Maintenance Advice

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by skiermike, Nov 27, 2017.

  1. skiermike

    skiermike Pre-Flight

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    Hi all,

    I'm in the first cycle (i.e. have not yet done my first annual) of a new-to-me airplane - a Cessna 205. I have a couple of maintenance related questions I could your help on:

    I need to do an ELT check and pitot/static in December. The plane has a handful of small squawks and inop items that I'm considering having addressed at the same time, but I'm pretty sensitive to doing "elective surgery" and having things spiral out of control, cost-wise. Can you opine on the following questions? Should I do them now, at annual (in April), or not at all?

    1. The plane came equipped with a belly strobe that was stated as INOP when I bought the plane. As best as I can tell, it is an In-Flight Devices IVI-2, installed in 1970 (per STC records). Some day I'd like to just remove it for weight and drag (it sticks down like a red solo cup on the bottom of the fuselage) and I had planned to put that off EXCEPT that for that some reason on my last flight I noticed that the ancient lens cover was cracked and falling off. I reached down to inspect it, and the cover / "lens" fell off in my hand leaving the old lightbulb exposed. I don't know if there's any risk to flying around with an exposed lightbulb on an already INOP belly strobe, worst I can think is I don't want exhaust getting up into the tail cone, but that seems a stretch. I considered just buying a new lens and putting that on to cover things up, but can't find anything on that model (company probably went out of business in the last 50 years).

    So here's the question: just fly with the lightbulb exposed? Remove the whole belly strobe system now? Will it be easier to remove when the plane is opened up for annual in April?

    2. The plane has some extra equipment, some that I just won't use and some that is INOP that I'd like to remove. How hard it is to remove this stuff and its wiring and antennas? I'd like to remove these items, but not if it jeopardizes other systems, or could open up the proverbial "can of worms" and discover a bunch of problems. Also, one of the items is an old Apollo GX55 GPS, but it has a nice CDI head - might that work with a potential future GNS430 installation? Can it be saved? Should it be saved?

    Here are the things I'd like to remove: CD Player/Entertainment system, GX55 GPS (but save the CDI head?), belly strobe (as discussed, inop), Stormscope and its associated parts (inop),

    3. Where to start on a couple of new squawks?

    First, the Nav1 VOR seems to be intermittent. It will work perfectly at times, and not at all at other times. Is there any troubleshooting you might suggest that I should try before opening things up? What's the most cost-effective way to approach fixing / replacing this unit? The unit is a MX170, not sure what the indicator is.

    Second, sometimes the AI will be all whacked out of level. Not always, but sometimes. When it is whacked out of level, it will stay that way as if it were simply out of "calibration" but will *slowly* correct itself (for instance, did a 3 hour flight over Thanksgiving, on the return trip the AI started out showing a 30* bank to the right, by the time we landed three hours later, it was finally showing level). I also notice that the vacuum pressure reads on the low side of the acceptable range. The DG, however, does not precess meaningfully. Do you think this is a vacuum problem or an AI problem? What is the best course of action here?

    Note: I'm not really panicking about any of these issues because I don't fly IFR (not current). Looking for your best advice to keep costs down. The big questions are basically should I fix all of these now (and what is the best route to do so), should I wait until annual when the plane is opened up, or should I leave sleeping dogs alone (like in the case of removing some of the inop stuff)?

    Thanks a TON!
     
  2. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Umm, what makes you think your aircraft is airworthy now? There's no provision to operate an aircraft that is equipped with an anticollision light system that is non-functional. You need to either remove it or get it to work (and use it). Depending on

    As for #2, probably worth the effort to bite the bullet and remove the inop stuff. How difficult it is to get the harnesses out of there depends on how big a mess you have in there. Putting new stuff in is not going to be helped by the existing ratsness. As for reusing the indicator from the GX55. Electrically, it may be OK, but depending on what else you have going on it may not be sufficient for a legal IFR installation.

    What do you mean by intermittant? Does it stop receiving? Does the indicator not work? Check the obvious first, antenna, wiring between the antenna and the radio, the contacts in the tray, the connections to the indicator.

    Could be the vacuum pump, but I'd check the filter and regulator first.
     
  3. skiermike

    skiermike Pre-Flight

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    oh yeah - should've mentioned that: it's airworthy without the belly strobe as it has rotating beacon for anti-collision (1963 airplane doesn't require strobes specifically - strobes OR beacon is acceptable for anti-collision). What do you think the right move is with the strobe - remove now, later, hold off?

    For the VOR/Nav, it just seems like the indicator goes dead. The MX170 display will still be lighted with the VOR frequency shown, but the indicator will show zero deflection for bearing or glideslope. NAV #2, tuned to the same frequency will be perfect, showing strong signal and deflection. Nav #1 will be like that (dead) for a while, and then it'll just pop back to life and work perfectly.

    When you say filter and regulator first, is that on the vacuum pump or the AI (not really familiar with how these things are set up / work).
     
  4. Adam Weiss

    Adam Weiss Pre-takeoff checklist

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    With regard to the #1 NAV, when the indicator shows dead, are you able to tune in the audio of the VOR and listen to the Morse Code? If you can still hear that, then you've narrowed down the problem to being between the radio and the indicator, which could be the driving electronics in the radio, a bad connection, or the indicator.
     
  5. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The beacon may be acceptable if there wasn't an additional installation of the strobe, but there's no provision in the regs for you to not operating the installed system.
    Get rid of it.

    I'd look at the tray and the indicator connector then. Make sure all is clean and tight.

    The regulator and filter should be on the opposite port of the AI and DG from the vacuum pump side. Of course, it's quite possible that you don't have either. This means your gyros are sucking in whatever crumbling insulation and dust is behind your panel. In which case the AI is probably shot and the DG is going next.
     
  6. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach

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    Contrarian view here: If you don't fly much IFR wait for your annual and do it all together.

    If you do fly it IFR, get everything done including the annual now. There are no regs about an early annual. And having all of your stuff on the same schedule will be helpful in the long run when you think about dispatch availability.
     
  7. skiermike

    skiermike Pre-Flight

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    Good call - I'll just remove it now, sounds like it isn't that big of a project. In the meantime I think you're right except that it can be placarded inop as long as there is some other operative anti-collision light.

    Does anyone see any reason to keep the Apollo GX55? I can't see one, but removing it seems like major surgery.
     
  8. Challenged

    Challenged Cleared for Takeoff

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    I'll buy the GX55 from you if you want. The display went out on mine recently and I'm not ready to put a bunch of new stuff in my plane just yet.
     
  9. bluerooster

    bluerooster Cleared for Takeoff

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    I would take as long as it takes to either fix, or remove, those items that are causing squawks. And probably do some other preventative mx as well while I'm there. Might as well get the annual inspection done as well. Then you"ll be done with it for a while.
     
    455 Bravo Uniform likes this.
  10. somorris

    somorris Pattern Altitude

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    I would keep the Apollo if it is still working okay. Why would you want to remove it?

    Not an expert, but I think there is not an infinite amount of time you can fly around with INOP equipment. I would get the belly strobe removed and a cover plate put there. I would also pull the vacuum pump if it has more than 500 hours and get it overhauled. If it comes apart, it can ruin a lot of other stuff and cost you a lot more. As far as your VOR, I have had a similar issue. Try pulling your radio and using a spray contact cleaner to clean up the connectors on the back of the radio and at the back of the tray. I had to use a plastic soda straw for an "extender" to get the spray to the back of the tray, but once I used the contact cleaner the problem went away.

    Good luck!
     
  11. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    The radios I see listed are for the most part not worth repairing, pull it all. nav/heads and every wire.

    Use the 3.125 instrument holes left by the nav heads to install a new TREC radio and a transponder that meets the ADS/B requirements, then have you local sheet metal shop manufacture a blank off plate for the hole left by the old radio stack.
    one that will allow your iPad to mount there.
    do a new weight and balance.
     
  12. cgrab

    cgrab Cleared for Takeoff

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    One question: are you doing the work under a A&P/IA or getting it done. If the later, I'd wait until annual so you don't pay for set up and opening the plane more than once. If the former than go ahead and arrange for a meeting and show your mechanic your plan and the procedures you'll use and when he can come back and inspect your work. That said, do as much as you can under the former arrangement with an eye to what you want the end product to look like.
    Finally, I like my GX-55. You may be able to buy a refurbished one and slide it into the rack and have a functioning GPS.
     
  13. skiermike

    skiermike Pre-Flight

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    Ehh, I’m going to end up paying for this (not doing the work myself). I think you make a good point about setup, but I’ve kinda decided to just go ahead and do most of this work pending an estimate from my shop.

    Maybe I’m making a mistake, but I kinda want to take the GX55 out to save weight and reduce clutter. It works, but I have absolutely no use for it. It’s not easy to update, it’s not IFR, and I have more and better capabilities in my 496 and iPad/ForeFlight. I leave it shut off at all times and see no reason to fly its weight and antenna around. And, it looks like it might still be worth a couple bucks on eBay. Am I crazy?
     
  14. Eric Gleason

    Eric Gleason Pre-takeoff checklist

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    The weight of the GX55 and other panel items is negligible (I'd guess 15 pounds or less, including wires and antenna), so I wouldn't rationalize removing them unless you've got a hole in your pocket or decide it's time for a panel upgrade anyway. I'd count a panel dock for your 496 and/or iPad as an upgrade, though.

    Talk to your A&P about how much this would add to an annual vs. doing it before the annual. You might find it makes sense to do the annual ahead of schedule so you don't have more down time in 4 months.