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Compromised spar lip

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23 Sep 2021 10:10 #1 by Chris Carlisle
Replied by Chris Carlisle on topic Compromised spar lip
Well, it looks like that now, since the cat's out of the bag, I'm fairly screwed as far as selling the plane as an airworthy unit goes. There are basically 2 schools of opinion from a host of people who've looked at it now that it's home with the wings off so a good inspection can be had.

Some say that this is such a common problem as to be almost universal in Ercoupes below a certain serial #, ie the ones with the tubular steel gear legs instead of the cast aluminum I-beam style. The cups that retain the rubber shock absorbing discs are stretched enough over a life of landings and takeoffs so that they contact the rear spar lip and at least bow it out if not crack it. There are apparently many others like mine that have been repaired in the field (hopefully by a more qualified mechanic who did a better job) that are signed off year after year at their annual inspections without a problem.

The other school says that because the damage involves the spar, even if it's the rear lip, which is a cast part, and even if that rear lip is not considered structural because it's made of thinner material than the front lip, there is no way it can be considered passable and the entire spar requires replacement. If that's the case, then even if school 1 has a chance of being right, there's no way my conscience would let me sell it to an innocent buyer without full disclosure of the disagreement and if I were that buyer, I'd definitely walk away.

So, I can let someone trailer it off into the sunset with wings off as a repairable plane, or just part it out, probably for about half of what it would have been worth. Anyone out there need a project? :)

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08 Sep 2021 00:33 #2 by Carl Ziegler AP IA
Replied by Carl Ziegler AP IA on topic Compromised spar lip
If indeed those show a cutout and stop drilling of the lower spar cap web, the prebuy mechanic knows what he was looking at. You may have a problem if that is the case.
carl

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29 Aug 2021 18:27 #3 by Chris Carlisle
Replied by Chris Carlisle on topic Compromised spar lip
Thanks. That's kinda what I figured. Sounds like a mechanic with an issue.

Chris

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29 Aug 2021 16:40 #4 by Michael Hainen
Replied by Michael Hainen on topic Compromised spar lip
Keep on flying it, or sell it to the next guy. Remember "opinions are like ???...???", $15K repair, sounds like an under 40 silversponn mechanic that grew up working on Cirrus and late model Beechcrafts.
Next buyer should be aware that finding the perfect 75 year old Ercoupe is a Unicorn roundup.

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28 Aug 2021 14:30 #5 by Chris Carlisle
Compromised spar lip was created by Chris Carlisle
So 4 different mechanics including an instructor at the local VoTech A&P school have been passing my 415C, SN #507 for 4 years worth of annuals now.  I'm interested in selling and before I could even put it on the market, a word-of-mouth buyer looked and was very interested.  However, his mechanic says that the spar lip is compromised as a result of this riveted patch behind the left main gear leg.  It was there when I bought the plane 4 yrs ago.  The pics show where it was riveted along the lip of the spar just behind where the trailing link strut enters the spar box.  The circumstances of how it happened or what damage may have required such an admittedly sloppy repair are not documented in the logs.

Now I'm left with 1 out of 5 opinions suggesting that it should be grounded.  His estimate of repair costs is in the $15-$20k range, presumably because it would entail replacing the entire center box containing the spar. If correct, it's obviously not worth it and the plane would have to be parted out.  Airframe total time is about 3k hours.

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