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Shock Struts Finally Overhauled.
Understanding the Shock Struts Makes Quite a Difference.

Some time back I had the struts turned upside down (large tube on top) just because I thought that they looked better that way. The mechanics greased the struts and they worked fine for a while.

1929 Taperwing shock strut

After some time the shock struts quit absorbing shock and were very springy making, among other things, wheel landings difficult.

Finally took the struts apart and figured out how they work. The next picture shows what is supposed to be the top part of the strut. The springs go into the lower part.

1929 Taperwing shock strut dissasembled

Next picture is a close-up of the upper part of the strut. It is easy to see the grove circling the strut 1 1/2 inches up (covered by an o-ring). Under that o-ring are holes to the inside of the strut. When the strut goes down quickly on landing, the o-ring is pushed up a bit and hydraulic fluid in the bottom part of the strut flows through the holes.

1929 Taperwing WACO strut valve.

It is difficult to see that under that bolt in the bottom of the upper part of the strut, there is a spring which pushes against a large (rusty) washer covering holes in the bottom. When the strut extends, suction causes the large washer against this spring allowing hydraulic fluid to vacate this upper part of the strut.

After replacing the o-rings I filled the bottom of the strut with hydraulic fluid up to 3 inches below the top and assembled the struts.

Oh my gosh . . . the struts now operate quite nicely, making some less than perfect landings look good to bystanders.

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