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I am posting this thread for your entertainment. I have history in off-road vehicle build threads, so I thought I'd do the same here. I expect tons of "I told you so" as replies, all I ask is don't be too mean, lol. In exchange I'll keep posting and giving you info to laugh at.

Me: I started my pilot training in December. I have about 20 hours and have passed my written and soloed Monday 4-5-21. My goal of getting my PPL is to be able to fly to the beach and I want a Mooney. I'm dead set on buying a Mooney. I can buy a 100k airplane, but I don't want to. I love the idea of buying a plane and fixing it up and learning and knowing it as I do. In my off-road hobby (google rock bouncer) I buy projects and fix it up. I enjoy it and that way I can make it the way I want also.

Getting it: Occasionally I check Facebook marketplace for Mooney. One Tuesday 4-6-21 I found one. I asked a few detailed questions and got the reply of "Yes, it's available". I didn't ask that at all, lol. I followed up with the questions and got no reply. The seller didn't have a phone number in his profile. I decided if I want to get this I have to be proactive. I searched the tail number and found it was owned by Stuckman Ford so I called the dealership and asked about it. It's a very small dealership and I spoke with Mr. Stuckman directly. It turns out that it was dad's plane and his health is poor. The son bought the dealership and the plane is owned by the dealership, so the son owns the plane and he's selling it. I was able to get him a $500 deposit and plan to go up Monday and finalize the deal.

N9554M - 1967 M20F for $19,900 - TT 3175, Tach 1835 (I don't understand this), SMOH 522, Michel Navcom 1, paint and interior 3 of 10, last annual 2005, last flown 2011, no damage history in logbooks, hangared in Indiana for the last 24 years. After 2005 it was just flown in pattern occasionally to keep it going. In 2011 there was a tornado in the area. It pushed the hangar door which touched the prop. Wind then pushed the plane in the T hangar against the back and bent the flaps. New flaps are there and included, but not installed. There is no visible damage to the prop and the door wasn't blown down or anything like that. New tires, new tubes, and new battery are included. The vacuum pump is bad and a new vacuum pump is included also. He said one of the flap pumps has a minor leak. The seller says the engine was started yearly and hand propped monthly. The airport manager says it's been many years since it's moved so it's not convinced it has been started regularly, but he's only there occasionally. Seller tried to start it recently and did not get it to start. Hangar rent is paid through the end of the month and I can extend it if needed. The only provided picture is useless as it is dark and shows nothing.

My CFI is in his mid 70's. He buys abandoned plans and restores them as a hobby. He has offered to help as the one he is working on now is almost done. He has a retired friend that wants to help also. He has a IA as a friend that can help with major things too. The plan is to fly up Monday with my CFI and his friend. It's 2.5 hours each way and he said it's a great opportunity to get some instrument training on VORs. Even if I don't buy it, that's 5 hours in my log book, but I'm probably going to buy it anyway.

What I expect:

Stage 1 - get it air worthy to ferry: I expect to tinker with it Monday and get it started and maybe taxi around. I expect straighten the flaps enough to fly. The seller said the flap damage isn't that bad. I will find out what else is wrong and what's required to get a ferry permit. Once I get it back home I expect to replace anything rubber related to the engine. I expect to replace the flaps and rebuild the leaking cylinder. I expect to replace the gear pucks. I think there is a AD regarding the prop, so that will have to be done also. I expect to reseal the tanks. I expect many other small problems also.

Stage 2: - exterior - I want to have a custom blue and silver paint job. I expect to pay 10K to 15k for this.

Stage 3: - interior - I want to bring the interior from 3 to a 5 or 6, but not 10 until last step.

Stage 4: - I want a nice GPS system and have it IFR rated. I want to get IFR rated in this plane.

Stage 5: - new interior

 Ok, so go for it. Tell me I'm crazy and what I want is impossible. Tell me I'll have a million dollars in a 20 dollar plane. I understand the nay sayers. I'm goign to prove you wrong and even if not I'll have fun learning. 

I found an A&P that owns a Mooney and is going to be in the area this weekend with time to kill. He is flying into a major airport an hour away and said he would check it out if I would pay for a rental car. I agreed. He bought one that had sat for year and flew it home over a longer distance than me.

Are there any special tools required to change the vacuum pump? I know it's not a quick job. Should I do it there or back home?

I enjoy learning from the wisdom of others with more experience and seek their guidance. 

 

Edited by Gubni
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Leaving plastic out to save weight , is a lie , not laziness ,   as the prop damage was also a lie....   Never buy anything from a liar...  

It concerns me that paint is first on your list after a ferry permit.  IMO it should be last.  Unless the plane will be kept outside and the paint is in such poor shape that it's providing no protecti

Gubni ,    Congrats , you are one of the few , people who has listened to your IA , Good for you , I researched this airplane , it has been deregistered for 20 years , probably not flown for 30 .... P

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I'm one of the original nay sayers on this project. But I've been convinced that you know enough and aren't afraid of what you don't know. So I'll play along. I'm a huge fan of Mooneys and am always in favor of someone putting in the time and the money, neither of which you'll get back, to restore one and get it back in the air. 

One thing you left off your list is an engine overhaul. It will cost the same, but you'll be time ahead if you just pull the engine when you get it home and send it off for overhaul. It will need it within a few hours of flying if it doesn't right now.

You should also be prepared for the time it will take you to get it back to good flying condition. I don't know who's got the over/under on this, but I'll start with two years.

Good luck, hope it works out, and we're pulling for you.

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Just now, gsxrpilot said:

I'm one of the original nay sayers on this project. But I've been convinced that you know enough and aren't afraid of what you don't know. So I'll play along. I'm a huge fan of Mooneys and am always in favor of someone putting in the time and the money, neither of which you'll get back, to restore one and get it back in the air. 

One thing you left off your list is an engine overhaul. It will cost the same, but you'll be time ahead if you just pull the engine when you get it home and send it off for overhaul. It will need it within a few hours of flying if it doesn't right now.

You should also be prepared for the time it will take you to get it back to good flying condition. I don't know who's got the over/under on this, but I'll start with two years.

Good luck, hope it works out, and we're pulling for you.

Thank you much. I realize an engine is a possibility, but I'm really hoping not. If I have to then so be it, but I have spoken to others that said it doesn't have to have a engine if it's been hangared and it's not in a wet or coastal area, so for now I'm going to plan not to replace it.

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A few other notes:

  1. You're gonna need an engine, so get that overhauled right away. They take time. My engine just spent four months in the engine shop.
  2. If you can get home without the vacuum pump, don't touch it. The new panel you'll install won't need a vacuum pump and you'll be throwing it away anyway.
  3. $15K is a good estimate for paint... figure another $15K for the interior.
  4. G3X, G5, GFC500, GTN650, GNC255, and peripherals will make for a nice panel. I'll let someone else quote it.
  5. If the tanks aren't leaking now, they will be as soon as the wings start carrying weight.

All of this can be done... time + money

But if you get into it and the spar is corroded or the steel cage is corroded, it will all go for scrap. Just be prepared for that. So I'd do a very detailed inspection of both before spending anything on the plane. 

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2 minutes ago, Gubni said:

Thank you much. I realize an engine is a possibility, but I'm really hoping not. If I have to then so be it, but I have spoken to others that said it doesn't have to have a engine if it's been hangared and it's not in a wet or coastal area, so for now I'm going to plan not to replace it.

It's a good attitude to have and why I'm backing you on this project. But I'll put up a tank of 100LL that you'll not get 100 hours out of the engine.

It's effectively been sitting for 16 years, in a hangar. But humidity doesn't care. If there's been dew on the ground, or it's rained a few times, or there's been some humid summer days... you're gonna need an engine.

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Gub,

You have a great feeling for what is needed...

Which often comes from other experience in the motorized world...

The biggest surprise for people that get to general aviation... is dealing with the regulations...

Who can legally remove the vacuum pump, and who cannot...

Even when your skills are better than the guy who has all of the Licensing...

 

Around here, you will see people have formed a relationship with their local aviation mechanic...  this allows them to do the work and get it documented properly...

 

After a while....

The people you are calling naysayers....  are real people that are really trying to help you out...

You will recognize this over time...

 

We currently have one troll amongst 3k members...  :)

He is still new...

Best regards,

-a-

 

 

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1 minute ago, gsxrpilot said:

A few other notes:

  1. You're gonna need an engine, so get that overhauled right away. They take time. My engine just spent four months in the engine shop.
  2. If you can get home without the vacuum pump, don't touch it. The new panel you'll install won't need a vacuum pump and you'll be throwing it away anyway.
  3. $15K is a good estimate for paint... figure another $15K for the interior.
  4. G3X, G5, GFC500, GTN650, GNC255, and peripherals will make for a nice panel. I'll let someone else quote it.
  5. If the tanks aren't leaking now, they will be as soon as the wings start carrying weight.

All of this can be done... time + money

But if you get into it and the spar is corroded or the steel cage is corroded, it will all go for scrap. Just be prepared for that. So I'd do a very detailed inspection of both before spending anything on the plane. 

1. I get mixed stories this. The general consensus is that it's required, but real life stories say maybe not.

2. Good to know

3. ok

4 yes

5 I realize this. I'm just hoping that don't leak so bad it's unflyable.

The A&P is going to check for spar and cage corrosion, but since it's been hangared for the last 24 years I expect that to be okay.

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Sometimes in quiet hangars small animals can set up shop around the steel cages. Make sure the mechanic pulls the interior (and exterior) panels to look for corrosion. Be prepared to replace a lot of the rubber parts.  You might want to change the oil before you start it and cut the filter apart every 25 hrs for the first couple hundred.  Not sure if you’ve looked at @Raptor05121 ‘s thread but he had the drive to fix things properly and did a great job with his C. 

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Hope makes a crummy flight plan...  :)


Like...

I hope I have enough fuel to get there...

 

Wishful thinking is hope’s partner...  :)

 

When it comes to barn finds...   they may exist in the automotive world...

In aviation... they are less barn owl and more barn albatross...

 

Get to know the plane as much as possible prior to buying it...

If it has expensive problems already... they belong to somebody else...

Once you buy it... they belong to you...

At the price you gave above...  that is typical of a plane that needs a lot of things...

build a list of what you want in a plane...

1) Engine

2) Prop

3) instrument panel

4) Windows

5) Fuel tanks

6) hoses that don’t leak

7) interior including seat belts...

8) paint...

Check off all the things it has... put an overhaul price next to the things it may need...

If you like math... this could be fun...

 

PP thoughts only, not a mechanic...

Best regards,

-a-

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I hope you get her flying again!  
 

Id leave the vac pump alone too.  You shouldn’t be anywhere near ifr in this airplane anytime soon and you’ll remove it with decent avionics anyway.

Did you ask if the seller has all the logs since new?  That’s really important.  You want airframe, propeller, and engine logs.  This is not what you’re getting from the FAA.  These are the ones that document yearly maintenance, like annuals, prop overhaul, etc.  The owner should give them to you. You need them.  Seriously, you’ll need them.

The engine may be 522 smoh, but the TBO is also 7 years.  And it sat for like 10.  It’s likely toast.  You might get lucky and get 100-200 hours, but that would be seriously lucky.  Don’t get your hopes up.

Id change the oil and fill the fuel tanks first.  Do all the inspections and get it started.  Come back the next day and see if it’s leaking fuel everywhere before you think of flying it.

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Personally, if I were doing this, I would go out their see the airplane and pull it apart. Right now without labor your required cost are as follows:

Airframe: 19,900
Engine Overhaul: 29,000 (Was the last price I saw for a Penn Yan IO-360-A1A)
Prop: ~8,000-10,000 (Timed out and damaged)
Current Cost: 56,900

Lets just say you have corrosion in the wing on the rear stub spar or main spar, that is roughly about 14k.

Lets say you have a bad steel tube your at about 8-15K

I am not trying to discourage you, in fact I did something similar with my E but costs can very quickly eclipse a very nice F or even J model.

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Blunt ol' me again...you said you like the IDEA of buying a plane and fixing it up. While I admire your zeal, you need to ask yourself just one question:  Am I putting in the money, time, and effort to get my PPL so that I can FLY?

Because this project is going to consume your time and money and you will NOT be flying while this 'fixing' is going on.

You need to be okay with that.

 

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7 hours ago, Ragsf15e said:

I hope you get her flying again!  
 

Id leave the vac pump alone too.  You shouldn’t be anywhere near ifr in this airplane anytime soon and you’ll remove it with decent avionics anyway.

Did you ask if the seller has all the logs since new?  That’s really important.  You want airframe, propeller, and engine logs.  This is not what you’re getting from the FAA.  These are the ones that document yearly maintenance, like annuals, prop overhaul, etc.  The owner should give them to you. You need them.  Seriously, you’ll need them.

The engine may be 522 smoh, but the TBO is also 7 years.  And it sat for like 10.  It’s likely toast.  You might get lucky and get 100-200 hours, but that would be seriously lucky.  Don’t get your hopes up.

Id change the oil and fill the fuel tanks first.  Do all the inspections and get it started.  Come back the next day and see if it’s leaking fuel everywhere before you think of flying it.

Yes it has full logs and receipts.

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10 hours ago, Gubni said:

 

Me: I started my pilot training in December. I have about 20 hours and have passed my written and soloed Monday 4-5-21. My goal of getting my PPL is to be able to fly to the beach and I want a Mooney. I'm dead set on buying a Mooney. I can buy a 100k airplane, but I don't want to. I love the idea of buying a plane and fixing it up and learning and knowing it as I do. In my off-road hobby (google rock bouncer) I buy projects and fix it up. I enjoy it and that way I can make it the way I want also.

 

 

 

Buy two planes. 

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Posted (edited)

My biggest concern is everyone says it will need an engine. If that's a sure thing then I should not buy it. If that's a maybe then I would maybe buy it. My thoughts are the engine is good so the rest is maintenance and cosmetics.

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49 minutes ago, Gubni said:

My biggest concern is everyone says it will need an engine.

There are a lot of pessimists here . . . .

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My biggest concern is everyone says it will need an engine. If that's a sure thing then I should not buy it. If that's a maybe then I would maybe buy it. My thoughts are the engine is good so the rest is maintenance and cosmetics.

How often was the oil changed? Pull the dipstick, is oil clear or is it black?
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I have always enjoyed trying to make a silk purse out of a sows ear. Sometimes it works out and sometimes not. I bought a ‘67 C with about 350 hrs since factory reman engine but more than 20 years prior. I was concerned about the engine also but I have had the plane 7 years and put another 250 hours on it without any metal showing up in the oil filter. As others have said I would get it checked close for corrosion but I would fly it until the engine started making metal.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Couple of things you may want to do:

  1. Get a copy of the IPC (Illustrated Parts Manual) for your model. If you are doing the work, it's nice to know what part you need to tell the person on the other end of the phone other than just describing what it looks like and where it goes. And some parts vary by serial number of the plane.
  2. Get a copy of the Service Manual. There are many things you can do to the plane within the regs, but they all require having a service manual. Plus, it calls out what freaky lubricant/oil/grease is required for every specific thing which should move.
  3. Check the tires for rot. If they have been sitting that long, landing and having a tire blow on landing can be a quick, expensive 8 second ride.
  4. Take pictures of everything as you go into it. You will end up knowing your plane inside and out (literally) so have the documentation to go with it.

You may end up underwater in this endeavor, but you may find that rare gem.

What the hell, it's only money, and you may end up with your own personally assembled Mooney!

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It concerns me that paint is first on your list after a ferry permit.  IMO it should be last.  Unless the plane will be kept outside and the paint is in such poor shape that it's providing no protection from corrosion, there are bigger fish to fry first.  Plus your new paint is likely to get scratched and damaged during all the other work you have planned if you paint it first.  Because it's been hangared, the current paint will probably look perfectly fine with a little elbow grease and a quality polish.

Find what needs fixing first.  Fix it.  Then invest in extras and aesthetics.  My 2 cents.

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I'm going to recommend a different route. You are going to be a new pilot and I would guess want to fly. If you want to fix up a plane, buy a flying plane that maybe doesn't have everything you want but is less expensive than the ones that do have everything. I did that, knowing that I was going to spend money over the years upgrading it. I've had it for almost 4 1/2 years and flown 100+ hours every year with no major surprises. Once the GFC500 goes in at the end of this month I will have spent more on upgrades than I did on the plane, and I'm good with that because it is how I want it. I also have a great relationship with my AP/IA and have done a lot of the work myself and most of the installs so I know it inside and out.

I have really enjoyed working on the plane and getting to know it, but I am glad that I have also put almost 500 hours on it as I got to know it.

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