PA28 (Warrior) Landing gear struts


New Member
A friend of mine just purchased a 1975 piper warrior. He was describing to me that the right main strut was leaking fluid and bottoming he had it rebuilt. A few weeks later he called and said the left main strut was bottoming out but not leaking like the other one was. He called to ask if I was familiar with this type of problem.

I have a couple thousand hours of PA28 time...but none of it in the last twelve years. I can remember a strut going bad...maybe a half dozen over 2000 hours. I also remember pounding some pretty hard landings an instructor...teaching people to land...and the struts always held.

Now, I know there must be numerous folks here with significant PA28 time. Does anyone have any info to pass on regarding the life of a landing gear strut...and the frequency of failures? (I'm fairly certain these are nitrogen and oleo struts.)

(BTW, he states the failures and strut deflations were not due to an abnormally hard landing event.)

Thanks for any info.


Sitting in the median
I have about 300+ hours in the PA28 series, and I've never had a strut bottom out. A few times one has compressed during a crosswind landing, and we taxied in all cockeyed.


New Member
From my experience the struts are very durable. It is very probable that the struts were just worn out and once both are rebuilt, they will be fine. I would suggest rebuilding the nose strut at the same time. It should not really cost that much, and it is probably better to get it over with.


Well-Known Member
I was wondering if anyone would go so far as to say these airplane struts are generally sturdier than the C172 sisters' struts. I've had had about 3 heavy-crosswind landings due to the wacko northeast weather, and these landings have been totally fine. However, only one landing was pushing the "envelope."


There's a good chance an o-ring in the "oleo" is isintegrating. That can happen if the strut is often compressed and extended when the shiny part isn't so shiny (grimey).

It was a ritual on a few planes I flew to put your back under the outboard edge of the fuel tank and lift the plane back up.


If specified, this will replace the title that
It's probably bad rings. Have him look back through the logs and see where the airplane spent most of it's time and when the struts were last rebuilt. If it spent a lot of time in a dusty area (The southwest, OK, anywhere near a beach) it might explain why the struts went bad.

If the strut isn't regularly cleaned (they all leak a little) sand/dirt gets trapped in the oil/grease on the outside of the shaft. Then the next time the airplane lands the strut compresses and that gritty oil is now being forced between the shaft and the seals. Over time this can erode the rubber and or actually roll the seal. Cessnas are more prone to rolling problems because they use a round-sided O-ring where as Piper generally use a square-sided O-ring.

In any event the cleaner you keep the struts (wipe them down once a week, or if you're really anal after every flight) and it should help to keep the seals (O-rings) from detioriating/rolling. Eventually all struts need to be rebuilt as they are designed to take a lot of abuse.

Chances are his struts were running on borrowed time.