Online Community of Zenith Builders and Flyers
I have come to the conclusion that I suck as an aircraft builder and maintainer. Everything I try to do on my plane turns into a long, painful nightmare. Replacing one of my fuel senders was no exception.
I am posting my story in the hope that something in it might be beneficial to someone.
Since I wanted to include multiple photos I had to write it on my old blog.
Great blog, Gary! It would have come across almost funny except spilling blood everywhere is no laughing matter! Ha!
As you well know, there have been other reports of the sender's central insulator falling apart. I'm (wishfully!) thinking that hopefully it was a bad batch. My senders are likely 8-9 years old and installed about 7 yrs ago. I "think" I put EZ Turn on the screws and have never had a leak so far. Here's hoping! ;>)
I painted my 750 STOL prior to final assembly and painted the top root wing skin separately. I fueled the plane after assembly and let it sit for a few days to check for leaks before riveting the top root skin, so its paint is not fused to the surrounding wing skins. I had already determined (and your blog reinforces it!) that if I ever have to change the senders, I'm going to drill out the rivets of the top root skin and remove it so I can comfortably change the sender out ... hopefully with a minimum of blood-letting!
Thanks for posting!
Thanks for the kind words, John.
It does sound kind of funny after the fact...
It seems everythind i do on the plane has a similar story. In retrospect, when you deal with constant physical pain, building an aircraft is probably not a smart project to take on.
Still, I do love flying it!
Gary the best thing you did each of those days was to walk away when you couldn’t take it anymore. I’m always tempted to keep trying and that’s when the expensive mistakes occur.
Hang in there man!
Gary I've been maintaining aircraft for 50 years now and you are not alone in your nightmare. I believe sometimes these things are possessed. Tom
I've had to replace my senders twice in 300 hrs, they are a pain. I installed access holes in my wing root panels as I'm pretty sure this is an ongoing problem. Cheers,,,,,,,, Lynn
dont be so hard on yourself
i had a fuel link in one of my tanks on my 601XLB
thought it was the drain valve
had to remove the tank, there was a pinhole leak in the weld of the fuel drain outlet
first guy that was repairing my weld turned a pinhole into a hole the size of a dime!
the next guy I took it to was a “artist” and fixed the now dime sized hole perfectly.
taking out the tank was not a minor project either!
some times things just don’t like you want it to.
I’m thankful I am able to do these repairs without paying an A&P a small fortune to do it.
You're certainly right about the cost.
For grins I looked at the price for a fuel sender on a Cessna. If recall correctly is was around $800. Probably another $500 plus for the install.
My total cost was $43....