How long to get a quote?

Will Kumley

Line Up and Wait
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Will
I'm in SoCal and have been trying to get a quote from multiple shops to install dual G5's with a GPS 175 into my Piper Colt. I've contacted 5 shops and all seem to be rather slow on any response. One said he only does verbal quotes until we agree and pay 50% before he puts anything on paper, but at least he gave me a verbal quote over the phone. Two more told me they were working the quote but its been 3 weeks and still nothing from them. Two others haven't even acknowledged my request for a quote. One of those is a well known outfit with great reviews. I understand shops are busy but is it normal to be waiting upwards of a month for something as simple as a quote?
 
... he only does verbal quotes until we agree and pay 50% before he puts anything on paper...
I ain't sending anyone that kind of money unless they send me a written invoice with the components/labor outlined that I am to receive. Sending thousands of dollars without a written understanding of what it's for seems like a recipe for disaster in my view.
 
I ain't sending anyone that kind of money unless they send me a written invoice with the components/labor outlined that I am to receive. Sending thousands of dollars without a written understanding of what it's for seems like a recipe for disaster in my view.
Exactly why I'm hesitant to set anything up with that shop.
 
Unfortunately, yes it is the norm in the avionics business. When I solicited quotes for my first g5, I contacted 5 shops. One got me a quote within a week. Two didn't even pick up the phone, so I left a message and didn't get a return call for over a week in both cases. One never responded, and one finally sent me a quote after a couple weeks and a couple reminder calls. You have to keep on them.

I agree with having something in writing before handing over any cash. The shop I used for my autopilot is on my home field. They were also the one that quotes in reasonable time. They have a salesman who just writes quotes. They are usually more expensive than other places. They also managed to fix all the stuff the first shop screwed up. They aren't perfect either, but at least follow up visits are accomplished with a tug instead of a XC flight. They actually didn't take any money up front, and I didn't even get a bill until I'd had my plane back for a week. Of course they know where she lives... not sure if they'd be that lax with a transient. I think they're rather the exception than the rule.

Most avionics shops, the owner writes the quotes, probably does some of the installation, makes the logbook entries, and does the billing. Some or all of that will fall through the cracks.
 
My buddy recently called Cincinnati Avionics who has done very good work for both of us before. It took them a couple days to call my buddy back and a couple more hours for the estimate to come. He sent them a deposit and the work is scheduled for July 2024. 7 month lead time.
One call gets it all from Cincinnati Avionics.
 
My buddy recently called Cincinnati Avionics who has done very good work for both of us before. It took them a couple days to call my buddy back and a couple more hours for the estimate to come. He sent them a deposit and the work is scheduled for July 2024. 7 month lead time.
One call gets it all from Cincinnati Avionics.
The shop with great reviews answered their phone and seemed interested in helping me out. Told me based on the description over the phone that it would be two weeks for them to do it, but they wanted me to email them the details along with a picture of my current panel. I did that and still no response. I'll call them later this week to verify that the email they gave me is working. I'm not sure if the two-week timeframe is how long it will be before they can do it or if it's how long they expect the install to take. I hope it's not the latter, the first 20-21 years of my Navy career was as an avionics tech, and I'm half tempted to get the wiring and install everything myself then ask my A&P to sign it off. The downside is Garmin doesn't give an install manual for the GPS 175 as they want a certified shop to install it. The G5 install manual is an easy download and it looks like the most difficult part of installing them would be figuring out where and how to mount the magnetometer.
 
The shop with great reviews answered their phone and seemed interested in helping me out. Told me based on the description over the phone that it would be two weeks for them to do it, but they wanted me to email them the details along with a picture of my current panel. I did that and still no response. I'll call them later this week to verify that the email they gave me is working. I'm not sure if the two-week timeframe is how long it will be before they can do it or if it's how long they expect the install to take. I hope it's not the latter, the first 20-21 years of my Navy career was as an avionics tech, and I'm half tempted to get the wiring and install everything myself then ask my A&P to sign it off. The downside is Garmin doesn't give an install manual for the GPS 175 as they want a certified shop to install it. The G5 install manual is an easy download and it looks like the most difficult part of installing them would be figuring out where and how to mount the magnetometer.

I thought they we selling a GPS175 kit over the counter just like the G5s?


1702229534881.png
 
The shop with great reviews answered their phone and seemed interested in helping me out. Told me based on the description over the phone that it would be two weeks for them to do it, but they wanted me to email them the details along with a picture of my current panel. I did that and still no response. I'll call them later this week to verify that the email they gave me is working. I'm not sure if the two-week timeframe is how long it will be before they can do it or if it's how long they expect the install to take. I hope it's not the latter, the first 20-21 years of my Navy career was as an avionics tech, and I'm half tempted to get the wiring and install everything myself then ask my A&P to sign it off. The downside is Garmin doesn't give an install manual for the GPS 175 as they want a certified shop to install it. The G5 install manual is an easy download and it looks like the most difficult part of installing them would be figuring out where and how to mount the magnetometer.
Will, if you want to do the install, PM me. I will send you the install manual. Regarding the magnetometer, the G5 install manual has a section you can use your G5 and GMU11 to check for magnetic interference. An easy way to find a magnetically "quiet" area to install.

Happy to help another Navy avionics guy.......
 
Will, if you want to do the install, PM me. I will send you the install manual. Regarding the magnetometer, the G5 install manual has a section you can use your G5 and GMU11 to check for magnetic interference. An easy way to find a magnetically "quiet" area to install.

Happy to help another Navy avionics guy...

I thought they we selling a GPS175 kit over the counter just like the G5s?


View attachment 123156
True, but if I buy the GPS 175 from spruce it says that it doesn't come with the installation manual. The maintenance manual at least has the pinout for the connector so I could likely figure it out but I like to follow the manuals when installing/working on avionics. Probably due to all my work in the Navy.
 
Will, if you want to do the install, PM me. I will send you the install manual. Regarding the magnetometer, the G5 install manual has a section you can use your G5 and GMU11 to check for magnetic interference. An easy way to find a magnetically "quiet" area to install.

Happy to help another Navy avionics guy.......
Thanks Tom, I've probably read the G5 manual at least three times now. The challenge for me will be determining the best way to mount the magnetometer in a tube and fabric airplane. I'll likely get some help from others that have worked with fabric wings as ownership is still new on me and I'd rather not make a mistake in a wing. I've seen some Tri-Pacer/Colt owners have put the magnetometer under the baggage area, but the manual specifically states not to do that.
 
If I were installing in your plane, I'd likely go in the tail, aft of the baggage area. Wing would be ideal, but the tail will be much easier to pull the wires to your panel. If you use the GMU11, a small rectangle of aluminum would be a good platform, then attach to the support tubes in the tail with adel clamps.
 
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48 hours for quotes from other dudes in TX
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I spoke with both of these shops and did not have to wait long. In fairness to whoever is taking longer to quote you, the work I was quoted was a full panel gut.
Maybe they respond faster to big jobs
 
I can only imagine what the actual installation process would look like with these non responsive shops.
There’s probably a lot of full panel installations these days with the popularity of less expensive glass panels, autopilots available these days, but that’s no excuse.
 
True, but if I buy the GPS 175 from spruce it says that it doesn't come with the installation manual. The maintenance manual at least has the pinout for the connector so I could likely figure it out but I like to follow the manuals when installing/working on avionics. Probably due to all my work in the Navy.

1702298636264.png


To me all these old legacy aircraft do not have enough CBs in them. I added CBs just for the G5s (ADI, HSI, GAD) to a primary bus and not the switched avionics bus. My whole avionics bus is wired similarly. IDK what your bird looks like inside so can't really offer any help. Cessna uses a lot of nylon pitot and static lines so all that mess ended up plumbed to two aluminum manifolds rather than installing a whole bag of Ts into the instruments themselves.

I contracted a certified repair station to the do the pitot/static test, and transponder test at the end.

We have a compass rose on the airport that all the transport category aircraft use so that was a non issue.

We fabbed up some trays to mount the GMU11 using .032" 2024T3 using local brake, shear, etch tank, and alodine tank, which is mounted to a wing end rib which don't help you there.
 
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Unfortunately, yes it is the norm in the avionics business. When I solicited quotes for my first g5, I contacted 5 shops. One got me a quote within a week. Two didn't even pick up the phone, so I left a message and didn't get a return call for over a week in both cases. One never responded, and one finally sent me a quote after a couple weeks and a couple reminder calls. You have to keep on them.

I agree with having something in writing before handing over any cash. The shop I used for my autopilot is on my home field. They were also the one that quotes in reasonable time. They have a salesman who just writes quotes. They are usually more expensive than other places. They also managed to fix all the stuff the first shop screwed up. They aren't perfect either, but at least follow up visits are accomplished with a tug instead of a XC flight. They actually didn't take any money up front, and I didn't even get a bill until I'd had my plane back for a week. Of course they know where she lives... not sure if they'd be that lax with a transient. I think they're rather the exception than the rule.

Most avionics shops, the owner writes the quotes, probably does some of the installation, makes the logbook entries, and does the billing. Some or all of that will fall through the cracks.
Hi Jim,

Thanks for the info re: your experience with an avionics install. Can you please provide the name of the company? I'd like to reach out to them for a quote. Thank you!
 
Hi Jim,

Thanks for the info re: your experience with an avionics install. Can you please provide the name of the company? I'd like to reach out to them for a quote. Thank you!
My local shop is Flightstar at KCMI. I'm happy enough with them to recommend them. A guy named Greg Vail does the quoting; he'll want a picture of your panel.
 
I'll likely get some help from others that have worked with fabric wings as ownership is still new on me and I'd rather not make a mistake in a wing. I've seen some Tri-Pacer/Colt owners have put the magnetometer under the baggage area, but the manual specifically states not to do that.
I’m guessing that the fact that it’s a Colt is part of the issue for at least some of the shops. (How’s that for noncommittal? ;) )

putting a magnetometer in a steel tube fuselage has one set of issues that most don’t deal with regularly, and putting it into a fabric wing is an entirely different set of issues that most don’t deal with regularly.
 
Thats a fair statement, but the least they should do is say, sorry we don't work on tube and fabric airplanes. I did get in touch with the big name shop and they informed me that they never received the initial email. As expected their quote was higher than I want to spend on what should be a fairly basic install. I'm going to talk to a few people at the airport this week to see how complicated it will be to get someone to sign off my work.
 
Thats a fair statement, but the least they should do is say, sorry we don't work on tube and fabric airplanes.
Also a fair statement, but my experience is that a lot of people actively avoid what many of us consider to be good business communication. I’ve worked for a couple of places that have lost some pretty good contracts that way.
 
48 hours for quotes from these dudes in Georgia CLICK ME
48 hours for quotes from other dudes in TX
more dudes

I spoke with both of these shops and did not have to wait long. In fairness to whoever is taking longer to quote you, the work I was quoted was a full panel gut.
Maybe they respond faster to big jobs
Gann Aviation in Lafayette, GA got my quote pretty quickly, I think same day or next day. Paid deposit yesterday, waiting on components to come in.
 
Thats a fair statement, but the least they should do is say, sorry we don't work on tube and fabric airplanes. I did get in touch with the big name shop and they informed me that they never received the initial email. As expected their quote was higher than I want to spend on what should be a fairly basic install. I'm going to talk to a few people at the airport this week to see how complicated it will be to get someone to sign off my work.
Don’t forget after the sale/install support.
I required plenty of support for my panel after the install. It all worked right from the beginning but there are plenty of updates that need to be done. Firmware and mandatory SB that they performed after the install for free years later.
I had my panel installed 2018 and they are still supporting my panel.
They are across town 10 minute flight. And they did 99% of the updates and SB while I waited and watched.
So worth it to pay extra up front because they were not the cheapest but are now.
 
My local shop is Flightstar at KCMI. I'm happy enough with them to recommend them. A guy named Greg Vail does the quoting; he'll want a picture of your panel.
Appreciate it, Jim. I'll look into Flighstar. Happy Holidays!
 
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