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Airtex Interiors (Again)



 
 
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  #1  
Old March 15th 04, 03:47 AM
Blanche
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Default Airtex Interiors (Again)

Mike:

If you're going to do the side panels, seriously consider what's
between the side panels and the aluminum. If it's anything
like my cherokee, it's disintegrating roofing insulation (or
something that looks like it). You'll want to remove that
stuff too and put better insulation. I'm leaning toward
Jim Fix's 1/4 in or 1/2 inch foam (adhesive on one side, then
the foam, then foil layer), depending what will fit.

And if you've got the insulation and side panels off, may
as well check *all* the wiring and stuff in there. There
may be wiring you can remove or need to replace. Do it
now while you've got convenient access.

Ads
  #2  
Old March 15th 04, 05:01 AM
Jay Honeck
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Where are you located, Mike? Aren't you in the Midwest?

If so, go see Frank Goodenow in Clinton, IA (right on the Mississippi
River). He'll do your entire interior, using new materials, including new
seats from the frame up, from scratch, for less than the Airtex kits cost.

See him at www.AircraftUpholstery.com .
--
Jay Honeck
Iowa City, IA
Pathfinder N56993
www.AlexisParkInn.com
"Your Aviation Destination"


  #3  
Old March 15th 04, 05:04 AM
Jay Honeck
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See him at www.AircraftUpholstery.com .

Hmm. It appears his website is down.

If you need a phone number, let me know, and I'll rustle it up for you.
--
Jay Honeck
Iowa City, IA
Pathfinder N56993
www.AlexisParkInn.com
"Your Aviation Destination"


  #4  
Old March 15th 04, 01:47 PM
Stu Gotts
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Mike;
A friend just had the entire (excluding the headliner) interior redone
for his Bonanza for a little less than $1400. He did the ass work
himself, removing the seats, side panels and carpeting. Brought the
seats to an auto/boat upholstery shop where he picked the materials
and had them recover the seats (new foam included) and make up the
goods for the side panels. Carpets were all duplicated. He removed
the old side panels, cleaned the aluminum and applied the goods.
Looks fantastic. If you're doing the majority of the job yourself
anyway, look hard at this option!

Now you may have been scared into the burn test thing, so if you buy
into that, feel free to do it with samples supplied to you by the
shop. You may also find that you are not subject to the burn test
regs, and that the material proposed to you will already have higher
manufacturing standards than the simple burn tests some guys like to
do.

Lastly, I am almost sure you can find an airplane interior shop that
would take on this job for that kind of money, or VERY close to it.

Good luck

On 15 Mar 2004 03:13:56 GMT, Mike Spera wrote:

Well, finally decided the old Cherokee 140 interior is due for an
overhaul. Again, I am considering the Airtex route. Since I have done
upholstery work in the past, I am not shy about taking on the job.
Airtex will send out the new side panel upholstery already glued to new
coroplast (corrugated plastic a.k.a. "plastic cardboard") and that is
just what I need to replace the disintegrating fiberboard that I have
now. Also, I have reskinned seats before and know how to "adjust" new
skins with hog rings.

But, I still have some reservations. First, new seat covers, side
panels, and carpeting is somewhere North of $2400 for this bird (using
their "premium" materials). I have seen some Airtex jobs and they looked
awful. Granted, they were the "standard" materials and the persons doing
the work probably should have enlisted experienced help. But, even their
web site photos don't look great. Then again, I can always spend $6k+ at
an airplane upholstery shop and get a perfect job. So, I won't fool
myself into thinking the Airtex stuff will look that good. I also don't
want the plane down for weeks or months while an aircraft upholstery
shop gets around to getting it done. Still, for $2400 for materials
alone, I would like a little more confidence than their pictures instill.

Also, I am wrestling with the specific fabrics. Their "Duraweave" looks
tough, but a bit "coarse". Their "Duraplush" has a sheen that might look
pretty chintzy on a large area. I absolutely HATE the stock Piper
Warrior velour. Pure 70s disco. Yuch! I may buy a yard of each fabric we
are considering to get a better idea of what it really looks like out in
the sun and inside the plane.

Next, they don't include new foam for PA-28 installations. This bird is
a '74 and I can assure you, the seat padding is shot. I cannot bring
myself to put time and money into recovering squashed padding. The new
covers will never fit right. Does Airtex have replacement foam for these
birds? Again, the $6k+ job includes multi-layered foam of different
densities depending on its position on the seat, but I really want to
avoid hauling even the seat frames to an upholstery shop (again, I don't
want to wait weeks, months, etc. to get it done). Then again, this
particular seat is pretty slab-like. There are no contours to speak of,
so I may just go to the upholstery shop and get some new stuff and shape
it myself (gotta love those electric knives for foam work).

Last, the "Navy" carpeting looks so close to black I'm not sure I will
like it. Is it really that dark when installed?

Anyway, anybody have experience installing their stuff, especially the
"premium" materials? I would love to see some (better) pictures. How is
the fit and finish? Their seam welting looked all over the place. How do
these materials wear? Was it WORTH IT????

Thanks for any feedback.
Mike


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  #5  
Old March 15th 04, 02:10 PM
Roger Tracy
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Mike ...

Not sure where you're located. The FBO at our airport is in the process
of getting an upholstery shop going. It's at Crete, Nebraska. They bought
up half of an existing shop's equipment and brought the guy to the airport.
They did the FBO owner's Arrow and it came out great. I have no
idea what their fee structure is yet.


"Mike Spera" wrote in message
...
Well, finally decided the old Cherokee 140 interior is due for an
overhaul. Again, I am considering the Airtex route. Since I have done
upholstery work in the past, I am not shy about taking on the job.
Airtex will send out the new side panel upholstery already glued to new
coroplast (corrugated plastic a.k.a. "plastic cardboard") and that is
just what I need to replace the disintegrating fiberboard that I have
now. Also, I have reskinned seats before and know how to "adjust" new
skins with hog rings.

But, I still have some reservations. First, new seat covers, side
panels, and carpeting is somewhere North of $2400 for this bird (using
their "premium" materials). I have seen some Airtex jobs and they looked
awful. Granted, they were the "standard" materials and the persons doing
the work probably should have enlisted experienced help. But, even their
web site photos don't look great. Then again, I can always spend $6k+ at
an airplane upholstery shop and get a perfect job. So, I won't fool
myself into thinking the Airtex stuff will look that good. I also don't
want the plane down for weeks or months while an aircraft upholstery
shop gets around to getting it done. Still, for $2400 for materials
alone, I would like a little more confidence than their pictures instill.

Also, I am wrestling with the specific fabrics. Their "Duraweave" looks
tough, but a bit "coarse". Their "Duraplush" has a sheen that might look
pretty chintzy on a large area. I absolutely HATE the stock Piper
Warrior velour. Pure 70s disco. Yuch! I may buy a yard of each fabric we
are considering to get a better idea of what it really looks like out in
the sun and inside the plane.

Next, they don't include new foam for PA-28 installations. This bird is
a '74 and I can assure you, the seat padding is shot. I cannot bring
myself to put time and money into recovering squashed padding. The new
covers will never fit right. Does Airtex have replacement foam for these
birds? Again, the $6k+ job includes multi-layered foam of different
densities depending on its position on the seat, but I really want to
avoid hauling even the seat frames to an upholstery shop (again, I don't
want to wait weeks, months, etc. to get it done). Then again, this
particular seat is pretty slab-like. There are no contours to speak of,
so I may just go to the upholstery shop and get some new stuff and shape
it myself (gotta love those electric knives for foam work).

Last, the "Navy" carpeting looks so close to black I'm not sure I will
like it. Is it really that dark when installed?

Anyway, anybody have experience installing their stuff, especially the
"premium" materials? I would love to see some (better) pictures. How is
the fit and finish? Their seam welting looked all over the place. How do
these materials wear? Was it WORTH IT????

Thanks for any feedback.
Mike



__________________________________________________ __________________________
___
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  #6  
Old March 15th 04, 04:49 PM
Michael
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Mike Spera wrote
Well, finally decided the old Cherokee 140 interior is due for an
overhaul. Again, I am considering the Airtex route.


Why? The burn certs issue has long ago been resolved; your airplane
need not have them. All you need to do is use materials that are
industry recognized as fire resistant, and that includes all
automotive upholstery materials. Airtex has made a business out of
confusion about this issue, and the mistake in the old copies of AC
43-13 didn't help any.

The way to go is to take out the seats and side panels and give them
to an automotive interior shop. It will be half the cost (or less) of
the Airtex kit, better quality, and less work.

But, I still have some reservations. First, new seat covers, side
panels, and carpeting is somewhere North of $2400 for this bird (using
their "premium" materials).


I don't know what premium materials they have. On my Twin Comanche
(which is a bit bigger than your Cherokee), I paid less than $1200 for
a new interior. That included having the side panels and seats
recovered for me (I only had to remove and reinstall), having a carpet
made and assistance with installing it, and having a headliner sewed.
I was told that for $400 more I could have had it in leather, but I
didn't want the weight penalty. All materials were SAE certified as
fire retardant.

I have seen some Airtex jobs and they looked awful.


For all you know, they might have been installed right over the old
upholstery. That's exactly what the morons who put an Airtex interior
into my airplane (long before I bought it) did.

Then again, I can always spend $6k+ at
an airplane upholstery shop and get a perfect job.


Or not. A friend of mine did that, and wound up with a job that
looked no better than mine - despite the fact that I installed the
headliner myself.

Michael
  #7  
Old March 15th 04, 05:19 PM
[email protected]
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On 14-Mar-2004, Mike Spera wrote:

Well, finally decided the old Cherokee 140 interior is due for an
overhaul.



Mike,

If your goal is to have a reasonably good looking and serviceable interior
with minimal investment, and if you are willing to do a bit of work, you
might consider the approach my partner and I took on our Cherokee 140 some
years ago. We took the seats (front and back) to an auto upholstery shop.
They did a nice job using standard automotive materials, including some work
on the foam padding. The turn-around time was no more than a few days.
Cost, as I recall, was a couple hundred bucks, but that probably doesn't
mean much today because of inflation. Of course, if we had wanted leather
it would have cost a lot more. You can easily shop around in your local
area and get quotes.

For new carpeting, first we took out the old stuff and made some
measurements. Then we went to the Boeing surplus store in Kent, Washington
and bought some pieces of airliner-grade carpet remnants. We had to buy far
more than we needed because of the odd shapes, but the stuff was so cheap it
didn't matter. We figured that carpeting suitable for a 747 should be OK
for a Cherokee with respect to flammability standards. The only drawback
was that we were limited to a couple of color choices. We used the old
carpets as patterns to cut the new stuff, and salvaged the old snap
fasteners. As I recall, we also used some new Velcro strips to improve
security of the carpet on the cabin floor.

For sidewalls, we got extra upholstery material from the shop that did the
seats. If I recall correctly, for the required stiff backing we used
thin-gauge sheet aluminum, also from Boeing Surplus. We just cut it as
required with tin snips. We padded the edges, added a thin layer of foam,
and covered it all with the upholstery.

The whole job took us a couple of days, plus the time required to deal with
the upholstery shop and Boeing Surplus. Total cost was minimal. Results
weren't award-winning, but a vast improvement and perfectly comfortable.

--
-Elliott Drucker
  #8  
Old March 15th 04, 07:53 PM
Martin Kosina
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Now you may have been scared into the burn test thing, so if you buy
into that, feel free to do it with samples supplied to you by the
shop.


More importantly, make sure the IA you work with is not "scared into
the burn test thing". Right or wrong, there are guys out there that
demand paperwork showing the origin of the fabric before signing off
annuals...
  #9  
Old March 16th 04, 01:18 AM
MichaelR
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I put Airtex grey carpet in my 150 a few years back, and it turned out very
nice.

Using materials not blessed by the FAA might come back to haunt you not only
at annuals, but later if you try to sell the aircraft.


  #10  
Old March 16th 04, 03:54 PM
Jay Honeck
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Jay, I re-read your old postings about your guy. It took him 11 months!
No way. I cannot see trucking out 100nm+ to play the game. His website
is perpetually down and I e-mailed him twice and received no response.
Thanks for the tip, but I would strangle the guy on day 2.


True. However, he was doing my job with leather he had saved from other
jobs, and charged me practically nothing, relatively speaking.

In fact, my entire leather interior, new seats, new side panels, and new
carpet, came to around $800. This is far less than the materials alone
would have cost!

I suspect Frank works a bit faster on his "regular" jobs -- the ones he
bills out for, say $2000?

:-)
--
Jay Honeck
Iowa City, IA
Pathfinder N56993
www.AlexisParkInn.com
"Your Aviation Destination"


 




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