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Thread: starting/electrical issue with 72 Sundowner

  1. #1
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    starting/electrical issue with 72 Sundowner

    Hello All,



    Need some help with a starting/electrical issue. Turning the ignition key to
    "Start" has no effect (not even a starter solenoid "click") on our 72
    Sundowner. The plane has a new battery, starter solenoid, and starter. This
    happened 200 nm from home, of course. We used a temporary jumper wire on the
    solenoid to bypass the ignition switch and activate the solenoid and starter
    (on advice from our mechanic), which it did, and the plane started. The
    jumper wire was held in position by hand and immediately removed once the
    plane started. However, the solenoid must have stayed in the start position,
    because about 15 minutes into the flight the starter was toast, so we shut
    off the masters and returned to the airport. Too much excitement for me!



    What is causing this problem? Is it a faulty ignition switch, or perhaps do
    we have a loose ground somewhere? I should also add that prior to replacing
    the starter solenoid we had a similar starting problem but we could hear the
    starter solenoid click when the ignition switch was turned to "Start," but
    the starter never moved. Replacing the starter solenoid solved that problem
    and the plane started fine now.



    Thanks,



    Philip






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  2. #2

    starting/electrical issue with 72 Sundowner

    >Turning the ignition key to "Start" has no effect (not even a starter
    >solenoid "click") on our 72 Sundowner.

    The ignition switch provides power to the solenoid coil to activate the
    starter solenoid. You should check the solenoid for proper wiring, and
    then check for a proper power supply at the ignition switch. Some
    installations used a fuse for the start solenoid, and it might be blown,
    causing the ignition switch to not supply power to the starter solenoid
    coil. (This sounds like your problem with the no-start.)

    >We used a temporary jumper wire on the solenoid to bypass the ignition
    >switch and activate the solenoid and starter (on advice from our
    >mechanic), which it did, and the plane started. The jumper wire was held
    >in position by hand and immediately removed once the plane started.

    This would work, but is a "get home" solution, for sure. Sort of like
    shorting the starter solenoid on a car with a screwdriver. Gets the engine
    running, but it is not something you'd want to do after proving the point
    of failure.

    >However, the solenoid must have stayed in the start position, because
    >about 15 minutes into the flight the starter was toast, so we shut off the
    >masters and returned to the airport. Too much excitement for me!

    If your starter solenoid was replaced with a continuous duty style (as are
    used for the Master) then it can weld itself ON and cause the starter to
    run continuously. Some people have wired a "Starter" light on the panel to
    show stuck solenoid -- just a wire from the output of the solenoid to the
    light, and the other side of the light to ground. Usually it is obvious
    from the ammeter reading that the starter is stuck on, but a light can save
    the day, should you not notice the problem in the future.

    >What is causing this problem? Is it a faulty ignition switch, or perhaps do
    >we have a loose ground somewhere?

    Could be either a failing switch or a wiring problem. A quick check with a
    Volt-Ohm Meter would tell if the wiring, switch, or solenoid were the
    problem. The correct solenoid should have about 15 ohms of resistance in
    the coil, the continuous duty type will have about 2 ohms.

    >I should also add that prior to replacing the starter solenoid we had a
    >similar starting problem but we could hear the starter solenoid click when
    >the ignition switch was turned to "Start," but the starter never moved.
    >Replacing the starter solenoid solved that problem and the plane started
    >fine now.

    Which could have been the beginning of your current problem, if the wrong
    solenoid were installed. Also the ignition switch may have excess
    resistance, and that was enough to prevent the correct solenoid from
    pulling in, but the new low resistance solenoid might work (a few times)
    with a failing switch, setting you up for your failures.

    The nice people at Sky-Tec have a starter troubleshooting page that may
    help you diagnose the problem.

    http://www.skytecair.com/Troubleshooting.htm

    Bob Steward, A&P IA
    Birmingham, AL


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