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× Piper PA-22 Tri-Pacer

Topic-icon 10 years without any movement

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5 days 14 hours ago #2602

Hi Steve;
I remembered another thing. Can you take a look at the airframe logbooks to determine when the airframe was last recovered, and what process was used during the recover. I imagine that it's covered with Ceconite or the Stits process which is good news since those fabrics are almost indestructible.
Is your mechanic familiar with tube and fabric airplanes? If so he will probably have taken an ice pick or sharp punch to the lower rear longerons. By that I mean pushing up into the tube (through the fabric) with the tip of the pick to determine if there are any soft (rust) spots in those tubes. The lower aft longerons usually are the most susceptible tubes to rust. I mention it because it's a common inspection on tube airframe airplanes.
After you get the battery, clean the engine oil and fuel filters and are ready to start the engine, I recommend you take one spark plug out of each cylinder and then pre oil the engine by using the starter to spin the prop until you get an indication of oil pressure on the cockpit oil pressure gauge.
Please take pictures, and notes so you can write an article for the magazine, or give me a briefing so I can write the article on the trials and tribulations of resurrecting your Tri Pacer.

Best,
Steve

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  • Steven Berggren
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6 days 7 hours ago #2601

Thank you very much for all your valuable information. I believe the owner lost his medical and just couldn’t give up his baby. He was paying hangar fees for 10 years without any aircraft movement, ouch! Lost of money wasted.

I’ve sent the prop out for overhaul and the carburetor out for overhaul so far. Is it worth the money to buy new Slick magnets instead of overhauling the old Bendix mags? Mags aren’t cheap but very important. What are your thoughts?

I’m replacing all the rubber hoses and gaskets on the engine right now. Also a very thorough cleaning and maybe a splash of new paint. Since it’s going to run good it might as well look good too.

Thank you once again for your help.
Steve Berggren

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1 month 4 days ago #2547

Hi Steve;
Ah ha, resurrection time.
The Tri Pacer is a good airplane; a little quirky (master switch under the front seat) but the performance numbers are better than a 172 of the same vintage.
First, drain all the fuel out of the fuel tanks and carburetor bowl. Make sure you connect a ground wire between the airframe and the barrel or gas can you're draining the fuel into.
If you have a borescope or something that will let you look at the fuel feed tubes in the fuel tanks, take a look to make sure those are clean and clear.
Pull the carburetor finger screen and the main strainer screen, clean and re install.
Drain the oil. Remove the oil filter or screen and inspect for crud. Remove the oil pick up strainer screen and inspect.
Lube very joint and lube point on the fuselage.
Inspect every square inch of the fuselage and inside the wings; you'll be amazed how much like home a parked inactive airplane looks to birds and mice.
Take a very good look at the tires and tubes. If there's any doubt, replace them. I used the "Monster" retreads from Desser Tire.
The dilemma with the engine will be: is there any rust on the camshaft and lifters? These items are hard to inspect on a Lycoming engine. Some mechanics have had some success using a flexible borescope and going up through the oil filler/dipstick hole (after pulling the tube and dipstick). The best way is to remove a cylinder. If there's rust on the camshaft or the lifters, the odds are very good that the engine will have to be removed and a new cam and lifters installed.
If you can't see the cam and lifters, you can also put in new oil after the fuel system, tires, etc. have been serviced, and the airplane has been successfully (no leaks, makes rated RPM) run on the ground is to take an oil sample after a few hours of flight. You and your mechanic will want to do the best preflight ever, prior to any flight. Easy taxiing, then faster taxiing then, accelerating for takeoff then taxiing back is my suggestion prior to actually flying. I used Blackstone labs for my oil samples. You'll receive a report; there's no doubt it will show high levels of iron which indicates internal rust; an exceedingly high level could be an indicator of cam/lifter distress.
If it has a generator, you'll need to flash it, the battery will need to be replaced, and the brake wheel cylinders may need repacking. If you have the maintenance logs (logbooks) try to determine when the magnetos were last overhauled; if you can't tell I recommend that they be sent to Aircraft Magneto Service in Missoula, MT. Ask for a 500 hour inspection and service.
I see it's been parked up in the Sacramento area. Not as good as being parked in Tucson or Phoenix but not the worst area for corrosion. Do you know why the owner parked it? I see someone has kept the registration up to date, so I'm assuming the owner is still alive.
This is a partial list of the items you need to start looking at.
Please let me know how I can help you further.
Best,
Steve

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1 month 4 days ago #2546

I just bought a 1956 TriPacer that has been hangered for 10 years. The engine has 752 hours since major overhaul . What is the first thing I should do? The fabric is good. I scoped the cylinders and it’s just carbon. The cylinders are chromed and they look great.
Mag overhaul?
Carb overhaul?
????
Thank you very much
Steve B

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