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Thread: Looking at J-3 project - things to look out for?

  1. #1

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    Looking at J-3 project - things to look out for?

    Planning to go look at a J-3 that is listed as a project. I am hopeful that it will be in good shape, but are there specific things to look at closely? Any telltale signs that would cause you to walk away? What would you expect to pay for a project J-3?

    I may be getting ahead of myself, but also thinking about the possibility of going in the experimental direction, say for example the fuse is shot, etc.

  2. #2
    Cub junkie's Avatar
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    If you want a J3 in std category the first thing I would look at is paperwork. Many J3's (especially projects) are a mess in the paperwork department. Remember most J3 fuselages are 70 plus years old unless it was already replaced.

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    behindpropellers's Avatar
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    Best advice I never followed: Are you a builder or a flier? Buy a project if you want to build. Buy a flying plane if you want to fly. If you want to work on planes buy a plane that needs some work.

    I would never buy a project that somebody else took apart.....been there done that.

  4. #4
    cubdriver2's Avatar
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    My buddy who has restored quit a few Cubs always says" if someone give you a project for free you still paid too much "

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

  5. #5

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    All good advice. For $25 grand you can get a flying Cub. Apparently for $35 grand this week you can get a pristine Cub with new Stroker.

    If all the pieces are there (usually doubtful) you can pay $20 K for a basket case. Resist the temptation -go the extra five and disassemble it yourself.

    Look for logs that state “total time” (not “estimated total time”), and look for a data plate. They are usually lost with the baggage bin lid, and are becoming a serious problem. It has been said that no data plate = no airplane!

    Also look for current registration. Very important, all of a sudden!

  6. #6

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    I appreciate those suggestions - good advice! It seems like a project would be fun, but I guess you have to understand just how much of a commitment it might be and have to realize that you could be buying 700-800 pounds of scrap metal.

  7. #7

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    For antique airplanes, cars, trucks, motorcycles, and boats- buy the very best one you can afford because if you buy a project, you will have more invested when you are done than if you started with the nicest one for sale today, and you lost X number of years enjoying it.

    That said, paperwork is the most important part, especially now with FAA Registration Branch calling anything not currently registered scrapped or destroyed and leaving the owner to fight to get the project registered. Get the build sheet from Clyde to be sure the frame number is correct for the serial number or you will have issues if it isnít currently registered. If you donít have clean paper (registration and title) you can figure on a couple years just getting it worked out assuming you can. Make sure the data plate is original and not a forged reproduction. That will kill the project faster that you can imagine.


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    Richgj3's Avatar
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    All excellent advice. Especially that of buying a flying Cub. If you do go ahead, be ready to replace tubing in the fuselage. Aft of the cockpit is mild steel. Spars: wood or metal? Three out of four metal spars on the last J3 project I was involved with needed to be replaced due to bending from old mishaps. On and on. That Cub sold for about 50% of what the owner had in it. He did pay for a lot of work like cover and paint that he didnít feel up to doing.

    So I think the best of both worlds (if you want to build a J3) is to buy a rough, ,flying Cub and enjoy it for a while. Then take it down and rebuild it. That way you will have most of the parts. As for value, the project my friend started with cost him $1000. No engine, no instruments, both wings needed spars, one stabilizer no good. Cowls no good. Tires, tubes, Grove brakes added. Struts no good. Much welding on window frames. No prop. No cushions. Etc, etc. basically he paid for paperwork and logs.

    Rich

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