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M20F Modifications: need advise

M20F mods Modifications mod squad M20J

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#1 KenMan171

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 11:29 PM

I am considering the purchase of a M20F with an extensive list of 201 modifications including 201 panel, cowl, windshield, windows, wingtips, root fairings among others. I have been supplied copies of the 337 forms. Unfortunately the mods were done on or before 1990 when the requirements for the 337 forms were not as strict. The 337's are pretty vague on how these modifications were installed and most have no reference to any STC or existing installation. I am concerned that I may have issues properly insuring this airplane with these issues in mind. I am also concerned, although to a lesser degree, that an IA may find basis to refuse inspection on the basis of the aircraft being operated outside of its type certificate because of these "in the grey" 337's. The plane has complete logs, no damage history, and is in compliance with all applicable AD's. Most of these mods were done by "the mod squad" with address in Missouri, I am not sure if its the same Mod Squad that is now in business exclusively in Florida.

Does anyone have any thoughts on how best to go about finding some reassurance?

#2 1964-M20E

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 12:13 AM

I think a lot will depend on your IA.  Have you requested the 337 list from the FAA on that plane?  That may fill in some of the gaps. 
 
1. Make sure the mods were done correctly
2. If  you can get some reasonable documentation where you can claim plausible deniability you should be good
3. Do your pre-buy and weigh the options with the mods and the cost.
 
At the end of the day when you show up at your IA these are things that are there.  Unless they are not installed in an airworthy manner I do not see any reason for the IA to give you problems.  He could but I would not think so.
 
337s tell the FAA what was done not necessairly how and if it is approved by them you should be good.
Finally if you have copies of the 337s you shouuld be good STC or not the 337 is the final approval IMHO.

John
current 1967 M20F
former 1964 M20E

#3 Bennett

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 12:42 AM

Those were "typical" mods for the Mod Squad" and for Mod Works. They were often packaged as "Trophy XXX" mods. The histories of the Mod Squad and the Mod Works can be found in the archives of this forum. While the physical location for both were in Florida, at least one had its legal roots elsewhere, and at one time one of them had a painting facility in the South. In spite of some criticism of one of the owners, my experience with both shops was quite positive, and the 261/262 conversions showed excellent workmanship. Coy Jacobs was the early pioneer in converting older Mooneys to "20X", and to this day I think that he knows as much as anyone about our aircraft and how to modify them. Several members of this forum have vilified him over more recent business practices, but my personal experiences over a decade or so (in the past - around the early 1990s) were fine - good workmanship at fair prices, delivered on time. Many shops (mostly well known MSCs) worked on my 261 in the 15 years or so after the conversion, in CA and TX, and no one at these MSCs ever found anything wrong with the mods or their paperwork.
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#4 OR75

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 01:07 AM

What about agreeing with the seller for an annual inspection at a MSC
You pay the for the basic annual and the seller pays the rest to get the plane airworthy
The insurance won't go in the details and only need an IA to sign the plane is airworthy
Next annuals will have the MSC signature as a base start moving forward
I am necessarily an advocated if going to an MSC for anything . But this is an instance where someone will make sure that the aircraft meets the TCDS spec

#5 gregwatts

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 01:58 AM

I think I would just buy a 201......but that's me.          Just sayin'


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#6 Freebird

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 02:10 AM

I think I would just buy a 201......but that's me.          Just sayin'

 

Look, I am a rank beginner, and I don't know nothing, but I am reading.  I am sure that some of you are familiar with this story:

 

http://honeymooney.com/main_honey.htm

 

He got a 200 hp E model and made all the speed mods.  He says that because he had the Johnson bar and other parts that weighed less, he was able to carry more fuel in aux tanks, burning less fuel per hour than a J model and there for able to go more distance between fueling and has been able to circumnavigate the world.  Why not an F with speed mods?



#7 KenMan171

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 02:13 AM

Thank you for these thoughts gents, some good ideas here.

#8 KenMan171

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 02:28 AM

Also...looked at the 337's again and even though they are fuzzy...look like they got Bob Meier's herby hancock on them, so that is a little more reassuring.

#9 Marauder

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 02:55 AM

The mods that were done on my F had STC paperwork as well. Are you finding any of those?

#10 N601RX

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 03:01 AM

I would order the CD for the plane an make sure all the 337's/STC's were really recorded if you are suspicious about them.

#11 KenMan171

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 12:25 PM

The mods that were done on my F had STC paperwork as well. Are you finding any of those?

There is NO STC paperwork nor do the 337's reference any STC. 



#12 N601RX

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 12:31 PM

Then they should be signed by the FAA inspector who approved them.



#13 rbridges

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 12:37 PM

I'm going to go back and look at mine.  I also have the 201 cowl, panel, windshield, etc from mod squad.  I have looked at the 337's but can't remember if any reference to an STC were made.  BTW, mine was done in 1989 IIRC.  I've had the plane for nearly 3 years with no issues, but knock on wood, I haven't had to file an insurance claim.



#14 fantom

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 02:07 PM

.....Several members of this forum have vilified him over more recent business practices, but my personal experiences over a decade or so (in the past - around the early 1990s) were fine.....

 

Bennett, numerous other members reporting bad experiences are not "vilifying" anymore than your repeated, and singular, praising of an upgrade almost two decades ago is halo worship. Any broad background check will clarify the question.

 

You were lucky, my friend!



#15 M20F-1968

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 02:35 PM

In order for a 337 to be valid as a major alteration, it must reference "approved data."  That approved data can be an STC, or it can also be a DER approval after reviewing a similarly approved modification on a different model Mooney (if the parts and specifications are similar) or even a different make airplane if the issues are logically tranferrable (i.e. - HID lights installed on a Mooney with DER reference to an STC allowing the same lights installed on another certified airplane). 

Once the DER has singned off his approval, the IA conforms that the final installation done by the A&P was complaeted according to the DER's instructions and approved specifications. 

 

If there is NO reference in the 337 documents you have to an STC, DER approval or other data which is approved and appropiate to the FAA administrator, or no FAA sign-off as a field approval, the 337's are not done properly and would be attackable.  If they were actually filed by the shop doing the modifications, they would be recorded in the CD of the aircraft's records.  You should order that CD. 

 

I believe that the FAA has a limited time frame to "attack" or question the validity of a 337 stating from the time the 337 is filed with Oklahoma City. 

You should look into that further.  The aircraft you are considering is probably outside that time limit.

 

John Breda



#16 Marauder

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 02:39 PM

In order for a 337 to be valid as a major alteration, it must reference "approved data." That approved data can be an STC, or it can also be a DER approval after reviewing a similarly approved modification on a different model Mooney (if the parts and specifications are similar) or even a different make airplane if the issues are logically tranferrable (i.e. - HID lights installed on a Mooney with DER reference to an STC allowing the same lights installed on another certified airplane).
Once the DER has singned off his approval, the IA conforms that the final installation done by the A&P was complaeted according to the DER's instructions and approved specifications.

If there is NO reference in the 337 documents you have to an STC, DER approval or other data which is approved and appropiate to the FAA administrator, or no FAA sign-off as a field approval, the 337's are not done properly and would be attackable. If they were actually filed by the shop doing the modifications, they would be recorded in the CD of the aircraft's records. You should order that CD.

I believe that the FAA has a limited time frame to "attack" or question the validity of a 337 stating from the time the 337 is filed with Oklahoma City.
You should look into that further. The aircraft you are considering is probably outside that time limit.

John Breda


That is what I recalled as well. That is why I asked whether he had any STCs in his logs. All of the mods on my plane have the STC paperwork. I think DERs are less common but obviously another mechanism for approval.

#17 Marauder

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 02:42 PM


The mods that were done on my F had STC paperwork as well. Are you finding any of those?


There is NO STC paperwork nor do the 337's reference any STC.


Ken -- most of the time, the STCs are written on full sized paper and won't fit in a logbook. You may want to ask the owner or seller if they have the supporting documentation for the mods. Mine were in a separate book until I changed mechanics years ago and they were all consolidated into a single binder.

Also, some STCs are available as generics. Others are specific to an airframe or airplane.

#18 Bennett

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 02:48 PM

Hardly Halo worship. I had a good experience, others have not. Must have been lucky. And as I have pointed out several times, all my experiences with Coy were a long time ago. The workmanship was good, the price was fair, and all the work was delivered on time. I have had no other relationship with him except as a customer. I did call him, and many others, a few years years ago when I was looking for a co-pilot articulating seat, but he had none to sell. We had a short polite conversation that must have lasted all of 5 minutes. I'm just reporting my experience, Yes, I have read many comments on this web that paint him as some sort sort of villain, and I am certain that those reporters have reason to be far less than satisfied with him. But I cannot join in a condemnation when my only experiences with him were positive. I have no reason to not believe those have related their bad experiences. People change over time, and I must have known him at a different time, an earlier time. No need to jump on me for telling it the way if was for me.
Bennett

#19 fantom

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 02:54 PM

 

....No need to jump on me for telling it the way if was for me.

 

Not my intent, at all. Just trying to balance things out, as I suspect you are with your repeted defense of him. You've got a PM from me.



#20 RJBrown

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 03:34 PM

Mod works of Punta Gorda contracted with me and the insurance company to fix some hail damage. Included in the work was new wing skins. When I picked up the plane it looked great only later did I discover the skins were only bondoed over not replaced. They took the money but did not do the job.

Later when I called Coy Jacobs version of the business in Venice I found the crook I dealt with from Punta Gorda on the other end of the line. Would not trust anything from these guys.  

 If you think you were treated right by these guys the they did a better job of FOOLING you that they did with me. Cause I guarantee they screwed everyone they ever dealt with. Their "happy" customers just didn't figure out that they had been screwed. PT Barnum was their patron saint.


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