Sunday, May 24, 2015

Strut up or shut up

We were finally able to carve out a few hours to service all the struts.  Also we started the official inspections for the annual.

This was a very dirty job...

Here is a strut with the wheel off and with the plane up on jacks.

We were able to totally remove the struts to replace the O ring seals on the top and bottom.

After replacing the struts we had to service them with fluid which prompty sprayed all over me causing a massive mess and an immediate need to chane clothes as the smell was overpowering lol

Afterwards you can see now her struts stay up just fine!!

In addition we were able to do the first compressions on the engine for the official inspection.  I'm very pleased at how the engine is shaping up.

And most importantly with the struts now holding I was able to take my nine year old nephew out for a quick taxi around the ramp.  He's been asking me to take him around for weeks.  

As you can see he was ready to go! 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Registration Update

Nothing like waking up and checking the FAA Aircraft Registry and seeing that the offical records have been updated to reflect my name.

When you purchase an airplane (much like your license) you receive a temp certificate.  However it's a very reassuring feeling when you finally get to see something offical.

It just reaffirms my feelings that the aircraft is now mine  :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

What's behind panel #1

So quick update today....we are starting to get ready for the annual and part of that is taking off and inspecting behind all the inspection panels.  I removed all the panels under the wings and using my phone took a few pictures inside the wing.  

Here is what the panel looks like under the wing...held on with a couple screws. 

First up is the left wing! 

And here is the right wing!

Everyone is pleased with the condition of the interior of the wing.  It also means that when we apply the corrosion x coating it will forever protect the wings.  

I also oiled and lubed all the cables and hinges on all the flaps and stabaliator.  She's all moving a lot better now and is smooth as silk.  

Hopefully we can get to the struts sometime this week.  That's a big job! 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Big Saturday Update!

A full Saturday of work with all new parts and repairs going in.

First up was to put on a brand new air filter.  On my plane the air filter simply goes on the front of the plane in the front cowling.  It is held in place by the landing light assembly.  

The air filter itself is technically two pieces.  A wire mesh support ring and the filter itself, which is foam.  You can get a paper filter but it is over 80 bucks, the foam filter is much much cheaper.  You can also order just the foam part without the wire mesh ring however since it's only a few dollars more for the whole assembly I just opted to get a complete replacement.

The foam filter itself is coated in a VERY sticky substance (think of honey) and it gets everywhere.  I did not realize this but next time I'm going to use some gloves.  It also explains what that super sticky stuff is under the cowling.  It's this stuff oozing out over time.

I know this is an odd picture but this is what it looks like installed.  It's basically held in place by wedging that front plate (with landing light) and the back of the cowling.  There is one long bolt that screws into the middle of that front plate and you tighten it down until the whole assembly firms up and holds in place.

The light will connect to those leads and then there is a ring that screws into the front plate to hold the light in.  (not pictured)

Next up was the rear cone that covers the cabling and trim spindle in the rear of the plane.  It's a plastic piece that comes in two pieces.  I needed to remove this and paint it with a paint to protect it as the A&P wanted me to get something on it to protect it from the sun.  I also wanted to soak and oil all of the spindles and cables in the rear assembly.

Plenty of new screws and washers!!!

First I needed to remove the rear cover, you see how dirty and gross it is :(   I used a very very fine sand paper to rough it up a little and to clean some of the really stuck on crud.  After giving it a very light sand,  you want to clean it with a light MEK wipe off.  This will remove any oil / dirt and grit and prepare it for some paint.
Here is what the rear of the plane looks like with the cover off.  You can see all the pulleys and cables in the rear of the plane.  All of this got a liberal coating of Mouse Milk penetrating and lubricating oil.   After letting it sit for only 10 minutes the trim was already noticeably smoother in operation.
Here is the underside of the mechanism.

This is a close up of the trim assembly and cable.  Pretty neat stuff.  It looks wet because I just re-oiled it.

Repainted and replaced!  Check out those brand new screws and washers...
Underside after reassembly.

 I also replaced the left and right main fuel sumps.  Check out the shiny brass!  These are super easy to change, just couple quick turns and it unscrews from the underside of the wing.  Just want to quickly replace it so all the fuel doesn't run out!

Now all the fuel comes flowing out at a normal rate.  Which makes it easier to sump.

I was flying solo today so all this took me a while to do,  I worked on the plane for about 6 hours, and at the end I treated myself to a quick taxi around the ramp down to the run-up area and did a quick run up.  She did great!

I'm hoping to get some time to do the struts sometime this week, but that is a def a 2 person job.   

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The first new parts...

The first box of two arrived today with some new parts.  Even tho we've planned to work on it all day Saturday I couldn't wait to put something 'new' on the plane.  So I decided to go ahead and put the nav lens on, one red and one green!

Both of these lens were broken unknown years ago and in the case of the left wing tip something had actually bent the housing.  We were able to remove the assembly and repair the damage.  I know it's a small thing but every little bit is moving us closer to getting her airworthiness back!

I also replaced the gas cap gaskets to help keep the water out of the tanks.  In a perfect world your gaskets should be soft and supple, however after sitting for 10 years mine were hard as a rock.  This causes the cap to not seal properly which lets water run right into the wing tanks.

This is the old seal

This is the new seal, see how nice and white and fluffy it is.

Look how brittle and hard the seal is, that is no good.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Waiting Game....

Not a lot mechanically has been going on with the little Cherokee since this weekend, but this is due to waiting on parts.  We have now hit the phase of the restoration where we are going to start replacing / repairing / rebuilding sections of the aircraft.  To do this we have a whole ton of parts coming in from our friends at Aircraft Spruce

Now is the hardest part because it's all a waiting game as you watch the little fedex package tracking meter edge closer and closer to delivery.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

First Taxi

We'd made such progress this past week on the plane that we decided to opt to do some light work today so that we could still enjoy some of the beautiful Saturday.  One of the things I had wanted to try to save was the original rotating beacon.  Instead of replacing the beacon with a strobe I wanted to see if I could retain some of the character.  We were able to remove the beacon and clean it throughly with a toothbrush, WD40 and contact cleaner.

Again to everyone's surprise the beacon started working without issue.  We cleaned the lens on it and returned it to the top of the tail, where it happily spun around once again.

We then turned out attention to the damaged nav light on the wing.  Sometime in the past 10 years it had gotten damaged, we assume by the lawn care people and up until this point we'd were not sure if it was broken beyond repair.

We were able to remove the light housing and remove the broken bulb which was lodged down in the socket.  After replacing the bulb with a new one we were again met with success as the nav light powered on without issue.

Up until this point we'd been running on just 5 gallons that I had put in the right tank but that was starting to get very low.  Since the main struts were still holding and I did not want to pay the fee for the fuel truck, we decided to try and taxi the plane down to the self serve fuel farm and fill up her left tank.

For the first time in 10 years she was able to taxi down to the fuel farm under her own power.  We did a radio check and called out to traffic that we were taxing, the line guys picked up on the tail number and all came out to wave and take pictures as we taxi'd past the FBO.

While we were on the clear end of the field we took the opportunity to do a full run up (per checklist) and again she performed flawlessly.  We ran her up to 2000 rpm and did her mag and carb heat checks.  All were within normal limits.

Once we got parked one of the guys came over and snapped the picture above, just goes to show that even on days when we take it easy...N2886T is getting closer and closer to returning to the skies.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Servicing the Struts

Just a quick update for a Friday.  We were able to service all the struts today.  The good news is that they are all holding fluid and appear to be staying up.

After you service all 3 struts and let the plane back down they can "stick" like you see to the right.  However as soon as you 'rock' the wings they will settle back down into their natural position.  That is when you know if the strut is going to collapse or not.

My old CFI says that I should try and get the struts to always stay like this since my landings are so hard it would help cushion the impact. :)

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Black Gold, Texas Tea

Another great night of work on the little Cherokee, we got several things done or looked at tonight.
First we started out running the engine for about 10 minutes to bring her up in temperature.  This was to heat up the oil and prepare it for an oil change.

We did a full oil change and filter change and filled her back up with a fresh 7 quarts of oil.

The biggest surprise of the night came when we cut the filter open, to everyones surprise we found no metal or junk or crud in the filter.  After 10 years this is a huge surprise to everyone.  There is also a tube secondary filter on the engine.  That filter was also clear of crud as well.

Then we put her on jacks to work on the struts, for the first time in 10 years she is off the ground!  We got that nose wheel pant off finally and removed the front wheel and cleaned out the bearings.  I also re-greased the bearings and she spins much smoother now.

We were able to put fluid back in the nose strut and she was able to stay up when we put it back on the ground.  We did not have time to service the 2 main struts because we just ran out of time (and pizza)

After we pulled her out of the hangar we did a run up with the fresh oil to check for leaks.  When no leaks were found we put the cowling back on and we then taxied back to her parking spot.  

We had a great time and got several things done...all in all it was a great time and we are one step closer to getting her back in the air.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Another run up

Repaired the small oil leak today (was a cracked fitting) and she was back in action! 

Did another run up on her, I ran her up to 2200 rpm but am too scared to go higher.  Just want to slowly being her back a little each time.  Watching all the instruments to make sure we are not over stressing the engine.

Tomorrow we hope to get her up on jacks to check out the condition of the wheel struts.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

What a day!

After a full day of working on the plane I put in a new battery and she started on the 5th revolution.  As of by magic the right mag started working, so she's running on both her mags now.  We were able to get her oil temp up and oil pressure up into the green.  After running 1000-1200 rpm for about 10 minutes we increased her to 2000 rpm for a few minutes.

We are slowing working the engine back to life without overtaxing it.

I took a high-res photo while giving her a bath.

Here is a quick video of the run up today for the curious.

Saturday is bath day!

Well the 79 degree beautiful weather meant that it was time to give the plane her first bath in at least 10 years. 

As with everything on this plane, she is full of surprises and I soon discovered that the "bad" paint was in fact alge.  3 and a half hours of scrubbing later and here are the results.  She's still gonna need a new paint job of course but her dark spots are now gone. 



She is much happier now....