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#1586 - 02/02/10 01:47 AM Most common problem to look for when purchasing?
California Flyer Online   content
Diamond Pilot

Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 6333
Loc: Groveland, California
Question for you mechanics and veterans of Cessna purchases- what's the most common problem you have seen on a plane, and what do you look for so you avoid it?
_________________________
Co-Conspirator, Cessna 172 Club and Forum
http://www.cessna172club.com


Owner of N291ME, a 2000 Cessna 172SP

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#1753 - 02/05/10 02:53 AM Re: Most common problem to look for when purchasing? [Re: California Flyer]
wdriggers Offline
Safety Pilot

Registered: 01/03/10
Posts: 37
Loc: USA
Well, the most common problem that you will see is corrosion. Cessna aircraft are not corrosion proofed before being released from the factory. Always take off the inspection plates and look inside of the aircraft. For example, I went out to Kansas to look at a 1967 Cessna 150 to train my son in before I bought the 172. I took off the inspection plates, and the whole wing was covered in corrosion on the inside, along with the fuselage. The corrosion-X that it had been treated with was actually coming down through the wing. It is extremely important to look for corrosion. Cessnas are known to be flying corrosion blobs. The 172 that we have bought, fortunately enough, has been corrosion proofed, and it has no corrosion on it at all. A way to look at the inside of the wing and fuselage is to open the inspection plates, and stick a small digital camera into the inspection plate, and take panoramic pictures inside of the wing and fuselage to look for corrosion. You should also try to buy an airplane that has been hangared, as it keeps the elements from deteriorating the aircraft. ALWAYS do a pre-purchase inspection, and never just walk up to the airplane and say it looks good, it is mine now. If it is not safe on the ground, it will be less safe in the air, so do not be concerned with the paint, as you can change that, but always look at the structural integrity. When you do the pre purchase inspection think to yourself "Is this airplane safe enough to take a loved one up in". Hope this helps.

wdriggers

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#1754 - 02/05/10 02:57 AM Re: Most common problem to look for when purchasing? [Re: wdriggers]
Cessna Dude Offline
Diamond Pilot

Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 6628
Loc: San Antonio, TX
I've often wondered why Cessnas aren't corrosion proofed. Any idea why Cessna doesn't do this?
_________________________
Due to certain economic uncertainty, the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off until further notice.
Cessna 172, C172, C-172, Cessna Skyhawk fan.
www.cessna172club.com



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#1855 - 02/08/10 04:31 PM Re: Most common problem to look for when purchasing? [Re: Cessna Dude]
P911 Offline
New Member

Registered: 02/08/10
Posts: 5
Loc: DE USA
My 172M has the Corrosion X treatment which appears to be a good investment. My base is close to the bay (KGED) so corrosion is always a concern.

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#2157 - 02/16/10 10:34 PM Re: Most common problem to look for when purchasing? [Re: P911]
Cliff Chambliss
Unregistered


From my "LESSONS LEARNED File"
1. Check carefully for corrosion.
2. Have a mechanic (not the owners friend) do an in depth pre-buy check. (Actually pay for an Annual Inspection just don't call it an Annual).
3. Check very carefully for corrosion.
4. Read all the log books as if they were the Bible (in a sense they are).
5. Check very carefully for corrosion.
6. Order the aircraft history CD from the FAA by SN #. N# can be changed.
7. Do a Title Serach.
8. Fly the plane, make sure everything works, and the airplane trims up nicely. (Especially check the radios to distant VOR's, Airports, etc. No fun spending a ton of good money only to find out the radios don't work further than 5 miles from a station).
9. low $ does not make for a good deal. (20K for an airplane with a very high time engine and marginal avionics can easily cost you more than a 35k airplane with a low to mid time engine and good radios).
10. Lastly, Check very carefully for corrosion.



Edited by Cliff Chambliss (02/16/10 10:34 PM)

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#2232 - 02/18/10 08:06 PM Re: Most common problem to look for when purchasing? [Re: ]
wdriggers Offline
Safety Pilot

Registered: 01/03/10
Posts: 37
Loc: USA
In reply to Cessna Dude, the reason Cessna did not corrosion proof their aircraft is to save money.

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#2318 - 02/19/10 02:40 PM Re: Most common problem to look for when purchasing? [Re: ]
Cliff Chambliss
Unregistered


Actually if you can find a Cessna Single that was earmarked at the factory (not floats added later) as a seaplane it has excellent corrosion proofing.

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#2366 - 02/21/10 02:14 AM Re: Most common problem to look for when purchasing? [Re: ]
wdriggers Offline
Safety Pilot

Registered: 01/03/10
Posts: 37
Loc: USA
Ok, I stand corrected then. I have never heard of it being earmarked before as a float plane, I will remember that.

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#2384 - 02/21/10 06:40 AM Re: Most common problem to look for when purchasing? [Re: ]
Nightowl Offline
Club Sponsor/Speed Demon
Gold Pilot

Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 1826
Loc: Northwest lower Michigan
Originally Posted By: Cliff Chambliss
Actually if you can find a Cessna Single that was earmarked at the factory (not floats added later) as a seaplane it has excellent corrosion proofing.

Yes, we owned a 172L for awhile that had come out of the factory with the floatplane kit (internal corrosion proofing, stainless steel control cables, and a couple other items I can't recall at the moment), but had never been on floats. We sold it in '78, but it's still in Michigan and now sports a 180 hp engine, but has still never been on floats.

John
_________________________
CP-ASEL-IA
'77 C172N, AirPlains 180 hp conversion

Our sigmap has been flown entirely using aircraft with capabilities at or below those of the C-172.


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#2435 - 02/22/10 01:26 AM Re: Most common problem to look for when purchasing? [Re: Nightowl]
atmcpm Offline
Safety Pilot

Registered: 02/17/10
Posts: 50
Loc: EQY
California,

I think one of the great things about 172's is the fact that there really are not lot's of gotchas. Even if there were a 172 can be rehabilitated without a mint not that you want to do that). The things to look for are those that are common to most airplanes: corrosion, engine, hoses, etc. I think the thing that would worry me the most is an aircraft that has not been flown regularly. I think disuse is the biggest threat to any 172.
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Andy


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#2502 - 02/22/10 06:39 PM Re: Most common problem to look for when purchasing? [Re: atmcpm]
apogee Offline
Second in Command

Registered: 02/09/10
Posts: 173
Loc: Bakersfield, CA. USA
172's have insulation that tends to hold corrosion in bad places. Many of these birds are old, old, old. Just about anything else can be dealt with as long as the airframe is not ate up. Corrosion is a biggeee, or at least I think it is the single most factor when looking to purchase an aircraft.
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"If we do not hang together, we shall certainly hang separately"

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#3122 - 03/02/10 06:05 AM Re: Most common problem to look for when purchasing? [Re: apogee]
Wayne W Offline
Safety Pilot

Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 70
Loc: West Texas
There is corrosion and then there is CORROSION. Most three decade old air planes will have some light corrosion inside the wings, empennage and tail cone. If the presents of corrosion is noted as a light powder look more closely. If you see instances of deep pockets of corrosion be concerned, get an expert to make the call on wheather of not the corrosion is going to be expensive to repair. Just a light coat of dust can easily be cleaned up and treated with Corrosion-X or similar products. Donít run away from what may be a good airplane until you know that the corrosion is really bad.

If your sheet metal man tells you that it is bad donít buy the plane Ė at any price.
_________________________
Happy Landings
Wayne
Visit my website..... http://wings.esisupply.com

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#5051 - 04/01/10 04:55 AM Re: Most common problem to look for when purchasing? [Re: Wayne W]
Hawkie23U Offline
Safety Pilot

Registered: 02/24/10
Posts: 21
Loc: California
When looking for my 172M, I had the opportunity to buy what I thought was a great aircraft. The A&P I chose did a prebuy. It was the best money I spent even though I did not buy after what he told me. We spent two hours over lunch going over his findings! I learned a lot. When I found another aircraft, I knew the questions to ask and what to look for in the search. I think it really helped to have a mechanic who owned a Cessna 172 and spends a lot to time working on Cessnas. Log books tell many things...but comparing planes such as those sold by Van Bortel and others give you an idea what the best and worst cases can be. Airframe and engine head the list of important items...the interior and paint can always be redone. If you can find the electronic upgrades you want, all the better. Instruments that have not been upgraded or redone can be problematic...and they are not cheap to redo or replace. Hangared aircraft are great as well as one owner...no flight school aircraft...but, I am sure you have to look case by case.

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#6731 - 04/27/10 09:08 AM Re: Most common problem to look for when purchasing? [Re: Hawkie23U]
RodneyHooverCFI Offline
The Cessna Sensei
Gold Pilot

Registered: 02/17/10
Posts: 1646
Loc: Pasadena, MD
I always figured they didn't use to corrosion proof the inside of planes because they didn't build them with the expectation that they'd still be flying 20+ years later. The newer Cessnas I've seen have primer everywhere though. My A&P buddy has told me a few times about doing a pre-buy on a plane, took the wingtip off and looked in it and took a bit to figure out why it didn't look right inside. He then realized that the pile of dust in there was all that was left of one rib.
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Flight Instructor- ASEL and Instrument Airplane
Commercial Pilot with Instrument Rating- ASEL & AMEL
Assistant Chief Instructor at W00, Freeway Aviation.
States I've flown to-

Airport list map:
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#13348 - 10/18/10 10:34 PM Re: Most common problem to look for when purchasing? [Re: RodneyHooverCFI]
Dutchess Flier Offline
New Member

Registered: 07/15/10
Posts: 14
Loc: Hudson Valley NY
A plane that has been treated with Corrosion-X will tend to weep some of that material out of the crevices and spaces around various bolt throughs in the plane. Generally not an issue.
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1979 172N N9426E
Air Plains 180 Conversion
Animal Rescue Flight Pilot
Instrument Student

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#13350 - 10/19/10 02:27 AM Re: Most common problem to look for when purchasing? [Re: Dutchess Flier]
Steve Offline
New Member

Registered: 01/26/10
Posts: 4
Loc: Brooklyn, New York
How much should I expect to pay an A&P for a thorough pre-buy inspection on a 172?

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#13356 - 10/19/10 08:29 AM Re: Most common problem to look for when purchasing? [Re: Steve]
Nightowl Offline
Club Sponsor/Speed Demon
Gold Pilot

Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 1826
Loc: Northwest lower Michigan
That's an interesting question. Some folks insist that you should have an annual inspection done, as long as the seller agrees to pay for clearing up any discrepancies that are found. This owner, were I to become a seller, would probably not readily agree to that, since given carte blanche, some mechanics could easily generate a pretty expensive list.

Having owned three airplanes in the past, when it came time to buy number four, we knew that the 30-35 year old airplanes we were evaluating were not going to be perfect, but we did demand that there be no airworthiness issues.

No damage history? Be real. You're not going to find that in airplanes 30+ years old that have been flown regularly. What you do want to see (and a good mechanic can check this) is that any damage has been repaired using proper procedures and materials.

You can rule out a lot of airplanes before getting to the pre-buy stage by thoroughly going over logs yourself or having a mechanic do it for you. You can spot trouble here or at least identify areas that need more thorough inspection. You might find enough potential trouble that you choose to pass on an airplane and keep looking. We did that with many airplanes before we finally found one worthy of actually getting to the pre-buy stage. Since by then we'd already gotten to know this airplane's maintenance history pretty well, we had a pretty simple pre-buy done. Look for corrosion and any significant structural problems, check engine compression, examine the oil filter, check tires and brakes, make sure everything in the cockpit works properly, and so forth. Our "targeted" pre-buy took about 3 hours and cost around $175. We'd spent more money having airplanes (that we decided to reject) appraised. That was five years and nearly 500 hours ago, and we've not not had any reason to regret buying this airplane.

Do your homework, look over the logs and ownership history of any airplane you're considering. Don't rely on others to do this for you. Get to know what you're buying, and don't be in a hurry. Do be careful, there's a lot of junk out there.

John


Edited by Nightowl (10/19/10 08:32 AM)
_________________________
CP-ASEL-IA
'77 C172N, AirPlains 180 hp conversion

Our sigmap has been flown entirely using aircraft with capabilities at or below those of the C-172.


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#13593 - 10/23/10 02:00 PM Re: Most common problem to look for when purchasing? [Re: Nightowl]
RickG Offline
Pilot in Command

Registered: 09/30/10
Posts: 398
Loc: Durham, NC
This is all great advice and a good way to double-check my own work as I'm not too far away from closing on a 1964 172E. As John indicated, you find the right balance of questions to ask as well as how to prioritize your findings after you've looked at a couple of planes. You'll find that some sellers are very hands-on (i.e. they know everything going on with their plane), and others where you'll end up teaching them things about their own a/c in the process. I learned one item that should not be overlooked during the pre-purchase phase is the prop. You should know if (and how many times) the prop has been overhauled, and whether any changes have made to the pitch, changing it from a standard issue, to climb or cruise performance. If there is any question as to the condition of the prop (other than visually, one indicator would be regular entries in the log books that the prop had been touched up / dressed during annual inspections), I believe it should be addressed by the seller and not something you negotiate to take care of yourself after the fact. A thorough overhaul is +- $550 (pretty reasonable in the scheme of things), but once that prop is off, should any findings be made with regard to cracks, fatigue etc. it can't go back on the airplane ... and you could be stuck having to spend thousands of $$$ on either a new (or used) propeller.

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