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pros and cons of these two m20k's

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Getting back into flying after too far long and have decided to buy a m20k.  

I am new to mooney, and while i have read a lot --- was wondering what the knowledgeable   people here would compare these two birds:



Thanks for all input


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Both have pluses and minuses. The gear up was years ago, so it would be a non-issue for me if it was repaired correctly. The shop that did the work was questionable. Others can fill you in.

The 2 bladed has no StormScope which if you are doing a lot of summer flying could be challenging.

I think both are worthwhile looking at. The 750 adds some significant value to the 2 bladed one. I would look the engine logs over carefully. Both are averaging low years of flying.

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You will goes lots of advice between these two.  They have different engines but similar performance. -MB is a better installation but you can get nearly the same performance from the -LB if flown properly  

Regardless of which you get serious about either plane will have a few systems with maintenance cycles which you are stepping into and you need to be aware of where you are in those cycles. To list a few of the less obvious ones:

500 hour pressurized mag inspection

Alternator coupling time since replacement

Attitude indicator time since overhaul

HSI time since overhaul

Vaccuum pump time since overhaul

Autopilot computer mod status

Oxygen bottle Hydrostatic test date or bottle expiration

Landing gear donut time since replacement

Time since fuel tank reseal

While none of these will be a killer issue you should be aware of the items that will/may come due shortly after purchase so that you can plan accordingly.  I will leave it to others to discuss engines, TSTOP etc.

Welcome back to flying.  I love my 231 and in the last 7 years have learned a lot about how to care for the breed properly, mostly the hard way. Happy to talk more if you wish. 

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Here's the recent sales history of both planes:


I would give Jimmy Garrison a call at All American and ask him about both airplanes. Even though he's selling one of them, he has history with both of these. He will give you a straight answer.

1981 M20K 252TSE N1041G History.pdf.pdf

1982 M20K 231 N1163D History.pdf.pdf

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It depends.

How do you plan to use it?  Never more than 2 average sized people?  Useful load won't matter.  Want to take some kids along or another adult?  As mentioned earlier, find the useful load.  Figure a 3 hour flight.  12 GPH plus an hour of reserve is 48 gallons.  That's 280 pounds.  At 120 lbs of baggage for a long trip and you are up to 400 lbs before you even load up people.  Add your typical passenger load and you can come up with a minimum useful load.

Why do you want a turbo?  Live in or fly over the mountains a lot?  Want to get higher to cruise above turbulence.  Want to get higher to get on top of the weather?  Don't mind sucking oxygen?

Where do you live?  I live on the left coast and thunderstorms are a pretty rare occurrence for us except over the mountains.  Do you plan to do a lot of flying around thunderstorms?

With all that said, assuming a good pre-purchase inspection shows no problems.  I like the 1981 2 blade because:

1.  It has a GTN 750 which is the current top of the line GPS.  Although... it says it has a graphic engine monitor but I don't see it on the panel pictures.  I'd want to add one.  It doesn't have GAMI's but you may or may not need them.

2.  The 1982 model has a lot of equipment that would not be useful to me personally, but you'll have to decide:

a.  Older GPS that I'll probably have to update eventually. Read $$$.

b.  Radar altimeter (we took it out of ours and sold it).  Do you plan on flying Cat II ILS approaches?

c.  Stormscope.  If I need one to avoid thunderstorms I'm probably not going flying.

d.  Datalink WX.  You can get that service free with a portable ADS-B receiver and a tablet or smartphone.

e.  Traffic system.  Again, you can get that with the same portable ADS-B receiver.

f.  103 gallon tanks.  Holy bladder buster batman!  Even at 12 GPH, that's 7.5 hours of flying with an hour of reserve.  Do you and your passengers want to sit that long?  While there's nothing wrong with having the capacity, it can't come for free.  I'm sure it has some weight to it which will reduce useful load.

g.  All those items add up.  Maybe only 10 or 20 pounds.  That's another 2 or 3 gallons of fuel in a standard capacity fuel tank that I can carry with any give passenger/baggage load.  In my M20J, that's another 50 miles of range.

Best of luck to you.

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Welcome aboard Rog,

Are you able to visit AAA?

They have interesting Mooney inventory.  Check in with David to see what is on the lot.  Sit in various models.  Get reacquainted...

Then compare log books on individual planes...

When looking at turbo models...Ks were the first factory delivered turbos. They have been improved with inter coolers and MP controllers.  Rockets are an interesting update. Ms or Bravos are the factory long body with a Lycoming IO540 turbo...

Yes, I visited with David. I went to see the man about an O.  Came home with the O I went to see.  It was worth the extra time to see all the other birds especially the instrument panel upgrades in real life...

Enjoy the hunt,


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I owned 1163D for 3 years, and flew it all over the US. It's a great plane, the GPS is a 480, it's absolutely terrific and is a supported nav source for some ADS-B solutions. The plane did run very smooth LOP (gami's) and has the engine monitor. If you want a traveling, very IFR capable plane, 63D will server you well.

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They both look nice. The Garmin 750 is a plus, but so is the intercooler. Two alternators are nice, but the extra weight is a minus. (The way I use my plane, useful load has been a factor once in 15 years) I trust All American a lot, and if the planes were very close, I would lean toward their plane.

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I owned both a 231 in the past and currently a 252. Hands down I would go for the TSIO-360-MB conversion that includes the 252 cowl w/ infinitely adjustable cowl flaps and dual alternators. Very valuable features  in my mind. Plus the two blade prop is the better performer in cruise and especially for glide. Its a true turbo engine installation with a critical altitude of over 23K using a real hydraulic variable absolute pressure controller; it makes it the superior high altitude performer by a longshot. The  Merlyn pneumatic controller doesn't even come close in my opinion. Overall I think it looks like a great opportunity to get 252 performance on a 231 budget. Its just limited to the 12v system and no prop heat. Also pluses to me are the Bendix-King AP which I find are superior to the Century 4. Plus it already has the GTN navigator. Its just needs a modern engine analyzer and 1090-ES transponder for ADS-B compliance. Plus as Marauder mentioned, I'd also want a WX500 feeding the GTN; especially in a turbo.

Just my opinion as a past 231 owner and over a dozen years with a 252.

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Looks like the 1981 is in North Carolina. If you like that one, I would suggest for a very  thorough  prebuy at Cole Aviation in Dalton Ga. Authorized Mooney Service Center. In this area, Ga, NC, SC, TN, AL etc that's where I would go. Did anyone mention, prebuy, prebuy, prebuy !!

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I got my F from All American, highly reccomend them.  They don't like to wheel and deal but they are straight shooters.  If they don't have what you want they can help find it.  They can also help you determine what you want if you aren't sure.  Two really good guys. 

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Thanks for all the great info.   My main mission will be flying between Oregon and southern cal while developing a new business.  However, that said, now that my youngest is in college, what I really hope to do is get out of the rat race and spend less time on work, and more time on cross country or island trips to enjoy seeing interesting places and with family without the aggravations of commercial flying. 

Right now, I'm not an experienced enough pilot to have views on the benefits of FL flying or not.  Probably don't need a turbo, but the ability to fly higher seems to me a good thing to be able to do.  The useful load question is important, I'm a big guy, but not likely in the near term to have anyone in the plane except perhaps my wife. 

All the different panel equipment you find gives me headaches trying to comprehend.  Going to schedule a visit to Texas in the first part of January  as some suggested, and that plane JClemens is rebuilding sure looks like a winner but that is a scary FL for me.


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  • 1 month later...

For many years I made the  Santa Monica - Eugene - Santa Monica   10-15 times a year, first in early 231 and then later with the 262 conversion.   In earlier years I did it a few times in the T-34.    It is the perfect trip for a turbo, although about 30% of the time on the northbound run we would fly low from Santa Monica to near Red Bluff due to the prevailing winds. 


I've listened to several non-turbo aircraft along V-23 get into serious  ice in the summer .  A turbo is priceless over mountains, including the hills around Gorman in the winter. 

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