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PIREP Rebuilt PA 28 151 Fuel Tanks

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Feb 15, 2012
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The fuel necks on my 74 Warrior 180 were corroded. The caps would not seal well and water got into the tanks if left outside in the rain. Plus, I was getting flecks of rust in my sump screen on preflight. I was concerned that if I was flying through heavy rain, especially IFR for a long time, that water could get into the tanks in flight. The flecks were of course not welcome to see and made me uneasy, though I never picked any up in the inner fuel drain (early Warriors have four fuel drains) or gascolator.

Woodstock sold out to New England Aero Service in Danielson, Connecticut. The owner is Gerry Sikes. 860-774-0602. Email for the office manager and apparent girl Friday who does most of the coordination is Michelle. <[email protected]>. There is also a website just google the name.

They have a partial open price which preserves the paint and cost $2390 for two tanks, which included replacement seal for several weeping rivets. The new stainless steel filler necks were $1053.88 for two. Two types of sealant and other parts plus shop supplies cost $656.67. Bottom line, bill at the end plus shipping two tanks home was $4398.50. They turned me around in a week from receipt. Very good operation.

To protect the tanks you need to buy their shipping cartons, which are reusable, for $110.00 each. The empty cartons plus shipping was about $620 to start out. Shipping the tanks back cost about $666.18 Same price for UPS or FedX due to the size of the cartons. Shipping the completed tanks back to me was $285.62, included in the above total. Be sure to insure for $3K per tank. That is what it costs to rebuild if damaged in shipping. If feasible, I would recommend driving or flying rather than shipping. In that case you could skip the cartons if careful, otherwise, I had over $1.5 AMUs just in shipping.

Of course, there is the removal and reinstall by my A&P. I planned to have the tanks removed for SB 1006 anyway. So that helped to make sense of the rebuild at this time. Note that SB 1006 says replace the flexible fuel lines. They were pretty gnarly and basically disintegrated upon touch. I had an OMIGOD, have I been flying with those? moments. Out of sight--out of mind--is dangerous! The early Warrior years with the fuel manifolds have more lines than later PA 28s. All told, 17 hours labor at $75/hr for removal of the tanks, prep for shipping, reinstall and fabrication of new flexible fuel lines.

The fuel necks have always rusted. My old Cherokee Hints and Tips book says some people coated them with Primer. I considered POR-15. In the end, I decided it was important enough to just do it right. The reason for the corrosion is that the fuel neck is actually below wing level where water can sit. The new stainless steel fuel necks actually sit "proud" above the wing surface. See pix. Much better design. See pix.

Overall, I was pleased with the work and service and the money was just money. Simple explanation to the Home-Six was: Its about safety, honey, Needed to be done. She always accepts that, without question.
 

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