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Thread: C-180 Tailwheel Stinger Noise

  1. #1
    Gordon Misch's Avatar
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    C-180 Tailwheel Stinger Noise

    Nope, not mine - for a neighbor buddy.

    '71 C180H. When the plane is shoved back and forth laterally at the tail (has to be vigorous) with the tailwheel in trail, there is a sharp creaking/snapping/popping/metallic sound that seems to come from somewhere around the center of the stabilizers.

    All three rubber bushings and all bolts were replaced during the just-completed annual, in hopes of curing the issue, but it is unchanged. We (owner, me, mechanics) don't think it's originating at the tailwheel head, because of the nature of the sound and no detectable relative motion at the tailwheel head or where the head attaches to the stinger.

    We'd sure appreciate thoughts re what to suspect, and suggestions for next steps - hopefully without removing the empennage just yet.

    Thanks!
    Gordon

    N4328M KTDO
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  2. #2

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    Has the tail AD been done, if not "off with it" before further flight.
    Last edited by OLDCROWE; 11-04-2021 at 03:23 PM.
    Remember, These are the Good old Days!

  3. #3
    Gordon Misch's Avatar
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    Yes it has, thanks.
    Gordon

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  4. #4
    Crash, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Very possible the tailwheel being loose on the stinger. Watch for any movement of the tailwheel head on the tailspring and also try raising the tail and pushing the tailwheel/tailspring back and forth and see if anything moves when it doesn't have weight on it. A lot of times the two cross bolts in the tailspring where the tailwheel attaches will get oblong from tailwheel side load and let the tailwheel rock back and forth.

    The tailspring bushings are also suspect. You can replace them with new ones but if the bushings are not shimmed up tight on both sides you can still get movement.

  5. #5
    stewartb's Avatar
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    The stinger is the aft shroud on the tail. The tail spring is what you’re discussing. Everyone I know uses epoxy to bond the tailwheel casting to the spring before bolting it on. I use JB Weld. Rock solid.

    Where are they pushing to make this side to side motion? If you push up on a wingtip to rock the plane it’ll pop and creak, too. It’s the nature of riveted aluminum structures. I’d lift the tail and support the fuselage, then yank on the tail spring to see if it moves or makes noise.
    Thanks Dave Calkins thanked for this post

  6. #6
    Crash, Jr.'s Avatar
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    I guess you can argue semantics but "stinger" is the slang term for the tail spring. I've grown used to calling the "aft shroud" (or stinger to you) the tail cone. Seems like every pilot and mechanic calls various parts a different thing. Guess it doesn't matter as long as we're all on the same page.

    JB weld definitely works. You'll never ever get the tailwheel back off again but it certainly works. Loctite 641 is an alternative that is heat release so it's easier to remove the tailwheel for service later on.
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    stewartb's Avatar
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    About 15 seconds with a heat gun releases JB Weld nicely. Float changes were never a problem. Swapping my XP for an 8” and tail ski, either.

    To Gordon’s question, did they closely inspect the spring itself while it was off?
    Thanks Dave Calkins thanked for this post

  8. #8
    Gordon Misch's Avatar
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    Thanks guys, that's what we're discovering from a variety of creditable sources. I always appreciate the contributions here!
    Last edited by Gordon Misch; 11-04-2021 at 08:01 PM.
    Gordon

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  9. #9
    stewartb's Avatar
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    Gordon, in the late ‘90s I had a very reputable Lake Hood shop install a Kenmore gross weight kit. 11 or 12 years later while doing the tip to tail re-wire my mechanic took the vertical fin off and found the support bolts were never torqued and weren’t even finger tight. I bet my plane would have made funny noises during your test. There aren’t very many moving parts back there. Good luck to your friend for finding the source sooner than later.
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  10. #10
    Gordon Misch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stewartb View Post
    About 15 seconds with a heat gun releases JB Weld nicely. Float changes were never a problem. Swapping my XP for an 8” and tail ski, either.

    To Gordon’s question, did they closely inspect the spring itself while it was off?
    Yes. We've now determined that the noise is tailwheel head casting rotationally releasing on the stinger. Slight wear on the bolt holes is allowing rotation. It only manifests with a big lateral load when friction is overcome. Thanks again!
    Gordon

    N4328M KTDO
    My SPOT: tinyurl.com/N4328M (case sensitive)
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  11. #11
    stewartb's Avatar
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  12. #12
    Crash, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Here we go

    https://www.supercub.org/forum/showt...na-180-Stinger
    https://backcountrypilot.org/forum/1...e-arching-9349
    https://www.supercub.org/forum/showt...Bushwheel-Bill

    Here's a few threads where the tailspring is universally referred to and understood to be "stinger". And here's couple more but there may be some editorial bias there

    https://www.airframesalaska.com/Cess...bi-0742152.htm
    https://www.airframesalaska.com/Cess.../abi-51397.htm

    Sorry to get petty with it. It's that dark cold time of year where there's nothing better to do than to argue about the definition of words. I will admit that if you looked in the parts catalog "stinger" is probably the tail cone. An ebay search verifies your claim.

  13. #13
    stewartb's Avatar
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    Ahh, but I’ve been immersed in Skywagon ownership for almost as long as you’ve been walking upright. No matter. I’m glad Gordon’s identified his issue. I’m gonna go hang with Mike.
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  14. #14
    stewartb's Avatar
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    From the Cessna parts manual.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by stewartb; 11-05-2021 at 09:07 AM.

  15. #15
    hotrod180's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gordon Misch View Post
    Yes. We've now determined that the noise is tailwheel head casting rotationally releasing on the stinger. Slight wear on the bolt holes is allowing rotation. It only manifests with a big lateral load when friction is overcome. Thanks again!
    Curious what the fix is gonna be.
    A friend of mine recently bought a new tailwheel assembly--
    when he pulled off the old one,
    he discovered that the holes in the "stinger" (aka tailspring) were wallowed out.
    Last I talked to him, he was contemplating how to address this.
    Textbook answer is to buy a new tailspring, I guess--
    which might be a slippery slope leading to purchase of new saddle etc.
    $$$ !
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!

  16. #16
    Gordon Misch's Avatar
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    In this case, new bolts and epoxy, all supplied by Landing Gear Works in Renton. My understanding is that there is no "approved" repair for damaged bolt holes. However - if it were mine and if my IA were to approve, I'd ream to the first standard oversize bolt diameter, then epoxy the head on. The lady at Genuine Aircraft Hardware told me they stock "some" oversize bolts. They also sell piloted oversize reamers to fit the first and second bolt oversizes. This plane is back in service and all seems fine.
    Gordon

    N4328M KTDO
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  17. #17
    aktango58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crash, Jr. View Post
    Here we go

    https://www.supercub.org/forum/showt...na-180-Stinger
    https://backcountrypilot.org/forum/1...e-arching-9349
    https://www.supercub.org/forum/showt...Bushwheel-Bill

    Here's a few threads where the tailspring is universally referred to and understood to be "stinger". And here's couple more but there may be some editorial bias there

    https://www.airframesalaska.com/Cess...bi-0742152.htm
    https://www.airframesalaska.com/Cess.../abi-51397.htm

    Sorry to get petty with it. It's that dark cold time of year where there's nothing better to do than to argue about the definition of words. I will admit that if you looked in the parts catalog "stinger" is probably the tail cone. An ebay search verifies your claim.

    Tastes great...

    Less filling!
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!
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  18. #18
    hotrod180's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gordon Misch View Post
    ..... However - if it were mine and if my IA were to approve, I'd ream to the first standard oversize bolt diameter, then epoxy the head on. The lady at Genuine Aircraft Hardware told me they stock "some" oversize bolts. They also sell piloted oversize reamers to fit the first and second bolt oversizes.....
    The two bolts that go through the tailwheel & tailspring are AN5's-- aka 5/16".
    When you say "oversized"", I assume you mean an "itty-bitty" bigger than 5/16", and not 3/8" ?
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!

  19. #19
    Gordon Misch's Avatar
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    Correct. I dont recall what the standard oversize increments are, but it seems the larger of the two was .030 (1/32)
    Gordon

    N4328M KTDO
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  20. #20
    hotrod180's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hotrod180 View Post
    Curious what the fix is gonna be.
    A friend of mine recently bought a new tailwheel assembly--
    when he pulled off the old one,
    he discovered that the holes in the "stinger" (aka tailspring) were wallowed out.
    Last I talked to him, he was contemplating how to address this.
    Textbook answer is to buy a new tailspring, I guess--
    which might be a slippery slope leading to purchase of new saddle etc.
    $$$ !
    FWIW my friend bit the bullet & bought a new tailspring, saddle, etc.
    So everything is pretty much all new back there.
    Spendy, but it should be good for another 40 or 50 years.
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!

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