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Tx_Aggie

M20B gear up restoration

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There’s a well preserved m20b at one of the local airfields I’ve flown in and out of, just sitting on flats. It had an apparent gear up,  either that or the guy forgot to lock the Johnson bar... either way, what ballpark costs would it be to get the airplane back up and running? The prop is bent and some belly plates are missing. I’m in western Texas, with 0 humidity. Looking for answers from those who have actual experience repairing these, not dreamers! Thx

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Don Maxwell just posted on the MAPA list that the usual prices to repair after a gear up is from $27,000 to $35,000.

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Unfortunately such restorations are works of love. It is unlikely to be cost effective unless you’re an A&P and have access to parts airframes.  All that said, I applaud and admire those who take on such tasks.  There are no other aircraft like vintage Mooney’s, and none will ever be made again.  Thus the restorations are a valuable contribution to general aviation.

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If you are not an A&P hopefully you have one that is willing to work with you.  Are you mechanically inclined?  If so then by all means go for it.  They actual cost of the air frame should be very low i.e. well under $10k.  Keep in mind you will not make money on it you will not get the money you put into it back if and when you sell it.  You will put a lot of time sweat and blood into it.  Sounds like it is close to you. Are individual hangars available at the field or a group hangar you can put it in the back to work on it?  If so get one get you some tools and be prepared to buy more tools.

Before you start do get a good A&P to look it over for air frame corrosion after that you are pretty much going to touch everything else.

However, do what is necessary to make it airworthy (engine, gear doors belly skins etc. ) and get it in the air and start flying it.  That's the fun part.  Then at annual each year decide on one major task to tackle and take the week or two necessary to make that happen.

Good luck and don't let the grim reaper know you found this rare and prized bird.  He might try to say he's putting it out of it's misery.

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Roughly, Looks like the cost is near what the plane is worth...

Unless you can do a lot of the work under supervision of a mechanic.  May need a place to store it as well...

Would make a great mechanical project.

A PPI of some sort is still in order to make sure the engine and airframe don’t have additional or surprise issues...

Avoid spending chunks of AMUs to make a perfect M20B... when the same economics apply to a few other more preferred Mooney airframes. 

Could be a great project for a mechanic looking to work on weekends to earn his way to a first Mooney?

PP thoughts only. Thinking out loud...

Best regards,

-a-

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Unfortunately for less than it will cost to repair that B, you can buy the C that @Alan Fox just listed on this forum. And it's airworthy and flying today. And we're not talking a full frame up to brand new, restoration of that B. We're talking about getting it airworthy. It will still just be an M20B with a shitty panel, and a host of other issues. Unless your name is Alan Fox, it doesn't pay to bring them back.

It's worth more as scrap aluminum. 

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Wow great so all of you have experience putting B/C gear up airframes back to flying? I appreciate the sentiments, since most all of the older fleet have gear ups, surely someone on here has experience going through the costs from a personal standpoint. Thx

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38 minutes ago, Tx_Aggie said:

Wow great so all of you have experience putting B/C gear up airframes back to flying? I appreciate the sentiments, since most all of the older fleet have gear ups, surely someone on here has experience going through the costs from a personal standpoint. Thx

My C was gear upped at SnF, and repaired by the previous owner. He bought what he needed there, got help putting her together and went home on a ferry permit. Oh, he's all kinds of CFI, an A&P and owns the FBO and flight school. It was going to be bis retirement pla e until he stumbled onto an A36 at an estate sale . . . . No idea of the cost or time required, but it was just two years after a Signature overhaul.

P.S.--this happened in 2003 or 2004. It would cost more now. Significantly more? I dunno.

You pays your money and takes your chances.

Edited by Hank
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I don’t have the personal experience, but...

I wholesaled my M20C for less than it cost to fix a GU...

I also know Alan and have done business with Jerry...

I also got the gift of a ground strike in my flying history... actually, I was parked and out of town while it happened....

Would you prefer I sugar coat it? I can do that too.... :)

basic costs...

1) R&R The engine for inspection, inspect the engine for damage... even though the probability is low.

2) Fix / replace the prop...

3) Replace the affected belly panels.

It wouldn’t make financial sense to R&R a high time engine without doing an OH...

 

TX_A,

you haven’t given enough detail to go on to help with your decision making.

you haven’t given a hint of what level of fix you would want to do.

Snapping At the guys who have given their best, probably won’t help.

Got any pics?

Are you looking to do the old check for crank run-out, Mount a used prop, sell it...?

Are you looking to add this to your personal fleet of Mooneys?

Trying to be helpful,

-a-

 

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1 hour ago, Tx_Aggie said:

Wow great so all of you have experience putting B/C gear up airframes back to flying? I appreciate the sentiments, since most all of the older fleet have gear ups, surely someone on here has experience going through the costs from a personal standpoint. Thx

Do we need the experience first hand...?

Getting this kind of experience second hand is often quite helpful.  

In fact, all of MS has enough skill to determine what the associated costs are.  We all have a search button...

That is what MS is all about...  learning from other knowledgeable Mooney people.

Yes there are some people that have done various levels of Ground Up restorations, after a GU landing...

How interested in this project are you..?

To get real numbers is going to take some effort by various people...

  • need to know a good engine inspection and OH shop?  
  • Want to know who the best prop guy is on MS?
  • know the guy that has a trailer full of belly panels?

Want to Compare the costs of this project to the plane Alan has for sale...?

Want a turn-key fix for this? (Turn-key... fixed to the level you want, at a price you agree to in advance)

Are finances a priority for this project?  Or is this plane special enough to you that spending a few extra AMU makes sense...

MS has these people as well.

How was that?

beast regards,

-a-

 

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Hey @Tx_Aggie go for it. You be the expert and let us all know how it goes. 

I've got a list... you can be number 11 on it.

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I've never repaired one myself... a) I've never gear-upped my airplane, b) I prefer to let someone else take the financial hit on the repair.

But of the two Mooney's I've owned, they've been gear-upped six times. I've seen log entries, repair orders, receipts, 337's, etc. for all six of the repairs. (I don't buy airplanes without knowing all the facts.)

But never mind us... go for it.

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And one more... after I sold my C, it had a gear incident, not landing, but gear collapse. The insurance company wrote a check to the owner for $50K and scrapped the plane rather than repair it. The repair didn't make financial sense.

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My prop strike cost 25 AMUs in repairs, and that was just to inspect the engine. If you don’t do this stuff yourself it gets expensive fast.

When I had my Cherokee I flew with the Cherokee’s to Oshkosh group. One of the ships had a complete restoration, really nice one too, with an at-that-time up to date panel. We asked the guy what he’d spent. He said he’d given himself a budget of 40 or 50 thousand dollars, but blew past it and stopped counting. His estimate was around a hundred and fifty.

For a Cherokee, who’s airframe has but 1200 parts, all of which are plentiful. I would never underestimate such a project. Thing is, I suspect one restores aircraft because one wishes to do so, just like one builds an experimental aircraft. The Ex/Ab aircraft rarely go for much more than the builders have in them. Building one therefore makes little financial sense.

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In the homebuilt community they talk about people who are builders and people who are pilots. Some people just love to build. So if someone is really a builder and is looking for a project to work on, to keep them busy, this would fall into that category.

None of the money I spend on flying my airplane can be considered "cost effective". All of it is effectively wasted just because I love to fly. So if you just love to build, this is a good project. But if you actually prefer the flying to the building and are looking for a way to get a Mooney cheap so you can fly... this is not it.

If you just want the cheapest Mooney to fly and enjoy, build hours, etc. It will likely be a G/C/D in the $40K range. Any less than that will probably cost too much to get airworthy. But also consider that every dollar you spend on the purchase above that number, will likely save $4 in work/upgrades/maintenance you'll eventually want to do.

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One point I didn't see made was that most gear up repairs are paid for by an insurance company.  Old airplane, no insurance, gear up, no economical repair, just write it off. That is probably why that B is sitting abandoned on flat tires.  I had a prop strike a few years ago and two engine shops told me they would not do the Lycoming prop strike AD inspection without doing the Lycoming SB bulletin inspection requiring a full teardown. Apparently the insurer agreed, 10-12 Thousand. In the process of inspection they found tappets needed replacing, cam needed grinding, intercylinder baffle needed replacing, and a couple other odds and ends insurance did not pay for, another few thousand. One prop blade was salvageable, the other was about 3 thousand, plus overhaul another thousand.  From removing the engine cowling to putting it on for the last time was 37 hours labor (what is your shop rate?)  Of course there were little things that are found along the way--lets replace these hoses and that EGT sensor was working before, better repair the crack in the baffle now, did I really mark the left and right p-leads backward?  All in all, repairing that kind of damage is always more time consuming and expensive than you would imagine. Thank goodness I did not have gear up damage!  

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I have to admit, the trip I did to the East Coast was fairly cost effective. If I think about the fuel I burned I come out much cheaper than an airliner, and the commercial ticket doesn’t exist to get me to my destination in two hours. This trip was enough to turn Mrs. Steingar into a Mooniac. Of course, if I factor in my fixed costs it does turn into a money looser, but there is the whole issue of speed, comfort, and convenience (and not being sexually molested or pornogrphically photographed by the Troglodite Specialty Association).

Paul is dead on about one thing. There are builders and there are flyers. And there are restorers, who deserve a special place in the GA firmament.

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