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Thread: Cessna 180 Float Kit Install

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    Cessna 180 Float Kit Install

    The cub is done and now onto something new. I recently acquired a 1953 180, 1,200 tt, 20 hours on a new engine. No float kit. I知 strongly considering installing a float kit and amphibs. I知 in the beginning education phase.

    For the skins required, where does one source them? Do cad files exist for them? I have access to a laser.

    Thoughts?

    Zach

  2. #2
    Scouter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sikorsky View Post
    The cub is done and now onto something new. I recently acquired a 1953 180, 1,200 tt, 20 hours on a new engine. No float kit. I知 strongly considering installing a float kit and amphibs. I知 in the beginning education phase.

    For the skins required, where does one source them? Do cad files exist for them? I have access to a laser.

    Thoughts?

    Zach
    pretty sure they have done a couple Skyhawks and maybe a 180 at Curtis air in Pittsfield maine 2b7 207-487-5213.
    Keith Strange at PK floats could fill you in as well
    Did Tom Ford put a float kit in his dads hawk?

    I think the doubler skins are nearly unobtainable from cessna and they fabricated them in their shop
    i remember the final bill being an eye watering document.
    there are quite a few for sale with factory float kits. Probably not with 1200tt with 20 hours
    jim

  3. #3
    mvivion's Avatar
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    I don’t have specifics, but I recall the installation on the very early 180s is quite a bit simpler than on later models.

    MTV

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    hotrod180's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sikorsky View Post
    ....I recently acquired a 1953 180, 1,200 tt, 20 hours on a new engine. No float kit. I’m strongly considering installing a float kit and amphibs....

    The Cessna 180 thru 180E IPC lists a "floatplane and/or amphibian kit" for s/n 30000 thru 50661,
    and another for s/n 50662 & up.
    Unfortunately it doesn't break down just what is included in the "kit".
    Does anyone know the details?

    IMHO a 1200 hour TT 53 model with only 20 hours on a new engine is a bit of a unicorn.
    There's lots of 180's already fitted with float kits and on floats or amphibs,
    maybe it'd be better to just buy one of those & leave that unicorn unmolested--
    depending on how it looks and is set up now of course.
    It's your airplane, of course, but as the owner of a 53 model myself, I kinda hate to see it messed with.
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!
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    Yeah, I understand the “shouldn’t mess with it” theory. I just think it would be fun to “parade model” the thing.

    It has the O470R with a 20 hour prop on it. I have a sea plane prop that came off a an O470U. Will this prop fit on the R? If not will the longer sea plane blades fit on my existing hub?

    Z

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    The prop should fit but may need to be cut from 90” to 88”, or get a field approval for 90”.

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    gntw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stewartb View Post
    The prop should fit but may need to be cut from 90 to 88, or get a field approval for 90.
    Dick at northwest propeller in puallup Washington has Stc to put that prop on that motor .
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    gntw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gntw View Post
    Dick at northwest propeller in puallup Washington has Stc to put that prop on that motor .
    Do not have to shorten blades
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    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hotrod180 View Post
    The Cessna 180 thru 180E IPC lists a "floatplane and/or amphibian kit" for s/n 30000 thru 50661,
    and another for s/n 50662 & up.
    Unfortunately it doesn't break down just what is included in the "kit".
    Does anyone know the details?
    A review of the parts manual for the model year would show which parts are applicable for the seaplane version. I don't have the early manual, but it is noted in the later manuals.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sikorsky View Post
    Yeah, I understand the “shouldn’t mess with it” theory. I just think it would be fun to “parade model” the thing.

    It has the O470R with a 20 hour prop on it. I have a sea plane prop that came off a an O470U. Will this prop fit on the R? If not will the longer sea plane blades fit on my existing hub?

    Z
    Look on the type certificate 5A6 https://drs.faa.gov/browse/TCDSMODEL...dalOpened=true for the approved propellers. They are listed on pages 1,2&3. Also take note of the approved amphibious float for that model. It is EDO 289-2700. That model float has electrically actuated landing gear which is extremely troublesome and parts scarce. Wipline used to supply a conversion kit to hydraulics. Now long out of production. You will want the EDO 439-2705 which is essentially the same float except it has hydraulically actuated gear. That may or may not require either an STC or field approval? Check with Kenmore for that. https://www.kenmoreairharbor.com/models.html Any other amphibious float for this airplane will require an STC. This light weight 180 makes a great performing amphib on the 2705 floats.
    NX1PA

  10. #10
    Bill Rusk's Avatar
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    Congrats Zack!!

    If anyone can do this and make it better than factory you are the one.

    By the way......need you to drop off that seat to Jay so we can keep moving forward.

    Folks.....this is the guy that won Oshkosh Grand Champion for his Cub build......Thread here

    https://www.supercub.org/forum/showt...d-Champion-Cub


    I look forward to seeing this come together.

    Bill
    Very Blessed.
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  11. #11
    mvivion's Avatar
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    FYI, one of the features of all the early Cessnas that came from the factory with seaplane kits was that all internal surfaces were corrosion proofed with zinc chromate coatings. Where you go with it will suggest how big a deal that is.

    MTV
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  12. #12
    180Marty's Avatar
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    I think most if not all of the exterior skin reinforcements are flat and nothing special such as the late model style piece ahead of the landing gear on this early 180. I thnk the big thing is getting the inside parts for the rear attach fittings by the baggage. door. The flying wire brace in the windshield that SeaplanesWest has would solve that need.
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  13. #13
    180Marty's Avatar
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    I also think ACF-50 is better than zinc chromate because it weeps between skin laps and would also help if there is steel against aluminum. Just make sure the plane is painted before you apply. I was squirting ACF-50 in my plane before it was painted and it made it more difficult.

  14. #14
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 180Marty View Post
    I think most if not all of the exterior skin reinforcements are flat and nothing special such as the late model style piece ahead of the landing gear on this early 180. I thnk the big thing is getting the inside parts for the rear attach fittings by the baggage. door. The flying wire brace in the windshield that SeaplanesWest has would solve that need.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    The aft attach blocks can probably be sourced from salvage, or if you can find dimensions, have them gabbed from aluminum blocks. Eddie Peck or Doug Ronan may be able to provide them. The windshield v brace can be sourced from Atlee Dodge. The big thing on later 180s is the very large skin doubleron the aft belly, a HUGE project. The early planes had smaller doublers.

    And, at least on my 52 170, the zinc chromate was applied BEFORE assembly. I’d bet the 53s were as well.

    MTV

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sikorsky View Post
    .....It has the O470R with a 20 hour prop on it. I have a sea plane prop that came off a an O470U. Will this prop fit on the R? If not will the longer sea plane blades fit on my existing hub?
    The 470U was generally fitted with a Mac C204 prop, seaplane models were 90".
    The U crankshaft dampers on the 470U are different than any other model 470,
    that seems to often be the most important factor in propeller choice.
    I don't see on the C180 TCDS where it was fitted on anything other than the U engine.

    Dunno which prop you have now, but the C204 uses 90DCB blades.
    It doesn't seem like Mac blades are interchangeable between different model props--
    for example, the C201 & C203 are pretty similar,
    but one uses 90DA blades and the other one uses 90DCA.

    Quote Originally Posted by gntw View Post
    Dick at northwest propeller in puallup Washington has Stc to put that prop on that motor .
    That'd be worth looking into if you really want to run a C204.
    Somebody on the backcountrypilot site recently listed an 88" C203 for sale at a pretty attractive price,
    I think I'd go that way.

    FS. 180 182 sea plane prop 88 inch - Backcountry Pilot
    Last edited by hotrod180; 01-14-2023 at 11:05 AM.
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!

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    I bought rear float fittings for my old 2960s from Aerocet. Easy peasy.

    The early model 180s I’ve seen used brace wires instead of a vee. I’m told they’re better than the vee but that from guys with wires. My two Cessnas have had vees. A buddy with no float kit added an Atlee vee to eliminate windshield squeaks on rough strips, and it worked well, so it definitely serves a purpose other than making an excellent oh-**** handle. The paint on mine is very well worn.

  17. #17
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stewartb View Post
    I bought rear float fittings for my old 2960s from Aerocet.
    Are you talking about the Internal blocks or the External blocks? The former come with the float kit from the manufacturer…they are part of the airplane. The latter come with the floats, generally, and are provided by the float manufacturer.

    You can’t see the internal blocks without some gymnastics.

    MTV

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    Bill- Thank you for the kind words. The seat frame is in the small addition of the shop. I’ll have Jay pick it up. ��

    The cross brace wires are now installed and I found aft blocks which are now in possession.

    Internally it isn’t zc’d but it won’t ever see salt so that isn’t a huge concern. Depending on how much fuselage work it gets I may treat the internals anyway. Yet to be determined.
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  19. #19

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    Adding WingX? 2550# isn’t very useful on amphibs.

    Contrary to some, I’m not a fan of ACF or CorrosionX treatments. I did it once on my first plane and was sorry every day until I sold it. That plane was a factory seaplane with ZC. I was gullible. Never again.

    As I understand it Aerocet requires a 3190 gross increase for 3400 Amphibs. Has anyone worked around that on an early 180?
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  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by hotrod180 View Post
    The Cessna 180 thru 180E IPC lists a "floatplane and/or amphibian kit" for s/n 30000 thru 50661,
    and another for s/n 50662 & up.
    Unfortunately it doesn't break down just what is included in the "kit".
    Does anyone know the details?
    Cessna document AK180-7 illustrates the entire process, including part numbers, diagrams, etc. 22 pages worth.

    Chris


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  21. #21

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    That document is stamped Cancelled on every page. Was it superseded?

  22. #22
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    The amount of parts that have to come off, be doubled and such, and hearing you have a cream puff unmolested... If you are going to that much work and want an amphibious why not find one that has been ground looped and needs to come apart anyway??

    As you probably know, floats of any type beat an aircraft up. Way more stress on everything.

    One of the mechanics I work with does not suggest ACF 50 or Corrosion X until things really need it. He explains that it creates lubrication to allow movement between skins/rivets which wear the skins and rivets out.

    Again, your plane your choices. I am sure it will be beautiful when done, but those planes are light because they have less structure and less strength. Be prepared for the results to be a much lower performer than you expect.
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!
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  23. #23

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    A friend has been rebuilding a ‘53 for several years. It was taken down further than any Cessna airframe I’ve seen. Comparing that airframe to my ‘75 factory seaplane is as apples to oranges as two planes that share a name could be. Whether a guy believes the increase in structure is necessary or not is subjective but there’s no question they’re different. If you do add float reinforcements, you probably should add a cargo door, too.

  24. #24
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stewartb View Post
    If you do add float reinforcements, you probably should add a cargo door, too.
    The big Cessna cargo door is not approved with a float kit. Not to be confused with the conventional baggage door.
    NX1PA

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    Not a stretcher door, just a baggage (cargo) door. ‘53s didn’t come with them.

  26. #26
    180Marty's Avatar
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    After reading the comment on the use of ACF-50 and loose,moving skins, I thought I'd expand on my experience with the stuff. I bought my 54 180 in 1988 and liberally applied it. The tailcone on the upper areas had surface corrosion that I wanted to deal with so I scotch brighted with acid and then alodyned. Then ACF-50. Here are some pic's of the rivets on the tailcone and also the flush rivets on the side next to the firewall----a place I have seen lots of loose rivets on other planes. The plane is getting close to 4000 hrs and I have put about 1100 on. Cessna didn't do the early 180's a favor by using flush rivets IMO. Also, I bet I have the easiest turning jackscrews out there and the smell isn't bad either.
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  27. #27
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    I've had good luck with XP-400 corrosion proofing. It's more viscous than the ACF-50. Is able to work it's way into joints etc. Forms a sticky surface which displaces moisture. A good fog coat inside the entire airframe will last for years. https://aerobasegroup.com/part-numbe...00_00-244-1294
    NX1PA

  28. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by stewartb View Post
    That document is stamped Cancelled on every page. Was it superseded?
    I don't know if it was superceded. Also, I don't know why it was cancelled, but it makes a nice reference for a discussion of what was involved.

    Chris
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