pmupson

Leaking fuel tank at wing root

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I just purchased a Mooney m20c and discovered after we picked it up that there was a fuel smell in the cabin. We didn't notice it until after we landed and refueled on the way home. I paid for a pre-buy inspection at a shop near where I purchased the airplane, 800 miles from my home, and specifically asked for them to check carefully for fuel leaks. The report didn't mention any fuel leaks. The previous owner never mention them either. Unfortunately I own the issue at this point. I had my local AP, experienced with Mooneys,  do a quick inspection and the photos below show what he found in less than 30 minutes. All of the leaking appears to be at the right wing root and into the cabin.  He cannot get me scheduled for several weeks to reseal the tank , so my question is,  is it safe to fly it in the meantime? I need to get 10 hours of dual for my insurance requirements and hate to wait to begin enjoying my new toy.

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Check the gaskets on the sender unit before doing strip/reseal.

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I wouldn't delay the repair but wouldn't be afraid to fly it until done (short term anyway).  It would be great if you store in a hangar as you can leave the door open when sitting.

Tom

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I thought they all looked like that :)

 

It is a hard corner to get sealant into, it is behind the pickup screen.

Edited by N201MKTurbo
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Fly the leaking tank down to as low as you feel comfortable, and then limit yourself to using the other tank to get your insurance hours while waiting for a reseal slot to open up. Since it is summer, you will be glad you can open the vents up all the way while flying.

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Check the gaskets on the sender unit before doing strip/reseal.

IIRC, the original gasket is cork, what’s the best gasket to get these days?


Tom

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37 minutes ago, ArtVandelay said:


IIRC, the original gasket is cork, what’s the best gasket to get these days?


Tom

They are now a rubber material.  We bought some from Maxwell a few years ago.  Part no. 610202-003

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They are now a rubber material.  We bought some from Maxwell a few years ago.  Part no. 610202-003

To close the loop, it’s now 462-021. Seems they share that with Pipers.


Tom

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I faced similar decisions on my plane...my recommendation...but a tube of "fuel lube"...clean the areas showing leaks and coat it with fuel lube.  This will not cure your problem but It will dramatically reduce the leak rate and odor.

As for changing the fuel sender gasket, you need not only the gasket (no one is using cork any more) and you need the sealing plastic bushings...they help it to seal as well.

 

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What’s the condition of the upright frame post in the third picture?  It appears there’s a crack. Hopefully, it’s just an optical illusion.

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Ask your friend that did the PPI if he checked for the fuel leak that you specifically asked him to check on...

It looks like he made the PPI on a different plane than the one you have today... a fair amount didn’t require tools to find... the newly dyed blue carpet is a hint...

Of course... if you didn’t fill the tanks as part of the PPI... that may have been a hint too.  The temperature sensitive leaks are at the very top of the tanks...

That amount of blue goo didn’t happen in one day during an 800 mile trip...

A one day leak will be a very light blue...

Good luck with your next steps...

Also look up the latest thread topics like...

  • Transition Training...
  • Fire extinguishers...
  • Fuel Bladders...

 

That’s a tough way to start a new relationship with a new 2U bird...

Since you own it, now is a good time to start looking up tank sealants and services or maybe bladders...

Best regards,

-a-

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3 hours ago, cbarry said:

What’s the condition of the upright frame post in the third picture?  It appears there’s a crack. Hopefully, it’s just an optical illusion.

That's normal, though a little dirty and gummy.  It's actually a piece of steel welded onto the tube.  You can see the weld at the bottom of the tube.  It should be on yours, too.

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5 hours ago, Andy95W said:

That's normal, though a little dirty and gummy.  It's actually a piece of steel welded onto the tube.  You can see the weld at the bottom of the tube.  It should be on yours, too.

Yeah, after I posted, I noticed the weld and that it’s simply a “sway brace” type of strengthener.  Thanks.

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