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  #1  
Old 08-15-2015, 07:20 PM
Lt Dan Lt Dan is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Utah
Posts: 79
Default The Buying Process for a First Timer

Greetings Fellow RV-4 Enthusiasts & Experts!

I'm currently in the early stages of purchasing an RV-4 I found in Louisiana. This would be my first airplane so I could use a bit of advice. I placed a deposit on the aircraft and I'm about to go look at it. Since it's a small community I figured I would ask a few questions you might be able to help me with.

1) The airplane is N69WL built by the guys Lewis and Winningstad. I thought I might ask if anybody knows anything about the builders?

2) It's now based in Broussard, Louisiana and after I go look at it I would like an independent and unbiased A&P to conduct a conditional inspection. I figured I would start asking around based on the RV White Pages unless somebody here can already point me in the right direction.

3) I have read the Newbie info on this website but if anyone has any additional advice on what to look for when I go down there, it would be much appreciated. The other thread I found with a similar question really did not cover any specifics. I do know that I should inspect the spar near the front seat pan (but what I'm looking for...???); look for obvious signs of abuse on the weldments/buckling in the firewall; look for rudder cracks; look at the Airworthiness, Registration, POH, and Operating Limitations; inspect the wiring as much as possible (it was built in 1990); and general condition and signs of build quality like rivets being over driven, straightedge to this and that. Anything else you would want to look at on a personal pre-buy inspection? I'd like to see if I can fly it to take it up and see if it flies straight and true, but other than that I don't really know what I'm looking for.

Any help is much appreciated!!

Cheers,
Dan
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  #2  
Old 08-15-2015, 11:44 PM
littlemooseprints littlemooseprints is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Troy, ID
Posts: 56
Default Few more items to consider

By no means an expert but having owned an RV-4 project for a short time, a big deal for me personally, was a phlogiston spar which can be identified by the gold anodized spar and also be sure that the fuel tanks were not built with slosh compound which is a white color and covers the whole interior of the tank.
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  #3  
Old 08-16-2015, 08:27 AM
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acam37 acam37 is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Lufkin Tx
Posts: 694
Default

If it's a 1990 model I doubt it has a Phlogiston spar. My -4 has the old style wing spar and it's built like a tank. Things like engine mount weldments and slosh in tanks are easy fixes and in my opinion wouldn't be a deal breaker.
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  #4  
Old 08-16-2015, 08:52 AM
Mel's Avatar
Mel Mel is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Dallas area
Posts: 10,912
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by acam37 View Post
If it's a 1990 model I doubt it has a Phlogiston spar. My -4 has the old style wing spar and it's built like a tank. Things like engine mount weldments and slosh in tanks are easy fixes and in my opinion wouldn't be a deal breaker.
Don't remember exactly when the Phlogiston spars came out, but I built my wings in 1990 and did use their spars. OTOH, the spars in the kit came predrilled and were not difficult to build properly. I wouldn't be afraid of home built spars.
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  #5  
Old 08-16-2015, 01:32 PM
RotaVR RotaVR is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: LaCrosse, WI
Posts: 39
Default

The early kit RV-4 spars came drilled undersized as I recall. The builder then finished drilled or reamed to correct size. The difficulty some experienced, especially if they tried to finish drill with a hand held drill, was drilling a straight hole through several spar web thicknesses. The drill would tend to walk resulting in an oversized hole. Vans fix was a thin steel reinforcement spice plate. Proper drilling and installation of the splice plate brought the spar back to full strength. Perhaps this is what the individual was talking about when it was mentioned to look at the center spar section? RotaVR.
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  #6  
Old 08-16-2015, 02:42 PM
f14av8r's Avatar
f14av8r f14av8r is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Tampa (Wimauma actually)
Posts: 429
Default RV-4 Things to look for

Well, Lt Dannnnnn, “My mama always said, ‘Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.’

Sorry, couldn't resist!

I just went through the first time buying process myself. I'd never owned any airplane before and had only a few flights in RV-7s and -8s. I was looking for either a RV-4 or RV-8 with a strong preference for a -4. With the help of my -8 owning brother-in-law and Vic Syracuse, I found a great airplane and am very happy.

I'll list some of the things that were important to me but the most important thing, by far, is to get a good pre-buy inspection from somebody that knows what they are doing. There are several folks on here that can do that for you. I highly recommend you use Vic Syracuse if he's available. He's close enough to you to make the trip and will provide you with superb value for your money. If there are issues, he'll give you the leverage necessary to negotiate as his word is like the word of the almighty in the RV world. You can reach Vic here, by private message or phone at - (404) 307-5133, or (770) 898-2222. You can also check out his website at www.baselegaviation.com. Best of all, Vic stand's by his pre-buy customers through the entire purchase and initial flying process. I had a ton of questions after I acquired my airplane and Vic was always a phone call away.

Now, to that RV-4. Things to consider / inspect:
- engine weldments (as you've already mentioned)
- cracks in gear legs / engine mount
- fuel tanks condition - NO SLOSH, NO LEAKS
- avionics (a big deal for me - get a glass panel or plan on upgrading - ADSB 2020 compatibility)
- rear seat controls - beyond a stick, do you really care?
- paint condition, exterior and interior
- quality of installation and condition of all wiring
- fuel leaks - look closely
- tail wheel spring / mount type / condition
- presence of trim tabs, especially aileron (rudder tab expected, ailerons not so much)
- aileron and elevator bushings - no vertical play
- elevator cross tube play - hold both sides and try and move in opposite directions - little to no movement allowed
- compliance with all service bulletins
- consistent flying history - an engine that has sat is potentially worse than a higher time engine.
- read every page of every log book. Is the history well documented?
- read the airworthiness certification - did the builder certify the airplane for the regimes of flight you intend?
- ANY damage history. IF you accept any, make sure the repairs are fully documented - you'll have to explain it to the next buyer.
- Prop strikes are especially common - while A&P's differ, most want a fully overhaul of the engine, especially if a metal prop was involved.
- age and condition of tires, wheel's and brakes
- metal or plastic brake lines
- types and condition of lights - check to make sure they work
- canopy opening / closing mechanism - a "taxi stop" is essential for controlling cockpit temperature on the ground.
- battery and alternator age and condition, type of regulator
- type and location of throttle / prop / mixture controls - formation flight?
- engine hardware condition - all control linkages, hoses, exhaust attachments
- cowl attachment condition / ease of removal
- search the FAA and NTSB database by N number for history

Just a few of the things that came to mind.
Call Vic!
Good luck,
Randy
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Tampa (Wimauma), Florida
RV-4 N212CS (sold)
RV-8 N184RK (flying)
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Last edited by f14av8r : 08-16-2015 at 02:43 PM. Reason: updated Vic
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  #7  
Old 08-16-2015, 08:59 PM
Infidel's Avatar
Infidel Infidel is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: WV22
Posts: 849
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by f14av8r View Post
Well, Lt Dannnnnn, ?My mama always said, ?Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you?re gonna get.?

Sorry, couldn't resist!

I just went through the first time buying process myself. I'd never owned any airplane before and had only a few flights in RV-7s and -8s. I was looking for either a RV-4 or RV-8 with a strong preference for a -4. With the help of my -8 owning brother-in-law and Vic Syracuse, I found a great airplane and am very happy.

I'll list some of the things that were important to me but the most important thing, by far, is to get a good pre-buy inspection from somebody that knows what they are doing. There are several folks on here that can do that for you. I highly recommend you use Vic Syracuse if he's available. He's close enough to you to make the trip and will provide you with superb value for your money. If there are issues, he'll give you the leverage necessary to negotiate as his word is like the word of the almighty in the RV world. You can reach Vic here, by private message or phone at - (404) 307-5133, or (770) 898-2222. You can also check out his website at www.baselegaviation.com. Best of all, Vic stand's by his pre-buy customers through the entire purchase and initial flying process. I had a ton of questions after I acquired my airplane and Vic was always a phone call away.

Now, to that RV-4. Things to consider / inspect:
- engine weldments (as you've already mentioned)
- cracks in gear legs / engine mount
- fuel tanks condition - NO SLOSH, NO LEAKS
- avionics (a big deal for me - get a glass panel or plan on upgrading - ADSB 2020 compatibility)
- rear seat controls - beyond a stick, do you really care?
- paint condition, exterior and interior
- quality of installation and condition of all wiring
- fuel leaks - look closely
- tail wheel spring / mount type / condition
- presence of trim tabs, especially aileron (rudder tab expected, ailerons not so much)
- aileron and elevator bushings - no vertical play
- elevator cross tube play - hold both sides and try and move in opposite directions - little to no movement allowed
- compliance with all service bulletins
- consistent flying history - an engine that has sat is potentially worse than a higher time engine.
- read every page of every log book. Is the history well documented?
- read the airworthiness certification - did the builder certify the airplane for the regimes of flight you intend?
- ANY damage history. IF you accept any, make sure the repairs are fully documented - you'll have to explain it to the next buyer.
- Prop strikes are especially common - while A&P's differ, most want a fully overhaul of the engine, especially if a metal prop was involved.
- age and condition of tires, wheel's and brakes
- metal or plastic brake lines
- types and condition of lights - check to make sure they work
- canopy opening / closing mechanism - a "taxi stop" is essential for controlling cockpit temperature on the ground.
- battery and alternator age and condition, type of regulator
- type and location of throttle / prop / mixture controls - formation flight?
- engine hardware condition - all control linkages, hoses, exhaust attachments
- cowl attachment condition / ease of removal
- search the FAA and NTSB database by N number for history

Just a few of the things that came to mind.
Call Vic!
Good luck,
Randy
Um....what he said.
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  #8  
Old 08-18-2015, 08:28 AM
Lt Dan Lt Dan is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Utah
Posts: 79
Default

Thank you all so much! You guys are amazing. This is exactly what I was looking for. I'm about to go down there and check it out and I will be looking for all these things.

If I get to fly it, I'll try to check out some things like:

takeoff/landing performance
climb/cruise performance
engine parameters in all phases
trim and ability to fly straight on its own
avionics and radio operation
Mode C check from approach


Is there anything else one should look at in a test flight?
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  #9  
Old 08-18-2015, 08:37 AM
BillFear BillFear is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Sherrills Ford, NC (Lake norman area)
Posts: 432
Default oil consumption

See if the present owner has been tracking it. anything more than 1qt every 5 hours and you could be looking at an expensive repair soon.
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  #10  
Old 09-03-2015, 09:48 PM
aobt14 aobt14 is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Kansas
Posts: 10
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lt Dan View Post
Thank you all so much! You guys are amazing. This is exactly what I was looking for. I'm about to go down there and check it out and I will be looking for all these things.

If I get to fly it, I'll try to check out some things like:

takeoff/landing performance
climb/cruise performance
engine parameters in all phases
trim and ability to fly straight on its own
avionics and radio operation
Mode C check from approach


Is there anything else one should look at in a test flight?
Did you buy it? If so, lets see some pictures!
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