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Thread: PA-18-95 weight loss?

  1. #1

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    PA-18-95 weight loss?

    Hi all,

    I've crossposted this on Backcountry Pilot:

    I'm considering purchasing a small-engined Super Cub to putt around in. Don't need lots of HP, but I just want a lightweight, fun airplane to fly around the pattern with occasional backcountry adventure.

    Two of the airplanes I'm considering (PA-18-95s are exceedingly difficult to find it seems) have empty weights very close to 1000 lbs, which seems heavy despite including an electric system and starter.

    My question - Is it possible to loose a significant amount of weight by deleting the starter, alternator, and battery, and going with a handheld radio, or, better, installing a small rechargeable battery to run the radio and LED lights?

    I'd rather not narrow my search further by mandating a lack of electrical system.

    Any advice is greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
    L18C-95's Avatar
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    Mine is unmolested (12v battery, greenhouse glass, starboard wing tank, intercom, trig radio and transponder) and weighs in at 902lbs empty. It has the 90-8F engine which I believe is a lot lighter than the -12F as it has no accessory drives.

    It has a metal prop.


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  3. #3

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    Sure it will weigh less if you take all that stuff out, I’d guess about 40 lbs lighter give or take. A lot of unnecessary work in my opinion for an airplane that will be used as a pleasure cruiser. Just under 1k lbs is about right for an 18-95 with full electric, mine is at 978. I say leave it alone if you buy it, it will fly just fine.

  4. #4
    wireweinie's Avatar
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    Simple math. Add up the weight of each item you want remove (should find the info with a google search). Put the weights in a column and see what you'd be willing to part with for the weight savings. Make sure to do a preliminary weight/balance to see how it will affect your CG.

    Maybe consider a J-3 type that never had the electrics in the first place?
    Life's tough . . . wear a cup.

  5. #5
    behindpropellers's Avatar
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    I use a mirror to help find the best way to reduce empty weight.
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  6. #6
    Chicken Hawk's Avatar
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    PA-18-95 weight loss?

    Quote Originally Posted by behindpropellers View Post
    I use a mirror to help find the best way to reduce empty weight.
    That doesn’t reduce “empty” weight.



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  7. #7
    wireweinie's Avatar
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    It does if you skip breakfast!

    Web
    Life's tough . . . wear a cup.

  8. #8
    Chicken Hawk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wireweinie View Post
    It does if you skip breakfast!

    Web
    I believe “empty weight” excludes the pilot.....regardless of what you have for breakfast!


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  9. #9

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    I believe that all Cubs of the J3 /PA-18 variety gain about a hundred pounds when weighed. If you have the factory numbers, and no zealous mechanic has put the details of an event on the scales on a 337, you can legally go back and compute.

    Some 18-95s came without starters and generators. They are just J3s that are faster and way more comfortable in the front seat.

    I insist on dash 12 engines. That gives me the option of a starter. We now have two B&C starters and one Skytec. The B&Cs go 75 starts between charging the tiny Odyssey PC-545. I think the engine itself is around 4 lbs heavier than the dash 8.

  10. #10
    jnorris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by L18C-95 View Post
    Mine is unmolested (12v battery, greenhouse glass, starboard wing tank, intercom, trig radio and transponder) and weighs in at 902lbs empty. It has the 90-8F engine which I believe is a lot lighter than the -12F as it has no accessory drives. It has a metal prop.
    That sounds about right. Mine has two tanks, full electric and starter (-12 engine) and metal prop. Comes in at 910 empty.
    Joe


  11. #11
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by behindpropellers View Post
    I use a mirror to help find the best way to reduce empty weight.
    That is where I have a huge advantage.
    Steve Pierce

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  12. #12

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    We just sold ours. I believe it weighs about 950 with 2 tanks , generator, and pull cable starter. And I’m pretty sure that was an actual weight on calibrated scales.

  13. #13

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    You might want to check this thread:
    https://www.supercub.org/forum/showt...-Cub-95-Weight

    They must be a true delight when really light. You just have to get used to the idea about not having a few things.

    One thing you didn't list that I think has to go if you want it light is the right hand tank.


    Andrew.

  14. #14

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    My American Super Legend weighed 874 lbs with a 115 hp O-233 Lycoming. The O-200 powered no flap Legend Cubs were/are lighter and seem to be on the market in $65-$75k range for older versions. These have wider cockpits (by a few inches), double doors, etc. I don't know what early Cub Crafter SportCubs are selling for, but I imagine they are also very economical to operate with good flying characteristics.

    These may be outside of your budget, but you would be getting a much newer airframe, recent fabric, with newer components plus they are light sport. A bargain $50k early PA-18-95 can turn into a $75k airplane very quickly once you start modifying it.
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  15. #15

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    It might now be a mortal sin to modify a good PA-18-95. There are plenty of modified ones already, with empty weights approaching 1200#.

    I have a buddy who owns a 160 version that tops 1200 - he just bought a J3 for fun flying.
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  16. #16
    giangab's Avatar
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    Just for yr info.
    I have now completed now the restoration of an pa18-95 with a C90-12f, dynamo and starter, alu prop, battery, two tanks, scott 3200 tail wheel, cleveland brakes and wheels 6ply tyres, full instruments (asi, alt, vario, compass, pneumatic t&b - gyro and ah, rpm, oil press temp, vac, cht, egt, man, amp, gmet, clock, trig com and xpdr) land lights, nav lights n strobe, 101 fabric, lub oil = in all exactly 1000 lb. I think it is not bad at all.


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  17. #17
    cubdriver2's Avatar
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    1000lbs is what the early basic 150hp super cubs weighed?

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

  18. #18

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    All of them seemed to roll out at 1077#. At least with the J3s they varied around 710. Mine was 725.
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  19. #19
    RaisedByWolves's Avatar
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    PA-18-95 weight loss?

    Mines 1070.5 on 31’s and small tail wheel.
    160hp 3” gear etc


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  20. #20
    jnorris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob turner View Post
    It might now be a mortal sin to modify a good PA-18-95. There are plenty of modified ones already...
    Amen to that! Not far from here there's a Super Cub that was originally a 90. And it's a VERY low serial number. Something like 18-29 or near that. It's been modified with flaps, big tail, 150 hp Lycoming, etc., etc. I shed a tear every time I drive past the airstrip where it sits (in an open lean-to hangar no less). Sure wish the guy would have left it alone and just bought another airplane equipped like he wanted. Sad....
    Joe

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  21. #21
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    Yeaaaah
    I am happy I restored my PA19-95 keeping it very orgininal.
    Thanks alao to many comments I heve read in this Forum. Great!


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  22. #22
    RatCub Redux FrankO's Avatar
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    Very happy with my 95...full electric, dual 18gal tanks, no flaps...pretty much the way it came from the factory. Could not understand why anyone would want to modify a 95, they’re great airplanes as built!


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    Thanks for the ideas everyone!

    I went ahead and purchased a beautiful -95. It's a pleasure to fly and I have no plans on bigger engine, flaps, or any other "add ons". For now, maybe a lighter battery. Depending on how much weight it'd loose, possibly removing the generator and associated wiring and just recharging every so often.

    The weight concern stems from the local density altitudes around here being pretty much always above 8000' in the summer months. At those heights, every pound matters.

  25. #25

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    Well, I can chime in now. I have a 1958 PA-18/95 with a -12 light weight starter and alt. dual tanks metalized interior extended baggage safety cables full electrics and it weighs 960 empty. just flew it 16 hours in 2 days. It is perfect the way it is now thank you very much. Chip
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  26. #26

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    18-95 Thoughts

    Great information, I will be following this and am in the same boat with a 18-95. As i understand....light is the key to a good flying 90hp SC. Mine is all original and i plan to keep it as original as possible from here on out.
    After doing quite a bit of research the 18-95 with dual tanks, electric start and landing lights was known ad the "18-95 Deluxe" model. I have thought of removing the electrical and going to a total loss battery system and hand propping but im just not convinced it would be worth it. Im pretty light about 165 lbs. I guess it just comes down to if a person wants the luxuries or not.

    Has anyone installed VGs on one of these? Your thoughts?

    Thanks.

  27. #27

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    What are u guys running for tailwheels?

  28. #28

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    Keep it stock. Next time you recover, consider that new lightweight Stits. I had no idea they had changed fabrics.
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dakota View Post
    Great information, I will be following this and am in the same boat with a 18-95. As i understand....light is the key to a good flying 90hp SC. Mine is all original and i plan to keep it as original as possible from here on out.
    After doing quite a bit of research the 18-95 with dual tanks, electric start and landing lights was known ad the "18-95 Deluxe" model. I have thought of removing the electrical and going to a total loss battery system and hand propping but im just not convinced it would be worth it. Im pretty light about 165 lbs. I guess it just comes down to if a person wants the luxuries or not.

    Has anyone installed VGs on one of these? Your thoughts?

    Thanks.
    Had VGs on my PA 11. Worth doing on these light Cubs

    MTV

  30. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by bob turner View Post
    Keep it stock. Next time you recover, consider that new lightweight Stits. I had no idea they had changed fabrics.
    And what new lightweight fabric would this be? I use polyfiber everyday and have not heard a thing about a new certified fabric from polyfiber would like to know more.

  31. #31

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    I picked up a Champ several years ago - the guy said he used lightweight fabric. I almost panicked. To me, Stits always had glider cloth, intermediate 2.6 oz/yd (which I use) and heavy - 101, or 3.7 oz/yd.

    Buckel lent me a 1975 manual - you know, the one that says the FAA doesn't care what you spray on top of the silver. Inside was a 1982 brochure, and it discusses five grades of fabric - D-101, 103, and 104, plus HS901X, and HS135X.

    The 90 is certified for all aircraft, regardless of Vne, and is 1.7 oz/yd. 1982! And I am just now aware of it. Duh!

    There is a discussion about significant advances in polyester strength, etc. I won't bore you with it.

  32. #32
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    The PA18-95 that I cut my teeth on was covered in light fabric. I recovered the wings after someone got a wing. The fuselage was getting prettybad at the rear ends of the stringers, I had to glue fabic in on the back side. Same thing on SJ's 180 hp Cub Crafter's data plate Super Cub. They tape like Piper did and the top stringers wore through the fabric at the vertical fin.
    Steve Pierce

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