Piper Cherokee 140 With High Engine Time. Worth The Buy?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by easik, Sep 20, 2018.

  1. easik

    easik Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Been looking at an entry level aircraft to buy. I recently saw a Cherokee 140 in pretty good shape but the engine time is about 1900 hours. I wanted an aircraft with at least 300-400 hours left on the engine before overhaul. My mission is 50-100 hour a year. But the discounted price on this Cherokee is attractive mainly due to the high engine time.

    What's your take? do I pay for that cost now or pay later :D
    Also I'm curious; all Piper Cherokee 140 owner/operator, how long have you flown your engine? until 2000 hours TBO or past it?

    thanks.
     
  2. bobmrg

    bobmrg En-Route PoA Supporter

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    The flight school where I spent most of my instructing career was a Piper dealer and had a fleet of 140s. They were routinely run to 2500 hours...but they received regular oil changes, 100-hours, etc.

    Bob
     
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  3. evapilotaz

    evapilotaz En-Route

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    Can you send a link to the airplane listing for sale
     
  4. Ravioli

    Ravioli Ejection Handle Pulled PoA Supporter

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    Buy it now and save up for this in 1-3 years when the current engine barfs.

    Assuming interior, exterior, and panel are to your liking.

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  5. RyanB

    RyanB Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    And they also fly many hours (on average) per day and per year. Routine flying usually prolongs the engine’s life vs. one that sits on the ramp for weeks at a time...so that’s the difference.
     
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  6. Stingray Don

    Stingray Don En-Route

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    Some engines don’t make it to TBO, and some last well beyond TBO. It’s just a gamble. Oil Analysis? Making metal? Compressions?
     
  7. GeorgeC

    GeorgeC Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Entry level Cherokees come up often enough, just wait for the one you want.
     
  8. CC268

    CC268 Final Approach

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    I'm not sure what your budget is, but there are some very nice Cherokee's out there in the 28-30k range. We bought ours for 29K and it's beautiful - interior, exterior, panel, etc.
     
  9. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The Flight school's 140 has this. Makes a difference taking off and climbing out. Not so much on landing though. :D
     
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  10. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

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    Really depends on your bank account. If you can buy or finance the airplane and have the cash in a couple years to pay for the engine I would go for it. If not you are better off financing an airplane with a lower time engine to minimize the cash you will have to fork over sooner.
     
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  11. gsengle

    gsengle Pattern Altitude

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    Don’t do it if you can’t afford an immediate overhaul. There are those that sell planes at the first sign of overhaul because they can’t or don’t want to afford to do it...


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  12. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    Beat me to it. Whether it's 10 or 100 or 500 hours, there's an overhaul in the near future. Take the price and add 25k to it. Does it still sound like a good price for the aircraft with a zero time engine?

    It is unfortunate for sellers of high time aircraft, but when buyers have to do an overhaul shortly after buying, the cost of overhaul makes the total cost of buying way too high to be reasonable.
     
  13. chemgeek

    chemgeek Pattern Altitude

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    It would only make sense to me if you were planning on keeping this particular aircraft and we're willing and financially able to finance the inevitable overhaul in the near future. There should be a wide choice of mid time Cherokees out there.

    Going past TBO is always possible but depends strongly on how the engine was run and treated. A flight school plane run every day at 2000 hours is far different from an engine with 2000 hours over 40 years. The engine you are considering could be a candidate for going past TBO or it could be impending junk.
     
  14. WannFly

    WannFly Final Approach

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    good luck getting a finance for almost TBO engine. tried that route myself once ...
     
  15. James331

    James331 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    PA28s are dime a dozen, unless it’s a killer deal I would probably pass



    Or overhaul it for like half the price and take the rest and put it in the gas tanks, or toss a 430 and AP in or something.

    https://www.hotwaircraft.com/no-surprise-pricing.html


    Meh, that’s up there with your house is less likely to get broken into if you lock and unlock and lock your doors with your left hand while saying a Hail Mary
     
  16. kgruber

    kgruber En-Route

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    Lycomings are good, but not so good that I'd GAMBLE money on them.
     
  17. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 Final Approach

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    False dichotomy. You gamble more money when you buy a low smoh engine. Ask @ircphoenix about it sometime.
     
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  18. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 Final Approach

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    I flew my warrior II 300 hours past TBO in 12 months. Sold it because I needed the higher climb rate, faster cruise and useful load of the arrow when my solo mission became a family mission. By the standards of this board that engine needed an overhaul. I disagree. To each their own.
     
  19. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You gamble your money when you buy . . . an airplane.
     
  20. lancie00

    lancie00 Line Up and Wait

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    If you buy it make sure you borrow enough for the engine overhaul now. Then it's all financed at once.
     
  21. gsengle

    gsengle Pattern Altitude

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    I’m past TBO on my airplane and hope to get to 3000 hours. The problem is when you buy into an engine that far past overhaul, you have to wonder why the owner is selling it just now....


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  22. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 Final Approach

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    You should have quoted the guy I was responding to, as your point was exactly my point.
     
  23. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I was agreeing with you; only I was being a tad more specific.
     
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  24. Lachlan

    Lachlan En-Route

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    I’ve gambled my life on them many times, but I’m pretty worthless. ;)
     
  25. Eric Gleason

    Eric Gleason Pre-takeoff checklist

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    If the engine is running well, why would the owner sell it? It's fully depreciated, so any hours beyond TBO are like free hours to them. It's the wrong time to sell an asset, so I'd assume that there's something wrong and they're trying to get rid of if so they don't have to overhaul it. I'd only buy a plane like that if I could afford to plan on overhauling the engine right away, or if I could verify that the engine is in excellent condition.

    FWIW, Vref puts the base retail price of a high-time Cherokee 140 at ~$15k, while a mid time one is ~$26k, and values hours on the engine at ~$11/hr. So one with 1500 hrs on the engine would be worth about $21k. Is
     
  26. LDJones

    LDJones Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Depends on how frequently it has flown. The Cherokee 140 I spend the most time teaching in is currently around 2,300 hours. I've put 1,000 of those on in the last six years and I'm not the only one teaching in it. So, regular use with regular oil changes and attentive upkeep can allow them to go well beyond TBO. On the other hand, my O-360 Lyc in my Mooney was flown often, oil changed regularly, then started making metal at 1,980. Many variables.
     
  27. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 Final Approach

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    Let's be clear. Just because an engine is not in "excellent" condition in your perception, doesn't mean someone is trying to rip you off.

    I sold my Warrior II at 2200smoh because I needed to upgrade to an airplane that had a better climb rate than an Apache on one engine, in anticipation of my shift into a family flying mission. That, and I wanted the +20 cruise speed on a miserly +1 GPH increase. What would you have me do? Overhaul the engine, then turn around and sell it to you at an additional down time and +15K losses to me? You want fries with that too? LOL

    I could make the counter-argument that a person selling a plane immediately post-overhaul is in fact in the very financial stress you presume the high time engine seller is under. Both sides can play that game.

    I unloaded that warrior within 90 days of listing, at a 5K discount. Everybody walked away happy. So it looks like the real world doesn't agree with that whole online tire kicker trope that unless you give me a fresh engine for the price of on the house you're somehow trying to rip me off or get me killed. YMMV.
     
  28. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    I say pretty much the same thing every time this discussion comes up...

    Any engine is a gamble, regardless of how many (or how few) hours are on it. The next hour might be an engine's last. Nearly every aircraft engine that I've overhauled has not made it to TBO hours wise, and I've got two more to do this winter. Both are Lycomings.

    The fact that the engine in question has made it to 1900 hours leads me to think it is a good one and likely has a few more hours in it before it gives up. Assuming you fly 50-100 hours annually might buy you 3-5 years before you have problems. During this time you could save money for an overhaul but if it were me I'd want to have a plan for what I'm going to do if I needed to overhaul it sooner.
     
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  29. James331

    James331 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Tons of reasons, upgrade, moved, life, who knows

    And Im not sure if youre more of a accountant than a pilot, but depreciation and all and "free hours" dont work like that, also for many a plane wont be a asset, plus vref is garbage
     
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  30. John221us

    John221us En-Route

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    The advise above is all pretty good. Engine time is only one aspect. I bought a Cherokee with a 600 hour engine, but the guy who did my pre buy missed quite a bit (and I was pretty new to the game). It had had poor maintenance for a while. I bought it for $25k and ended up putting another $25k into it over the next couple of years (two cylinders, but no rebuild and a bunch of other stuff). I loved the plane, but it wasn’t cheap.
     
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  31. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    My experience with shopping is that sellers don't figure run out engines into the price. From the buyer's standpoint, the airplane + overhaul is usually more than even a really great airplane is worth, so there is almost never a reason to buy an engine at TBO. I get why, because if you have an aircraft that might be 40k, then you have to take off 25k for an overhaul, you don't want to say that you have a 15k hull...but that's the way the math works out. Anything over that 15k point makes it a bad buy.

    You can guess or wonder about how many more hours the engine has in it, but odds are it won't be that long. Either YOU are going to be the one doing the overhaul or else you are going to be the guy selling the bad engine. Either way, you're buying the problem.
     
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  32. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

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    I have to argue with your logic here. If the engine is running fine right now, it’s the perfect time to sell it. If it stops running fine, then it’s the wrong time to sell. How much will he get for a plane that isn’t flying because the engine is showing obvious signs of failure? With your logic, the only options for a plane owner is to keep it forever or fly it until it’s worthless.
     
  33. dmcummins

    dmcummins Pre-takeoff checklist

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    There is a guy with a bonanza for sale a few hangars down from me. He’s getting up there in years and just has a really hard time getting into the plane these days do to his health. He was preparing to sell the plane when he had a spark plug grenade on him and he sent it off for a IRAN. Unfortunately it was decided that it was best to overhaul the engine.

    I believe he would have been money ahead to just scrap the plane, he’s got 40k+ into a 60 bonanza that he can’t seem to sell now with a brand new overhaul for $75,000. Who wants to buy a plane with 10hrs since overhaul. What’s the scrap value of a plane. He has a waas gps and a few other valuable parts.
     
  34. dmcummins

    dmcummins Pre-takeoff checklist

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    How many planes are out there with the optimal 2 year SMOH, 200 hr engine. And also had the new wiz bang glass panel installed, which of coarse you expect a 50% discount for.

    I didn’t see any when I was looking. Most seem to sell when they realize they just aren’t flying enough anymore, or lost their medical. Some just can’t afford it anymore. Why would someone drop a bunch of money into a plane to sell at a discount to the next guy?
     
  35. Eric Gleason

    Eric Gleason Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Which is why I didn't say (or even imply) someone was trying to rip anyone off. ;)

    An old plane with a nearly timed out engine is roughly analogous to a 14 year old car with 180,000 miles. You might get some cheap transportation for a while, but pretty soon it's going to need something expensive.
     
  36. mizer2167

    mizer2167 Pre-Flight

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    Lets see. $15K PA28-140 with 1900 hours. I'm guessing it's the one on Indy Air Sales. It's an all original 1967 version. Less desirable panel in my opinion, given the non-std. layout. Some inop. equipment like the TC I can see that you'll want to rectify. Then, something that hasn't been flown a lot or in a while will almost certainly take some maintenance to get it back in shape once you start flying it regularly.

    I looked at this one and decided that even if I could get it for less than asking that I had about $25K+ of bills coming in short order, but you could gamble on buying and reselling after 200 - 300 hours if you're only looking to build time, provided the engine makes it that long. If it works out, then it's a good buy.

    If it doesn't, or if you're looking to fix up the plane and keep it a while, you'll be money ahead to just buy a Cherokee with what you want already equipped. That plane with a new engine and working equipment is worth about $30K max I'd say. So, if you drop $20K on a budget overhaul, then another $3-5K in maintenance it's likely to need, you're $10K under water. But if you want a nice, clean, straight air frame to keep a while and can do the work yourself, then it seems like a good deal.
     
  37. Stephen Shore

    Stephen Shore Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I have a 1995 Commander 114B with 1926 TTH. I bought the airplane at 1875 TTH a couple of months ago.

    Scan the logs carefully.... this is really the most important part. You will may find at least 1-2 cylinders have been replaced at some point.
    On the Pre-Buy:
    Bore scope it.
    Compression test (obviously)
    Oil analysis

    As I have been flying this airplane weekly, my routine is:

    Change oil every 25 hours.
    Cut filter open.
    Oil analysis at every change.

    I plan to go past TBO by at least 100 hours. That will buy me about 10 months of flying beyond TBO.

    Also - invest in a good panel engine analyzer. Sometimes those planes don't have that, but I think it is a "must" in order to safely run a high time engine.
     
  38. easik

    easik Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I've been looking and waiting. Wish a good one would come along that's local to me.
     
  39. Eric Gleason

    Eric Gleason Pre-takeoff checklist

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    This is why many airplane purchases happen half a country away :)

    If there are Cherokees in your area that look good, it wouldn't hurt much to write letters to the owners saying you might be interested in buying when they're thinking of selling. There are an awful lot of planes sold without making it to the market. I know of a few planes that have been purchased this way.
     
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  40. Ravioli

    Ravioli Ejection Handle Pulled PoA Supporter

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    Don't worry about local. I bought mine from Phoenix and brought it to TX. First trip to view, second trip to bring her home.