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  #1  
Old 08-29-2019, 04:44 PM
bjdecker's Avatar
bjdecker bjdecker is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Georgetown, TX
Posts: 494
Default Intermittent Start

First off, I despise intermittent problems -- they're challenging to reproduce, and by their nature, often lend themselves to false hypotheses, rabbit holes, etc.

So..that being said -- here we go.

My (nearly) new RV-7, with Lyc. IO-360-A1B6, has developed an intermittent starting issue when Hot (clue?). Turning the key to "Start" and I am rewarded with a >CLUNK< sound from the nose of the aircraft. Volts are 13.2Vdc (I have a LiFePo battery) and there's no indication of anything happening. Shoot -- release the key, gather my thoughts, shimmy in the seat a bit, check everything, try again - turn the key to "Start" and Wha-Vrooom...she starts on the first blade -- what the ????.

As mentioned, I have an Earthx ETX680. The buss volts are 13.2Vdc and there's no visible sag during cranking as displayed on the Garmin G3X.

So, could it be the Van's starter relay (ES-24021) not engaging good enough? The Skytech 149LS-12 motor or starter drive solenoid? Or....? Worth mentioning, I originally did NOT have a wire running from the "I" terminal to the starter motor solenoid -- However, I added the wire, removed the jumper per RV-10, RV-14 plans...issue still happens.

Any brilliant suggestions would be appreciated.

Brian
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Brian Decker
Retired Firmware Guy and Airplane Builder

2020 RV-14 QB -- Under construction - Tailcone & Empennage Complete.
2018 RV-7 QB -- Built, Flying
2007 RV-7 QB -- Built, Drowned, Resurrected and flying
1998 RV-8 QB -- Started, Sold
1986 Mooney 205SE
1980 Mooney 231

Aided and abetted building a number of other RV's.

Last edited by bjdecker : 08-29-2019 at 04:47 PM. Reason: terminology update -- solenoid vs relay.
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  #2  
Old 08-29-2019, 04:53 PM
Walt's Avatar
Walt Walt is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Dallas/Ft Worth, TX
Posts: 5,840
Default

Replace the starter with something better (B&C or NL),or the starter solenoid if you're on a budget.
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Walt Aronow, DFW, TX (52F)

EXP Aircraft Services LLC
Specializing in RV Condition Inspections, Maintenance, Avionics Upgrades
Dynamic Prop Balancing, Pitot-Static Altmeter/Transponder Certification
FAA Certified Repair Station, AP/IA/FCC GROL, EAA Technical Counselor
Authorized Garmin G3X Dealer/Installer
RV7A built 2004, 1700+ hrs, New Titan IO-370, Bendix Mags
Website: ExpAircraft.com, Email: walt@expaircraft.com, Cell: 972-746-5154
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  #3  
Old 08-29-2019, 05:26 PM
RVDan RVDan is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Frederick, MD
Posts: 867
Default

If you want to troubleshoot try measuring the voltage drop across the start contractor. If it is anything but a volt or so, it is bad.
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Dan Morris
Frederick, MD
PA28-140
Hph 304CZ
RV6 built and sold
N199EC RV6A flying
Retired Aerospace Engineer and A&P/IA
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  #4  
Old 08-29-2019, 06:15 PM
cardinalflier cardinalflier is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Granite Bay, Ca
Posts: 131
Default

I had a similar problem. After a LOT of trouble shooting we discovered the ?clunk? was the starter gear teeth not meshing with the flywheel teeth. This was with a new starter. I discussed this with Skytec and was told the lightweight starter doesn?t have enough torque to turn when the gear teeth aren?t meshed with the flywheel teeth. I returned the Skytec and installed a B and C and have not had ANY problems since.
Bruce Estes
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  #5  
Old 08-29-2019, 06:16 PM
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Mike S Mike S is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Dayton Airpark, NV A34
Posts: 15,705
Default

Check all ground paths.

Engine should have dedicated ground strap to airframe.

Look for any loose connections.
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Mike Starkey
VAF 909

Rv-10, N210LM.

Flying as of 12/4/2010

Phase 1 done, 2/4/2011

Sold after 240+ wonderful hours of flight.

"Flying the airplane is more important than radioing your plight to a person on the ground incapable of understanding or doing anything about it."
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  #6  
Old 08-29-2019, 06:24 PM
tgmillso tgmillso is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Launceston, Tasmania, Australia
Posts: 788
Default

I had exactly the same issue.
Here's the response when I queried Hartzell Engine Tech about it:

"Given the serial number provided, I believe you have a part number 149-12LS starter that incorporates an external solenoid. From your description of the issue, it sounds as if the solenoid is not transferring the power across and into the motor. This is an issue we have found on this style starter we inherited from SkyTec and in fact, have an open review on this product resourcing a more robust solenoid.

There are no repairs approved for this model starter so if the problem persists, replacement would be the only option. You do appear to be eligible for warranty consideration given the installation date provided. Please complete the attached warranty form and return to me by email so I can provide an RMA number for return of the starter for evaluation."

They were great to work with. They sent me a replacement and it's been fine ever since.
Regards,

Tom
RV-7
IO-360M1B

Last edited by tgmillso : 08-29-2019 at 06:32 PM.
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  #7  
Old 08-29-2019, 06:56 PM
BillL BillL is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Central IL
Posts: 5,740
Default Apparently there are several failure modes with the same symptoms.

I had the exact same symptoms. I put wires to on the start solenoid power in, and on the starter solenoid activation post to measure voltage and found that it was the (Vans sourced) start solenoid that was failing. Specifically, the start solenoid would click, but no volts would register on the output post (I) that was intended to actuate the starter solenoid. The high amp post was getting voltage. I replaced the firewall solenoid (25hrs). The new solenoid worked flawless for 75 hrs. A PITA to install.

Last week it had a hiccup, only this one time did it click and not activate the starter. Turned key to start again . . . and it was fine. Not sure it is the same failure, but still have instrumentation wires available and will reconnect if the condition persists.

BTW-I took the part apart (drilled rivets) found a floating brass part apparently not making good contact. I bent the corners to ensure a connection and reassembled with #6 screws. All other contacts looked brand new, as expected.

EDIT - if the sound is really a clunk (starter gear engages, but not turning) and not clack the solenoids activating, then I am with Walt's solution.
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RV-7
Lord Kelvin:
I often say that when you can measure what you are speaking about,
and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you
cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge
is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind.

Last edited by BillL : 08-29-2019 at 07:01 PM.
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  #8  
Old 08-30-2019, 10:34 AM
bjdecker's Avatar
bjdecker bjdecker is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Georgetown, TX
Posts: 494
Default Hmmm...

All - thanks for the commentary, I have more work to do here.

Bill, when you say Solenoid do you mean the Starter Relay that's mounted on the firewall - black thing with 4 terminals, "S", "I", and two massive copper studs? Or the actual solenoid that's incorporated into the starter?

Tom - yeah, that's about the same email I got back from Hartzell, but they didn't indicate a problem with a certain batch of starters....yet - will chase this avenue also.

Mike - thanks, all good there - but always worth another look.

Walt - Seen B&C stuff - what's NL? Is that a brand or another style of starter?


Thanks,

B
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Brian Decker
Retired Firmware Guy and Airplane Builder

2020 RV-14 QB -- Under construction - Tailcone & Empennage Complete.
2018 RV-7 QB -- Built, Flying
2007 RV-7 QB -- Built, Drowned, Resurrected and flying
1998 RV-8 QB -- Started, Sold
1986 Mooney 205SE
1980 Mooney 231

Aided and abetted building a number of other RV's.
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  #9  
Old 01-09-2020, 01:53 PM
rag rag is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Holmen, WI
Posts: 56
Default intermittent start

Just wanted to add my experience to the intermittent starter issues.
Nearly new 149-12LS - when I push the start button - intermittently it would engage the solenoid, but not turn over the engine. After checking over all the connections and wire sizes, I reviewed the master solenoid specifications and found that there are differences in capacity and construction. I replaced the master solenoid with a higher capacity unit with silver contacts and my starter problem has gone away. It also turns the engine over noticeably faster. If anybody is having problems with their starter, they should review the condition/rating of their master solenoid.
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  #10  
Old 01-09-2020, 02:20 PM
bjdecker's Avatar
bjdecker bjdecker is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Georgetown, TX
Posts: 494
Default Root Cause - Update

I removed the starter solenoid from the starter. The solenoid actuator/piston was heavily pitted and didn't move freely inside the sleeve -- It would partially retract when current was applied, but it didn't move far enough to complete the circuit to the starter motor.

I sourced a replacement from AutoZone (Borg Warner BWD S5613) and installed without any issues. New solenoid working fine.


Cheers!
__________________
Brian Decker
Retired Firmware Guy and Airplane Builder

2020 RV-14 QB -- Under construction - Tailcone & Empennage Complete.
2018 RV-7 QB -- Built, Flying
2007 RV-7 QB -- Built, Drowned, Resurrected and flying
1998 RV-8 QB -- Started, Sold
1986 Mooney 205SE
1980 Mooney 231

Aided and abetted building a number of other RV's.
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