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Thread: Cold Starting Skipper

  1. #1

    Cold Starting Skipper

    Bob, 29 degrees isn't that cold. If your battery isn't staying
    charged, you either have a charging system problem or else you have a
    minor short somewhere that is slowly discharging your battery.

    Assuming your battery is up to snuff, starting a carbureted engine is
    mostly a matter of priming the engine correctly.

    50-weight oil is indeed too heavy for that temperature. If you want
    to use a single weight, use 40-weight. Phillips, Exxon, and Shell all
    sell multi weigth aircraft oils. You should seriously consider using
    one if you live or operate in an area with widely variable
    temperature ranges. Phillips is dinosaur oil while Exxon and
    Aeroshell are semi-synthetic. However, the heavy oil doesn't make it
    that much harder to start. The worst thing about heavy oil in the
    winter is that it won't begin to flow and lubricate the engine soon
    enough in cold weather AFTER the engine starts.

    Air-cooled engines are no more or less easy to start than liquid-
    cooled engines, all other things being equal. Think about it; The
    engine is 29 degrees at startup regardless of the type of cooling
    system. The cooling system only makes a difference once the engine is
    making heat.

    So find out what's up with your electrical system and get some
    different oil in there.

    Best regards,

    Steve Robertson
    N4732J 1967 Super III

  2. #2

    Cold Starting Skipper

    The main difference between your car engine and the aircraft engine
    isn't liquid vs air cooled. It is in that a car engine uses a coil to
    enhance the ignition. A magneto doesn't have the strength of
    sparking that a coil has. However, a coil ignition system requires
    electricity from a battery to run.

    Another difference is that modern cars have "maps" for the fuel
    injection system that take into account starting. That coupled with
    computer ignition systems that adjust the timing to the engine
    conditions, make them much easier to start.

    SAE 50 oil is also too thick for this temperature. I've run 15W-50
    Aeroshell since break-in and it has worked very well even in the SW
    desert high heat.

  3. #3

    Cold Starting Skipper

    Your little car also uses auto fuel which has more light ends in the winter to help with cold weather vaporization. Av fuel doesn't have so much to avoid vapor lock at the cold and low atmospheric pressure found at higher altitudes.


    Robert Gresli <FlyBE77@comcast.net> wrote: Musketeer Group,

    Thanks for all the replies. I talked with my mechanic and it looks like I was also not using the right oil.

    My engine was topped about 100 hours ago and I was still running straight 100 mineral oil. According to my mechanic, 100 is only good down to 40 degrees. So it's a good thing my engine didn't start!

    I was told that 15W-50 is the better oil for cold weather. I'll use that oil in winter, but I think I'll skip flying anytime it's that cold.

    I learned to fly in Michigan years ago. Talk about cold weather! The school had Cessna 152s that sat outside all the time. They had engine preheaters that plugged in under the cowling.

    It amazed me how my little car that sits outside could start right up and the Skipper had so much trouble. However, my car is a Saturn SL1 that has a fuel injected engine. I remember my parent's cars back in the 1970s. They all had carburetor-equipped engines like the Skipper and they would also be difficult to start in the cold.

    I wonder if a liquid-cooled rather than air-cooled engine makes a big difference in cold weather?

    The weather will hopefully improve over the next week for flying.

    Thanks again and take care.
    Bob Gresli


    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Robert Gresli"
    To: "Mail Musketeer"
    Sent: Sunday, February 19, 2006 9:21 AM
    Subject: [musketeermail] Cold Starting Skipper

    My Skipper has been flying great the past two weeks. However, I was unable to get it started this morning. It was 29 degrees out at Hillsboro Airport. This winter has been unusually cold here in Oregon.

    I'm recharging my battery. I just got the battery, a Gill G25S (Sealed) back in November. It sat for 8 weeks and needed recharging. I just flew Wednesday and it started right up. However, this morning it only cranked a few turns very weakly and then wouldn't turn at all. When I put the battery on the charger, it showed it was discharged quite a bit.

    What do you recommend for cold starting a Skipper? I've heard the O-235 Lycomings are a bit cold blooded.

    Thanks for your help.
    Bob Gresli
    Skipper 6636E
    Hillsboro OR (HIO)

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