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Thread: Sky Tec NL starter failure. Warning signs

  1. #1
    cubpilot2's Avatar
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    Sky Tec NL starter failure. Warning signs

    During the restoration of my project 18A I installed a new Sky Tec 122 NL starter.

    later this summer after being gone a couple of weeks it would fail to crank. Just get a solenoid click. I would prop it and taxi to the gas shack. At that time it would then work normally. I was thinking that the battery was weak, and a brief charge made the difference. This happened about three times after sitting idle for a couple weeks. I began to think it could be the solenoid or ground connection.

    Winter arrived and she sat for a couple of months.

    Got out the skis on and was anxious to check out my cabin for earth quake damage. Got in to go and “click”. So I propped it and all looked good and took off.
    Landed at the cabin and thought to check the starter after a good recharge of the battery. “Click” again.
    Promptly began evaluating my foolishness.

    Made a quick inspection of the cabin and thankfully all was great. Got to get going as not much daylight left.
    Guess I got in a hurry and flooded it trying to hand prop; thereby exhausted myself in the process. Tried jumping arround the start solenoid under the seat several times but still no luck. At my last attempt it started to crank and finally caught. Flight home was uneventful. Glad battery was under the seat and easy to access.

    Starter had only 11 hours so how could that be the problem......
    replaced the starter solenoid as jumping around it did work....sort of.
    Checked the battery connections and all grounds. Nothing.
    Swapped the battery thinking perhaps something there....nothing.

    Finally went to the starter itself and applied 12 volts direct. The solenoid inside it made a loud click but no rotation. Rats!

    In thinking back it was trying to tell me it was a starter issue at the cabin as when jumping around the solenoid I could still hear the click at the starter. I was too tired to think straight. I just wanted it to crank.

    In the photos you can see that something is leaking from the split line near the post. Something is “melted”.

    I never thought to look for anything like this during a preflight; but it looks like it’s been there for some time.
    This engine has always started great, so over stressing of the starter was not a contributing factor.

    I would think that if this is discovered on your starter; then don’t head out in the dead of winter to a remote cabin and expect it to work...
    If you have an intermittent failure to crank; don’t ignor it.

    The Sky Tec factory people were quick to work with me on a warranty claim. I did have to buy another one from them and send this one back for inspection. At that that time I should receive credit. The warranty time from purchase had long expired but since it was only in service less then 12 hours and just a few months there was no problem.

    FYI: I was able to swap it out without pulling the prop and nose cowl, thanks to the rear mounted cooler and original exhaust.

    I did not open the starter or disturb the evidence due to warranty issues. Would be interested to know just what has failed for knowledge gathering. First Sky Tec issue I’ve had.

    Im sure I’m not the first with this.
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    Ed
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  2. #2
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    never been inside one of that model, anyone have pictures?
    does it have solenoid to push gear out into ring gear, once in position contacts engage, then starts rotating?

  3. #3
    wireweinie's Avatar
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    That style uses a piggyback solenoid. That's what the smaller black wire is for. Sounds like that solenoid failed or possible a bad segment on the motor itself.

    Web
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    Talking about the insides of it got me wondering what the differences are inside of the ERZ E-drive and skytec NL?
    https://www.aircraftsupply.com/erz-8012.html

    Are they completely different or a lot alike inside?
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  5. #5
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wireweinie View Post
    That style uses a piggyback solenoid. That's what the smaller black wire is for. Sounds like that solenoid failed or possible a bad segment on the motor itself.

    Web
    no.... read the label in the picture... that's what i thought at first also... till i read label .. maybe the label is not visible in the picture here... jumper is for 12 volt operation, remove for 24 volt... or other way around...

  6. #6
    wireweinie's Avatar
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    I'll be darned. Now I'm curious about the insides of this one, too. Especially what that jumper actually connects.

    Web
    Life's tough . . . wear a cup.
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  7. #7
    cubpilot2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike mcs repair View Post
    no.... read the label in the picture... that's what i thought at first also... till i read label .. maybe the label is not visible in the picture here... jumper is for 12 volt operation, remove for 24 volt... or other way around...
    Leave in place for 12 volt. (Comes with it)
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    Ed

  8. #8
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wireweinie View Post
    I'll be darned. Now I'm curious about the insides of this one, too. Especially what that jumper actually connects.

    Web
    bet 2 separate coils, with a diode internally for 24 volt...????? hmmm

  9. #9
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike mcs repair View Post
    bet 2 separate coils, with a diode internally for 24 volt...????? hmmm
    2 diodes on little stud..... ?

  10. #10
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike mcs repair View Post
    2 diodes on little stud..... ?
    maybe 3... I Need a paper and pen!....

  11. #11
    hotrod180's Avatar
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    FWIW when I needed a new starter for my C150/150TD,
    a buddy of mine told me the cheapest Skytec starter was the lightest and best.
    Bought a "Flyweight" model, don't remember the tooth count or solenoid position,
    but it worked great for the 5 more years that I flew that airplane.
    Seems like I've heard more about problems with the other models of 320 starters than with the Flyweight.
    Just saying.
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!

  12. #12
    cubpilot2's Avatar
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    Ok, time to follow up on the starter failure.
    As mentioned to expedite the warranty question I had to buy a new starter from the factory (full retail price) and then pay ups shipping to Alaska.

    Sent the old unit back for evaluation: Got a call yesterday and was told that Hartzels shop said that the problem was caused by corrosion internally.

    All the gentlemen could tell me is that they were not sure of the source or why, but since it did cause the unit to fail they were to credit me fully for the new starter including the expensive ups freight to Alaska.
    He also stated that with the new starter also restarted the two year warranty over again.

    I discussed corrosion prevention with him but he stated that the section were this is is basically sealed. ACF- 50 may be the best help.

    I am very pleased with how they responded to this. Happy Happy Happy!
    Ed
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  13. #13
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Thanks Ed, good to know. I have installed a lot of those NL starters. I knew someone who used a pressure washer on their airplane and got corrosion that caused a need to had prop an a certain "Chlli Incident" several years ago.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
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    Recently I developed a vibration in my engine. Talked to the mechanic and he said to check the mags in flight to see if that was the problem. So the next flight I took my Dad along for a second opinion. He said that there definitely was a vibration that hadnít been there before. I checked the mags but that didnít charge anything. Higher rpm setting made it worse. In fact the vibration was causing the volume knob on my radio to turn up higher on its own. There seemed to be no power loss associated with the vibration. When examining the exhaust system I did not find any leaks and all of the bolts and nuts seemed tight on the cylinders and induction system. Have any of you had a similar experience?


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  15. #15
    Gordon Misch's Avatar
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    I had a sudden somewhat strong vibration that turned out to be cowl interfering with air cleaner.
    Gordon

    N4328M KTDO
    My SPOT: tinyurl.com/N4328M (case sensitive)

  16. #16

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    This is what I found when I got a good flashlight and checked out the starter. https://youtu.be/wUGykBqE2Gg


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  17. #17

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    Still not sure if it caused the vibration or loosened up because of a vibration ? Iím going to have to take it out flying again to determine that.


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  18. #18
    wireweinie's Avatar
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    That has to be the result of the vibration, NOT the cause. The starter motor is a stationary object when not energized. The only way it could have caused vibration is if it was locked into the flywheel. And that doesn't last long, lol.

    Web
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  19. #19
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Exhaust hitting cowl. Broken engine mount tube. Broken tube under boot cowl(seen one hiding behind front header tank)... someone tying up something that should be left flopping around..... faster made it worse so itís NOT a prop imbalance. Missing chunk of a valve. Broken valve spring.. sticking valve. Bent or broken push rod. Collapsed lifter.... many different vibration causes I seen or heard of. Sagging lower engine mount rubbers letting bolt hit mount.


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  20. #20
    cubpilot2's Avatar
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    New vibrations showing up need to be responded to as your engine is trying to tell you “I feel sick”.

    i would be checking compression,spark plug condition, pull the screen. Loose cylinder nuts Etc.
    Lead fouling of plugs will make my O360 vibrate but not harsh enough to damage things.

    Camshaft lobe going flat possibly but usually vibration comes on slowly.

    A bad or weak hydraulic lifter will also cause issues. You haven’t had them out lately have you?
    Reason I ask is if someone uses a Magnet to remove the plunger it can cause it to fail. I just recently had to change an entire set out on a low time engine that were magnetized. Took awhile to figure out what was going on but now that engine is smooth.

    Good luck.
    Ed
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  21. #21

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    The annual was just done on it a few hours ago and the mechanic said the compression was good and the Plugs were also cleaned. I need to do an oil change so will inspect the screen carefully. Thanks for the input and ideas on what it might be.


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  22. #22
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eddy Lewis View Post
    The annual was just done on it a few hours ago and the mechanic said the compression was good and the Plugs were also cleaned...

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    that means NOTHING....

    that was a certain POINT IN TIME OBSERVATION...

    the OBSERVATION/symtoms have/HAS CHANGED NOW..

    go recheck EVERYTHING....

    just because you felt normal/healthy 3 weeks ago, doesn't mean you can't catch the crud 2 weeks after that earlier observation....

  23. #23
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    A friend, also a member here has a 185 on which he had just recently installed a factory reman IO-550 and a new Hartzell prop. He was noticing a vibration and the local mechanic told him his prop needed a balance which he did adding a substantial weight to the spinner backing plate. The vibration changed but didn't go away so he asked me about it. I found one hose clamp on the intake was tapping the engine mount. We rotated the clamp and removed the balance weights. Now it's smooth as silk.
    N1PA
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  24. #24

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    Thanks. I will check everything.


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