Canopy Teflon Runner Replacement

Mechanical Difficulty: Wrench.jpg

Forward –

These instructions are "Dave Marques'" (an owner/pilot) way of doing this easy AA-5B job. I invite anyone else with instructions to add, grammer to edit, or simply change the whole submission to have at it. This is just a good starting point.

When your canopy becomes difficult to slide (it should slide VERY easily), and lubricating doesn’t seem enough, it may be time to replace the Teflon runners. Keep in mind that this must be conducted with a mechanic's oversight or at a minimum inspected to his/her approval prior to signoff.

Materials -

Four Teflon Runners – Newly purchased by one of the Grumman vendors (I used Fletchair)

New Roll Pins – Minimum of Eight, highly suggest spares (often ordered with Teflon Runners)

Teflon Runner Tool – FletchAir rents the tool out (instructions below)

Cutters – Dikes (Diagonal Cutters) or other open faced cutters

Pin Punch or Pick


Hammer – Ball Pin or Small Mallet

First Step –

Remove the Canopy. This step does NOT require a lot of work, but it does take more than one person. This is where (as an owner) the mechanic can come in handy, or as a mechanic the owner can come in handy.

Removal of Old Runners –

Although the tools of choice may vary, I would suggest having on hand a pin punch or a pick (that can take the abuse of minor tapping). You must drive out the OLD roll pins. I would suggest outside in, and take apart the interior (mine had Velcro for easy access) to pull the old roll pins out with pliers. Keep in mind, some of the roll pins may be worn if they were very shallow in the runner.

Next step is to pull the worn Teflon runners out. They should be very easy to pull out with the start of pliers. Once you pull out all four runners, now would be a GREAT time to clean the tracks, the canopy slides, and replace screws. It’s not difficult to imagine that these two spots are CAKED with dirty grease considering that they are outside and collect all the grime that may have accumulated over time.

Install of New Teflon Runners –

Make sure that each runner is in its proper position. You can check the proper position by ensuring the long end of the J is against the track. Make sure you lube the runners with a coat of silicone lube or favored material. This is where having an extra set of arms is critical, have a helper hold up the Teflon runners while you install the tool into the rear side of the tracks. Use of the tool is below.

Use of the tool –

This is where instructions would have been really helpful! It appears that many previous renters had used the end of the V shaped track alignment tool as a hammer point. DO NOT use a hammer!!! This is NOT where your hammer or mallet should go. Try it, see how incredibly difficult this becomes; it shouldn’t make sense (because it doesn’t). Ensure the teflon has a light coat of lube, then wiggle the track alignment tool to get it started. Once started use good old fashion leverage and slide the tool like a hand plane. Run the tool all the way down the tracks. By the time you reach the end you may have noticed that the Teflon had "grown" longer. This is where your Dikes come in handy. Cut the teflon to the proper legnth, more than one cut may be necessary as long as you do NOT cut it too short. After this has been completed, run the tool back and forth again to ensure proper seating.

Installing the Roll pins –

There is a roll pin alignment tool (part of track tool rental). I would use it if you need it (keeps alignment proper) but it’s not absolutely required. I would however save yourself some time and ensure you have a 1/16” drill bit. Start a pilot hole at each roll pin location on the track, and then use your pliers to insert each pin. Lightly tap each pin into the holes. This doesn’t take a whole lot of time, but ensure that you have proper alignment (you don’t need to smack the daylights out of the pins).

Last Step –

Ensure you lube the Teflon (again), the canopy slides, and install the canopy. Try it out! You’ll be significantly surprised at how much easier it is to slide the canopy. Ensure you document the installation and have the mechanic sign on the dotted line.