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Thread: A23 Ballpark Time to remove wings?

  1. #1

    A23 Ballpark Time to remove wings?

    Need a ballpark labor time for a quote. Any one had the wings off their mouse? (BAC Search Strings: wing removal, remove wings, remove the wing, remove a wing)

    Yes a couple of times. Like any other job, practice makes perfect, and a lot faster, too! I'd say a good starting point is about 30-40 hours to remove and re-install. There are a lot of systems involved besides the actual structure. Fuel, Aileron controls, Flap controls, Electrical, Pitot, brake hydraulics, etc. It will probably take a couple hours just to get the belly access covers off and the interior out so you can even SEE the bolts that hold the wings to the fuselage.

    You'll need something to support the fuselage, since the Main Landing Gear have to be off the ground. Some padded plywood shapes that match the fuselage curve at the firewall and behind the wing at the baggage compartment would be one method. Building of supports not included in labor estimates.

    Think about how you will move the fuselage once you have the wings off when you are planning on how to build the supports. It is almost inevitable that you will need to re-position it. Even if you are planning NOT to now, something will come up, so better have thought of it ahead of time.

    I understand the wing bolts have to be cut?

    NO! They just unscrew like any other bolt. There are just a LOT of them. The spar attachment has dozens of internal wrenching Allen-head bolts. Some are a bit of a pain to get to. There should be no need to cut them. They won't exactly FALL OUT when you take the nuts off, because of the weight of the wings that will need to be supported as you remove the bolts. Great care is needed to NOT damage the spar. If the bolt is tight in the hole, it is probably in a bind because of the weight and angle of the wing. Having a couple of helpers to jack the weight and hold the wing up or apply torque to it (nose up or nose down) so that the bolt is released from the binding is really important. This is NOT the time to reach for a bigger hammer.

    Anyone have a source or lead on replacement wing bolts?

    I'd seriously consider replacing them from age and possible damage during the removal/installation process, even though you should be able to get them all out in decent shape. You can order new ones, along with the SPECIAL WASHERS that go under the Allen head, from many sources. Genuine Aircraft Hardware of Paso Robles CA and Newnan GA are a good source for these items.

    Bob Steward, A&P IA
    Birmingham, AL

    Technical Editor's Note:
    The special washers Bob refers to are specifically for use with the MS2000x series of internally wrenching bolts (as well as other similar bolts). These are very high-strength bolts used in critical applications. Rather than the typical square shoulder between head and shank, they have a slight radius there; this prevents the junction from creating a stress riser under high tension loads.

    If you make the mistake of using a standard washer, two bad things will happen. The bolt head will be unable to seat flat on the surface; but it may be so close that you don't notice. To make matters worse, the ID of the washer will cut into the radius of the bolt below the head, creating a perfect stress riser. If the bolt is loaded to its design limit in service, the head will probably snap off. Another example of the many major differences between much of our aircraft hardware, and more common hardware.

    There is a series of special high-strength washers designed for these types of radiused bolts. The washers have a slight bevel or countersink on one side of the ID, to clear the bolt radius beneath the head. Take note that you not only have to have the correct washer; you also have to install it with the beveled side toward the bolt head. It is very easy to accidentally put a washer on upside down, even when you know that there is a difference.

    Sierra and Duchess drivers, be aware that these bolts with mating washers are also used in several places in the retractable landing gear.

  2. #2

    A23 Ballpark Time to remove wings?

    "Bob is right if you have conventional bolts and nuts holding your wings on, but if you have Huck bolts, the collars will have to be cut off; as they did for wing removal on my B-19. There is a tool called a Huck bolt splitter that I highly recommend. Be prepared to pay a high price for your replacement bolts"

    I haven't seen any A23 that had Huck bolts. I think those were only used in the later models. And you'd be right about the cost. Those are Aerospace Only fasteners, and they price them accordingly.

    Most of what you will find on the Internet when searching for "Huck bolt" will be various kinds of POP RIVETS. The "Huck bolt" we are talking about is what replaced the "hi-shear rivet" of the 40's. It is a steel bolt with a grip length just like AN series bolts, but it has no hex for a wrench, just a smooth round head. The nut is a special design that breaks the hex off when the design torque is reached, leaving a smooth, internally threaded collar that is properly tightened on the "bolt". It is basically impossible to improperly install, since the hex won't come off until the proper torque is reached, so the bolt can be visually inspected for correct installation, and the power tool commonly used to drive them automates the install.

    Mac Tools offered a 1/4" drive ratchet that would install Huck bolts. The bolt has a hex (Allen) hole in the threaded end, and the tool holds the bolt from the same side that the nut is being installed on. The ratchet that Mac sells has a small hole through the 1/4" drive that lets you insert an Allen wrench and hold the bolt while you manually tighten the nut (AKA the "collar") onto the bolt.

    So when you go to BUY a Huck bolt, you have to know the diameter, the grip length AND the tightening torque for your application. Basically you buy the bolt like you would an AN series, but you buy the NUT based on the particular installation you will be doing.

    Bob Steward, A&P IA
    Birmingham, AL


    I will have to jump in again here, before this all makes it into the Archives. I will preface my comments by saying my observations might be wrong; I am no expert on Jo-Bolts, Huck bolts, Hi-Shear bolts, and Hi-Locs. Information on these very specialized fasteners is scarce and hard to come by.

    Some key points:

    I think that Bob S is referring to Hi-Loc fasteners, not Huck bolts. I have not yet run into any original Hi-Locs on our planes, though Bob certainly may have in his more extensive experience.

    Every one of our planes on which I have exposed the spar splice, has had Huck fasteners in it. I realize that the earliest planes did not, as Bob says. I have been unable to learn when the change from bolts and nuts, to Huck bolts, occurred. Here is a link to an image of a Huck bolt:;prod_id=2880

    Every one of the parts books I normally see, 19/23/24 and 76, shows only the bolts and nuts. Only the original 1962-63 IPC shows Huck bolt numbers; and it gives the NAS bolt alternative number as well. The good news is that you can reassemble with proper (internally wrenching) bolts and nuts. The bad news is that, if your plane came with Hucks, you will have to buy all new fasteners. At a very high cost. Hucks are not reusable.

    Huck bolts are really little more than a giant Cherry rivet in reverse. The pull is on the bulb side rather than the head side; they are not blind fasteners. They are stronger than Cherry rivets because they have a solid head and shank, like a regular bolt. They typically have a button (non-wrenching) head, and a long stem or body with rings on it; much like a giant Cherry rivet. The stem has a groove in it, location dependent on the grip range of the bolt. The Hucks require a specialized setting tool. The bolt is placed in the hole, and the collar is placed on the protruding stem (next to the work piece). The nose of the tool clenches the stem, compresses the parts, swages the collar onto the stem, and then snaps the stem at the groove. The break will occur just above the top of the collar, if the correct grip length was chosen. You can view this process at this link; be sure to get the whole thing:

    Mike H (following post) correctly describes removal. A splitting tool must be tapped down on the collar until it splits away from the bolt body. It is a time consuming process, and requires considerable care to avoid nicking or scraping the splice plates.

  3. #3
    I had removed and installed the wings on my plane a few years ago. My wings were installed with Hi-Locks or Huck bolts that use a locking collar. There is a special tool to split the collar to remove the bolts. I very carefully used a sharp chisel and split the collars. DO NOT cut into the wing spar!! I used the replacement bolts that Beech specifies. I purchased all my bolts, washers, and nuts from Genuine Aircraft Hardware. Pay attention to the washer arrangement in the maintainance manual. As far as the inside beveled washers go, most new washers are beveled on both sides but you need to be sure. I can tell you that installing the lower bolts in the wing spar is a real treat. That is the most time consuming part of the job. Very little access room.

    Mike Hippensteel A&P

  4. #4
    I have updated the two MML posts that came into the BAC site from MML. I'll delete this notice in a day or two.

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