Getting 108-3 N6635M back into the air
He Just arrived today. The previous owner named him "Sunset Sammy" because his wife liked that song. I didn't recognise the song but I sure recognised that tall big tail as the gentleman who sold him to me towed Sammy up our runway toward my hangar.
I have to get used to a male name for the first airplane I have ever owned. My wife and I have had a habit of naming our cars, trucks and minivans over the years and they have always been female names. Like ships. Sammy has had his moniker so long I do not want to change it now.
He barely got into my hangar because the left hand door (as you face it) will not open all the way. There's something wrong with the track somewhere. But we jockeyed Sammy around and moved a few things twice and just squeaked him in.
The gentleman who sold him to me left smiling. But I know he and his wife had a strong sentimental attachment to it. He kept pointing out the several Oshkosh stickers on the side window and told me many stories of his exploits in Sammy.
I am proud he said he and his wife know it is going to a good home.
So now that the paperwork is done and the money paid, he is all mine. Whew. As are all the problems. This evening I just sat there and stared at him. My airplane. My project. Wow. Gulp.
I would like to use this thread as a sort of daily log to chronicle what I do and what I learn as I work toward getting Sammy flying after many years of hibernation. I hope you come along and offer advice, criticism and constructive input.
Looks like fuel will be the first issue. The underwing drain cocks were stuck and when I jiggled one free a thick reddish syrup began oozing out. I assume it used to be gas. The previous owner said he used non-ethanol car gas. This has sat in there a long time. The fuel selector is stuck as well. looks like a fuel system disassembly and cleaning will be the first item on the list. The fuel filter is empty, so I hope the carb was spared the gunky syrup treatment.
Fuel will be an issue down here in Columbus. From what he told me there was one place that he knows where he got non-ethanol gas...In Las Cruces about 150 miles round trip. Going to have to get a 55 gallon drum and a pump on my trailer.
Welcome to the Stinson family, Bruce. Two best days of aircraft ownership; the day you buy it and the day you sell it. But there are a lot of good days in between. Show us some pictures! Links in your post didn't work for me. You've got a late serial # so your airplane is just a baby.
Dennis Crenshaw. N6102M.
Thanks, Dennis. I heard that same thing about boat owners. Guess we are all in the same boat, so to speak. Our neighbor told my wife that a man with a plane is a man with a mistress. Guess she speaks from experience as her hubby had several planes over the years. Now, unfortunately he has grown too old and what he has now is amazing stories and fading memories. But no more mistresses.
I have lots of pics but haven't yet learned how to put them into a post *. Coming soon, I hope. Thank you for reading and answering my post! Looking forward to many conversations.
* Oh! I just figured it out! How to get pics into a post. Here is one of me at Chino Airport ca. 1973 working on Ed Maloney's SNJ-5 that had been made to "look like" a Zero for the movie Tora Tora Tora. I was unconverting it. A group of Japanese tourists came by and gave me the head band and took this pic. I don't know if it was an honor or if I was a laughing stock. I loved flying that airplane.
Are you sure of Sammy's gender? It could be a nickname for Samantha.
Bob PicardN6346M Stinson 108-3 Floats/Skis/Wheels
N48923 Taylorcraft L-2B skis/WheelsAnchor Point, Alaska
Thank goodness I am sure of Sammy's gender.
Bob, as a retired teacher I have been to enough "training sessions" to know not to ask Sammy what he/she/it is. I learned it is illegal for me to ask. I can, however, ask Sammy to give me a list of his/her/its preferred pronouns. Of course if Sammy is "questioning", none of them may be valid at any given time.
So instead, I will just rely on the gentleman who sold Sammy to me. Sammy is a he. But now that I think about it, the person who sold Sammy to me may not want to be referred to as a gentleman. I don't know. I forgot to ask. However as a retired teacher I am glad to have Sammy's gender settled before he came into my class.
God Bless teachers who have to deal with this stuff every year/semester/quarter/week/day.
Today was a good day. I rolled Sammy out of the hangar and rearranged things so he fits better. I don't have a concrete apron in front of the hangar. It is gravel and it slopes. I didn't realize how heavy Sammy would be and it literally took me, the gentleman who sold him to me, a good neighbor and my wife to roll him up that gravel slope and tuck him into my crowded hangar on the day he was delivered. There would be no way Cathy and I could push him in ourselves.
So yesterday Cathy and I took a trip to El Paso (one hour east from Columbus) and stopped by Harbor Freight (A good friend calls it the "Chinese Toolbox"). I got an electric winch. I bolted it to the back center post of the hangar and voila! I backed Sammy in while relaxing in a chair. Absolutely effortless.
Soon I will uncowel him and begin work on the fuel selector issue.
Oh, and the left hand door issue is solved. It now opens wide.
I believe the issue was one of the bolts holding down the angle iron that serves as a bottom guide for the door had backed out, causing the door to stop when it hit it. My "Chinese Toolbox" friend was here yesterday trying to open the door and made a bit of screeching progress. But it still didn't go. This morning another friend gave it a try and it opened up perfectly.
My thinking is that friend A weakened the bolt enough that friend B was able to pop it out or snap it off when he tried. It's the pickle jar lid scenario where you try and try and cant open it and then your wife pops it right open. "I must have loosened it!"
I meant the left hand hangar door not the airplane door.
Good day today. I got the top and bottom cowels off and began work in the cockpit to reach the stuck fuel selector.
My friend Jim who used to be a bush pilot in AK came by to help me remove the lower cowl so I didn't drop it on the floor. My other friend Chuck who just sold a fine 61 year old Skylane came by and says he now wants a Stinson too. Said he found one he likes in Washington. I said we could make a trip of it.
Anyway I took out the carpet and the center fairing that has the MFG plate fairing under the instrument panel.
I think the carpet is not original. Was it the same mohair as the sides and top of the cabin? In any case I hope to get it replaced with a more original material. Here is the MFG plate.
Now I have access to the fuel selector:
This makes me wonder why Stinson chose to make these complicated fuel connections in the cabin instead of forward of the firewall. Any potential fuel leaks would be better in front of the firewall rather than in the cabin, no?
And that's why it is recommended to disassemble the valve in situ instead of disconnecting the fuel lines and risk twisting the aluminum pipe.
I would rather have a fuel leak inside the cabin with me, rather than one out in the engine compartment with the exhaust pipe.
Taking Carl's point, I spent some time researching all I could find about Stinson 108-3 fuel valves with the intent to overhaul it "in situ". According to the comprehensive Stinson 108 parts catalog
mine is part number 44745.
Putting "Stinson fuel valve 44745" into Google brought me to Larry Wheelock's detailed post on this forum that gives instructions.
I removed the tube coming from the selector knob and looked closely at the assembly. There is no nut, just a rounded cap with two flats.
I soaked the valve liberally with PB Blaster three times over the course of the evening. Then I tried a wrench. 7/8 seems to fit snugly.
Yes, I was upside down, leaning through the left hand door, back arched, one foot on the ground and the other pumping air, tugging for all I had and it...finally...broke...free!
Here's the cap. The rest is still in the selector. I knocked off for the day deciding that was one victory enough for this evening. I will attack the rest of it in a day or two.
Yay! Whenever I do this kind of work I put a piece of 2x6 wood on top of an inverted white plastic bucket and put the tail wheel on top of the wood. It really makes it easier to work in that area.