C421 & C414

C421 & C414

I'm interested in purchasing one of the above aircraft. As with every plane, each has it's own AD's to deal with. Not unusual.

But the two that have me concerned are both repetitive and sound very expensive. Specifically the wing spar AD on the 414 and the starter drive AD on the 421.

Does anyone have any experience with these (and any other pertinent) AD issues on these two aircraft?

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

Bill

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Re: C421 & C414

Bill,
its impossible to advise you on these issues without knowing all the particulars.  I strongly advise you to have a through prebuy done with strong emphasis on these AD's.           Depending on what has been done previously to comply with the previous Ads on these issues and depending on the serial number and times on the airplanes will determine wheather or not its a good buy.  Looks like if it has upwards of 8000 hours on the 414 I would not look to buy without something being done about the spar strap modification.  the 421 with the TCM GTSIO-520 engines have annual and 100 hour inspections on the starter drives.  replacement of certian parts is mandated depending on condition and time on the effected part.  these AD's are a little difficult to understand due to the complexity of the situation so it will take a bit of study using all available info to determine the proper course of action.  Additionally the 421 has the geared engine and that is a different animal to fly requiring specific diligence on the part of the pilot as well as more expensive maintenance.
sorry I cant be of more help.
mark

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Re: C421 & C414

Mark
Plans were to have an annual performed as a prebuy inspection. Thanks so much for your input, you have been more help than you think. I've heard of the 421 being the more expensive plane to maintain and some more info has come my way regarding the 414. It concurs with your thoughts of buying a 414 with the lowest TTAF and the latest model year possible. But resale value after my purchase is still a concern. I'd be interested in hearing more details of the 421 being 'a different animal to fly'. I've heard vague reference to this before, but no particulars. My perception is the GTSIO-520's are extremely sensitive to rapid engine cooling - a concern when descending from the higher altitudes. Wouldn't spoilers help?

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Re: C421 & C414

Bill,
you have me at a bit of a disadvantage.  I havent flown one of these as I am only allowed one prop at a time.  I have done some work on them.  in fact I am in the finishing stages of replacing both engines on a 421C.  hope you never need to replace the windshield as we did that too. what a pain.  the engines we used are overhauls done by RAM.  I believe that they run around $40K each not counting install. 
one of the things about these geared engines is you need to be careful of the operation of the prop control and throttle.  I am not sure about the cooling issues but I do know that they really dont like to have the prop unloaded.  you basically need to have the power in at all times.  again I am not schooled on the particulars as I am not qualified nor checked out in this airplane.  Yes spoilers are a great help as they allow you to carry power in the decent and still get a good rate of decent without building excessive speed going downhill.  that is another thing we are in the process of doing to this airplane.  it hasnt flown yet and so I have no feed back on the performance particulars. 

I would like to suggest you call a friend of mine.  he is a aircraft broker and has experience with these airplanes.  his name is David Kilcup.  253 853-6177 email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   tell him Mark Allen told you to call so he wont think you are looking to buy from him.

only additional thing is be sure you get a real good inspection as these airplanes are difficult to buy in top condition.  most I have seen are in need of serious TLC/$$ espically if they have recent paint and interior.

landing gear rigging can be a bitch on the mechanical gears.  the hydraulic ones arent so bad.  the planes that have the mechanical/electrical gear have specific clearances and tolerances that are to be done at specified intervals.  I cant remember what they are but it seems to be at the 200 or the 400 hour interval.  its all in the maintenance manual.
pressurization in these older twin Cessnas can be a problem that requires time and money to fix.  I have never seen one yet that didnt have smoking rivits all along the bottom of the wings. those are some things that I remember at this moment.  lots of folks like these airplanes so I guess its worth the money especially if you get into it for the right money.

sorry I couldnt have mmore specific answers for you.
mark

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Re: C421 & C414

This is exactly the kind of info I've been looking for and is the reason I'm in this forum.

Mark - Thanks so much for your time on this subject. You've been extremely helpful. I have talked with my maintenance shop, but thought that asking people who specialize in working on and those that own these planes would be a great source of inside information. And it has.

I have been pushing a 1968 BE-D55 around the skies of the northeast for the past 18 years. I've learned the hard way about old airframes and the costs of maintaining them. I do have a couple of hours in a C402, but pressurization and geared engines would be new to me.

I have been reading the sales ad's for 1980 or newer model years for both the 414A and the 421C. Many of the 414A's have RAM mods. Any feelings about these? Also, most of these planes have new or fairly new paint and interior. I know from my past experience paint can hide a multitude of sins. Any additional maintenance/ownership issues - no matter how unimportant you feel they are - please pass on.

You mentioned mechanical gear vs hydraulic and smoking rivets on the wing. Are there any maintenance 'gotchas' with the wet wing or hydraulic gear? Did the hydraulics eliminate the rigging problems? Since these planes have 'pottys' is corrosion a big problem in these areas?

I will contact your friend David. I have resisted talking to sales people till I had more knowledge and direction but with your help feel better about this next step.

Once again Mark, thanks for your time.

Bill

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Re: C421 & C414

Bill,
a Baron is a fine old airplane and every once in a while I see one in really good condition.  the last one was a real cream puff ...man what a sweet airplane.  I think it went for $160K.

Im not sure I would compare a 402 to a 421.  I havent worked on a 402 but it is my understanding that other than they are both twin Cessnas they arent very much alike.  I may be incorrect in that assessment.

if you get a 414A you wont have the geared engines to deal with and the RAM mod is a good thing no matter what engine it is.  I know it really helps the resale and performance.  I dont know exactly what the mod does other than add the intercooler.  the intercooler is what gives the performance boost as it cools the air entering the induction system and of course the cooler air has more oxygen and hence better power.(in a nutshell)
paint and interior..yes it can be a bad thing as it is a perception that the airplane is worth more if the curb appeal is up.  get a good look at the logs to gain a sense of how it was cared for (or not).  get a real good inspection under the paint. 

I have noticed lately that I keep seeing airplanes come thru with worn out brakes.  I dont understand why folks dont want to buy a couple of hundred dollars worth of brake parts.  the 421 I just hung the engines on had the same problem.  told the boss about it but he kinda poo-pooed me and said we'll get it at the next 100 hour inspection.  today they came in and said that the left brake failed completly.  hummm .. imagine that.

if I remember correctly there is a inspection due on the beam (engine cradle) assy and I believe it is done at the engine change.  had a 421 in for inspection once and noticed his engines werent sitting correctly.  found out that the outfit that had done the engine install had also done some work on the beam assy and screwed it up so the engine was pointing down --- a lot.

I forgot-- there is an exhaust system AD that you need to read and become familiar with as it has various different inspection criteria.  50 hour and 100 hour and annual and time life replacement items as well.

I learned that the 421 has a rather goofy fuel system so be VERY familiar with it and its operation.  I cant remember if the 414 was the same way but it might be.

the hydraulic gear system didnt seem to be any different than any other.  I believe it used engine driven pumps only, no power pac.  so your shop needs to have a mule to power it.  other than the obvious leaks every so often its pretty straight forward.  the mechanical system is a pain due to the complexity of the system and the different checks you need to do.  time spent reading the service manual will save a lot of grief.

Im guessing I havent yet had any trouble with wet wings as I didnt know that they had them.  however, I have had problems with the fuel hoses.  make sure they have been changed recently.  dont want any hoses that are past thier prime.  the manufacturer recommends that hoses should be changed every 10 years I think.  if you go on a Part 135 certificate this will be important.  recently had to replace hoses that started leaking from simply moving them so as to get access to something else.  fuel started pouring from the hose itself.  of course that goes for the oil and hydraulic hoses as well.

I havent yet seen an airplane that had a problem with corrosion due to the potty thing.  most corrosion happens behind the battery vent.  most folks arent going to use that potty unless absolutly necessary.  most airplanes that are pressurized dont have a drain anyway.  you just are pooping or whatever into a bag.


make sure that if the airplane was painted tha the primary flight controls have been rebalanced per the manual before flight after the repaint.  have found several airplanes that had the paint applied then a accent stripe on top of that.  you can tell if it was done with the flight control surface installed on the airplane as there will be overspray in the aileron and rudder wells.  have found some out of balancing  tolerance also.

check the hydrostat and inspection dates on the O2 and nitrogen bottles.  the nitrogen bottles are only found on those airplanes that have a gear emergency blowdown system.  that system is suppossed to be ops checked at the annual but most arent due to the mess they make and the time needed to bleed the system again.  pulled the handle once and the left gear didnt come down.  the gear well was covered in fluid tho as the blow down line had blown.  good that it was on jacks and not flying.

take a close look at the windshield as the window it self was around $13K plus about 40 hours to install.

have a lot of these older airplanes come in with pressurization issues.  stuff wears out and hoses rot.  so when you do your test flight make sure it is getting the proper cabin pressure differential and altitude.

keep asking the questions and I will try to remember these things.  if you find one on the west coast that you want inspected let me know.
good luck in your quest.
mark

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Re: C421 & C414

Bill,
have you checked out this website?
www.twincessna.org
mark

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Re: C421 & C414

Mark

Sorry for the delay in response. Been out flying this week.
Great stuff in your reply. Thanks for hanging in there.

I've just gotten off the phone with David. Whatta a guy! He was very helpful. Thanks again for the referral.

I'll also check out that website. First day back into the office and have a few things to catch up on.

I talked with one fellow about the 414A vs the 421C. One of his recommendations was to go withthe 421C - as was David's. The RAM mods on the 414 are good, but they improve horsepower by boosting the engines more. (besides the larger intercooler, they use a turbo charger with a larger compressor) He thought this might lead to premature maintenance/failures on the engines. Also, he said the 414 is noisier due to the higher prop RPM when compared to the 421 and the slower geared props. Made some sense to me. Ram also changes the engine beams, or at least offers this mod. I'm hoping this might eliminate the AD on this item but not sure. There is an AD on the exhaust system. I think it will depend on the airframe time and component replacement times as to how it affects each aircraft. Another reason for the prepurchase inspection.

Your input regarding hoses and fuel system operation are well noted. David shared his thoughts on geared engine operations and the AD's on both the 414A & 421C. Recommended purchase of the later models, if possible.

I now need to organize all this info and carefully examine. Keep sending your info as you remember it Mark. It's been a super help.

Here is my contact info if you want to talk. I will keep sending you questions as they come up. Thanks so much for your time.

Have great weekend. Talk to you later.

Bill Tharp
ADD Systems
6 Laurel Drive
Flanders, NJ 07836
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

      800-922-0972 - ext 1321
main  973-584-4026
cell  862-881-7575

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Re: C421 & C414

The 414(not A) does not have the wing spar ad. It is a great airplane. We have Ram IV with 325 hp. All have exhaust pipe inspections. Great airplane if you can afford the fuel. Gear Maintenance is a must.

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Re: C421 & C414

Hi Paul

I checked the AD. You are correct. Do you happen to know why it doesn't apply to the 414?

Also - if you don't mind --

What speed do you flight plan for - and altitude? What's the useful load with tanks full; the range; FF/hr.

I've heard several references to rigging the gear on a regular basis - why is this?

Thanks for you input.

Bill

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Re: C421 & C414

Bill,
the issue of gear rigg checks comes directly from the Cessna maintenance manual for the airplane.  I just cant remember the time interval it was specified for.  it may be 250 but seems like it is 500 hours ....I think.
anyway its in the manual.
mark

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Re: C421 & C414

Thanks Mark

Appreciate the reply.

Bill

Bill Tharp
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Re: C421 & C414

Bill,
  I saw your discussions about the C414 & C421.  I have a great deal of knowledge about the C421C and some about the C414.  I am the lead Aircraft Mechanic for Precision Aviation @ KTIP.  We used to maintain a C421C that operated 500-600hrs per year and we did all the maintenance on the aircraft.  The aircraft was just recently sold and made the flight to England.  During the pre-buy inspection the shop performing the work immediately offered both myself and my partner a job due to the condition of the airplane and the logbooks.  If you want to give me a call, I would be glad to give you any input that I could.  My number is 217-892-2121 and my name is Tom Scheu with Precision Aviation.
                   Thank You
                        Tom

Tom Scheu
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Re: C421 & C414

Hi Tom,
I am looking for a 4OO series aircraft. What would you advise a retired airline captain that knows nothing about this type aircraft to look for?
What series, year, time, etc.? I intend to utilize the aircraft in a Part 91 operation. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Regards and Merry Christmas!
Coop Cooper

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Re: C421 & C414

HI! Guys,

        Mario from the philippines i need advice regarding buying the 421C and a king air 90, can you give some advice i like still the 421, thanks

Mario

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Re: C421 & C414

Tom,
   Mario from philippines, new to C-421C can you give some advice my boss is buying what can you recommend  my boss is interesterd in C-421C can you tell us what year model 421C for us it will be use for personal to trANSPORT EXECUTIVES what do you suggest pls, aand also in the maintenance side . tHANK YOU

mARIO

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Re: C421 & C414

Mario Bedayo Philippines Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Tom,
>    Mario from philippines, new to C-421C can you
> give some advice my boss is buying what can you
> recommend  my boss is interesterd in C-421C can
> you tell us what year model 421C for us it will be
> use for personal to trANSPORT EXECUTIVES what do
> you suggest pls, aand also in the maintenance side
> . tHANK YOU
>
> mARIO

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