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  Beechcraft Landing Gear Transmission Expose (PN: 95-810017-11, PN: 35-815020)

 

 

 

Beech Bonanza, Baron & Travel Air Landing Gear Transmission Assembly

 

 

One of the most well engineered pieces of our Beech Bonanzas, Barons and Travel Airs is the landing gear mechanism and the symphony of coordination created by the landing gear transmission box and it's gears, arms and drive motor.

 

Here is the story of my IA supervised exploration into the depths of my landing gear transmission. Feel free to peruse this page to educate or entertain yourself on the insight and learnings that I have gained in doing this with my IA. Feel free to share it with your mechanic if they are interested in these learnings. Some of these images contain disturbing high resolution graphic images of Multi-thousand dollar parts that have been ruined by poor landing gear rigging and/or poor or non-existent dynamic braking function! If you are on a slow connection, please be patient to allow the whole page to load!

 

Do NOT treat this as the end all and be all of knowledge for servicing this part of the Beech landing gear system. A failure in the landing gear system can create a total insurance loss of your airplane. A licensed mechanic is required to do or to supervise any of this work in this area and the factory issued IPC and Shop Manual for the airplane SN are parts of the official guiding documents required. Users are strongly urged to utilize all official resources in reinstalling the gear transmission AND re-rigging the gear to factory specs. As a suggestion, the ABS Landing Gear Rigging Guide is an invaluable resource for re-rigging the Beech landing gear. That's my disclaimer!

 

Sometime circa 1983BC (Before Caban) my airplane was subjected to a gear up event. The log books show the gearbox having been repaired and all new Beech skins installed and restored to flying service. Fast forward to December 2017 when a gusher of a transmission fluid leak was noticed on the hangar floor coincidentally at a time when the ambient temps had dropped below freezing. Initial thoughts were that a seal had sprung a leak.

Upon deeper investigation it was found that three screws, out of a total of 11 that hold the two case halves together, were not safety wired and had loosened up to create a gaping opening in the case for the fluid to gush out. The visibility of these three screws is severely limited by the manual crank handle case portion of the housing and the wire bundle running under the gear case pedestal while it is in it's mounted position.

 

Knowing that this day would come, several years ago I acquired a low time Beech transmission gear box and was thrilled to have a serviceable spare on the shelf. But WAIT, upon closer inspection and cranking of the manual handle on the presumptive spare, it was found that there was much harder cranking of the gear at both ends of travel while the unit was on the bench. As it turns out, this sector gear in the spare was toast! It had been abused much of it's life by being electrically wound into the mechanical stop either by bad gear rigging or a bad dynamic brake relay. See the pictures below for the gear teeth of this several thousand dollar sector gear that took the pounding. Thankfully, my sector gear ran smoothly from stop to stop and is able to be re-used for continued service.

 

 

The extraction of the landing gear transmission was akin to seeing your first child being born - you can't believe a thing of that size could come out of there!

 


 

 

(1) We put the plane up on jacks and a tail stand and confirmed it secure.

 

(2) Even with master power off, we pulled the breaker for the gear motor and relay

 

(3) We cranked open the inner gear doors with a few clockwise turns (looking forward) of the manual crank and removed the inner gear door bolts at the hinges and then placed hoses over the exposed rod ends so as to protrude from the side of the fuselage. This insures that the rod end will go in and out of the airframe without crashing into something immobile and bending the rod or worse when we eventually test the system.

 

(4) We removed the main gear rod cotter pins and nuts under the spider arm. We did use some movement of the manual crank to better position the cotter pin for extraction. We applied the same philosophy to removing the cotter pins and nuts on the inner gear door arm/uplock cable, just a little manual cranking to get a good working position. We were careful to note that there is a tiny bushing in the top of the inner gear door arm that must be preserved for reassembly.

 

(5) We then removed the 4 bolts that connect to the base of the flap motor and slid the metal plate outward toward the cockpit door.

 

(6) With the top arms out of the way we then had clear access to remove the gear motor and the dynamic brake. We were sure to photograph the wires from the motor and their positions on the dynamic brake. Also the wires on the aft side of the dynamic brake were marked and photographed to insure perfect reassembly. While the dynamic brake might not have been needed to be removed for the tranny extraction, we chose to remove it to replace it with a very low time unit and also most importantly to renew and refresh the critical frame grounding that the dynamic brake relies upon to do the best job of bringing that high torque 24V/7600RPM motor to an instant dead stop when the up and down limit switches are tripped. While still in the top end of things we removed the four screws that hold the micro switch mounting cradle to the airframe. Moving this cradle to the side allowed more room to wrestle the tranny out. If I didn't already have fairly new MS25026-1 (aka BZ-R31) micro switches, now would be a great time to replace the 50 year old switches. Scroll down HERE to find info on the BZ-R31 switch sources.

 

(7) We then went under the belly to remove the nose gear drive arm. This required us to manually crank a little of the mechanism to position the arm in the opening such that the rod end bolt can drop free and the arm can be pulled off the tranny shaft down through the opening. The snap ring was removed and the arm was able to slide free and down. A helper comes in handy to take some pressure off the nose gear to remove the tension on the rod end bolt. At this point we then removed the four 7/16" nuts that hold the tranny to the airframe. Some reports of corrosion of the transmission base and the magnesium reinforcing plate in the bottom of the mounting cavity have caused some people to have to use jacking pressure to break this loose. Thankfully, I did not experience this corrosion issue during my extraction.

 

(8) Since we had all the cranking for optimum positioning done we now removed the three screws holding the crank handle onto the tranny housing.

 

(9) Now we began our lift and wiggling of the tranny toward the cockpit door. The removal of the wood floor section immediately under the crank handle was essential to us in getting the last few mm needed for the tranny to clear the bottom of the seat support frame. My years of practicing with Chinese puzzle rings have finally paid off!

 

The below pictures can help readers visualize my experience and all the gory details of my tranny extraction process!

 


 

Where the gear transmission lives and all it's neighbors.

 

Removing dynamic brake relay for clearance and access. Photographing the connections and marking them is a really good idea.

 

 

Inner gear door arm bushing and bolts. Note significant wear in 50 year old bolt shaft.

 

Removing nose gear drive arm. Gear must be wound to a retract position to allow the arm to come down through opening. An assistant is helpful to take the load off nose gear while removing the rod end bolt. Simple snap ring removal and then wiggling of arm off splined shaft.

 

The beginning of extraction/birth of the gear transmission. Note the removal of the 4 bolts in the silver plate that provides the mounting base for the flap motor.

 

After removing the aft floorboard just behind the transmission mounting area and a few judicious wiggles the baby was out!

 

 

Gear motor wiring locations onto dynamic brake.

 

 

 

 

The transmission sector gear PN: 35-810117

 

 

 

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The above image shows the mechanical stop that is mounted in the case housing. This is what the opposing curved sides of the sector gear gets forcefully wound into by the worm gear when the gear is not rigged properly or the dynamic brake relay is not functioning properly. Another critical reassembly tip from Del L. is that the proper sector gear orientation in the case housing is with the cast PN facing upwards toward the sky in the as installed orientation.

 

Per Del: "The sector gear has a slight offset, and there are 2 "bosses" machined; one in each case half. If the sector gear is installed upside down, it is still possible to rig (albeit a PITA....ask me how I know), but the longer term effect is teeth wear due to side loading which causes some minor binding. But over time you'll note wear on all teeth. Typically, a braking action issue will just present on the last 3 or 4 teeth of either or both ends."

 


 

 

Baron IPC extract (Bonanza and Travel Air may be similar but ALWAYS CHECK YOUR IPC FOR YOUR AIRFRAME AND SN) Item #22 is gear transmission bearing K21B. Item #23 is gear transmission oil seal PN: 450273 (available from many Auto Parts stores). Click image above or HERE to see my landing gear transmission IPC extract pages for the Baron 55-Series.

 

 

 

Transmission Oil Seal PN: 450273                                                    Transmission Bearing PN: KP21B

 

 

The bearing and seal was removed by using a large impact socket on a 6" extension with a diameter slightly smaller than the OD of the bearing and whacking said implement with a BFH from the outside of the case half (using blocks of wood under the inside of the housing will insulate the cast housing from the whacks) or one could also use a bearing press.

 

I found my replacement bearing PN: K21B at LocateBallBearings.com for about $8 (January 2018 price) and the PN: 450273 seals at the same place also at about $8 each. The FAFNIR KP21B bearing is very pricey at $60-$80 each. In fairness both the K21B and the KP21B part numbers are listed in my IPC.

 

 


 

 

 

Images above show the worm gear drive slot shaft that the manual crank engages to lower the gear manually. 

 


 

 

 


 

Bonanza owner Paul S. adds: With re-assembly of the gearbox, about the only item to be adjusted is the worm gear lash. It controls the play noted in the "nosegear kick test". The "nut" calls for a spanner wrench, but I've found with the gearbox installed a modified socket is easier to get proper leverage on it.

 

 

... from the ABS gear supplement....

 

Worm drive gear end play

 

When the aircraft is on jacks and the landing gear is part way down, move nose gear fore and aft while

watching main gear for movement. The main gear should not move, but inboard gear doors will. If the

main gear also moves:

 

(1) Remove the oil service plug on the top of the gearbox.

 

(2) With the landing gear 20 handcrank turns from the down position, have someone move a main landing gear strut left to right while you watch the worm drive gear through the service port.

 

(3) Check end play - there should be no fore or aft movement. If movement is observed:

 

(4) Remove the emergency hand crank assembly. Use an absorbent towel under the under the assembly, as some gearbox lube will leak out during the process.

 

(5) Tighten the thrust bearing retainer nut with a spanner wrench and restake the housing.

 

(6) NOTE: On very early gear boxes, end play is controlled by shims and the bearing is held in place with a snap ring.

 

(7) Reinstall and safety the hand crank assembly.

 


 

I hope you have enjoyed learning more about the Beech gear transmission as much as I have!

 

 

 

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