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Cessna corrosion

Hi guys,

Looking at a low priced Cessna 172 which offers some scope to improve. Various issues listed but one can put a number on them fairly easily. (Note: logbooks missing pre 2000)

Now for the fun. It’s non Reims, so no corrosion proofing. Word from a ‘competitor (mechanic)’ of the gentleman selling it describes it as a rust bucket (in effect), whereas agent, has articulated limited are of corrosion. I don’t believe either side!

To what degree can the corrosion & fatigue be fully evaluated in a pre-purchase? What depth of an inspection is required to grasp true state? and finally, what is the ‘maximum’ financial damage to typically fixing corrosion & fatigue that could not be found in a pre-buy?

DMEarc

Cessna recently issued SID’s (Special Inspection Document) for many of their models including the 172. Some registers have taken this as mandatory but it is not. I know the American Register say they are voluntary not mandatory. The cost of an SID on a 172 is reckoned to be around £12K plus the cost of repairing what they find.
It might be worth having the SID done then you would be certain of the condition of the aircraft.
The elephant in the room is “who pays”.

EGNS/Garey Airstrip, Isle of Man

If there’s no logs how do you know the age of the lifed items?

It would need to be seriously cheap, I once travelled a LONG way to look at an aircraft we had negotiated a price on, and walked away when the logbooks were found to be incomplete.

Darley Moor, Gamston (UK)

>If there’s no logs how do you know the age of the lifed items?

I think the traditional solution to that is: you stay with the same maintenance company for ever

They are not going to shoot themselves in the foot, having signed off the preceeding X Annuals.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Guys, thanks for the input. Can I focus the conversation a bit. What is the ‘max’ financial damage to fix something on a c172, that could not be found in the 500 quid pre-buy.

Put another way, to what degree of confidence can one have that the pre-buy will find the issues?

>What is the ‘max’ financial damage to fix something on a c172, that could not be found in the 500 quid pre-buy.

The price of another C172 minus the value of the existing aircraft in parts.

If the aircraft has no logs pre-2000, you need to make sure of AD compliance by some other means – like post-2000 logbook entries that indicate somebody verified AD compliance by physical inspection, government records etc. How thoroughly the logs were ‘reconstructed’ in terms of AD compliance is important.

Lifed items would not normally be an issue on a 172, there basically aren’t any, except if the government of aircraft registry requires stuff arbitrarily – like 12 year engine overhauls. Mags and vacuum pump are basically disposable/replaceable and have probably been done since 2000. You’d need to verify that.

The price needs to reflect the lack of logs – its going to be an issue when you resell some day.

>Put another way, to what degree of confidence can one have that the pre-buy will find the issues?

The pre-buy will not find all the issues, but if you’re lucky it will identify any major issues. I think about 50/50 confidence in relation to corrosion, or significantly better if you tell a good mechanic that corrosion is a particular concern and pay him to look for as long he needs.

> Put another way, to what degree of confidence can one have that the pre-buy will find the issues?

not a lot. Three years ago a pre-buy failed to highlight ADs that had not been complied with resulting in a +€20k bill when I bought my Cherokee. Minor issues admittedly – such as cracked main gear on both sides and a whole raft of other problems.

EHLE / Lelystad, Netherlands, Netherlands

For a prebuy you need an engineer who

  • is highly familiar with the type, and
  • is working for you and nobody else

I would expect to pay €1000 for a prebuy. The inspection should be equivalent to an Annual.

One way to deal with it is to agree that you (the buyer) pays for an Annual but the seller pays for any remedial work found. The seller can hardly argue with that because to argue against it amounts to saying that the plane is full of worms which he doesn’t want you to find out about

Of course the Annual needs to be done at your company, not his

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

The lack of logs will make it unattractive to many buyers. Obviously that effect wears off a bit over the years, but it’s still a cloud over a potential sale. If there really is any significant corrosion the cost of fixing it will never be reflected in the value in the future.

It is easy to buy an aircraft for £30K, spend £20K on it, and have an aircraft worth £35K

If you want something to keep forever, it’s a different equation, place your own price on the “known quantity” of an aircraft you have nurtured.

Darley Moor, Gamston (UK)

Ok, passed on this. Will look out for a corrosion protected aircraft. Thanks guys for your valuable input.

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