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Thread: Convert PA-18 from 160hp to 180hp question

  1. #1

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    Convert PA-18 from 160hp to 180hp question

    Our glider club is trying to figure out why our 160hp PA-18 has lost its "oomph" over the last few years and one member brought up the idea of re-powering the cub to a 180hp engine.

    Questions for the group:

    Has anyone done this?
    What did it cost you?
    Did it help you in high DA situations compared to the lower power?

  2. #2
    skysigns's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KSYNpilot View Post
    Our glider club is trying to figure out why our 160hp PA-18 has lost its "oomph" over the last few years and one member brought up the idea of re-powering the cub to a 180hp engine.

    Questions for the group:

    Has anyone done this?
    What did it cost you?
    Did it help you in high DA situations compared to the lower power?
    all my cubs are 180 cubs the last 2 i did to a 180hp had about 40,000 in to them

  3. #3

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    My opinion only. My experience with both was that the 180 burning about 10 GPH rather than the 8 GPH of the 150 and 160 turned it into a three hour range rather than a four hour range with standard tanks. I had to carry a belly tank most of the time. May not matter for a glider tug flying out of an airport with fuel.
    Thanks Coulee Clipper thanked for this post

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    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reliableflyer View Post
    My opinion only. My experience with both was that the 180 burning about 10 GPH rather than the 8 GPH of the 150 and 160 turned it into a three hour range rather than a four hour range with standard tanks. I had to carry a belly tank most of the time. May not matter for a glider tug flying out of an airport with fuel.
    Fuel inject it and the flow will drop to 8 gph.
    N1PA

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    wireweinie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reliableflyer View Post
    My opinion only. My experience with both was that the 180 burning about 10 GPH rather than the 8 GPH of the 150 and 160 turned it into a three hour range rather than a four hour range with standard tanks. I had to carry a belly tank most of the time. May not matter for a glider tug flying out of an airport with fuel.
    I agree with this. More horsepower is going to mean more weight and gallons per hour of fuel. If this doesn't impact your operations then the extra power will work well for a tow plane.

    Web (life coach)
    Life's tough . . . wear a cup.
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    [QUOTE=Web (life coach)[/QUOTE]
    Dear Web,
    I’m 44 yrs old and have a wife that doesn’t appreciate me. I work long hrs at two jobs and very seldom come home to supper. She never does the dishes and last night I finished mowing the yard at 10pm and came in to a bowl of noodles and red sauce. She was too busy watching her “stories” to make anything else. I’d say something but she’s mean and might throw something at me. Please help Web.
    Sincerely,
    Mr. over worked and under sexed
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    Likes AkPA/18, brown bear liked this post

  7. #7
    wireweinie's Avatar
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    Well now. This is new territory for me after just being designated a 'life coach' (along with another esteemed member of this forum). I'm guessing that I'm supposed to defer to the views of less 'seasoned' individuals lest I offend them.

    So here's the advice; ask someone that's been married less than half the time you have, as I've become to swayed by my experience to give you quality advice.

    Web (life coach)
    Life's tough . . . wear a cup.
    Thanks Doug Budd thanked for this post

  8. #8

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    I have a 160 hp cub. I can usually fly faster and longer then the 150 cubs I fly with. The two 180 hp cubs I fly with can fly faster and longer than I can. All the planes have stock fuel. A lot has to do with the prop and rpm you are running. Having a bigger motor does not always mean a higher fuel burn. Having watched the 180 cubs break ground and just climb while I am still having to do pilot stuff to keep my cub in the air I would take a 180 for a tow plane. It seems to fit the mission better. Is it worth the 20 grand cost over rebuilding the 160? That is up to the guys with the money.
    DENNY
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    For pure joy of flying I would take a light 160. I have flown the Cub Crafters 180 and found it very heavy. It does go straight up, but it handles more like a PBY than a Cub.

    My Decathlon has an injected 180 - tell me more about 8 gph? Run it way lean of peak?

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    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob turner View Post
    My Decathlon has an injected 180 - tell me more about 8 gph? Run it way lean of peak?
    This is it, 8.1 gph. Slightly rich of peak with balanced fuel nozzles. The engine is a stock IO-360-B1D. I don't do lean of peak since the power reduction is noticeable. Lycoming says you can run at peak with a power setting of 75% or less.

    Edit: I should also add it does have electronic ignition, dual P-mags. Perhaps if you installed a certified electronic ignition such as the SureFly you would have better fuel consumption? https://www.surefly.aero
    Last edited by skywagon8a; 05-22-2021 at 05:54 AM.
    N1PA

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    KSYN Pilot, a little more information would help inform the discussion:

    -What is your field elevation? Typical density altitude in your busy season?
    -What is your fleet mix? Heavy two-seaters with big pilots? Light single seaters? Water ballast?
    -How is your 160hp PA-18 configured? Especially what propeller? Exhaust system? Engine time and maintenance history? What is the empty weight? Other modifications?
    -What is your budget like?
    -What are your mechanical maintenance and repair resources?

    That said, there are many glider operators running 180hp Supercubs, especially in high density altitude situations. The original 0-360 STC's came out of Dave Johnson's operations at the former Black Forest Gliderport, ~7200' MSL and his towing contract at the Airforce Academy, ~7,000 MSL in the mid-1960's. The Academy has cycled through a few contractors since; the current one is running Cubcrafters 180's, specifically configured for towing (rumored to be heavy), and the previous one had light 180 hp Piper PA-18's. A significant part of their towing involves fairly heavy DG 1000's.

    Thanks. cubscout
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  12. #12
    skysigns's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cubscout View Post
    KSYN Pilot, a little more information would help inform the discussion:

    -What is your field elevation? Typical density altitude in your busy season?
    -What is your fleet mix? Heavy two-seaters with big pilots? Light single seaters? Water ballast?
    -How is your 160hp PA-18 configured? Especially what propeller? Exhaust system? Engine time and maintenance history? What is the empty weight? Other modifications?
    -What is your budget like?
    -What are your mechanical maintenance and repair resources?

    That said, there are many glider operators running 180hp Supercubs, especially in high density altitude situations. The original 0-360 STC's came out of Dave Johnson's operations at the former Black Forest Gliderport, ~7200' MSL and his towing contract at the Airforce Academy, ~7,000 MSL in the mid-1960's. The Academy has cycled through a few contractors since; the current one is running Cubcrafters 180's, specifically configured for towing (rumored to be heavy), and the previous one had light 180 hp Piper PA-18's. A significant part of their towing involves fairly heavy DG 1000's.

    Thanks. cubscout
    Cub Crafters stc came from Ed's aviation i think they were based in Arlington wa with the Boeing glider club

  13. #13
    Speedo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cubscout View Post
    KSYN Pilot, a little more information would help inform the discussion:

    -What is your field elevation? Typical density altitude in your busy season?
    -What is your fleet mix? Heavy two-seaters with big pilots? Light single seaters? Water ballast?
    -How is your 160hp PA-18 configured? Especially what propeller? Exhaust system? Engine time and maintenance history? What is the empty weight? Other modifications?
    -What is your budget like?
    -What are your mechanical maintenance and repair resources?

    That said, there are many glider operators running 180hp Supercubs, especially in high density altitude situations. The original 0-360 STC's came out of Dave Johnson's operations at the former Black Forest Gliderport, ~7200' MSL and his towing contract at the Airforce Academy, ~7,000 MSL in the mid-1960's. The Academy has cycled through a few contractors since; the current one is running Cubcrafters 180's, specifically configured for towing (rumored to be heavy), and the previous one had light 180 hp Piper PA-18's. A significant part of their towing involves fairly heavy DG 1000's.

    Thanks. cubscout
    Since his handle includes “KSYN” I’m guessing that’s where he’s based. According to the A/FD he’s at 920’ and in MN.
    Speedo

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