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Thread: New fuselage or recondition what I have

  1. #1

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    New fuselage or recondition what I have

    It's fuselage time. New or recondition? I know what I am getting in new (but it costs plenty) but what am I getting in a reconditioned one? Biggest concern is whether they can really find the rusting tubes? The obvious ones for sure but what about the ones that are "rusting" but don't show it on the outside yet and how accurate is a punch testing in determining the inside of the tube ? Never done this before. Want to end up with a good and safe product for no more than I have to lay out. Haven't found that tree yet with money dangling from it; darn.
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  2. #2
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    punch testing is USELESS... you have a better chance winning the lottery than finding the hidden peak of a internal rust mountain....

    sand blasting has a better chance of finding the peaks... so step one is always to sand blast a fuselage before starting repairs on an old one, see what comes back from sand blaster, because it's really SAD to do a bunch of work then send it to blaster in prep for coating it and find out the whole belly tubes were internally corroded from being sunk in water sometime in it's past and having to replace whole bottom of fuselage then.... I'm a quick learner... only took once!!

  3. #3
    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    During rebuild of my PA-11 while the mechanic went to lunch I applied air pressure to the rear longeron drain holes. Blew out some weak metal in a couple of places near the lower left window frame and near the motor mount holes that had been welded. How much air pressure do compressors typically produce? Was a good idea at the time. Blew the chunks across the hangar.

    Gary

  4. #4
    TurboBeaver's Avatar
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    Cant agree with Mike on this one........ It has been a very common practice around most mechanics to check the bottom longerons ( especially on floatplanes & aircraft landed on saltwater beaches) carefully about every foot or so up ALL the bottom tubing. Close attention around rear seaplane fittings , between front fittings etc. The tubing will RING right out when tapped with a small hammer and a prick punch; if it sounds "flat" it is suspect and probably bad , hit it harder, it will go right thru........the tiny dimple left behind on a solid tube means nothing. Dont let anyone tell you otherwise. I checked a PA12 last summer that had obviously been checked before, still rings like a bell .
    Check it , if its good its good. If it isnt
    cut em out and replace
    The 12s are famous like the 11s for problems both being 70 year old tubing. This one spent most of its life in Nebraska and was never on floats . Of course it is certainly still possible to miss corrosion, but a simple punch test is always a good place to start. Pull the tail up,
    Check it yourself, done in 15 mins! Now you atleast have a referance point. Anyone telling you the tiny dimple from a punch test, may cause problems later is just not up with the fact there are hundreds of fuselarges that have been tested multiple times over the last 70 years that havent
    Caused ANY problems yet. If the .05 raised part around the dimple consirns you simply file em flat before you prime or powercoat. Jm2cw.
    PS . We used to skip the linseed oil on new tubes replaced
    and use ACF 50 instead.......your mileage may very.

    Sent from my LM-X210 using SuperCub.Org mobile app
    Last edited by TurboBeaver; 02-15-2019 at 06:40 AM.

  5. #5

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    Economics. New airframe-$13,500.00. What's the cost to recondition, repair, and refinish existing? Be honest. Assume you buy new, what's the sale value of the old? Run your numbers and define the cost difference. What's brand new 4130 with zero corrosion worth to you? And Airframes throws in a free set of 31" Bushwheels.

    When I did it? I bought new. That was a -12. Modifying an old mild steel frame didn't make sense. When I sold it the new airframe added to the value. Another consideration for your number crunching.
    Last edited by stewartb; 02-15-2019 at 09:14 AM.

  6. #6

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    When I blasted my 46 Cub frame, it had very good Imron over Stits epoxy on the outside. (Did it myself after replacing a few tubes a few years earlier). But on the very good advice of a friend, I poked the bottom of the top longhorns at the tail post. This made me figure I needed to replace that part, stripped the parts off, and blasted it. I was amazed at the number of holes I found - all over. Hasn't flown in about 20 years since and when I do get ready to make it fly again I'm not sure what to do but will very likely just buy a new one.. and I really enjoy welding...
    I do know that if anyone tells me about a "rebuilt" Cub they are considering buying, my first question is, "did they start with a new fuselage?"

  7. #7
    Cub junkie's Avatar
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    All worthy projects start with a good foundation. House or airplane. I have repaired my share of rusted tubing in various Piper and Taylorcraft fuselages over the last 40 years. The old adage that rust never sleeps applies to the 40 year old repaired fuselage the same as an 80 year old airframe. A cub fuselage that has a long service life without rust is unique. I tell people that the cost of tubing is about 3 bucks a foot, give or take. Shop time can get into 40 plus hours. Then there is the question, is the airplane a pampered pet or your work horse? Either way its piece of mind knowing you have that good foundation. Remember, Piper used a lot of .028 wall tubing in various crossmembers and intercoastals. With a cub you at least have options. Easy to tell somebody to spend 12 to 15 K on a fuselage, we all know rebuilding cubs isn't making anybody rich.
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    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    In #3 I mentioned pressurizing the airframe to test (???) for leaks and weak spots. Any leaks whistled and could be found. We patched and replaced tubing then oiled the airframe internally in several spots before priming with tube seal from Stits. It was rotated 90*/day over four days to spread the oil and check for remaining leaks. None appeared so I primed the metal by hand. Drilled oil holes were sealed shut after application and the rear longeron drains temporarily plugged then opened after priming. That didn't add metal but might have slowed previous internal corrosion.

    Gary
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  9. #9

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    Univair or Airframes

    Is Univair or Airframes the way to go on a new fuselage? Which one weighs the least? How does the least heavy one compare to what a stock fuselage weighs?

  10. #10

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    They both weigh more than a stock fuselage. Most old fuselages have repairs or mods that may make it heavier. Final weight depends on what mods/repairs you have in any of them. Consider shipping costs, but due to backhaul rate from AK it may not matter. A unbent fuselage can be sold for a good amount even if it needs some tubes replaced. If you have a jig, good IA, and can weld fixing it yourself is the most cost effective. Consider doing a punch test, fixing anything you find. Then sandblast and replace everything you missed. The only reason I recommend this is less time before you can get primer on the airframe. Somewhere in all of this you have to cure the THEMOREBETTERDISEASE fever with a few mods so keep that in the plan/final price.
    DENNY
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  11. #11
    Hardtailjohn's Avatar
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    So is there any obviously suspect tubing in your fuselage? Repairs?
    John
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  12. #12
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Kid View Post
    Is Univair or Airframes the way to go on a new fuselage? Which one weighs the least? How does the least heavy one compare to what a stock fuselage weighs?
    some of the new weight is from improvements, that you NEED, keep you alive...

  13. #13
    G44's Avatar
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    I cant imagine rebuilding an airplane with an old fues. Do you really know if you repaired all the bad spots. Are the good spots going to be "bad spots" in 5 or 10 years from now? What do you do then? Is it going to be nagging at you from now on wether you made the right decision or not? All that work and money to rebuild what could be a nightmare down the road. I say go new, get the mods you want and don't look back. Also, that extra weight is extra beef that could possibly save your life some day. Im not made of money and most here aren't either but in my opinion this is an area one should not look to cut cost's.

    Kurt
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  14. #14
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Out of all the fuselages we have rebuilt I know of zero issues. If you have the money and want the piece of mind I would buy a new fuselage but know there are thousands of original Super Cubs flying around that are not breaking and falling out of the sky.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers

  15. #15

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    When I pranged 604 the following I’m underinsured and were gonna total it fight with the insurance was over the frame, they automatically totaled it because it needed work so I took a totaled settlement and they walked away and then the work started. One rebuilder I talked to agreed, saying “we don’t fix frames.” When Steve took it on the frame work was about 1/2 the price of new which including all the X-braces, 2000# upgrade and all the other little tweeks and addressing an amazingly little amount of corrosion on a 40 year old (never touched before) frame.

    I think for the decision there are factors to consider such as does the shop have a proper jig, who is doing the welding and what are the time constraints (Univar was 5 months out on new at the time). In the end I couldn’t be happier with the end product but it takes awhile.

    Kirby
    Last edited by OLDCROWE; 02-19-2019 at 05:08 PM.
    Remember, These are the Good old Days!
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  16. #16
    RaisedByWolves's Avatar
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    Depends on the airplane, and where it lived it’s life. Looked at a j3 that was “rebuilt” in 2011. The fabric was off the fuselage, there wasn’t a straight, not dented tube on the airframe. Someone added steel plate gussets at every intersection of the tubes. I could only imagine what you would find if it was sand blasted. The owner sand blasted the newly painted gear to find large pits. After years of recovers, someone will have to do a restoration, sand blast, and probably replace a lot of stuff


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  17. #17
    txpacer's Avatar
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    Clifford put 60 hours into fixing and modifying my frame. I think he was trying to replace the whole thing, one tube at a time. I would flinch every time he said, "Look at this."

  18. #18
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    I’m not lazy. I prefer to fix an old fuselage, if it makes $ sense. Only had one customer that just wanted a new fuselage, when there was nothing wrong with old one. Lots of money wasted for no benefit ....


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  19. #19

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    Heaven forbid he asks whether to overhaul a 70 year old engine or buy one from the factory!

  20. #20
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stewartb View Post
    Heaven forbid he asks whether to overhaul a 70 year old engine or buy one from the factory!
    Yep, good to have choices. Different strokes for different folks.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers
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  21. #21

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    When I'm up against a major repair or in this case recovering the fuse, I put on my 20 year glasses. Meaning if what ever you are inspecting(applies to all parts and systems) won't last 20 years replace it or have your eyes open to the real possibly that you will be here again in less than 20 years. Also, set up a T chart with advantages on one side and disadvantages on the other and list accordingly. Resale value would certainly go in there, as well as the other economic factors. Personally, I cleaned mine up with replacing a couple of small tail sections. Good luck on your decision. Pete
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  22. #22

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    I am with Steve. A lot of folks must have new stuff. Without them some of us would not be flying inexpensive used stuff.

    I would love to be flying a new Legend and a new Super Decathlon. I would have loved to hang an O-200D on the J-3. But I get this feeling that my flying enjoyment would not change. I think my $2500 Stroker is almost as good . . .

    Keep buying new stuff - that way they keep making it!

  23. #23
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob turner View Post
    I am with Steve. A lot of folks must have new stuff. Without them some of us would not be flying inexpensive used stuff.

    I would love to be flying a new Legend and a new Super Decathlon. I would have loved to hang an O-200D on the J-3. But I get this feeling that my flying enjoyment would not change. I think my $2500 Stroker is almost as good . . .

    Keep buying new stuff - that way they keep making it!
    kinda on that note or the reverse of it... every plane I rebuild I make new boot cowl, cowling.. basically all the sheet metal parts(because it takes me less time to make new than to strip paint, etc).. modified to hopefully eliminate the common rub/crack issues in the original parts....

    even if your stuff is serviceable... and then you can sell your old stuff to someone else... there's always someone happy to have your old patched up but serviceable parts up here, especially in the bush areas...

    I want you to get a BETTER than original plane back!

  24. #24

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    I can see that. I hate stripping paint from those parts. And of course recover is lots easier than stripping and refinishing fabric.

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