a rat cub for a few years. Just take care of the what has to be done and don't try to make it look pretty. I will show you my cub when you come up!! My IA keeps telling me paint and new fabric are not needed for a pilot with my skills. Once you have a few hundred hours in it you will know what mods you need and what are just nice to have. How many tube and fabric experts are in you part of the world.
    DENNY
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  18. #18

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    You are reading a lot of good advice here. I hope you take head . Years back I nearly lost a dear friend, attempting the same as you with a tri/pacer. He ended up in a corn field. Aircraft was destroyed. He barely survived with 2 broken legs and multiple internal injuries.

    I sincerely hope you don’t have much hide in this project.
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  19. #19
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffZ View Post
    You are reading a lot of good advice here. I hope you take head . Years back I nearly lost a dear friend, attempting the same as you with a tri/pacer. He ended up in a corn field. Aircraft was destroyed. He barely survived with 2 broken legs and multiple internal injuries.

    I sincerely hope you don’t have much hide in this project.
    you need to provide some specifics, and pictures of what failed... not just fear mongering..... what was wrong, what failed, why?

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by pontier09 View Post
    I recently acquired a PA14 in Kenya:

    Ben



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    My eyes keep going back to this image. It might just be camera position but to me, is the tail spring bracket square to the airframe still?
    Have you or anyone taken a real good look at the tubes in there?

  21. #21
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pontier09 View Post
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    Another thing about this area is that the fabric is completely closing the lower section above where the tail wheel spring is attached. This area has a tendency to collect dirt/sand. This dirt/sand in turn holds moisture against the tubing which causes this entire cluster to rust out. At the very least this triangular shaped area should be left uncovered to remove the moisture trap.
    N1PA

  22. #22
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    That picture caused concern with me as well. The tail brace wire brackets would be another important are to check along with the tail post and lower longerons.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers
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  23. #23

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    “Beauty is skin deep but ugly goes all the way to the bone” -Fred Sanford

    Anyone who as much as glanced at this plane ahead of purchasing had to see red flags. I’d be trying to see what isn’t so easy to see. Was it inspected? Is any of this decay a surprise?
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  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by CharlieN View Post
    My eyes keep going back to this image. It might just be camera position but to me, is the tail spring bracket square to the airframe still?
    Have you or anyone taken a real good look at the tubes in there?
    Isnt there a procedure that involves drilling a small, non destructive, hole in suspect areas to determine extent of corrosion and tube integrity? I would assume lower longeron near tail cluster would be likely place to start, and no need to remove any fabric.
    Theres also an approved method to plug hole. maybe someone could chime in on this.

  25. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by pontier09 View Post
    If she can safely carry out those next 270 hours it'd let me get more familiar with the plane and what I'm looking for in terms of upgrades and the rebuild. With no other experience if I have to rebuild now, i'm going in completely blind.

    I don't know what's possible but if we can get by sanding and repainting the isolated areas to at least stop the bad portions of rust, it may buy some time till I can get through those hours and do the full engine rebuild/frame inspection and refabric. Thanks, Ben
    A number of times you have mentioned this 270 hours. The TBO on these engines is a recommended time between overhaul, it is not a required hard cut date or time to overhaul the engine. Most of us would let the engine dictate when the overhaul needs to be done just as with the airframe. If there are structural problems in the plane they should have been well understood before you put down any money.

    To all of us looking in from the outside there are some pretty major alarms that should be investigated before any dreams or decisions would be made. That plane has been degrading for a long time, long before it was apparently grounded a year ago from what I read. If the mechanics felt it was in too bad a shape to fly before I can see anyone signing the logs to allow it to fly now.

    It might be that only one or two areas truly need work done to allow the plane into the air again with an ongoing watch in other areas.
    But saying you want to just fly it for 270 hours then address the problems is rather frightening. There are many airplanes that barely get 30 to 50 hours a year at best on them. If a mechanic says the plane is not fit to fly now, how is it expected to be fit for another one to maybe 5 or 6 years.
    Surly none of us would place our certificates on the line for that dreaming.

    I own a Piper that was in use as a trainer back in the late '70s. The instructors started complaining the plane just did not fly real well. Mechanics said it was fine. Very soon some fabric tore down in the lower tail post area. The instructor ripped the fabric back and saw 3 rusted out, broken tubes at that lower junction. On most Pipers there are 6 tubes going back to the tailpost. On the plane I bought the two lower longerons and one of the diagonal tube were just not there. In this case the mechanic was the flight school owner.
    No plane should ever be allowed to degrade that far under the belief it should just keep flying well after it was determined it should be grounded.
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  26. #26
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CharlieN View Post
    .. Very soon some fabric tore down in the lower tail post area. The instructor ripped the fabric back and saw 3 rusted out, broken tubes at that lower junction. ..
    I broke the longeron at tail/front spring mount jacking up stepfather's pacer... was rusted..... was much less exciting finding it on the grounds in the hanger....

  27. #27

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    Thanks Charlie - I didn't know TBO wasn't verbatim on hours. I'm going to go ahead and try and address what I can locally on the problem spots + inspect suspect areas without committing to a full repair/rebuild at this stage if it can be avoided. If the mechanics can be satisfied and myself and a few other pilots I trust in Kenya are satisfied I'll try and fly it as a "rat cub" as Denny mentioned above till I can figure out what I want for upgrades and save up to do everything up the way I want it best I can in one run. Otherwise this plane will sit and i'd like to avoid that.

  28. #28
    Gordon Misch's Avatar
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    Please just be conservative regarding the physical integrity of your plane. Ratty appearance is fine, but ratty structure isn't. We never know when that next big blast of turbulence or extra-hard landing will greet us.
    Gordon

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  29. #29

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    On my J3 I was told "just check the bottom of the top longeron at the tailpost"... well, when I was trying to get the awl positioned, so I could tap it with a tiny hammer, thinking this was all bs.. I stuck it up there and it went through all by itself... before I even got the hammer in position.. My friend that gave me that advice was rebuilding a 12 up by Wasilla at the time so I'm thinking it might be more common than not. That was probably 20 years ago but I doubt much has changed. Of course once the thing was stripped down and blasted I found holes all over... this in spite of having welded new tubes in some areas and having epoxy/imron with bright white tubes at the time of finding holes. Everything you showed could well be superficial but the concerns from folks here come from wondering what parts you haven't seen. I think Mike's right.. you can clean up everyting in your photos... I also think.. just check the bottom of the top longerons at the tailpost. Oh yeah, and that 270 hours means nothing. If it's sat enough to get that rusty you really have no idea how long you have before you will need to overhaul your engine.

  30. #30

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    I had mentioned in a PM to Pointer about using an ice pick / awl. I do not use a hammer. Never found the need for that. I check the lower tubes right through the fabric with just pressing the tool with one's hand. If the tube is bad it will be noticed. I press in quite a few places, not just one. Easy enough to seal the tiny spots if there are no issues which I rarely found, but have.
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  31. #31
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    I remember several years ago getting some scary pictures of a Super Cub I had rebuilt a year prior and lived in Florida in a hanger. It was amazing what happened with a little detail cleaning. Here is an example of a verticle stabilizer I am working one.
    Before a rag and some paint cleaning solvent.
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  32. #32
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    I did touch the tip with some Scotchbrite.
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    The plane looked pretty nice in 2013. Hopefully it can be cleaned up without too much effort.

  34. #34
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    please DO NOT use an awl to test tubes.... your chance of finding the internal pit is about 1 in 1000 per inch, BUT YOU WILL CREATE A DAMGED AREA IN THE PROTECTIVE COATINGS EACH PLACE YOU TEST, THAT WILL BECOME A RUST PIT EXTERNALLY......

  35. #35

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    Part of the reason I paid my share was because of the things I had learned from reading your posts. So don't take this wrong, but how do you check tubes? I know it does a bit of external damage but have always figured the internal was the real worry. Sometimes I've just lightly "dinged" along the tubes with the round end of a small ball-peen to listen to the sound.. that seems to be pretty true.. In my cub's case all I had to do is put the pointy thing near the tube and it went right through, though I've had to decide when to quit replacing tubes also..that is the problem with old fuselages - you gotta quit somewhere.. how much of a dent is ok? Completely don't want to argue and want to learn from people who do it all the time. What do you use to determine the line between ok and need replacing? BTW I bought my Cub when I was 15 which was 41 years ago and the reason it's in a barn is because of rusty tubes - so this discussion is not entirely academic.. I want to put it together again for my boys.

  36. #36
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    Did this plane come from RSA? If so.... I started asking here for a source for pa-14 fuselage.... I had a friend in the mining industry check one out in RSA with an ultrasonic Density Meters at it was bad.... really bad... I believe Gordon asked me bout it and I shied away. From memory, if it’s the same airplane, there was a serios density issue on the truss thatbconect the Uperband lower longerons, an in the lower longerons around the rear atach truss of the back seat. I’m still interested in sourcing a new PA-14 fuselage if any knows where to get one... it will most probably help many of the PA-14 owners out there... good luck Pontier on your endevours....
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  37. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by mike mcs repair View Post
    please DO NOT use an awl to test tubes.... your chance of finding the internal pit is about 1 in 1000 per inch, BUT YOU WILL CREATE A DAMGED AREA IN THE PROTECTIVE COATINGS EACH PLACE YOU TEST, THAT WILL BECOME A RUST PIT EXTERNALLY......
    Mike....How do YOU go about testing? I have a project that is covered but nothing said about complying with inspection of the tubing under the sheet metal around the door, etc. I have decided that I just can’t ignore the possibility of problems there and will cut back the fabric to get that inspection done. And may as well test all the lower tubes.


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  38. #38
    cubpilot2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpainCub View Post
    Did this plane come from RSA? If so.... I started asking here for a source for pa-14 fuselage.... I had a friend in the mining industry check one out in RSA with an ultrasonic Density Meters at it was bad.... really bad... I believe Gordon asked me bout it and I shied away. From memory, if it’s the same airplane, there was a serios density issue on the truss thatbconect the Uperband lower longerons, an in the lower longerons around the rear atach truss of the back seat. I’m still interested in sourcing a new PA-14 fuselage if any knows where to get one... it will most probably help many of the PA-14 owners out there... good luck Pontier on your endevours....
    If my memory serves me correctly, a PA-12 fuselage is almost the same design from the gear fittings back for the main structure. In fact i have run across a “PA-14” that was obviously a 12 fuselage converted; and they weren’t all that carefull about it because they left the rear seat rudder pedal bracket tabs installed......

    I am saying this so that you may be able to consider getting a “new” aft fuselage section from a 12 to repair the 14.
    Ed
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  39. #39

    Join Date
    Apr 2018
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    10
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    OK, had a look with the Kenyan mechs today. I pushed hard with an awl in quite a few places on mainly the lower longerons that looked suspect from the outside and they held hard.

    The major places I am concerned of are the ailerons and flaps. The mechs are going to uncover them, have a look, sand blast inspect, repaint if possible.

    Regarding the tail section they want to drill a hole and run a boroscope to inspect the ID... this to me on first thought seems like a bad idea - aren't these tubes coated in linseed oil and welded airtight? Seems it wouldn't be good to open them up to the atmosphere. Is a drilled hole and boroscope an industry standard common way to inspect the ID of the tubes in cubs? Thanks
    Last edited by pontier09; 05-07-2018 at 01:03 PM.

  40. #40

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    Down low in the hills of Vermont USA
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    Personally I would prefer to look at the longerons from the outside. If they are bad it will show. It is possible they are rusted from the inside but if it is suspected to be damage from some salt water landings that damage would be rust on the outside. The fact that pressing on the tubes with an awl did not show a general weak area they may not be bad. How does that area look when viewing through the access plate?
    Likes skywagon8a liked this post

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