Thinking About Modifying Your Mooney?

We bet you have some of the same questions that these folks had. Since we have been speaking Mooney and answering Mooney and Mooney Mod questions for nearly 20 years, we have complied a list of many of the most commonly asked mod questions, and their answers. Why not take a minute and read through this list of:

The Most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) When Thinking About Mooney Mods & Up-Grades (and Some Realistic, Honest Answers)

QUESTION) I own a totally stock (original) Pre-201 and have a limited budget but are thinking about doing some mods. I love those gorgeous sculptured F/Glass tips like on newer Mooneys. Which mods should I do first? Your thoughts?

ANSWER) First off, while the F/G tips are sexy and many otherwise stock Mooney owners think of them to do first. In reality, while they do make the ailerons feel slightly lighter and look neat, they are rather expensive and not all that dramatically beneficial (speed wise, that is). Generally, they are not on our list of mods to do first for a otherwise totally stock older M20 airframe. They do however allow room for hiding the more efficient blade style VOR antennas, the nifty super bright forward facing (mini) Quartz Recognition Lights, and strobes.

Facts are, unless you just want F/Glass wing tips for an appearance prospective, they should generally be primarily considered when doing wing tip repairs and/or after some of the other more effective mods are completed. Even though we do lots of them, when modifying older M20's it is sometimes smarter to get the first things first.

The First 3 Building Block Mods For Pre-201's

The best bang for you buck is what we call the first 3 Building Block or primary mods for any pre-201 M20

1) Our Full (36 Piece) 211 Speed Kit

2)The 1/4 Thick OEM Windshield Mod

3) A Cowl Closure Mod

For an otherwise stock pre-201 Mooney, these 3 mods will go a long way to increase performance, ambiance, and resale towards that of a early vintage M20J/201.

QUESTION) Why do you recommend those three mods first for a stock older pre-201?

ANSWER) For a lot of different reasons. First, I find owners are much happier long term it the money they spend on mods is apparent both in performance and appearance. The 36 piece Speed Kit is largely invisible or hard to distinguish when installed as it is largely aerodynamic gap and farings on the aircraft's under surfaces, but it does wonders for performance.

The OEM 201 W/Shield Mod however, does just the opposite. It makes the cabin noticeably quieter, appear roomier, offers better viability, and changes the whole ambiance of the aircraft inside and out, while doing only a small bit towards cruise.

The Cowl Closure Mod is inexpensive (considering its benefit), and does a little of both.

When you do all three mods together they are most effective in transforming older Mooneys into much of what makes the 201 so great: a super efficient, significantly faster, and good looking (sexy) magic carpet; which few other GA aircraft can touch for maintenance and operational economy and performance.

QUESTION) How long does it take to do mods, and can I wait for them to be completed?

ANSWER) Generally, many mods can be completed in a few days or less than a week, such as our full 36 piece 211 Speed Kit, and various Cowl Closure Mods. However, the 201 Windshield Mod and Inner Gear Door Mods are examples of Up-grades and Mod Packages which will take a week or longer to complete. The 201/252 Factory Instrument Panel takes nearly 6-7 weeks (or longer) to fabricate and craft into your older Mooney, so it is generally a leave and come back type mod except for those who are touring tropical Florida in the mein time.

QUESTION) Frankly, my local mechanic says that Mods do not add to resale value and that I should only install mods which I want for my own use now, and not worry about re-capturing the money spent later when, or if I sell. Your thoughts?

ANSWER) In plain words, this is Bull Fodder! He is light years behind times. Years ago when the airframe manufactures were turning out lots of (relatively) reasonably priced airframes and there weren't many modified Mooneys (or any other GA aircraft for that matter) in the resale fleet, what your mechanic says had some validity. Nowadays with new Mooneys exceeding $300-600K and for the last 10-15 years, quality OEM modified Mooneys (in specific) are seen as a good value and consequently have been in extremely high demand in the resale marketplace.

This is especially true of Mooneys which have Mooney Factory or OEM (Original Equipment Mfg.) type mods installed as apposed to PMA or self styled mods. Nowadays, there is little question that most every major nationwide lender and insurance carrier fully recognizes OEM modified Mooneys as having a much higher resale value than a comparable vintage stock Mooney. Usually, a good rule of thumb is most OEM M20 airframe mods add approx 70%-80+/- of their original cost to the value of the subject airframe, depending if the mods themselves can wear out or age. For example, after time, glass does age and have to be replaced, so do engines. Other mods such as Speed Kits etc. which do not contain wearable components do not depreciate.

QUESTION) How much speed do speed mods actually give the average older (non-current production) type Mooney?

ANSWER) That depends on which mods you are considering and the model number and vintage of the original M20 airframe. Usually, with a typical pre-201's (for example), the first 10-14+ mph in speed comes relatively quickly, then the next 10 MPH or so, is more expensive. Normally, it is not hard to get an otherwise good condition, clean wing pre-201 to perform along side a OEM stock older M20J/201. When installing mods on early 201's, it is entirely possible to get them to look and perform like nearly new, later vintage M20J/MSE's.

Obviously, when utilizing our famous line of Turbo 262 Mods, we can also modify M20K/231's into M20K/252/Encore clones exhibiting the exact same performance (or some 20+ mph more) and same nifty up to date appearance as well. I also point out that increasing speed isn't the only reason for doing mods and up-dates.

QUESTION) If it isn't for increasing a Mooneys speed, why do any Modifications?

ANSWER) Simple, while most airframe up-dates and OEM type mods increase both the efficiency and cruise speed of the subject M20, we are also well known for our great passenger and pilot creature comfort, safety, and overall utility enhancement mods as well. For example, we can make the normal M20 some 4-6+db quieter than stock and noticeably smoother as well. We also offer enhanced pilot/co-pilot seating with fatigue reducing, inflatable lumbar supports, a popular fold down (cargo) rear seat mod, aux fuel tanks, the fantastic Speed Brakes, and aux. alternators and vacuum systems.

Overall, we make a otherwise great airframe even better and more enjoyable to own while increasing the resale value as well! Many folks remark how easier it is to get their wives to go along when they made their Mooney quieter (Whisper Soundproofing) and appear roomier (201 W/shield Mod), and that fact alone made it worth while.

QUESTION) Outside of the 3 Basic or Building Block Mods mentioned earlier; (full 36 piece Speed Kit, a Cowl Closure, and a 201 W/Shield mod), what are some other mods to consider on a perfectly stock older Mooney?

ANSWER) Obviously, the full OEM M20J/K Instrument Panel Mod is great but a little pricey if you are on a tight budget. The resale market loves up-dated panels however, and after all and in practice, they are a tremendous improvement. Other popular mods to consider are a (low cost) F/Glass Dorsal, Low Profile Inner Gear Doors, the great one piece F/Glass Belly Mod, the amazingly effective Speed Brakes, our Whisper Soundproofing Mod along with the effective 1/4 thick side glass, and the improved Fully Articulating Seats along with our new style Fold Down Armrests and the Cargo/Fold Down Rear Seats.

QUESTION) What are the best mods to consider on an otherwise stock M20J/201?

ANSWER) Older or pre ‘84 M20J/201's are a large part of our business in that there are several most effective up-dates and Mods available which can transform these older M20J/201's into near current production MSE performance and appearance. Few folks realize that (outside of some cosmetic changes), the 201's performance actually increased some 5-10 MPH over the years as it evolved into the current production MSE in about 4 steps. Substantial improvements were made in ‘80, 82, and again in ‘84 when the one piece F/Glass belly was added. Most all these are now available to all earlier vintage 201's and are very popular and well received within the marketplace.

See our comprehensive Mooney Buyers Kit or Coy's Mooney reference book; The Backwards Tales for specific M20J product improvement details.

QUESTION) What is the difference between a Turbo 231 and a 252 and how does your 262 Mod change a 231 into a 252?

ANSWER) It is important to note that both aircraft are FAA legally the same aircraft, M20K's. The differences between a early vintage (1976-'85) M20K/231 and the (‘86 & on) M20K/252 are mostly FWF (firewall forward) only. Since they are exactly the same airframe FWR (firewall rearward), our mod package essentially replaces most every significant differing component FWF with current OEM production Factory 252/Encore parts including new cowls, electric cowl flaps, and the great TCM MB engine which features the fully automatic Garret Wastegate, huge Intercooler, and automatic controller. This mod makes a turbo Mooney no more complex to operate than any normally aspirated Mooney. Most Mooney enthusiasts and the aviation press agree, the 252 is perhaps the Best of the Best within the Mooney product line as it turns in over 20 MPG at nearly or over 200KTS at altitude and (as apposed to the non-intercooled & fixed/manual wastegate equipped 231's) the 252 has had nearly no operational problems whatsoever as the 252's engine has proven to be nearly bulletproof. In short, the 252 embodies what a Mooney is all about; Superior performance through efficient design.

QUESTION) Can I finance Mods by themselves or when I purchase a used Mooney?

ANSWER) Absolutely. There are few (if any) lenders who, after receiving a accurate adjusted BLUEBOOK Computerized Appraisal, won't lend nearly full value on mods. Virtually every nationwide lender has recognized the value of our quality OEM Factory Mods as adding substantially to the loan and actual market value of the subject Mooney. Many times, most all lenders will offer re-finance packages when you are considering modifying your (pre-existing) Mooney, and financing mods along with the purchase price is no problem.

In Summary:

Like most all personally flown cross country aircraft, Mooneys are not considered un-touchable classics which not to be improved or modernized. After all, few Mooneys are restricted to flying only on Sundays around the patch while keeping the hometown runway in sight at all times. They are largely used by busy folks to go places, even (especially) if it is for fun.

With today's complex and often times busy airspace and problematic weather systems, it simply makes sense to improve and up-date the machinery by which we trust our lives. Many times, the noisy, slower (less efficient), and certainly less user friendly 20-35+ year old designs simply won't cut it today. The super strong or overbuilt Mooney airframe is ideal for mods and the market has so overwhelmingly responded, it makes little sense to fly around stock when your Mooney money can be smartly put to use making flying much more fun, safer, and enjoyable.

Experience Counts

When Considering Mods, There Simply Is No Substitute For Experience. Two problems which confronts anyone thinking of modifying their Mooney is, where to have the mods done, and what is the difference? We always recommend you never attempt to have someone learn how to do mods on your Mooney.

Usually, the down time saved by having only experienced Mooney Mod Mechanics work on your Mooney translates into not only a better end result, but a actual cost savings as well. This usually far exceeds the expense and trouble of taking your Mooney to a specialty shop.  Experienced Mod Mooney owners will attest that the vast majority of any travel expenses to and fro a Mooney specialty shop can be mad up in decreased down time and a far better finished product.......which will endure long after any (supposedly) bargain deal may have faded from your memory!

OEM Type Mods VS PMA Mods

Another concern is the actual design, origin or source of the parts used. Two key acronyms or words here are 1) PMA and 2) OEM. While both are FAA approved, sometimes there can be lots of difference in effectiveness, resale, serviceability, and even appearance and safety.

OEM (Original Equipment Mfg.) Mods utilize Factory Components and generally cost more, but are recognized by any mechanic or future owner world wide as being a legitimate factory Up-grade and being serviceable by ordering parts from the Mooney factory. The vast majority of all of our mods are OEM type mods. We recommend you investigate the differences prior to ordering any mods for your Mooney. It is not unusual for some mods to appear like OEM mods at first, and then later on upon closer examination find out that there are major differences

PMA (Parts Mfg. Authority) are mods which largely or totally contain parts not manufactured by the Mooney factory but are usually fabricated in-house by the STC holder. Some mechanics refer to these mods as using homemade parts and sometimes these mods do not have the forethought put into factory components.