Starter Adapter Failure at 600hrs SOH?

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  • #84794

    Both my left and right starter adapters have failed at the 650 hr mark. My A/P says that it is highly unusual and its most likely cause is a poor overhaul job for it to fail so soon. Thoughts?

    Thanks,
    Marissa

    #103038

    I’d agree that seems odd. Who did the work?

    #103041

    RAM did the overhaul and they’re refusing to do anything about it!

    #103043

    I think at 650 hours they’re probably out of warranty, even though they shouldn’t break. What was the failure mode?

    What oil do you use?

    #103045

    It’s very strange that both adapters failed at the same time. That would cause me to believe that they were somewhat defective. How old are they? I didn’t realize that they were an item of concern. I know that they are on 421s.

    #103050
    rwelsh
    Participant

      I remember awhile back on another forum where it was found that certain multi-grade oils seemed to make the starter clutches slip.

      #103054

      Dick, my understanding is that Aeroshell multi visc and Exxon Elite both will cause clutches to slip. They have the Lycoming anti-scuffing additive. Clutches need to scuff.

      #103057

      The 520 NB starter drive is not that stressed a unit, some factors that affect life are first quality of OH, does it slip, if so serrations are worn, contributing factor can be poor ignition spark, improper timing, etc. A properly tuned 520 NB will get TBO of a starter drive if done correctly with good ignition and starter maintenance.
      The starter disconnect torque is usually never measured but I heard of issues where this has contributed to problems, the only place I know that can measure the disconnect torque on your starter is RAM. Stick with the TCM 646275 or Prestolite starter.

      On our GTSIO’s which eats starter drives, we make sure ignition is optimum, on a cold start 3 blades and the engine is running if you are going more you are wearing the starter drive excessively. Hot it will take 508 blades to get them running but the adapters have lasted to TBO, GTSIO adapters are only done by TCM these days, there are a lot of “cheap” adapters out there for an NB so buyer beware!

      #103065

      I’m just throwing this out there….could be a stuck or sticking starter relay issue….or some other electrically related problem. For both adapters to go at the same time is highly suspect to be an adapter issue….. My starter adapter issue was due oil starvation due a blocked oil port feeding the adapter.

      Visit Niagara air parts for more info….

      Hope this helps.

      #103071

      Marissa,

      What actually failed on them?
      What starters do you have?

      Eric

      #103084

      I did a RAM engine upgrade on my T210 5 years ago. At 350 hours The starter adapter failed. I called Ram to see if they overhauled it, which they did. but wouldn’t stand behind it. The rep I talk to said some pilots can abuse the starter and adapter if they have poor starting technique. I told him that is not the case with my experience. The engine starts easily and with the first turn of the key without any excessive cranking. In fact I told him my engine starts so easy that I got started by propping it to get back to home base for repairs. I ended up concluding they did a poor job on my starter adapter overhaul and decided to a overhauled one from another source. I have flown many hours on other RAM equipped airplanes with adapters going to engine TBO and past without a problem. Maybe they had a new guy performing poorly on the overhauls and it got past quality control.

      #103102

      @epanning – I’m not exactly sure as to what was failing on the starter adapter. All I know is that it was o/h at RAM. We were having problems starting the engines on both sides. It’d take a few tries to get it going. Since it was doing it on both sides, my pilot thought it might be a weak battery. A/P looked at it and stated that the starter adapters were failing. Per A/P, it is almost unheard of for SA to fail at 600 hrs unless it was due to a poor overhaul or almost intentional pilot abuse.

      Then found out that the shafts? were too thin so add another few thousand to the cost! Doh!

      #103104
      quote mchien1:

      @epanning – I’m not exactly sure as to what was failing on the starter adapter. All I know is that it was o/h at RAM. We were having problems starting the engines on both sides. It’d take a few tries to get it going. Since it was doing it on both sides, my pilot thought it might be a weak battery. A/P looked at it and stated that the starter adapters were failing. Per A/P, it is almost unheard of for SA to fail at 600 hrs unless it was due to a poor overhaul or almost intentional pilot abuse.

      Then found out that the shafts? were too thin so add another few thousand to the cost! Doh!

      If you have one of the lightweight starters, particularly the Iskra, it is known to damage the starter adapter. The usual symptom is the starter spins but the prop does not. Then, if you try it again it catches. Eventually it will not work at all. What is happening is the spring that tightens against the shaft during starter operation never releases because the permanent magnet motors lock the shaft, even with power off. So, it grinds away a bit and eventually undersizes the shaft (best case) or starts breaking springs, gears, etc.

      I would also anticipate finding elevated metal samples on both engines, and small metal particles (usually the color of brass). Nothing to worry about, this is just the worn shaft and the filter doing it’s job. Will clear out in one or two oil/filter changes.

      The best starter for the twin cessnas would be the field wound starter (TCM, ENERGIZER, or the new Hartzell field wound starter). It is heavy, and big – but inexpensive, durable, and very gentle on the adapters.

      The 2nd choice would be an ST5 from Skytec. This is a permanent magnet starter too, but it has a clutch. If you have an Iskara starter on (no clutch) I would remove it immediately and replace with a field wound.

      The rumor is Continental bought pallets of the Iskara starter in the 90’s and proceeded to put them on their engines from the factory. Niagara had made a fortune replacing these as a result (where previously it was a fairly small business)

      The Iskara starter itself is actually a nice starter. It is used for diesel 24V truck engines in Europe. Powerful, lightweight, reliable. However, it is the wrong engineering choice when paired with a continental starter adapter.

      Hope that helps!

      #103110

      I actually found an Iskra starter on a Mercedes 240D that I was working on a couple months back. Made me laugh.

      I’m happy with the SkyTec C24ST5 starters on the 310 and was happy to be rid of the Iskras. Fast cranking and lightweight. I will say that I had one up and quit on me a few months back (after about 1 year/130 hours since install), which surprised me. SkyTec sent me a pair of new ones and took my old ones back. I never found out what the issue was, but my guess is either they wanted to find out, or they knew there was an issue with that batch. I do keep an Iskra in my wing locker as a spare, though. It takes about 10 minutes to change.

      That does sound to me like typical starter adapter failure. I would get them overhauled by someone besides RAM. Charlie Merlot at Zephyr Aircraft Engines did my adapters with the engine overhauls. So far so good…

      #103137
      rwelsh
      Participant
        quote :

        I’m not exactly sure as to what was failing on the starter adapter. All I know is that it was o/h at RAM. We were having problems starting the engines on both sides. It’d take a few tries to get it going. Since it was doing it on both sides, my pilot thought it might be a weak battery. A/P looked at it and stated that the starter adapters were failing. Per A/P, it is almost unheard of for SA to fail at 600 hrs unless it was due to a poor overhaul or almost intentional pilot abuse

        Marissa, I know you are new to the twins, but your description does not really tell me what your starting problem is. When you say it takes a few time trying before it will start. Do you mean the starter turns but the prop doesn’t? Or do you mean the engines catches and then dies? Or you attempt a few starts and then the engine starts? Please be a little more specific. If it is a slipping starter clutch, then you will need the starter adaptor rebuilt or get a new one-OUCH for the price! If the engine starts and then stops, you could have an ignition problem. If it takes a few tries to get the engine to fire, then you may have the wrong technique to start these engines. So give us a more detailed report.

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