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  #1  
Old 06-09-2021, 09:33 PM
calpilot calpilot is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Independence
Posts: 230
Default SkyTec Starter Leaking Goo!

My RV-7 with a Skytec Starter (149 series) has been leaking "goo" out of the drain hole, the airflow under the cowl has caused the "goo" to exit the James cowl at the joining halves, and smear aft on the cowl to the windshield. Now - here is what I have done to fix the problem..... First...SkyTec, part of Hartzell Aviation Technologies, does not offer any support in the form of exploded diagrams, parts lists, and insists that they are the only entity to service or repair these starters.... sooo, I found that this starter runs in a fairly hot area, and that the grease from the factory will liquify at normal temperatures in this installation. Having serviced a lot of starters, I took mine apart, recovered some of the existing grease, and found that indeed it did liquify at normal operating temperatures. I cleaned everything, used Shell #5 grease, it having a very high liquification point, reinstalled. In addition, I added a blast tube to the starter. Problem solved.
DAR Gary
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  #2  
Old 07-06-2022, 12:00 PM
pkarmouche pkarmouche is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: SF, CA
Posts: 2
Default

Gary,

Do you have any photos or a description of the disassembly? I also have a new Skytec that dumped a couple of loads of grease into my cowl. In my case, it wasn't just the heat (crossover exhaust runs overhead) but also my recently overhauled IO-320 had a slight leak from the nose seal - so a small amount of hot motor oil made its way down into the starter and, I think, kind of "flushed out" some of the grease.

Nose seal repaired, no more leak. No more grease. But, I fear that the starter is now somehwat "dry" and should be lubed.

If not too difficult to perform, I might want to apply the same "fix".

Paul
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  #3  
Old 07-06-2022, 01:05 PM
Carl Froehlich's Avatar
Carl Froehlich Carl Froehlich is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Dogwood Airpark (VA42)
Posts: 3,735
Default

Iím on starter #3 on my 300 hour IO-360-M1B. The good news is Thunderbolt stands behind their engines.

The photos show #1 and #2 starters leaking. These starters also had the now classic solenoid failing to work when the engine was hot (as in after a fuel stop). The current starter is also leaking grease, but the solenoid still works.

These are the same LS starters that I have on my now 20 year old RV-8. That starter is still flawless. I can only assume something changed over the years.

Carl

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  #4  
Old 07-06-2022, 02:51 PM
RhinoDrvr RhinoDrvr is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Lemoore (Fresno), CA
Posts: 205
Default

This, once again, illustrates why I went to a B&C Starter. The SkyTec is an inferior product, and Hartzell wonít change a thing until people vote with their wallets and stop buying the thing.

Why is SkyTec the only starter that routinely strands people when hot with a failed solenoid?

Bottom line, letís make Hartzell fix this issue! Or at least provide some type of service like SkyTec used to.

/End Rant
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RV-8 N88MJ (Built by Michael Robbins)
Lemoore, CA
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  #5  
Old 07-06-2022, 06:37 PM
Stevea Stevea is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: San Jose, CA
Posts: 221
Default Skytek 149-LT disassembly

Quote:
Originally Posted by pkarmouche View Post
Do you have any photos or a description of the disassembly?
I have a few photos of one taken apart, but not a step by step process. I can upload them if you want them. Also happen to have parts of two of them still on my bench. If you want to see how simple these are to disassemble, find any youtube video on an automotive starter tear-down. The parts and general assembly are very similar....not surprising since motor and solenoid in these LT starters are really automotive parts.

Having said that, it really is not difficult to pull one apart (other than needing an 8mm metric socket, a metric allen wrench (size?...can't remember), and a snap ring tool. There are also two other clips that can be carefully removed using needle nose pliers.

The major parts (motor, solenoid, and casting) will "fall apart" after removing the socket head screws holding the solenoid, and the larger 2 (8mm hex size) of the 4 bolts on the back of the motor. Be sure to catch the steel ball (between the end of the motor shaft and the gear assembly) and the seal between the end of the drive shaft and the casting pilot bearing. (Just don't let them hit the floor and run off to some other part of the shop.)

The gear train comes apart after removing the snap ring and two other clips on the shaft. (Same warning here about parts launching themselves across the shop floor.)

So, why was I doing this? Long story short, I had one starter with a broken casting (approx 100 hours flight time), a second one with a "loose" solenoid core (approx 900 hours flight time), and a third one my friend pulled when he said it was "sticking" on engine start (approx 200 hours flight time). The goal was to find enough good parts to make a functional starter. I did manage to do that, and it is running for now.....until I can get a B&C replacement (especially after seeing the wear condition on the throwout fork of two of the three starters). Also, I did not open up the motor any further, so I have no idea of the motor brush condition.

Cleaned up the good parts. Lightly greased the gear train with Aeroshell 22. Re-assembled, and all is good now.

But, there is a B&C replacement in my future. I'll take the 2.4 lb weight hit if it means all metal parts inside.
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Steve Allison
RV-6A - sloooowwww build
First flight - 3/8/14
Phase II - 5/19/14
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  #6  
Old 07-06-2022, 07:19 PM
jclark jclark is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Columbia, SC
Posts: 930
Default Positive responses from Hartzell

Quote:
Originally Posted by RhinoDrvr View Post
This, once again, illustrates why I went to a B&C Starter. The SkyTec is an inferior product, and Hartzell wonít change a thing until people vote with their wallets and stop buying the thing.

Why is SkyTec the only starter that routinely strands people when hot with a failed solenoid?

Bottom line, letís make Hartzell fix this issue! Or at least provide some type of service like SkyTec used to.

/End Rant
I recently have had problems with BOTH my "PlanePower" alternator and "SkyTec" starter, both acquired by Hartzell.

Any time there is an acquisition, you take the bitter with the sweet. Sometimes the acquiring company does not find out the REAL problems until after the acquisition. The good companies then go about fixing the problems they acquired even if it is a costly, not budgeted for, undertaking.

What I have found is that by having a straightforward dialog with them [Hartzell] about the problems I have had has led to them working with me on a resolution AND me finding out about a LOT of changes that they HAVE made for example in the alternators. I plan to get more understanding about what if any changes have been made to the starters.

The idea here is to share with the new owner the issues so that they can fix them and thus give us all several alternatives.

We as RV owners have one of the largest "testbeds" there is for General Aviation. If we give the vendors feedback about problems BEFORE we just walk away, and then they don't fix it, they deserve not to be one of our suppliers.

But if they listen and pursue the fixes, we all gain.

Just FYI. YMMV.
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James E. Clark
Columbia, SC
Former EAA Board Member
RV6, RV8 Flying
RV6A Hoping to get back to finishing soon
APRS
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  #7  
Old 07-06-2022, 08:29 PM
hgerhardt's Avatar
hgerhardt hgerhardt is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: torrance, ca
Posts: 807
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by pkarmouche View Post
Do you have any photos or a description of the disassembly? ........
Just search "Ford PMGR" starter. That's what the LS is based on, with obviously a Lyc-specific nose casting.
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  #8  
Old 07-07-2022, 12:13 AM
pkarmouche pkarmouche is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: SF, CA
Posts: 2
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Thank you, Stevea for the description. I also found a couple of YouTube videos. I may give it a go if I notice the starter performance being to wane. It only has 90 hours on it.

-Paul
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