Cessna Cardinal RG maintenance costs

Discussion in 'Maintenance Bay' started by Cedric31, Jun 17, 2021.

  1. Cedric31

    Cedric31 Filing Flight Plan

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    Hey everybody,

    I'm looking at maybe buying a Cessna 177RG and try to gather as much information as I can.
    As the title suggests I would like to know from long term owners, or mechanics who work on these birds, what regular maintenance costs I might expect. Obviously a retract will be more expensive than a fixed gear, that is a no-brainer. I've also seen the wing-spar AD that is being issued, but since I'm not planning on actually pulling the trigger in the next 12 months, that's not a major concern for me at this point. I'm just trying to get a feel for what Cardinal RG owner's are looking at, on a regular bases. Are $4,000 - 5,000 a year way short of what it actually is, or are my expectiaions at least in a reasonable ball-park?
     
  2. Rcmutz

    Rcmutz Line Up and Wait

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    For pure annual and maintenance, seems $4000-5000. Fixed cost of the Annuals are probably in the $1200-1500 range before any maintenance actions.

    BWTHDIK.... I own and fly a Tiger!
     
  3. luvflyin

    luvflyin Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Go here. Pay the 50 bucks or whatever it is. https://www.cardinalflyers.com/home/_home.php
     
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  4. GaryV

    GaryV Pre-takeoff checklist Gone West

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    First, I also recommend joining Cardinal Flyers. It’s a great type club with a world of information and a ton of owners that are happy to offer help.

    I’ve had a 74 RG since 2013. I’ve always done owner assisted annuals and the labor I put in helps with costs but my annual maintenance has averaged less than $2K per year. I usually spend around $1000 for my annual including the oil, etc. for the oil change.

    Normally I change the oil every 25 to 30 hours and check the plugs, compression, borescope the cylinders, etc. at every oil change.

    The most expensive repair so far was that I had to replace one cylinder in about 600 - 700 hours. A ring broke and a small hole formed right at that spot on the cylinder. I found it during the oil change / compression test so it didn’t cause any other problems. There were no operational symptoms up to then but my guess is that things could have gotten interesting before much longer.

    All of those issues are common in pretty much all similarly equipped planes so I don’t think my having a Cardinal RG makes any difference.

    I had my mag overhauled at 500 hours (around $600) and replaced a vacuum pump (around $500). My biggest RG specific issues were that the brake swivel connections both had leaks so I had to replace the O-rings in them (inexpensive but a real PITA) and during my current annual I discovered that the left downlock actuator was leaking. The $50 or so in parts for that repair just arrived so I will have that fixed this week.

    The RG specific repairs were fairly labor intensive so if I wasn’t doing owner assisted work the cost would probably be in the $3K to $4K range for the brake swivel repairs and at least $500 to $1K range for the downlock actuator repair.

    I typically cruise at around 165mph at between 9 and 10 GPH, have a 5 hour range with reserves, and the plane is comfortable enough that my wife has flown a lot of 5 hour legs with me. We’ve been to both coasts, the Bahamas and both borders. Next month we’re going to Boston / NYC by way of Oshkosh, Detroit, and Niagara Falls with other stops along the way.

    gary
     
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  5. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    Gear maintenance cost for Cessna’s RG line is inexpensive. Position switches and gear motor every 15 years are about it.
     
  6. GaryV

    GaryV Pre-takeoff checklist Gone West

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    So far my only problem with the gear is that a few of the 37 year-old o-rings got hard and started to leak. I can live with having to replace o-rings every 35-40 years.

    I don’t know where to stories about the gear being difficult and expensive to maintain come from. I’m guessing the stories aren’t coming from Cardinal RG owners. I know there were some issues with the gear systems on the first 2 or 3 years of the 210’s but Cessna seemed to have figured out the formula by the time they built the Cardinals.

    Gary
     
  7. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 Final Approach

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    *laughs in 182/210 Textron actuator body-housing/pivots/saddles/non-existent-stock-at-any-price carrythrough prices*
     
  8. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    Actuator body cracks - cause improper routine maintenance to check attachment torque or to upgrade to safety wired attachments.
    Cracked pivots - cause hard landings usually associated with rental aircraft. Can be repaired.
    Saddles - mostly effect early 210. Later models not an issue.
     
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  9. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 En-Route

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    If you have a good year, it will be fine. If you fly a lot of hours - things will start breaking, and none of them are cheap these days. I've put 50 hours on one of our Cardinals since the 1st of May and I think that annual was $6K. We are running roughly 500+ hours per year on the planes I fly.
     
  10. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 En-Route

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    You ought to be replacing hydraulic lines more often, too.
     
  11. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    For the Cessna retractable singles, they recommend five-year seal replacements. After about 1979, it was on-condition. The O-ring material had changed. The risk is having the piston seal in just one gear actuator fail, and no amount of fooling with the gear lever or manual pump will ever get those mains down against the wind. The fluid just bypasses that leaking seal.
     
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  12. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    Actuator body cracks were primarily due to a weaker version of the casting. It's really thin right at the roller's pin hole/main bore.

    The three bolts that secure the MLG actuators are not ordinary AN bolts. They're close-tolerance bolts, and they will develop cracks in the threads if they work just a little loose and let the actuator rotate a little, bending the bolts. Never reuse them. I had one snap off deep in the counterbore, and had to play dentist, using a small mirror and tiny drill to drill that stub of thread and extract it. If I hadn't got it out, the airplane would have to come half apart to get that casting out.
     
  13. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    The bolts are NAS vs AN. The NAS bolts cost a fortune if you can find them. If you can find them with drilled heads, safety wire cures the issue. The issue is well documented in the repair manual.
     
  14. gacoon

    gacoon Pre-takeoff checklist

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    With the new pending spar ad they could be high
     
  15. PeterNSteinmetz

    PeterNSteinmetz En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Or at least add $1800 for the inspection. If the spar is bad however, major expense.
     
  16. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 Final Approach

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    and an insurance totaling event in the case of no stock available. The 210 case ended up being supported by Textron at a price of 22K for new stock, part only. Insurers are pivoting as we speak, ditto for the BE-35 (AIG specifically).

    Everything comes to an end.
     
  17. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    I spent more than 40 hours saving a spar carrythough in a Cardinal. Endless dressing and polishing out of corrosion pits. Then an NDI tech came with ultrasonic thickness measuring equipment, to measure the entire affected areas, all marked off in quarter-inch squares, with all the data submitted to Cessna for approval. It passed, but sure wasn't cheap. Then it had to be primed with exactly the primer specified by Cessna.

    Those carrythroughs are terribly scarce, and even if you find a good used one, the holes drilled in it might not match up with some of the holes in the airplane, especially in the roof skins.