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Thread: Starter motor on 1983 Sundowner

  1. #1
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    Starter motor on 1983 Sundowner

    Yesterday, after landing to refuel with cheaper 100LL at the self
    serve pumps in Mesquite TX, my Sundowner refused to start. When I
    turned the key, there was a fairly high-pitched whining sound, and the
    prop stayed still.

    It sounded like the starter motor was turning, but the gears were not
    engaged.

    After searching for a friendly person who volunteered to turn the prop
    for a manual start, I decided to try the starter one more time before
    hand-propping. It started normally, and I was able to return to my
    home base.

    It was 95 degrees at DFW yesterday. Is it possible that something was
    overheated from the hot day and heat soak while I refueled? Is there
    a solenoid to engage the starter motor onto the shaft like an old car
    that is going bad? I'm wondering how serious this is and could it
    leave me stranded somewhere.

    regards,
    Paul (49C)


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  2. #2

    Starter motor on 1983 Sundowner

    >Yesterday, my Sundowner refused to start. When I turned the key, there
    >was a fairly high-pitched whining sound, and the prop stayed still.
    >
    >It sounded like the starter motor was turning, but the gears were not
    >engaged.
    >
    >After searching for a friendly person who volunteered to turn the prop
    >for a manual start, I decided to try the starter one more time before
    >hand-propping. It started normally, and I was able to return to my
    >home base.

    The OEM Prestolite starter "throws out" the bendix gear assembly due to the
    spinning of the shaft and the inertia of the bendix. If there is some
    dried lubricant on the starter shaft, the bendix may stick and not sling
    out into the teeth of the flywheel ring gear. Prestolite recommends an
    occasional shot of clear silicone on the starter shaft to keep it lubed
    without gumming the spiral threads on the shaft that the bendix rides on.

    Starters such as the Sky-Tec (home in Granbury just down the road from
    Dallas), have an electric solenoid that pushes the bendix into position
    BEFORE the electricity is applied to the starter motor.

    The "stuck bendix" problem is well known among Prestolite owners and mechanics.

    Bob Steward, A&P IA
    Birmingham, AL


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  3. #3

    Starter motor on 1983 Sundowner

    Hi Paul,

    A common problem. It is possible to reach in through the cowl with a
    screwdriver and engage the bendix, but certainly not a long term fix. The
    Prestolyte flyweight starter will completely cure this, plus it will make a
    remarkable difference in starting (spins much faster) to the point that hot
    starts are no longer an issue (if you are injected). You also shift the cg
    back a little.

    John



    From: musketeermail@yahoogroups.com [mailto:musketeermail@yahoogroups.com]
    On Behalf Of Paul
    Sent: Sunday, August 24, 2008 12:58 PM
    To: musketeermail@yahoogroups.com
    Subject: [musketeermail] Starter motor on 1983 Sundowner



    Yesterday, after landing to refuel with cheaper 100LL at the self
    serve pumps in Mesquite TX, my Sundowner refused to start. When I
    turned the key, there was a fairly high-pitched whining sound, and the
    prop stayed still.

    It sounded like the starter motor was turning, but the gears were not
    engaged.

    After searching for a friendly person who volunteered to turn the prop
    for a manual start, I decided to try the starter one more time before
    hand-propping. It started normally, and I was able to return to my
    home base.

    It was 95 degrees at DFW yesterday. Is it possible that something was
    overheated from the hot day and heat soak while I refueled? Is there
    a solenoid to engage the starter motor onto the shaft like an old car
    that is going bad? I'm wondering how serious this is and could it
    leave me stranded somewhere.

    regards,
    Paul (49C)





    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


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  4. #4

    Starter motor on 1983 Sundowner

    One way that will get you home so that you can change your starter is to
    get a small pick or even a piece of coat hanger and turn the starter's
    gear backwards. This will push it out and engage it to your flywheel
    teeth. Then you climb in and start the plane. Once the RPM has picked
    up for a normal start, it will disengage as usual. I switched from my
    failing Delco-Remy to a Sky-Tec, and love it. 10 pounds lighter too.

    Joe

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  5. #5
    I had the same sort of problem. I was missing some teeth on the gear ring. Had to replace the gear ring and the bendix??. One thing to help till you get it fixed.....As soon as you shut down the engine turn the key to start to jog the prop then release. This will engage the bendix and will should enable the starter for the next time you crank it up. This happened to me several years ago so I hope I've got everything straight.
    Steve
    N24057

  6. #6
    I had the same thing on my 0-320 Sport 150. It went on for many years at a very intermittent manner. The only common thing seemed to be if it happened, I would recharge the barttery and it would be good for a while so I thought perhaps a weak battery. Summer, winter, hot start, sitting awhile, nothing else was a factor. I was never stuck out, but was always lucky. Then it started to happen more and I had my mechanic stand next to the plane as I told him to listen as the problem would happen and of course it started right up.. He said shut it down and try again and then the wirr happened. He diagonosed, correctly, a starter problem, as the previous threads described. I went Sky-Tech lightweight 8 months ago and am very happy with it. Not a huge job, and it beats the alternative.
    Charlie in San Antonio
    1974 N6578R, MB-729

  7. #7

    Starter motor on 1983 Sundowner

    I had the same problem with my '79 Sundowner. I mentioned it to the mechanic when it
    was in for its annual this year. He tested the battery and voltage regulator. The regulator
    was adjusted to 12 volts. The manual calls for 14.4. He adjusted it (it is adjustable), and
    the problem was solved. There was not enough juice to engage the bendix especially
    when the engine was cold and things were stiff.

    It was a cheap fix and everything works fine now.

    Mike

    --- In musketeermail@yahoogroups.com, Joseph Ashment <wyofisher@...> wrote:
    >
    > One way that will get you home so that you can change your starter is to
    > get a small pick or even a piece of coat hanger and turn the starter's
    > gear backwards. This will push it out and engage it to your flywheel
    > teeth. Then you climb in and start the plane. Once the RPM has picked
    > up for a normal start, it will disengage as usual. I switched from my
    > failing Delco-Remy to a Sky-Tec, and love it. 10 pounds lighter too.
    >
    > Joe
    >




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