I have a 75 Sundowner and the pilot’s side yoke has a crack (cracked yoke repair needed). I would like to repair it or replace it; any ideas?
Search strings: yoke repair, repair my yokes, control yoke repair, control wheel repair, cracked yoke, crack repair
Unlike some other brands, the Beech yokes have an aluminum core. Cracks do not affect their structural integrity; they are strictly a cosmetic issue. Some A&P inspectors do not know this, and squawk Beech yoke cracks as they would the other brands (where a crack can mean an impending yoke break). There is at least one company that can refurbish yokes, but they are rather expensive (in addition to your cost for the yoke’s R&R). There is also a company that will cover yokes with leather; again, an expensive proposition, and possibly problematic if the yoke has anything more than a push-to-talk switch on it.
Leather covers: http://www.warrengregoire.com/wga-aviation.htm
Eastwood Company repair kits: http://www.eastwood.com/shopping/search/searchresultsmain.jsp?fresh=1&searchType=advanced&iMainCat=0&iSubCat=0&attribute14=0&attribute15=0&attribute16=0&RS=1&keyword=steering+wheel+repair
Steering wheel repair kit: http://www.bargainmonkey.com/proddtl/PId/2116848/
POR15 premium steering wheel repair kit: http://www.por15.com/product.asp?productid=332
Gary’s Steering Wheel Repair: http://www.dealsonwheels.com/parts/garys/
If I were you, I would go to a hobby store and buy a small quantity of very fine grade fiberglass cloth. It is available there in grades that are as soft and flexible as tissue. Use a grout cleanout tool to open up the crack (wider and deeper). Then use white Marine-Tex (from a marine supply store like West’s) to fill the base crack (while the temperature is relatively low, so the crack is fully open). Then embed a narrow strip of the cloth to bridge the crack; try to fit on several very thin layers, with each new layer slightly overlapping the layer below it. Leave the MT slightly above the surface. When cured, file and sand it smooth, then repaint the yoke with premium spray paint (ideally a 2-part epoxy paint if at all possible). Mask off the yoke’s center emblem, if it is in good shape. Otherwise get your hands on a new emblem first, then pop the old one off before doing the work (they are glued on). Marine-Tex is an extremely strong 2-part marine repair epoxy that can even be machined when cured.
Even with the glass cloth and Marine-Tex, it is possible that a fine crack will reappear in very cold weather. The wider the depression you make and the more thin layers of glass cloth you apply (to bridge over the original crack), the less likely it is that a crack will reappear. The principle is the same as that used for taping up drywall joints in a house.
Here is the data for the plastic material used to make the Beech yokes:
The molding on the control wheels P/N 35-524657 is as follows.
Propionate plastic M#307A46273H2, gray in color, Eastman Chemical Products Inc. Kingsport, Tenn. this is an equivalent to Rohm & Hass, P/N LC-1570-D.