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Thread: Fuel Leaked on Fuselage

  1. #1

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    Default Fuel Leaked on Fuselage

    I just came across a '56 Tri-pacer on Craigslist yesterday in TX that is interesting. All the photos are shot from the front, rear, and starboard side. Looked really good, however when I called the number in the ad and talked to the seller's rep I found out that it has/had a fuel leak in left side that
    drained fuel all down the side. Needless to say messed up the finish. My question is how difficult is that sort of damage to repair? Does fuel actually damage the fabric/glue, or just the top coats? Showing my novice status here I know. I searched the sight a bit and didn't find any discussion of leaking fuel damage, so if there is pls provide a vector...
    Joe B.
    6344.jpg6346.jpg

  2. #2
    smcnutt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fuel Leaked on Fuselage

    I would assume that would be a clue towards it having a bad finish. Looks like a lot of damage from a fuel leak. Almost looks like paint stripper.

    I'm sure others will know a lot more than me.
    “Common sense is in spite of, not the result of, education.”
    ― Victor Hugo

  3. #3
    Wag-builder's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fuel Leaked on Fuselage

    Did it hurt the glass and do you know what the finish/ covering system is?

  4. #4

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    Default Re: Fuel Leaked on Fuselage

    Quote Originally Posted by Wag-builder View Post
    Did it hurt the glass and do you know what the finish/ covering system is?
    Gentleman said window glass not damaged. Also said no fuel got inside, but in one of the photos there looks like what may be a stain on the headliner behind the back seat along the edge of the shelf area. I haven't gotten a reply as to when last covered and what system used. He said Ceconite fabric in our conversation but didn't elaborate. Apparently the tank quick drain is the cause of the leak, hasn't been repaired. I asked him to verify the drain leaked and not the tank.

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    Wag-builder's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fuel Leaked on Fuselage

    I am no expert, but I am bothered by a couple of things, one if it were the sump drain I would think the damage would be limited to below the wing and aft of the rear door. I would also think that was auto fuel and not Avgas because there is no blue stain. Ask them to check the log book and see if they recorded what the plane was painted with when it was covered.

    I would either go look at it myself, or have someone near by look at it for you. Remove the wing root fairings and look at the fuel lines, because the damage looks like it came from the top side or the fuel lines at the wing root! The rear door is sheetmetal and easy to refinish, and if the seams are not damaged and the fabric not degraded it might be hard to get a finish to adhere to the fabric in those spots, but repairable. Look at the fuel cap, the fuel lines at the wing root and the fuel gauge for evidence of leaks.

    I am sure smarter people than me will offer their help and support soon.

    Best of luck,
    Steve

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    Administrator Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fuel Leaked on Fuselage

    Is this in Wichita Falls? I have seen wings where the fuel tank leaked that messed up the fabric because it set on the fabric for a long time. Hard to tell in this case.

  7. #7
    walt.buskey's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fuel Leaked on Fuselage

    Agreed with Wag-Builder: have those root fairings removed and look in there-- closely.

  8. #8
    Pacer42Z's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fuel Leaked on Fuselage

    I don't believe this is a fuel drain leak. I think we all had our fuel drains leak over time and (at least on mine) the fuel pretty much just drips on the floor. There is much more going on that needs to be checked by a mechanic. If you are lucky, it's just a fuel line connection.
    As far as the fabric, hard to tell by the pictures and the repair depends on what fabric and paint system was used. There are different approved methods for repairs for each of the systems. If you can get the airplane cheap enough, it might be worth it doing the repair yourself. Of course the big question is, how is the rest of the airplane. It is well worth the money to have an independent mechanic do a pre purchase inspection.

    Juergen
    Pacer N3342Z

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    Default Re: Fuel Leaked on Fuselage

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
    Is this in Wichita Falls? I have seen wings where the fuel tank leaked that messed up the fabric because it set on the fabric for a long time. Hard to tell in this case.
    Yes sir, Wichita Falls. The owner's hangar partner apparently keeps a pretty close eye on it so I don't think the fuel sat on the surface for too long. Both parties involved are 80+ years of age so comms have been interesting.

  10. #10

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    Default Re: Fuel Leaked on Fuselage

    Quote Originally Posted by Pacer42Z View Post
    I don't believe this is a fuel drain leak. I think we all had our fuel drains leak over time and (at least on mine) the fuel pretty much just drips on the floor. There is much more going on that needs to be checked by a mechanic. If you are lucky, it's just a fuel line connection.
    As far as the fabric, hard to tell by the pictures and the repair depends on what fabric and paint system was used. There are different approved methods for repairs for each of the systems. If you can get the airplane cheap enough, it might be worth it doing the repair yourself. Of course the big question is, how is the rest of the airplane. It is well worth the money to have an independent mechanic do a pre purchase inspection.

    Juergen
    Pacer N3342Z
    Thanks Juergen, I've asked the owner's contact man about the covering date/system but all he's said so far is "don't know the date but it was covered w/Ceconite." Will need to go through the logs/records anyway to make sure all is good.
    I'm going for my medical exam today so if all goes well a pre-buy inspection could be the next order of business. As I mentioned in another post contact is 87 so I don't think he would be interested in pulling the root fairings and inspecting the lines. That will certainly be part of the pre-buy. Thanks for the info.

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