Q&A: Selecting the most suitable backcountry tire for a 182’s nosewheel, slow gear door retraction on a 210 

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I own a 1965 Cessna 182 Skylane. I would like to take the plane into Utah and Idaho backcountry strips. I would restrict the 182 to 8.50 tires, not larger. I would appreciate any comments on this. I know 8.50s will work on the mains. What do you recommend on the nosegear? Do you need to reinforce the nosegear or is it possible to just install the tire as-is? 


John Patton

Mancos, Colorado 


Hi John,

Here’s what I’ve found. You can install an 8.00-6, 6-ply rating tire on your existing main landing gear wheels without any additional approval since this change is listed in the “models” section in the General section in the front of the 100-series service manual. 

This same approval permits the installation of a 6.00-6, 4-ply rating tire in the nose position. However, you’ll have to get a 6-inch wheel assembly for the nose tire change since the normal nosegear wheel is a 5-inch for a 5.00-5 tire.

A larger nosewheel fork assembly is available for installation on your 182 from Airglas in Anchorage, Alaska. It is STC’d for installation and will permit a tire of up to 8.50-6 on the nose when 8.50-6 mains are installed. 

The Airglas fork and approval paperwork costs $2,625.

Airglas cites a loss of 8 mph true airspeed following the installation of its fork and larger tires. 

In both above nosegear “up-sizes” you will have to buy a 6-inch wheel (Cleveland 40-76A is recommended). The new price for that wheel assembly is just under $700. You may be able find a good used one.

That’s all you will need to install bigger tires. However, you should be aware that your 182—in fact all 182s built between 1962 and mid-1970—have a semi-fragile firewall. These models do not have the two firewall and tunnel reinforcements that Cessna began to install in mid-1970.

I would suggest you consider installing the firewall reinforcements if you plan to do a lot of backcountry flying. It’s possible that some time in the past the service kit (SK182-44C) that includes those reinforcements was installed in the field.

It’s easy to determine if the firewall and tunnel stiffener kit has been installed. If it has, you’ll see what is called a “hat” section of metal on the forward side of the firewall. The hat section reinforcement is installed diagonally between the upper engine mount bolt on the firewall and a spot near the center of the lower firewall. Each side will have the hat section reinforcement.

If you do not have the firewall service kit installed, and you want to install it prior to flying out to unimproved strips, you will have to call a Cessna parts authority to see what the lead time and price will be. (CFA members can call the Association at 626-844-0125 for parts locating assistance. It’s a membership benefit, and we’re happy to help. —Ed.)

Due to the “weakness” of the firewall prior to the reinforcement, I also recommend that you carry 60 pounds in the baggage compartment, especially if your preflight planning shows that you’ll land with the CG in the forward portion of the envelope. 

I always carried my toolbox in the baggage compartment of my 1966 182. If there is baggage there or if one of the back seats is occupied, it’s not needed. The point is to take steps to move the center of load aft to lighten the load on the nosegear and lessen the amount of up elevator needed to pitch up to the best touchdown attitude.

I also recommend that you take a mountain flying course prior to venturing too far into the “bush.” 

Good luck and happy flying,



Hi Steve,

I’m new to Cessna 210 ownership. I’m a tractor mechanic so I understand hydraulics pretty well. My problem is that my 1966 T210F’s landing gear works great, but the gear doors are slow to retract when in flight (gear up), which tells me that the system is low on hydraulic fluid and that it takes more fluid to retract than extend.

I have filled the system according to the manual, but I think there is some stupid detail that is escaping me. Please help.

Thanks in advance,


Hi Bill, 

The T210F is a good airplane. The landing gear extension and retraction system in your 210 is the same system (with a few tiny changes) used in 210s built from 1965 through 1971.

A question for you: Do you know if the doors also open slowly?

If so, there may be air in the system. The service manual suggests actuating the gear up/gear down cycle a few times while the airplane is on jacks and hooked to a hydraulic mule. If you don’t have a mule, you can probably bleed the system by actuating the gear up and down a few times while in flight.

According to the manual, the gear up time—including doors closed—should be 10.5 seconds (+5 seconds, -0 seconds), while gear down time—including doors closed—should be 7.5 seconds (+9 seconds, -2 seconds). These times do not include the time for the gear handle to return to neutral; only the times for the gear to travel up/down and the doors to completely close.

Please let me know how many seconds it takes for the doors to close during the gear up cycle.





Thanks for the reply. The gear works normally, except when retracted the doors will stay open for a while. The amount of time varies. Sometimes it’s just a few seconds; sometimes a few minutes.


Follow-up A:

So, if everything works well except the doors don’t always close, or the closing sequence is erratic, I would first look at each of the gear up switches on the landing gear. You should find a sticky switch, or a switch that isn’t tight on its mount, or a loose wire on one of the switches.

You can double-check this supposition by checking to see if the door control solenoid (it’s located on the forward side of the power pack) is being actuated the moment all three gear are fully up in the wells. When the gears are fully up, a switch on each gear will close completing the circuit to energize the door control solenoid. You can listen for movement or feel for the movement.

Let me know what you find,



Second follow-up:


I looked at all the switches and found them to be secure and the wires good also, so I took my multimeter and found that the right main switch was intermittent and a little dirty.
I cleaned it with some contact cleaner and hit it with some WD-40 and the problem went away. I also cleaned all the switches (up and down) the same way after I came back from doing some touch and goes and everything working as it should.

As they say, “Always do the cheap stuff first.”

Thanks for your help. Do you know a place that has those switches? At some point they will need to be replaced with new parts. 50 years is pretty good service.

Thanks again,


Second follow-up A:

Hi Bill,

Glad the problem was easy and inexpensive to solve.

The part number for those switches (they’re all the same) is S1377-1. If you go to a few Cessna parts suppliers, they will advise that the new Cessna number is P6-340005. List price is $618.27. 

You can buy new old stock (NOS) switches from any one of several companies that will be listed when you do a Google search of the old part number. The search will also show vendors in used parts. Every reputable used parts dealer I know of offers a money back or exchange guarantee.

Cessna Flyer Association members can take a shortcut. Members have access to a complimentary parts locating service; which is a great help for hard-to-find parts like these switches. 

Wouldn’t hurt to have one on the shelf.



Know your FAR/AIM and check with your mechanic before starting any work.



Airglas, Inc.


Yingling Aircraft


Cessna Flyer Association