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GFC 500 Autopilot Install Costs


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If any of you guys have have done this recently, and if you're willing, can you post approximately how much it cost for part and labor for your autopilot upgrade?

I've been thinking seriously about having my KAP-150 autopilot removed and a GFC-500 autopilot installed in my M20J.  So serious I walked in my favorite avionics shop today to get an estimate and talk schedule.  However the cost estimate he gave me was on the very high side (at least to me).  These guys have done good work for me in the past so I trust them, but as a former President once said: "trust but get multiple quotes...."  (or was that "trust but verify"?)

I already have 2 garmin 275's installed so I don't need that part.  I'd like to get the 2 axis plus Yaw Damper as I've heard a lot of good things about that set up in the Mooney.  My avionics guy said it would cost ~$10k per servo when all was said and done and I would need 4 total servo's.  It doesn't seem like very hard math but $40k for this job seems quite steep and I was also surprised that it would take 4 servos rather than 3.  His explanation was that both the pitch and trim servos would have to be replaced.  If you guys think this may be incorrect or have a "take your A/C to XYZ place, instead and it'll save your gobs of money and they're the best" kind of recommendation, please let me know.

Bruce Wilder

 

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Since you already have the 275’s, I would say 20 AMU should cover it. I have all of my stuff on order at this time for an installation later this year. On my quote the servos were way less than 10AMU. If you contact me offline I will share my actual numbers with you.

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57 minutes ago, hubcap said:

Since you already have the 275’s, I would say 20 AMU should cover it. I have all of my stuff on order at this time for an installation later this year. On my quote the servos were way less than 10AMU. If you contact me offline I will share my actual numbers with you.

To clarify:  the rough order of magnitude quote wasn't "$10k per servo" for the hardware only.  It was meant to represent the labor and hardware for each axis or servo string in the autopilot system -- so to reiterate, the out the door price would be about $40k from this installer.

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In my C model, I paid about $28,000.  And that also included a G5, a mid continent charger/clock, a new altimeter, a new copilot side panel, removal of all vacuum components, and the parts and labor for everything including the autopilot with servos.

I think I would shop around if I were you.  

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22 minutes ago, MisfitSELF said:

To clarify:  the rough order of magnitude quote wasn't "$10k per servo" for the hardware only.  It was meant to represent the labor and hardware for each axis or servo string in the autopilot system -- so to reiterate, the out the door price would be about $40k from this installer.

That's a nice way of saying "We don't want to do this job". If they haven't installed GFC500 in multiple Mooneys I wouldn't want them doing it. If they have they know it's not a $40,000 job. There is some benefit in having it done in a close-by shop, but not that much.

Your GI-275s talk to your KAP150. Is the KAP150 giving you problems or are you just looking for better integration?

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, LANCECASPER said:

That's a nice way of saying "We don't want to do this job". If they haven't installed GFC500 in multiple Mooneys I wouldn't want them doing it. If they have they know it's not a $40,000 job. There is some benefit in having it done in a close-by shop, but not that much.

Your GI-275s talk to your KAP150. Is the KAP150 giving you problems or are you just looking for better integration?

My 275's do indeed talk to my KAP150 and it works surprisingly well.  However, I'm getting an annoying pitch bobble (that existed before I installed the 275's) that is being attributed to a pitch servo or an encoder that is related.  Either way it will cost 2-3 AMU to fix so I was considering on just springing for the GFC.

And indeed, I am getting a bit of the "we don't want this job" vibe from this shop.  They do good work but they are now doing a lot of work for the "big boys"

Edited by MisfitSELF
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8 minutes ago, MisfitSELF said:

My 275's do indeed talk to my KAP150 and it works surprisingly well.  However, I'm getting an annoying pitch bobble (that existed before I installed the 275's) that is being attributed to a pitch servo or an encoder that is related.  Either way it will cost 2-3 AMU to fix so I was considering on just springing for the GFC.

And indeed, I am getting a bit of the "we don't want this job" vibe from this shop.  They do good work but they are now doing a lot of work for the "big boys"

Lubricating the control shafts will silicone should be done at every annual but is rarely done. That may help with your “pitch bobble”. Whether you stick with the KAP150 or go with the GFC500 you’ll still have that if there is any binding there.

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One shop here told me an autopilot on my E would be a 45k$ job.  That's the same one that quoted me 1800$ "nationwide flat rate" to swap out the displays in my KX155 with LED display - but then charged me 2400$ when I went to retrieve my radio, because "there was unforeseen extra work." 

My guy at 3CM would do it way cheaper (haha, I know how that sounds) but he's done a ton of GFC500s on different aircraft and has great pireps.  

 

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I got a quote from my shop Avionics place (RFD) during OSH. 
23K installed includes removing my S-Tec 30, all four servos and misc hardware, switches etc.  i also saved sales tax by making the purchase at OSH. 

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1 hour ago, RobertGary1 said:

Will Garmin sell it to you if you’re not a dealer?

No, but if you know a dealer he can get it for you. The dealer is not supposed to do that, but the dealer can hire you to install in in your own airplane, wink wink...

BTW. the person who did this was a fully qualified A&P and actually worked for the dealer occasionally for years...

Edited by N201MKTurbo
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3 hours ago, Jake@BevanAviation said:

Most of our quotes were in the 22-28k range depending on options.

I'll put in a plug for Bevan, and add a nice little extra point that aircraft parts and services are not taxed in Kansas!  So if you are willing to travel, Bevan is a good place to consider.

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I did my own install.  The biggest problem is getting all the wire, nuts, bolts, pulleys, and hardware that is not included in the Garmin package.  Aircraft Spruce is a good source but expensive when you have to keep ordering because you overlooked or forgot something.  Shipping costs get stupid.  All in I was close to $16K done with no yaw damper.   Time wise it is probably a 40-60hr job if you have done a few installs.  It took me probably closer to 85-90hrs.  I did also prep the plane for a windshield mod as I went but that just made wiring the head unit easy with no shield in place.  I also made friends with a repair center that oversaw my work and traded needed parts that I couldn't source reasonably priced for work I do and that helped.  An example is the recoil cord from the yoke switches to the panel.  If I remember correctly that is a $200 wire that Garmin specs out.  I found that exact wire in a decommissioned plane and was able to get it for $45 but traded it for a service job on one of their shop vehicles.   

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Mine was part of a complete panel rework so it's hard to price just the GFC.  All I can say is that it's been wonderful...my only real autopilot experience was a CenturyII/STEC30 and an old KFC if flew a couple of times (cant remember the model).  The GFC is simply amazing to me.  I did have to replace 1 servo but it was covered under warranty 100%.

Good luck!

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I received this quote in June of this year. I think it is high.

GFC-500 Roll/Pitch/Trim/Yaw      $14,370.00

G5 AI                                              $2,525.00

Labor                                              $13,000.00

Supplies/Misc                                $2,900.00

TOTAL.                                               $32,795.00 + TAX/FRT

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6 hours ago, N201MKTurbo said:

I know a guy who installed it himself. It took him six months to do it, working on it every day. It is a lot of work.

A buddy installed a two-axis TruTrak in his Cherokee in a weekend.   He'd never done it before and isn't an A&P, but had his IA supervise and sign off.

A had a GFC500 on order and cancelled it once I saw the installation methodology.   Seems like it's functionally a pretty good autopilot, but not for everybody.

 

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On 8/12/2022 at 10:12 AM, KSMooniac said:

I'll put in a plug for Bevan, and add a nice little extra point that aircraft parts and services are not taxed in Kansas!  So if you are willing to travel, Bevan is a good place to consider.

I would consider it, thanks.  Wichita KS, right?

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