Eliza: Pygmalion overhaul

I've started the process of overhauling Eliza, my 1965 PA28-180(160, upgraded engine.)

An avionics and autopilot upgrade of course, immediately snowballed:

  • "If we have to take most of the interior, we might as well replace it.
  • "This overhead console is illegal, might as well replace that."
  • "I guess while we are at it, all this plastic is junk"
  • "Shoulder harness seat belts would be nice..."
  • ETC.

In the end:

  • Airtex Interior and insulation
  • Alpha aviation inertial real shoulder harnesses.
  • Almost entirely new plastic.
  • Last Gillen-phx overhead trim STC'd handle. Ever.
  • LED lamps all around.
  • Complete Avionics upgrade.
  • Paint and refurb all metal trim pieces.
  • New side and rear windows.

Currently, we are stripping the plane down. We have made a first pass with scrapers and Xylene. I tested several solvents. I refuse to work with MEK, and the paint strippers are all pretty noxious. Xylene makes the glue peel off in sheets.

Next pass is red scotch brite, and then a blowout and vaccum before taping things off for a Zinc Phosphate priming. I'm sure people have some opinions regarding Zinc Chromium, but I have some strong feelings about hexavalent chromium.





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Comments

  • Good work. You and your airplane will appreciate all that you've put into it. It will be safe and beautiful. And the dollar-shock will go away over time. I started my interior last winter by replacing headliner, windows and window molding. This winter I'm doing carpeting, wall panels, seat covers and seat belts. We will both love our airplanes! :)

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Piper Owner Society Forum Moderator and Pipers Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

  • edited October 2020

    No photos today. Pulled about 5 hours.

    Good news:

    • All the panels have glue removed, and cleaned with scotch brite, xylene wiped down.

    • Just need mineral spirit wipe down. Small amount of glue that I cannot even feel with a finger nail here and there. I'm not doing the full Airmod, because I do not have 4 months. Airtex's advice was that if you can't feel it with a fingernail, paint over it if it is scuffed up, unless corrosion. Seems sound to me given the state of the aircraft.

    • Footwell and rear baggage already squeaky clean. Some easy tape to remove, and probably just a quick scuff and mineral spirits.

    Bad news:

    • $*(## Overhead trim cables. Such a pain to scrape off glue and get around.

    • About three layers of foam double sided tape on front of main spar. I see no evil corrosion there, but getting it off has has been trying as well.

    • Under the seats... Someone kept pulling up carpet and putting down tape. 3 layers. No corrosion that I can see, but from the little I pulled up, I estimate 2 hours per side, plus cleaning the rails and other gunk. Tomorrow I will experiment with lacquer thinner, professional strength goof off to see if they can make the job easier.

    Tomorrow:

    • Conquer footwells and front of spar.
    • Wrap controls in spar box in aluminum foil so I can clean out the area, and prime it. Added benefit: Will not have to pay for the hours for A&P and avionics to do it when mounting auto pilot.
    • Mask and shoot one panel with primer to make sure it's clean enough before I shoot the everything.
  • Good news! :) Thanks for the update... I'm getting ready for a similar project. New carpeting, side panels, seat covers, hat shelf cover, new seat belts, yoke covers. but won't it look nice like yours!!

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Piper Owner Society Forum Moderator and Pipers Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

  • Have not updated in a while. Apologies for the lack of in progress pictures, I have been moving fast, but meticulously. This did not leave much time for pictures.

    - Priming done,
    - Insulation in.

    The windows:

    I am now replacing the side windows. Did things a little different than Scott did. Not necessarily better but, different.

    https://piperowner.org/arrow-side-window-replacement

    As this is allowed under the FAR’s for owner maint, I undertook this myself:

    "( 13) Replacing side windows where that work does not interfere with the structure or any operating system such as controls, electrical equipment, etc"

    Choosing the windows was done in consultation with Great Lakes Aero products. We choose the 3/16" windows. The 1/4" windows were said to require drilling the retainers, and I did not want to over complicate the project. I went with the formed for a better fit.

    (https://www.aircraftwindshieldstore.com/rear-side-window-formed-2136/)

    Preparation:

    I removed the tar tape and silicone( Pretty sure it was RTV), an 8 process. Naptha worked well, and was less noxious than MEK. Also, it was listed as a solvents that would not harm the windows.

    An attempted adventure with foam tape cost me $90 for a new window after it would not fit. May be a problem with older cherokees, however this I moved to the Bostik 1100 FS after some research.

    Piper recommends this is SB's (https://www.barteltaviation.com/pdf/Piper/Piper-SB-977-Inspection-of-Wing-Rear-Attach-Fitting.pdf) and some of the newer service manuals.

    I taped the outside of the aircraft leaving a 1/8” gap. I fitted the inside of the windows, and found they were too large.

    The trimming was a a bit complicated. I removed the width by trimming from from the long edge. I trimmed the height by trimming both sides, as not to unbalance the angle of the rear corner.

    I used a bandsaw with a teeth per inch so fine I could barely see it. From having cut plexiglass in the past, I did a double layer of 2" wide masking tape folded over end of the glass. This was to prevent splintering and cracking. It also gave me a surface to mark my cuts on.

    After test fitting, and few additional trims, I de-burred the edges with sandpaper.

    The first window was shimmed and masked on the outside with a 1/8" gap. I masked the inside as well, inside the retainer. This step was later omitted, as I had difficult removing the tape when a bit snuck under the retainer.

    Installation:

    I preheated the airplane with two space heaters to warm the aluminum. The airplane was draped in plastic, and moving blankets laid on top to retain the heat.

    I peeled the paper facing on the windows back just enough to fit them, and used masking tape to hold the paper away from the edges. This was so I did not scrape the windows during installation.

    Bostik 1100 FS was applied to the window frames. I noticed fitting the first window that it was important not to be stingy with the sealant. The edges of the window tilt inward, resulting in a gap that requires of a bit of sealant to fill. The top especially was not filled in a manner I viewed as proper.

    A refit with more sealant was better. I pushed the retainers carefully into place. The sealant extruded on the outside of the windows, which I had expected. I screwed the retainers in.

    Naptha was used on the outside to remove the Bostik, leaving a 1/4" line. After 15 minutes the tape was removed. This process was repeated on the other side.

    After letting the windows set overnight, I removed the paper from the windows. I did a check be removing the retainers, and all gaps were well filled. If doubt they will leak again.

    One note, people on a few boards have expressed dismay at removing Bostik 1100 FS after it has set. A simple way to do it is to take a dental pick, and poke a hole carefully to the outside. Then take two dental picks and pull the window away just a bit. Pop a needle threaded with super tack, or 40lb + fishing wire. Use this like a cheese grater with a helper, and it will be out in seconds.
  • Nice job! Thanks for posting your procedure and outcome. Fantastico!

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Piper Owner Society Forum Moderator and Pipers Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

  • I can still smell the aerospace grade PRC sealant from when I reinstalled my windows. Your airplane is going to be beautiful.

    Jim "Griff" Griffin
    PA28 - 161
    Chicago area

  • edited November 2020
    Thanks!

    One question: Pilots window. I am having a devil of a time prepping to tape and seal that.

    The difficulty is reaching it. The wing is ~ 80” long at that point. Of course, no wing walk up that side.

    Does anyone know any tricks?
  • Here's how my A&P did it last January. I hope this helps.

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Piper Owner Society Forum Moderator and Pipers Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

  • Thanks Scott!

  • So, the airplane is finally headed towards the shop. Will send pictures when I get them.

    Sorry about the lack of pics. Like I mentioned, I was really pushing to get the plane out the door.

    I used Scott's photo to put several layers of cardboard , furniture pads, and a sheet of plywood on top (The cardboard and furniture pads to contour and even out the weight.)

    I've moved the CG forward a bit in the plane through Mackinaw island fudge runs, so I was wary of laying completely down on the wing. I used a step stool for one foot, and did a "Captain Morgan" on the wing with the other foot, tilted slight backward so I would not fall on the wing if I lost balance.

    It went pretty smoothly. Complete coverage with the Bostik 1100 FS, but actually a little over zealous. While nothing extruded on the inside, the outside was a different story.

    Before that, I painted all the trim. Zing phosphate, and rattle can satin to roughly match the finish and avoid light reflections.

    Turned outed out well, but scratched a piece putting in the pilots window. Windows trim after 60 years of annuals was difficult to fit in the right order, even with pictures.

    Monday the 7th it should be in the shop. Mark Evans @ Evans avionics said "Going in with cable cutters and tin snips to gut that panel will be therapeutic." I asked to join in on that, we shall see.

  • edited December 2020

    Pearl Harbor day! Good luck. :)

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Piper Owner Society Forum Moderator and Pipers Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

  • exciting !! keep the updates coming :)

    1967 PA28-140

  • edited December 2020
    Now that my work is done( for now), some pictures of the new stack.

    We also needed a new eyebrow glareshield.

    https://share.icloud.com/photos/0xqGuJf1DkovzC7_nkuTGk47A

    Found a nice on knots2u. Pricy, but worth it I hope.

    The video has Mr Evans at Evans Avionics in Traverse City. He and his crew are doing an amazing job.
  • Looking forward to see finish product 👍

    1967 PA28-140

  • Looks awesome! :)

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Piper Owner Society Forum Moderator and Pipers Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

  • Panel cutout and being sent for Cerakote:
  • Thanks for the pic! :)

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Piper Owner Society Forum Moderator and Pipers Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

  • The avionics are on the bench, and the wiring harness is being fabricated.

  • Just in time for Christmas, the harness is done:

  • Have a jar of Ragu? Looks great, Merry Christmas!

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Piper Owner Society Forum Moderator and Pipers Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

  • **Seats!
    **

    The old seats had to go. Mostly because they looked like this:


    I chose to re-upholster the rear, and replace the front and re-upholster.

    A couple notes on this:

    On the older cherokees, you have a limited choice of seats. The seats I had:

    These are short back, and no headrests. Some of them are theortically drilled or have sockets for headrests. But probably not.

    These seats are also an option:

    These are the ones I really wanted. I also really want a $50,000 Dakota with under 2,500 hours, and no damage history. Like the tooth fairy, neither of these exist.

    However, a deeper dig presented some interesting options. Piper seems to have made some of the first seats that were:

    A. Two inches taller
    B. Had headrest sockets.

    You can tell because the front bottom bar is at the very bottom instead of a couple inches off the bottom.

    Also they are... two inches taller and have headrests.

    One huge note: You cannot use the adjustable piston seats on early Cherokees. Unless you want to get new seat rails (McFarlane makes universal rails) and pay to get them installed & approved.) I tested this, and they didn't work. I'm sure UPS appreciated the $160 it took to ship them back.

    **Seat Rollers, and hardware.
    **

    I cleaned and refurbished the seat rollers today.

    I bought a couple of very cheap wrecked seats that still had the rollers on them for donors.

    The reason for this is that the front rollers w/bushings are available from McFarlane, but was having trouble finding the rear rollers with bearings.

    I used these donor parts, the existing seat parts and parts from the new seats to fix the rollers properly.

    Why all the parts? I've found Piper seat roller assemblies are like badly restored art.

    People have had a lot of ideas about how they should go together over the last 60 years. Some of them are wrong, some of them are dangerous, and a combination of these ideas is probably holding your seats down.

    First thing is first, remove the rollers.

    Once the rollers are removed, I sorted the parts.

    Some of the rear seat rollers were frozen. Those went into the reject pile.

    The rear seat rollers also seemed to come in two different styles: Ones with a removable cap that you could take apart, and a pressed on cap that was one piece.

    Also, I called these "rollers" in the loosest sense of the word. I'm pretty sure they are just bearings with spacers. There part numbers are on them, and you could probably source replacements in accordance with Advisory Circular 23-27 (https://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Advisory_Circular/AC_23-27.pdf).

    Some of the front roller bushing were stuck into the rollers. Some of them were flattened. Those went into the reject pile.

    The front seat rollers come in two different diameters. I lucked out, and all mine were the same diameter.

    I struggled cleaning the first ones in the hangar with the tools there. Then I had an epiphany. What is good at cleaning small hole with caked on dirt? Gun cleaning kits. This works amazingly well.

    A little Hoppes foaming barrel cleaning, and a 10 minute break works wonders.

    Use a barrel swab for the first pass on the inside, and some patches to follow those up until they came out clean. Get the gunk off the outside with some patches as well.

    Shiny! Lather, rinse and repeat for spacers, bolts, and bushings.

    Front rollers can be caked in dirt. Looks like paint... actually dirt and grease compacted in a horrible way. Pull out the scotch bright, and a finger nail to scrape it off.

    To re-assemble, this is the correct sequence for the front:

    • Lube all parts as follows with 3:1 oil.
    • Lube the inside bolt shaft.
    • Lube the outside of the bushing.
    • Lube the inside face of the seat bracket(where the roller and bushing touch.
    • Bolt on the outside, washer and nut on the side, and 1/8 to 1/4 turn more. Quite a few of these are cranked down, distorting the seat bracket. This is probably causing dangerous fatigue in the metal on quite a few planes.
    • Check to make sure the bracket is not bent way out of shape. If needed, carefully use tongue and groove pliers to bend them back with the roller inside to prevent distortion (Based on A&P advice). Get it close enough, don't bend it back and forth looking for a measurement with calipers and weaken the metal.

    The rear ones are assembled like this:

    • If the bearings come apart, put a couple drops of 3:1 oil and spin around a few times.
    • Assemble bearing.
    • Locate, and identify the spacers. The look like the pictures below. They don't look like the bearing caps/races, stack of washers, plastic spacers, or just nothing at all.


    • Lube the bolt.

    • Lube inside of spacers.
    • Lube face of the bracket.
    • Insert bolt just a bit through the bracket(outside of the seat.
    • Capture the first spacer.
    • Put bearing in place.
    • Repeat with the space and bearing.
    • Tighten as with the front. Snug, and just a bit more, but do not crush the bracket. Less is more here.
    • Check to make sure the bracket is not bent way out of shape. If needed, carefully use tongue and groove pliers to bend them back with the roller inside to prevent distortion (Based on A&P advice). Get it close enough, don't bend it back and forth looking for a measurement with calipers and weaken the metal.
    • The above is needed on the rears especially.

    On the rears especially if people have used... "inventive" spacers, there will not be enough room for these parts to fit.

    Carefully bend one side of the bracket with needle nose, and then tight with bolt and nut to bring the clearence back in if needed. Don't forget to back it off. Bring clearance back into acceptable tolerance on the bracket as with the front.

    We are on the home stretch! A few last items to look at.

    • Pull the seat release up. Wipe the pins on the top to remove grease, and dirt.
    • Add a bit of the 3:1 to the top and bottom. Work until it moves freely.
    • Pull the bolts that attach the top to bottom. Inspect bolt for damage, and check that cotter pins are in place. Replace cotters pins when re-installing. Tightening too much will cause seat to freeze. Should move easily.
    • Lube faces of brackets and bolts lightly.
    • Out of the six seats I had, 4 had no cotter pins. Life would get exciting very quickly if these came apart, so I am glad I took a quick look.

    ** Don't trust me, I am a random stranger on the Internet. As always, the A&P, Shop manual, and FAA are always right.

    ** All work done with my A&P's blessing, and pending inspection as we put the aircraft back together.

  • First, you did an awesome job! Second, thanks for the great post above. I wrote two articles on roller repair and restoration over the last few years and my experiences match yours. I got new McFarlane rollers and misc parts through Knots 2 U, which carries them. Knots2U is at my home airport and I can walk in and get what i want without a delay so I usually do that. Anyway, you're getting your dream of a new plane, one part at a time! Same as I am. I'm currently finishing replacing wall panels in my Arrow with seat restoration in a few months. Fly safe and healthy. :)

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Piper Owner Society Forum Moderator and Pipers Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

  • Scott: I think that I used parts of yours as a guide, credit where credit is due.

  • Thanks Jessica! We're all in this together, lol. Stay healthy!

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Piper Owner Society Forum Moderator and Pipers Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

  • Another thing that works well with small parts is an inexpensive ultrasonic cleaner. Partially fill it with water, heat it to 40C. Place the parts in a small pickle jar and fill with gun cleaner until covered. Put the closed jar in the cleaner and turn on the ultrasound for ~ 10 min.

    Thanks for sharing all the photos and steps in the process.

    This is a Lock and Lock pickle jar with a basket. Works perfect for this application. If you don't have or want an ultrasonic machine you can put them in, seal tight and shake it.

    This type and size of cleaner:
    https://www.amazon.com/CO-Z-Professional-Ultrasonic-Instrument-Commercial/dp/B075FTFD3R/ref=sr_1_11_sspa?crid=23Q2UY71GZZM0&dchild=1&keywords=ultrasonic+cleaner&qid=1609350453&sprefix=ultera,garden,242&sr=8-11-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUExVzJKR09OVk5aSlZRJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwODAzOTU5MVhPSEJKTDlPSEs2MyZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwMDAzNjIyQThWSFY0OVFCTjFMJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfbXRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==

    Eric Panning
    1981 Seneca III
    Hillsboro, OR (KHIO)

  • First power on in the aircraft!

  • Nice!

    Eric Panning
    1981 Seneca III
    Hillsboro, OR (KHIO)

  • She passed the smoke test :) Nice!

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Piper Owner Society Forum Moderator and Pipers Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

    • Panel is done!

    • Piecing together the interior.
    • Yokes still... out to the FAA. Hurry up and wait.
    • I have a HEATER in my hangar!!! That will make things go much quicker.
  • Awesome! :)

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Piper Owner Society Forum Moderator and Pipers Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

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