Gut, then Modernize

I always get unnerved by those in-progress photos you see of instrument panel restorations. I mean, there are wires everywhere, none of the old instruments in sight, and the appearance is one of total chaos. Will they ever be able to put the panel back together again? Or will the technicians throw up their hands one day and take a long lunch?

Old spaghetti gone! The panel awaits the G500, and much more

Not to worry. Advantage Avionics of Chino, California has things under control–although the accompanying photos make you wonder. Advantage has done more than 25 Garmin G500 installations, and that makes them the most experienced G500-retrofit shop in the nation. Annually, Advantage does more than 40 complete panel restorations of all kinds. So the Crossover Classic is in good hands.

This restoration, though, will be one of Advantage’s bigger projects, and it will be late January-early February before the job is done.

A close-up of the now-empty center stack. This is where the GNS 430s will be located.

Here’s why. The list of components to be installed is a lengthy one. Here goes: The two-tube G500 and its wing-mounted magnetometer, dual Garmin GNS 430s with WAAS capability (these feed navigation, terrain, and obstacle data to the G500), Garmin’s GTS800 active traffic advisory system, the Garmin GDL69A datalink receiver (for datalink weather from XM WX), Garmin’s GTX330 transponder, plus all the racks, antennas,¬†and wiring to go along with all that gear. Then there’s the L-3 Trilogy ESI-1000 Standby Instrument System and the PS Engineering PMA8000B-T audio panel with Bluetooth capability. Am I forgetting anything? Oh yes, the Cobham/S-TEC System Fifty-Five X autopilot and flight control system. And a CO Guardian AERO 553 carbon monoxide detector.

Oh, and all the old wires will be chucked in the trash. It makes no sense to install the latest avionics, then hook them up to 40-year-old wiring.

All the components are of exemplary quality. The GTS800 deserves mention because it can report traffic conflicts anywhere. It’s a self-contained unit that reads nearby transponders for advisories. It doesn’t need ADS-B or TIS-B to do its job, so you’re not reliant on ADS-B-equipped aircraft or uplinked approach control radar for traffic information.

Stand by for more progress reports from Advantage Avionics. So far, all components have arrived at the shop–save the autopilot and the AERO 553. I’m working on getting new control yokes so that the autopilot and trim controls can be located within the yokes–rather than mounted on tabs, so wish me luck. Looks like we’ll have to buy a new set from Cessna or Van Bortel Aircraft at this point.

It will be slow going for a while, what with the holidays coming up, but as you can see, the work has begun. Let’s hang in there.

  • Craig Mock

    I have a registration on hold you might want to use: N182NW. As in a New 182. I exported this aircraft last year and you are welcome to the N number

  • John

    Very cool, can’t wait to see the outcome. Following with interest

  • don sebastian

    Wow; Love to do a post-purchase inspection of this airplane. It would be an educational experience for me. Put the former owner Tom in the pilot seat, like to see his joy. Next year, do the same thing to his J3 Cub! Need to tell you a story about that. Went to a FAA sponsored meeting at a little airport in Goldsboro NC. Looked out on the ramp, and there was J3’s and other tail-draggers with a wind generator on the wing struts. Further investigation reveled, they all had automotive Radar Detectors on the glare shields. Rounded up the local CFI and asked. Why! He told me, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, nearby. It has jet fighters flying around here at 400′ and 400 knots. These cloth airplanes are hard to see on radar. So, when those pilots see and hear their radar detectors go off. They are instructed to level their wings and hold their altitude. And the jet jockeys will miss them. Guess it is just around the corner, putting a wind generator on a J3, that could run that Garmin at 70 knots.

  • Henri Monnin

    I just love to see this type of instalation go together. The capability of these units is phenominal and makes it a safer aircraft.

  • Jogn M Pettaway

    I estimate your gouing to spend $100,000 on a $50,000 airplane that will be worth $75,000 when finished. How far am I off?

    • thorne


      Don’t think it’ll be worth 75K when done. Market will have its say. I’m thinking closer to $180,000….

  • Ernie Waldron

    Looking forward to the day it gets delivered to me(a guy can dream).

  • Larry

    Looks like a nice job by Advantage. Just remind them to be extra careful to not snag any of the insulation on the metal panel. I’d hate to have a failure when I take delivery.

    • thorne

      Larry that’s an issue all right. They have a handle on it though


  • Jeff Sloan

    Will there be much difference in the weight of the new equipment vs. the old equipment? I would think the new equipment would be alot lighter compared to the old equipment. Thanks.

    • thorne


      Gotta check, but yes, it will be lighter. The panel gear, that is…


  • Chuck Bever

    We’d all love to have a make-over such as this but with an airplane that’s only worth $75m – $90m, I’m thinking that the make-over would be prohibitive. Am I correct?

  • http://N/A Carl T. Ebeling

    I own a 1980 Cessna XP(172K)that is IFR Certified witn a Northstar MKII combination Loran (Gov’t discontinued) and GPS capability, but also updates via floppy disk most recently furnished by Jeppson has now been discontinued. A CDI is also coupled to this navigation instrument,but now except for the CDI the Northstar has become obsolete.

    I am interested in updating my navigation equipment with possibly the Garmin 500 or equivalent, but I have no idea of the cost not only of the equipment, but also the installation. Can you help in giving me some cost/installation estimated amounts, and how soon you might be able to install whatever makes sense? Thank you.

    • thorne

      Carl, you’d have to check with Garmin. But I think the G500 is well north of $15K. Installation is a big job, with about 4-6 weeks of down time so a big labor charge.


  • Jim

    The look of the layout, as indicated by the cut-outs is promising; I struggled for years with our off-center six-pack in the 182P we had. My major complaint though, with all the new glass, is the use of “tapes” for speed & altitude. I don’t think one can get as quick a read on the info as with a dial read-out. Why can’t the display be programmed to show needles rather than tapes? I’ve flown G1000, Avidyne and Perspective panels, and they all have this flaw. Looks like the G500 does too.
    I hope you aren’t having too much fun with this project – – -but it looks like you are.

  • Mike Sundstrom

    I expect you’ll have more money in this pannel than the rest of the aircraft will cost. I think it’s great what you guys are doing! I hope someday to be lucky enough to fly this airplane! It would be a neat checkout and upgrade from the 172’s I fly!

    • thorne


      Not really. The engine is worth about $50K, the prop $16K, and what with the rest of the improvements the avionics won’t stand out too terribly much dollar-wise.


  • Gonzalo Ciganda

    I would like to receive information to change old instrument in a T-34B aircraft.I want to know if you work outside Usa.also I have some Bolkow 105 to improve new instruments.

  • michael bennett

    love this following…I have an old 1959 182 and would love to modify mine. Keep me posted.

    Is there a chance to see the makeover while at Chino?


    • thorne


      I don’t think there’s be a problem stopping by to have a look


  • Niladri Roy

    “Two-tube G-500″? Huh?

    Those are LCD panels :)

    • thorne

      Right. My Sylvania in the basement has a tube though

  • Doug Hiltz

    Did you change the circuit breakers to the “push-pull action” type? If you have an electrical issue while flying, this can help isolate things.

  • Connor Vlakancic

    The Cessna Cardinal restoration was world-class over-the-top (and flew like Angels in the wings, “of course”). So, looking forward to see how this project turns out.

  • Gary Drown

    I’m thinking the value may be over $250,000 when complete. What ever it is, I want this airplane!

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