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1939 Taylorcraft BL65 - Rebuild Project Intro

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  • 1939 Taylorcraft BL65 - Rebuild Project Intro

    Quick intro: My name is Darren and I'm the President of EAA Chapter 15 and the Jaycor Foundation. We recently acquired a '39 BL65 we are going to restore with the local aviation university, Lewis University, a long over venture I've been working on for years. The whole project is being done based off of donations of labor, parts and whatever else we can find. We know there will be some expenses that we hope will be covered by a few monetary donations as well. This whole process is being fully documented and we plan to finish it by AirVenture 2020. We plan to exhibit it by Lewis' vending spot letting prospective students know that there is more than just schooling but an school club rebuilding and flying restored crafts.

    Couple notes and questions:
    Tag: I noticed the tag on the passenger side says Taylor-Young. Build date is 8-16-39. Question: Is this a pre-taylorcraft or did they continue to use the old T-Y tags until they ran out?
    The motor is a O-145 and we were debating to replace with a Continental. Upon further inspection of the aircraft as a whole, it is not missing any of the original pieces... it even has the original Corwin bubble compass which still works, though slightly fogged.. but still readable if it were to fly. All of the gauges are still intact, unsure of their functioning condition. The craft hasn't flown since '76 and has been well taken care of. Inspection of the tubes will take place in a couple weeks and we'll start replacing corrosion, if any.

    So, after all of that, until we are able to inspect the motor, we were told by a few people that we should keep the O-145 since it's a complete craft and try and restore it complete original.We are leaning that way at this time. I did make a call to 2 shops in our area and both have never worked on that type of motor (cast in cylinders). Question: does anyone have any recommendations for a affordable shop to rebuild the motor? We're located in Illinois and are willing to drive to the neighboring states. Poplar Grove is slightly expensive for our budget since it's being done through a 501c3 and limited donations.

    Also, any suggestions? Thank you for your time.

  • #2
    I restored a 1941 BL-65 back in the 1990's. It had been converted to a continental engine sometime early in life. I chose to go back to original, because I also had all of the original instrumentation. I am an A&P, and did my own engine overhaul. Even back then some engine parts were hard to find. My old airplane now resides at Brodhead.

    For the engine, parts are hard to come by and they can be expensive. Finding a shop that even knows what the engine is might be difficult. JP Hackenburg is the TC holder, and they have some parts and perform maintenance on the engines. Not sure if they can help you out or not. Any A&P mechanic can perform the overhaul. With a little luck, and parts searching you might not need much help from an overhaul shop.

    If you decide to keep the Lycoming talk with me before you buy a prop. if you decide to go Continental I can offer guidance there as well. My son or I might be able to help with 5 tuck spliced control cables too.


    • #3
      Thanks for the response. I've never tackled a task like this and the same for most of the Chapter member involved. It's great to reach out to people who have worked and this particular model and can tell us what to look out for. After reading a few boards and posts, it looks like the parts my be a challenge. But I think the hard work will be worth it in the long run for this particular aircraft.

      I believe the original prop is included. I'll keep you posted when we start digging in to the project in a couple weeks. The kids are getting ready for finals and we're just starting to look at some of the items needed. We do have a fabricator that might be taking on the task to make a new cowl. This one has a lot of patches. I'll be posting pictures soon.

      Question to all: What about the tag being labeled Taylor-Young? Anyone have info on that?


      • #4
        Hi Darren, welcome to the board.

        Find a copy of Chet Peek's excellent book on Taylorcraft history, occasionally a copy turns up on ebay. Concerning the Taylor-Young, after William Piper and CG Taylor split, Piper retained Taylor Aircraft which became Piper, and Taylor created Taylorcraft in 1936. William Young, who had executive experience in Goodyear Zeppelin, was brought in as VP, and Taylorcraft became Taylor-Young in 1937. Sometime between January and June of 1939 the company name changed back to Taylorcraft, so Young likely left in that timeframe. I'd guess they used the T-Y data plates until they were gone. There's no difference in the airplanes, same people building them in the same factory, just a trivial corporate/branding detail.

        Good luck with you project.

        Last edited by NC36061; 04-21-2019, 09:38.
        NC36061 '41 BC12-65 "Deluxe" S/N 3028
        NC39244 '45 BC12-D S/N 6498


        • #5
          You need to post some pics...I would put on a continental to fly it and display the o-145-2, less chance of crashing from an engine failure. There is a reason the continentals were used more than the lycomings and franklins...they were just more reliable IMHO
          Send me a pic of the header tank valve gas valve, if the one I make works, I will donate one. Also don't sacrifice safety over originality...a few modern non visible enhancements goes a long way towards safety.
          Last edited by astjp2; 04-22-2019, 21:32.
          '41 BC12-65


          • #6
            Sorry I've been a way for a bit. I've had some personal thing to attend to. I'll take some better pics but this is what I have from the day we picked it up. I'll post some pics when we start looking at it later this week.. The wings are at the airport while the fuselage is located at my building. Fuselage I'll pull out and snap a couple. I'll post what I have now... let me know if there's a particular picture you would like to see.

            I'll take a pic of the tank valve this week.
            Attached Files


            • #7
              Hi Darren,

              You have an exciting project. I've been fortunate to have a 1940 BL65 for the last 30 years. I kept the Lycoming engine that was on it for 10 yrs and had it rebuilt and found it to be a great little engine. It has about 950 hrs on it now. I love the sound of it especially idling at 400 rpm. With oil changes every 25 hrs while checking cylinder head nuts and tappet clearances; it has been dependable. Building a reserve of head gaskets, valve cover gaskets and exhaust extenders will be helpful. Areas to consider are the Marvel MA-2 carburetor and magneto's.

              Best of luck to you.



              • #8
                Thank you. I'm slowly gathering information from around the web and information from people like you... people who have finished the task of restoring a TCraft. I know I'll be back with more questions and we're actually documenting everything since Oshkosh has reached out to do an article, starting with the email I originally sent, contact with the lady who owned it from 1960-2007... along with the the whole joint effort with the University and the whole project being done as cheaply as possibly with the labor and parts donations. We do have a feeling there may not be a way around the struts and may have to purchase a set from Wag if these are not serviceable.
                But our main goal in all of this is exposing the college kids to GA and the EAA, as most just follow a syllabus and try to hire out with the airlines.We actually are looking at a few high school kids that are interested. That would make for an interesting mix of people... ages 16-91! That's what I think is cool. Just hope we finish it for the guy who's hurting our average on the curve...LOL


                • #9
                  Looking at your pictures it looks like the panel has had some stuff added to it along the way. The control wheels have had a section cut out of them. Also the exhaust is not right for the open cowl. It might even be a Piper J3L exhaust.


                  • #10
                    Not sure where Romeoville is in IL, but know there are some other owners in the state and nearby. Once the word gets out I am sure you will get some Forum and Facebook owners who will come out of the woodwork. Wish you were closer to SE Virginia so I could be there! Keep us up with a blog or continued postings! The big problem you will have with parts is SHIPPING! Parts can be very inexpensive (CAN be) but transport can often exceed the part cost! Investment in a trailer or car top carrier combined with students who travel across country to homes in other areas can really save you money moving parts.



                    • #11
                      Hank, Romeoville is up in the Chicago area.

                      TF #596
                      1946 BC-12D N95258
                      Former owner of:
                      1946 BC-12D/N95275
                      1943 L-2B/N3113S


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by 3Dreaming View Post
                        Looking at your pictures it looks like the panel has had some stuff added to it along the way. The control wheels have had a section cut out of them. Also the exhaust is not right for the open cowl. It might even be a Piper J3L exhaust.
                        I'll take a look at the wheels and check for cuts. As for the panel, I'm waiting for pictures of the plane dating back to 1960 when it was purchased. She has quite a few to send us.

                        Hank: I do have a friend that runs LTL trucks and he may be able to help with shipping but that depends on what part of the country we may get things from. Like I said, struts are the question and we have one of the kids from the school that will check out the 'ultra sound' machine and bring it to my shop and test the tubes.


                        • #13
                          The wheels should be a complete circle. one segment has been cut out. This is not the first set I've seen this done to.


                          • #14
                            I'm new to T-Crafts and was doing a picture research before we picked it up and saw both types. When I sat in this... I can see why they cut them, more leg room. You know them better than I do and will take any advice since you restored the '41. I read the whole article. I've been in contact with Dave Leiting at EAA and we discussed your write-up. He wants to do the same thing with this one since it has a little different story behind it. They love they fact that we're incorporating the college and high school kids on this project and trying to complete it as cheaply as possible (donations) but still be a professional looking restore. They also like the idea it might be a training plane (Tail Wheel) for the students involved.