Budget interior, PA28-140 Cherokee?

Discussion in 'Avionics and Upgrades' started by MuseChaser, Apr 2, 2019.

  1. MuseChaser

    MuseChaser Line Up and Wait

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    Wasn't sure whether to post this here or in the "Maintenance" forum.. took a shot. Let me know if I got it wrong..

    OK.. I've got the nitty-gritty basics taken care of.. fresh annual and plan for ADS-B compliance in motion. Next, I'd like to address the cosmetic condition of the plane. With the exception of the pilot and copilot seats which we refurbished a few years back and are in as-new condition now, the rest of the interior is in pretty bad shape; the pilot's side panel is completely missing, the carpeting is in tatters, and the other existing interior door and side panels are cracked, wrinkled, brittle, and barely hanging on.
    The Airtex stuff looks good, and I've seen some beautiful custom work by other vendors, but I'm still trying to keep the budget as constrained as possible. My A/P suggested I explore Barnstormers for salvage interiors, but I haven't had any luck there yet.
    Any hints or suggestions for sources? Do any of YOU have a salvage interior available? I'm in central NYS, but traveling isn't out of the question. The plane flies beautifully, is VOR/ILS IFR-capable , and it's got a very low time engine, but it doesn't inspire confidence in non-pilots (aka, my wife) due to the appearance of the interior. Kind of like your car.. ever notice how much better they drive after you wash and wax them?

    Thanks..
     
  2. ktup-flyer

    ktup-flyer En-Route

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    I don't think interior is a place I would skimp. That's one place I would say just do it right the first time.
     
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  3. MuseChaser

    MuseChaser Line Up and Wait

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    I understand the philosophy, and it's one of the main reasons I'm now the sole owner of the plane. For over a decade, "scrimping" was the modus operandi of the partners, to the point that nothing ever got accomplished and now the plane really shows it. If Airtex is the way to go, then so be it. Just trying not to light more money on fire than necessary. I tend to be pretty pragmatic.. function over form, go over show, etc... so having a pretty plane is less important to me than having a safe, solid, useful plane and I'd like to spend less on the interior and save more towards an eventual panel GPS. However, well... if it looks really beat up, that does take away from the joy of flying it to some extent for me, and almost entirely for some other non-aviators.
     
  4. ktup-flyer

    ktup-flyer En-Route

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    try this place https://www.aviationscreations.com/piperinteriors.htm
     
  5. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Line Up and Wait

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    Strip it out, clean and paint it up. That’s what I’ll be doing to my 140, (Cessna not a Cherokee though) once weather breaks. Just going to leave the “curtain” that stops goodies from rolling back into the tail. Part of headliner is out from having harnesses installed, it’s the part that covers upper portion of tail cone, I’ll probably sew a pice for that and Velcro it in, the rest is going in the dumpster...

    Labor and some paint... carpet and all will be going...
     
  6. murphey

    murphey Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Go piecemeal with Airtex panels. Replace what is critical, such as the pilot side and carpet. Then the rest as you want to. There are a number of places with FAA approved carpet material. Measure, lay out the pattern, figure out how much you’ll need and buy bulk, then you do the cutting to fit.
     
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  7. weirdjim

    weirdjim En-Route

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    When I gutted the 182 in 1989 I Airtex'ted the whole interior. Looks today (30 years later) like it came out of my shop yesterday.

    Jim
     
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  8. murphey

    murphey Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    I understand your concern - function over form, etc. My policy spending money is
    1 - Airworthiness
    2 - Safety
    3 - Comfort
    4 - Cosmetics

    #4 will never be addressed as long as I own the cherokee. However, there are times when #2 and #3 are the same, as in rebuilding the seats (35 yr old foam aint foam no more. Not fun sitting on metal frame)

    When I had the engine overhaul, it was a good time to replace the aluminum battery cables with the copper cables (Bogarts) that I had sitting on the shelf for a few years. Reference #2.
    That meant removing 35 yr old original interior. Stupid to replace the crap - water damaged cardboard backing on plastic. May as well work on the interior at the same time.

    As a follow up...how much is your time & effort worth? The airtex materials come almost perfectly constructed for your aircraft (Dodd has hundreds of patterns in the vault - isn't it time they digitize everything for safety?). Yes, there is some fitting required, but the Airtex staff are fantastic helping you over the phone - you can even send screen shots. I did all the panels (and added additional FAA approved foam insulation behind the panels for sound and temp control) with nothing but a measuring tape, some marking pens and a really, REALLY sharp box cutter. There's only 1 stupid little crease on the back side panel where I bent it by accident. It really is an ROI issue - your time vs $$$. There are times when it's more cost-effective to spend the money.

    I don't remember how long it took for the interior panels (my headliner and back bulkhead were not replaced) because the airplane was down for engine overhaul. But overall, probably less than a week, and not even full time. If there's anyone around you who've done an interior before, they'll be huge help and will make it even easier and faster.

    More important, as I mentioned in the earlier posting, you don't have to do everything at once. You can buy the individual side panels separately, doing the worst first, then the rest whenever. I would suggest doing either all the front or all the back at the same time, just so it looks consistent.

    Another option - forget about Barnstormers. Contact the companies that do the FAA salvage, such as Beegles in Greeley CO. They often part out aircraft that have been declared a total loss.

    You didn't mention - what aircraft?

    Note: I get no kickbacks from Airtex.
     
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  9. Scott MacMoyle

    Scott MacMoyle Filing Flight Plan

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    I agree about Airtex and paint and scrub panels. Whatever you do will just make what you didnt do stand out more.
     
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  10. MuseChaser

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    Thanks, everyone. Plane is a '65 PA28-140 Cherokee. Airtex sure seems like the way to go. I'll get in touch with them. Found two videos and a blog from folks redoing their interiors w/ Airtex stuff and it looks great...and like a full time job for almost two weeks..about 60 hours, one of'em said... but the end result sure looks worth it.
     
  11. chemgeek

    chemgeek Cleared for Takeoff

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    Airtex is pretty affordable if you are handy. I did my seats and panels and they look great. Replacing the plastic interior parts is a bigger and fussier job, and doing the wall panels may lead you down that path.
     
  12. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    What does your headliner look like? Mine looked like it had endured 40 years of smoking and leaking and whatever else happens to it. I dyed it instead of replacing it with stuff from here https://www.rubnrestore.com/leather-vinyl-dyes/ and it looks brand new.
     
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  13. SbestCFII

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    Airtex is great, but if you want to trim costs, get materials you like and have a lab burn test them to see if the meet FAA specs. If then do, have a car upholstery shop make your covers and cover your existing wall panels with the same stuff as well.
     
  14. murphey

    murphey Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    That's a great idea except....at this point, the existing wall panels are so old (or non-existent) that it's the classic putting lipstick on a pig.
     
  15. thomasdr72

    thomasdr72 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    If you are inclined to, watch a few youtube videos and tackle the job yourself! When we redid our C-172, I did the headliner first (available premade from several places). Then I tackled the side panels, starting with the door. Next came the rear seat, then copilot's seat, then the pilot's seat. Finally, I found a suitable material for making carpets and finished up with a set of custom made matching floormats. I learned a lot, and did the whole thing for less than $2k spread over about 6 months or so (including buying the sewing machine).

    But if that isn't your cup of tea, +1 for a new Airtex interior! I've installed several, and the 4-seaters I did probably took about 40 hours or so...

    And a bonus! All of that stuff is approved for an owner to do...
     
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  16. MuseChaser

    MuseChaser Line Up and Wait

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    LOL... soooo... obviously, you've seen my plane! :)
     
  17. MuseChaser

    MuseChaser Line Up and Wait

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    Oh, this is definitely going to be owner-provided labor... the materials are barely in the budget! If it's possible, and not a lot more work overall, to do one part of the project at a time rather than just gut the whole interior, that would certainly make it easier financially. The headliner and back seats are lowest on the priority list, while the panels, carpeting, and glareshield are equally awful. Would doing the panels first and deferring the carpeting make significantly extra work when I DO tackle the carpeting, i.e., having to remove the panels or associated trim pieces again, possibly damaging the new panels? Same question re/ deferring the headliner..?
     
  18. thomasdr72

    thomasdr72 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Start in the areas that are simplest, that's why I started with the side panels, they are pretty much flat and work your complexity up as you develop your skills. I did the pilot & copilot seats last, as they were basically the only seats you have to ground the plane in order to do...

    Also take into consideration what order the parts of the plane need to be disassembled. There may be a specific order for disassembly and reassembly.

    Good luck! Ultimately it's your adventure, so have fun with it!
     
  19. 455 Bravo Uniform

    455 Bravo Uniform En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Before and after and in-progress pics would be fun to see.
     
  20. MuseChaser

    MuseChaser Line Up and Wait

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    I can definitely post some "before" pics, but I'd recommend everyone sit down first and brace yourselves... it ain't gonna be pretty...
     
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  21. Unit74

    Unit74 Final Approach

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    What’s your budget for interior? I did my Archer a few years back through a shop in Searcy, AR. They are the refurb shop for Falcon Jet and it was all done in Falcon quality leather for $7k all in. The draw back is that you have to leave the plane with them to work on on their schedule between jets. Mine was down for 45 days but the work and materials were well worth the wait. The smell getting in was euphoric.
     
  22. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    How 'bout now?
     
  23. MuseChaser

    MuseChaser Line Up and Wait

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    You asked for it... ;)

    The hatrack or whatever that big piece behind the back seats is called was homebrewed by someone else with fiberglass cloth and epoxy using a mold of the original part. Functionally it does what it needs to do, but it's not a smoothly finished piece that could be painted as is.. there are some (OK, numerous) voids where the cloth wasn't fully squeegeed (or however you spell that) to the mold. Those are the ripples that you see all over the piece. I can work with fiberglass and epoxy, but am concerned that filling and smoothing the piece would add enough weight to require... well... something FAA-related.. and maybe make the piece too stiff to ever be able to remove it when necessary. My CFI has two Cherokees.. maybe I'll poke around one of his to get some ideas.

    I never noticed it, but the backs of the back seats are pretty close in color and style to the new upholstery we did on the front seats a few years ago... might be able to get away with just doing the seats of the back seats.

    Not shown in these pics are the headliner, which is more just dirty and dingy than in poor physical condition, and the wall panels other than the door panel. The door panel is, by FAR, the panel in the best condition. The panel underneath the door/to the right of the passenger seat is just sort of a crumpled mess wedged between the wall and the seat bottom and, as you can see, the pilot's side panel is totally gone.

    Sooo.. there you have it. Keep the ideas comin'. Much as I'd LOVE the results of having a high end shop put a nice leather interior in for $7K, it just wouldn't make any sense for this plane.. at least not at this point. So much good advice here... I'm still, although I've had my PPL for quite q few years, very much in the infancy of my development as a pilot due to some setbacks here and there over the years, partner and health related (ALL remedied for good!). Right now, I want to get the plane up to snuff mechanically and ADS-B-mandate wise (making excellent headway there), get the interior to the point where it's at least welcoming, and fly the crap out of the plane for a while, using it for transportation to see my kids, friends, and family in various states, and really finding out if this is indeed the plane for us and our budget for the long term. Gotta confess, the more I look at a VANS RV9A, the more interested I get, but I don't want to build one. I could, but spending 1000 hours building instead of flying just doesn't sit well.

    Sorry... rambled. Here's the pics....

    FourSeatsOverallSh.jpg DoorPanelSh.jpg FrontCarpetPanelSh.jpg BackSeatsPlywoodSh.jpg HatrackBaggageSh.jpg
     
  24. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    Well, on the bright side, a lot of the demo has already been done for you. :)

    You have my pm.

    If you haven't priced that rear bulkhead yet, it's around $700.


    Having said that, my "how 'bout now?" comment was aimed at Unit74.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2019
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  25. MuseChaser

    MuseChaser Line Up and Wait

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    Ooops... I thought you were refering to the request for before and after pics. Sorry for the pic vomit!
     
  26. murphey

    murphey Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    A complete side panel set from Airtex is a bit over $1300, and the back bulkhead about $200 (call for specifics). You can order piecemeal, such as the only front panels and back bulkhead & install them, probably take a few days. Back bulkhead takes about an hour, IIRC. Remember to remove the old fiberglass or whatever it is, and clean the aluminum before installation. A coat of zinc chromate is well worth the effort. Don't forget to get a good supply of the screws and washers!

    If you have a scrap of the seat materials, Airtex can probably match it so the side panels look good.

    You may also want to put some sound proofing material underneath, in addition to the polyboard that Airtex uses that replaces the crappy (and probably useless) original cardboard. You can go fiberglass (messy but easier to install) or 1/4-1/2 in closed cell foam is well worth it in terms of sound and comfort - cold temps, in particular. Check the details here:

    http://www.soundproofing.org/infopages/soundprf.htm

    There's enough space between the Airtext panels and all the wiring/hoses/piping that 1/4 or 1/2 in material goes in without any problems and doesn't need to be glued directly to the panels, either. Slips in behind everything and lays up against the airframe.

    Altho AirTex has the foam insulation (on the Acessories page) but do NOT get the material with adhesive on the back. Trust me.
     
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  27. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    No problem, I edited my post. I found it at plane plastics for $673.87.
     
  28. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    @murphey which "bulkhead" are you talking about for $200?
     
  29. murphey

    murphey Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Airtext bulkhead on the cherokee is the flat panel, runs $200. There's no pricing online for the hatrack version, hence my suggestion to call Airtex directly and get the quote. I got the flat bulkhead long before I did the interior due to the extreme damage on my unit. After I got the Airtex bulkhead, I glued the sound proofing foam to the back side (used the 1 inch version). Not only did it help with the temps, it added a fair amount of strength, and probably helped avoid crunching when the milk bottle crate I use to keep oil and such slid back against it. I've since put a rolled-up blanket between the crate and the bulkhead to keep things from moving in the baggage area.
     
  30. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    Mine is the all one piece hat rack version which is why I asked.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2019
  31. MuseChaser

    MuseChaser Line Up and Wait

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    I had the same question as Timbeck... trying to visualize what you're describing, but I can't. Do YOU have a pic? As Tim said, mine's a large molded one piece unit as you can see in the bottom pic I posted above. The only separate part is the rectangular access panel you can see held on w/ metal tape in the pic above.

    edit: Here's a pic of the appropriate replacement part.. thanks for the help, Tim.

    PNW140-001_BIG.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2019
  32. murphey

    murphey Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    It may be more practical to just get the matching carpet and glue it down to the existing hatrack. I dunno. That's why I said call Airtex for ideas. But there needs to be access cut in to get to the battery and stuff back there. My battery and ELT is located behind the bulkhead, hence the door. I'm betting that's what the panel with tape is for.
     
  33. 455 Bravo Uniform

    455 Bravo Uniform En-Route PoA Supporter

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    I like it. Before and after pics are great for that reason. No where to go but up!

    The door panels and kick panels should be easy. I’d start there.

    That rear bulkhead- will it take “body work” and paint? Or would it be upholstered? Is it removable? One piece?

    Save the carpet for last, cuz you’ll be doing a lot of in & out until thr rest of the work is done.

    Take baby steps. One panel at a time; Maybe one a month (or longer).
     
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  34. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    The only thing I wish I'd done is replace all that fiberglass insulation with the noise reducing foam type. I can do that eventually but I've done so much to the interior, I just want to fly it for a while.

    Edit: and I wish I had taken before pictures.
     
  35. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    The rear bulkhead is removable but in my case, not practical. Mine was glued and screwed in as I wanted to take it out and paint it. I opted to take out the interior, mask everything off, hold my breath and paint it. In his case, if he breaks it getting it out it is going to get replaced anyway.
     
  36. MuseChaser

    MuseChaser Line Up and Wait

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    That bulkhead was layed up and installed by a former partner, and is one piece except for the rectangular access panel you see held in place by metallic tape. I could take it out, fill and fair it, and paint it, but am not entirely confident of the results, nor of the impact on weight and balance or other regulatory requirements. Perchance I'm overthinking that part? BEST case, as Tim suggested, is that it breaks during removal and I'm forced to do what I should probably do in the first place and buy the new part.

    VERY logical. I love it.. and the carpeting is the part I was dreading the most.

    That's two votes for the noise reduction foam. Might as well do it while I'm in there. 1/4" or 1/2"? 1/2" is about 50% more expensive, but not enough to make much difference in the grand scheme of the project.

    Feel free to use mine! People will be even more impressed by your "after" shots!

    Thanks, all.
     
  37. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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  38. WannFly

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    this discussion is inspiring me to get off my arse and go something about my interior... i will go back to reading something else now
     
  39. Slavcha

    Slavcha Filing Flight Plan

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    Any pictures of what you have done? I'm interested to see what i can do to my 78 warrior and save some $ for ADSB.
     
  40. chemgeek

    chemgeek Cleared for Takeoff

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    Here's what you can do with the Airtex stuff. I did the rear seats, wall panels, and forward plastic trim (Plane Plastics) myself. My mechanic finished the rear plastic trim (too much time for me to do myself). What an improvement in both comfort and looks!

    The infamous "horseshoe" seats in the early Grumman are very challenging for an amateur upholsterer, especially if the foam is completely disintegrated. I stripped the front seats down to the aluminum tubes and sent them back to Airtex. They used my kit parts and rebuilt my seats from ground up for a VERY reasonable price, around $200 if I recall. (It was a while ago, so you won't get that price now.) The rear seat pan and fabric is attached with umpty-million rivets which must be drilled out and later refitted. And as I mentioned before, once you start down the upholstery road, you will eventually wind up replacing all the cracked, brittle plastic interior parts as well. (In my AA-5 some of the plastic and interior fabric/fake leather is integrated. (See rear panels.) The new plastic will last a lifetime. This is a reasonable DIY job if you have time. There is a LOT of painstaking trimming and re-trimming to make the plastic parts fit just right. The curved parts are the worst. It took me a month of on-and-off work to get the canopy parts fitted and attached. (The flatter plastic wall trim is easier.) In their infinite wisdom, Grumman engineers decided to use two different types of fasteners for the plastic canopy interior trim, and then cleverly buried some of the fasteners under the canopy bow seal, which must be removed (and then replaced) uner the supervision of my mechanic. The bow seal is not expensive, but is another giant PITA to attach, requiring a heat gun, contact cement, and infinite patience. The deeper you dig in this kind of project, the bigger the hole you need to fill with time or money. The results do help make a nearly 35 year old plane look more presentable.

    front-seats-new.jpg front-seat-before.JPG rear-panels-new.jpg rear-seats-new.jpg rear-seats-old.jpg
     
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