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Thread: Best starter for PA-12 with O-320?

  1. #1
    BES's Avatar
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    Best starter for PA-12 with O-320?

    My PA-12 has an O-320 and a Sutton exhaust. Up until now I have used a Magni-Flite starter (permanent magnet). This starter has become progressively crummier and has now quit cold. I want a new one, but cannot find any info on the relative merits of the B&C compared to the Sky-Tech.
    The Sutton exhaust leaves little room for the starter, so it will have to be somewhat compact. It is a major PITA to change starters, so a price difference of $100 is not going to be a deal breaker if the B&C is the better choice.

    Which one would you choose??

  2. #2
    wireweinie's Avatar
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    I like the Sky-Tec HT as it allows you to get rid of the hole in the nose bowl where the original starter nose poked through. Just keep in mind that any of the small starters need perfectly clean crankcase grounds and tight, clean crimps on all power cables. They are not very forgiving of mediocre connections. Others, here like the Sky-tec NL model.

    You say that your exhaust system is tight and that your starter has been slowly giving out. This may be a hint. High temps will ruin the insulation in motors, so consider fabricating a heat shield for your new starter, whatever model you decide on.

    Web
    Life's tough . . . wear a cup.
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  3. #3
    BES's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wireweinie View Post

    You say that your exhaust system is tight and that your starter has been slowly giving out. This may be a hint. High temps will ruin the insulation in motors, so consider fabricating a heat shield for your new starter, whatever model you decide on.

    Web
    Good point. After taking the starter apart though, I can tell that the problem lies in the brushes. The plastic brush holder in the Magna-Flite starter could be better made. It allows the brushes to tilt and chip, wearing them down in a couple of hundred starts.

  4. #4
    nanook's Avatar
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    Where is your oil cooler located?

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    hotrod180's Avatar
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    Dunno how well it'll fit on your 12,
    but I put a Skytec "Flyweight" starter on my C150/150TD to replace the tired old Prestolite.
    At the time, it was both the cheapest & the lightest starter they made for the 320.
    Worked great.
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!

  6. #6
    BES's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nanook View Post
    Where is your oil cooler located?
    It is on the rear L/H baffle

  7. #7
    cubpilot2's Avatar
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    B&C for me.

    I made the switch as I’ve had two Skytec NL starters fail. Both within 12 hours of new on same airplane. One for internal corrosion and the other for solenoid failure. They are not field repairable; so since your in Denmark, I wouldn’t chance it.

    I must say the factory warranty was excellent.

    i still have a Skytec on my 180 cub that has worked very well. (So far)
    Ed
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  8. #8
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    The SkyTec XLT is the lightest and bolts right on if you have a rear mounted oil cooler. If you had the front mounted oil cooler I would recomend the Sky-Tec NL. I just replaced my Magnaflite that had been acting up for a while. I am installing one on my front mounted oil coolered Super Cub but have to modify the oil cooler mount. I have installed problably 8-10 Sky-Tec NL starters in the past several years on O-320s and O-360s and had no issues at all.

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    Steve Pierce

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    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
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    Steve, that failure is screaming for an explanation. Was it a bad casting? Do they use an inferior alloy for casting? Was the mating surface not machined flat? Was the mating to the engine not correct in some manner so that it broke when the bolts were tightened? Was there a kickback during starting? If it wasn't a defective part it could have been an installation error.
    N1PA

  10. #10
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    i am not sure. It started making an odd sound and when I check I found the starter loose on the engine. Did I mount it and not torque it down when I installed the 4 new cylinders? I don't know. I tightened it down and it seemed to work ok but then it started but was noisy and not right. I have had the new starter here for a month or more but this one kept working and since Sunday is my day to fly and not work on airplanes I wanted to fly. This Sunday it sounded real bad and after some really short take offs and landings with some really high winds we quit early and I decided I better make the swap. The issue was I knew I needed to modify the oil cooler bracket. It was tight but when I removed it this is how it came out. I believe I remember a kick back on a cold start but not sure.

    When I rewired my Super Cub several years ago I removed the aluminum starter wire and sized it with Sky-Tecs chart that use to be on their website and used #4 wire. That is what I use in my rebuilds. Two rebuilds ago the airplane had a legacy, heavy starter and when I got done with the build the starter would barely turn the engine. Through lots of trouble shooting with a DC amp meter clamp I figured out that the old style starters draw about twice the amperage when starting as the new style starters. I installed a Sky-Tec NL starter on that Super Cub and all was good. My starter always hit that bump on compression once or twice and then spun the engine. I suspect I choked the amperage when I installed the #4 starter wire on the MagnaFlite starter. Will see how the SkyTec XLT works on my 160 hp O-320 this evening.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers

  11. #11

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    Steve, I installed a Magnaflite on an 0-540 ~15 years ago. The first one they sent had what appeared to be a casting crack just about where yours broke. I heard similar from a hangar neighbor with a 250 Comanche. When it started acting up ~5 years later, replaced it with a Sky-Tec (I forget which variant), and it's been very good since. Had to pull out most of the service slack in the starter wire to reach the terminal, so replaced that eventually.

    Thanks. cubscout
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  12. #12

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    I am running the Sky-Tec XLT since it is the lightest. No issues. Also running a front mounted oil cooler.

  13. #13
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Got mine put back together last night. Spins the 160 over real nice, no more bumping on top of the compression stroke and no weird noises.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers

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