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Thread: 185 Pponk Gear mod

  1. #1
    Tom3holer's Avatar
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    185 Pponk Gear mod

    Hi,
    I have a hi time 73 185 and am having the gear legs removed for painting. Thought while they are off to do the Pponk gear box mod.
    Have heard pros and cons and wondering what the collective wisdom is on it.

    Another question if I may. I have no side pockets on my lower plastic side panels. I just saw what appeared to be a very nice set in a TAP ad for a 185.

    https://www.trade-a-plane.com/search...-type=aircraft

    Does anyone know where to get some like this?

    Thanks,
    Tom
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  2. #2
    JWE's Avatar
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    In the pics they look like Naugahyde (or maybe leather). I'd think an auto upholstery shop could make those. Or any place that does sewing with industrial sewing machines, like a sail maker. Just a thought...

  3. #3

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    I’ve had Pponk gear kit for 20 years. It’s still in the box on a shelf in the hangar. In that time I’ve had three very well respected mechanics and they’ve all advised me not to install it. Other guys rave about the installation but I don’t know anyone who’s had an airplane saved by the kit or anyone who’s lost an airplane for lack of the kit.
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  4. #4

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    An old-timer once told me that the kit will "protect" the gear box under stress (ground loop, rough terrain, etc.), but if there is enough stress the entire gear box will rip out.
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  5. #5
    hotrod180's Avatar
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    I've heard similar: "without the kit the gear legs will rip out of the gearbox,
    with the kit the gearbox will rip out of the airplane".
    I've seen gearboxes ripped out where it looks like a bomb went off at the base of the door post.
    My old 170 had the kit, my 180 doesn't.

    Apparently the gear leg attach bolt failing in tension is what happens when a gear leg folds under due to sideload.
    I've heard that The Landing Gear Works uses high-strength titanium bolts to attach their ti gear legs--
    I wonder if using those might be a good thing to do if you didn't want to install the beef-up kit.
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!
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  6. #6
    aktango58's Avatar
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    The wisdom of the previous posts is about the same as what I have heard also, and why I never upgraded.

    My 180 was an 8,000 hour float plane. eventually, after a couple years on Gar-Aeros, my belly skin between the gear was getting loose with lots of rivets working. I planned to put the kit in when we did the belly skin, but my mechanic upgraded the belly skin to a slightly thicker piece to help carry the load.

    His experience was exactly what guys above said: PPONK kit will hold the gear in place and prevent it from coming out of the fittings, but all the energy that the stock fittings take gets transferred to the rest of the frame, and when such a hit happens that the gear wants to come out, it will just take all the structure around the PPONK out with it.

    Moral of the story: what piece do you want to fail when things go wrong?
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

  7. #7
    180Marty's Avatar
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    Hopefully whoever is painting the legs knows about hydrogen embrittlement and paint stripper.

  8. #8

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    I installed the kit in mine years ago

  9. #9
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 180Marty View Post
    Hopefully whoever is painting the legs knows about hydrogen embrittlement and paint stripper.
    been decades of use many sets... they never broke.......

    but that's what the "book" says, so I learned on the internet.... (Don't believe everything, just because it's written down in a book.. or online...)

  10. #10
    algonquin's Avatar
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    I installed the beef up kit in my A185f (73) several years ago and would do it again. It will stop minor mishaps for causing major accidents. Second if the gear box tears out , you have had a serious accident already. Now I don’t plan on paying for and doing the repair, that is why I pay so much for insurance. The deductible is like $5000.00 and off set some of that doing part of the repair I guess, but maybe not. Cost of flying skywagon’s they are expensive to operate.
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  11. #11

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    Skywagon 101. Don't ground loop it.

    The old rhetorical advice to spend the money on avgas and training applies.
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  12. #12
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stewartb View Post
    Skywagon 101. Don't ground loop it.

    The old rhetorical advice to spend the money on avgas and training applies.
    My instructor Cecil’s words... “ keep your ass behind you and the planes will take a ton of abuse”....


    Sent from my iPhone using SuperCub.Org mobile app

  13. #13

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    Amazing airplanes just as they are. Good old legacy gear hasn't let me down!
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  14. #14
    Dave Calkins's Avatar
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    doing Non Destuctive Testing of the gear legs periodically is a good idea. especially before painting.

    Pponk gear leg “clamps”? I dont think I need em. I have a set in abox in storage. I have ripped a gear box out of a plane with out the Pponk clamps. If the big gear bolt and its nut stay together, you dont need the pponk mod to do this.

  15. #15

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    The pockets are made by Selkirk. They come in several different colors and mount with screwed in snaps.

    George Meketa
    Cessna 180, x2 PA12

  16. #16
    Tom3holer's Avatar
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    Wow,

    Thank you all for the advice and insight.
    That what I had heard many years ago when I had a 58 180 and I see the collective wisdom hasn't changed much.
    While there off I would think it might be prudent to use new bolts at the attachment point.

    rv8drvr, Thank you for the suggestion. I had looked several years ago but didn't seem to see them there but will look again.

    Fly safe and be safe there is light at the end now.

  17. #17
    aktango58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom3holer View Post
    Wow,



    While there off I would think it might be prudent to use new bolts at the attachment point.

    .
    This should be yearly if you fly it off airport.
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!
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  18. #18

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    I don't think the mod intends to save the plane as much as prevent injury. The stories I heard twenty years ago told of the bolt head popping off during a ground loop and the gear leg bashing through the floor and breaking legs. It may have been from Steve himself, his shop installed mine way back when.

  19. #19

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    Steve K told me the mod was designed to strengthen the attachment to better handle side loads when he was hauling heavy fish loads off of sloped beaches. You can't make money with a broken airplane. I always figured the ground loop stories were urban legend. If that's what it's for they need to include some wingtip wheels.

    The FAA published instructions for ski and tundra tire Skywagon operators to inspect the axle attach and the lower gear leg for corrosion and cracks, citing added stress from skis and big tires. Not a word about the gear boxes. I know one friend who broke a gear attach on takeoff. Landing at Hood was uneventful. The plane settled in more than usual and he stopped short of turning it off the runway so they pushed it off. It held. No Pponk mod before the event and no Pponk mod after it was repaired. I think his accident is exactly what the pro mechanics are talking about when they say the mod increases damage and subsequent repairs.

    All the years my 180 went on and off of floats I don't recall anything about the bolts being replaced. Is that a thing in a Skywagon? I've never heard of anyone doing it as a maintenance item.

  20. #20
    wireweinie's Avatar
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    This is just an observation and you can all bolt anything onto your aircraft you wish (or not).

    It was pointed out to me years ago, by very old and high time pilots, that the original Cub gear legs would collapse during ground loops, etc, but that they could be replaced in the field because they usually left the gear attach fittings in place. With the 'heavy duty' Cub gear legs, when you sweep a gear leg, it usually pulls the attach fittings off the fuselage. So instead of pulling off one gear leg and bolting on the new, you'll need to replace the attach fittings. In the field.

    How many of the operators in this thread would even consider flying a Cub without the heavy duty gear legs? Then go and look at the comments about whether a stronger gear attach kit is a good idea or not.

    As I said, just an observation. No wires attached to the gear legs, so it won't be coming into my shop.

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

  21. #21
    Tom3holer's Avatar
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    Good discussion and there does seem to be a consensus. I probably will ask my mech to change the gear bolts when he has them off for painting.

  22. #22
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wireweinie View Post
    So instead of pulling off one gear leg and bolting on the new, you'll need to replace the attach fittings. In the field.
    Web
    you can just use a long piece of metal through bolt hole, and many separately tied safety wires to longerons to get it home... if you still have one good fitting....

  23. #23
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom3holer View Post
    Good discussion and there does seem to be a consensus. I probably will ask my mech to change the gear bolts when he has them off for painting.
    Also, if you're pulling the gear legs for paint, have them checked for cracks. Some of these old gear legs (variable to most) have been thumped, twisted, and twanged HARD a few times. Won't cost much to have them checked.

    MTV
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  24. #24
    wireweinie's Avatar
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    Agreed. Just pointing out the opinions on one airframe vs the opinions on another.

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

  25. #25
    hotrod180's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvivion View Post
    Also, if you're pulling the gear legs for paint, have them checked for cracks. Some of these old gear legs (variable to most) have been thumped, twisted, and twanged HARD a few times. Won't cost much to have them checked.
    Had that done lately?
    A gear-leg specialist is gonna be pretty spendy--
    maybe just have them magnafluxed?
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!

  26. #26

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    Back in the day when we were landing four 185's on the glaciers 2-300 times a year, we magnafluxed the gear legs every winter. We had a 25% failure rate. Every year.

  27. #27
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hotrod180 View Post
    Had that done lately?
    A gear-leg specialist is gonna be pretty spendy--
    maybe just have them magnafluxed?
    Ummm, yes, magnaflux is kinda the standard.

    MTV
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  28. #28
    Paul Jackson's Avatar
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    To P Ponk or not to P Ponk that is the question....Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, or just ground loop and take your medicine...but I digress.

    If you are going to use the Selkirk side pockets beef up the male side of the buttons with a washer and nut on the back side of the panel. I pulled mine right through and had to admonish my mechanic for not expecting me to cram too much stuff in them.
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  29. #29
    Tom3holer's Avatar
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    Ya when I approached the mechanic he mentioned magnafluxing them. Not sure how much stress they have had as it spent most of its life on floats till the last 20 years where it didn't fly much.

    Paul when I saw the Selkirk pockets that exactly what I thought. They want a lot more for the larger piping but it does look so much better.

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