Mark89114

IO-550 starter and metal in filter and slipping

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In the 4 years I have had my Ovation (IO-550) the first 2 years of oil changes and filter inspection were normal, about 2 years ago during oil change and filter inspection we found some tiny, tiny little specks of non metallic material.  Oil analysis didn't show anything.  About a year later, found a whisker or two of shiny "brassy" looking material in filter, nothing on oil analysis and the last oil change there was a bigger whisker.  Discussed with mechanic and waiting for another oil change to see if anything changes.  Just today when starting, it seemed like there was a tiny lag and different noise before propeller started.  The airplane starts almost immediately so whatever happened was really fast and could have been my imagination.  The oil change is due so will inspect with extra care.  My friend with a Brand C and same engine, ignored his slipping and it left him broken down, but I travel a lot and do not want to be broken down in the middle of nowhereversville.  My mechanic said it was a PITA getting the starter adapter off of the Brand C (Cessna Corvalis) and is wondering if it is the same problem for removal?  We looked at the back of engine case and looks like plenty of room, but looking for advise on the removal.  

For those who have done this, can you tell if the starter adapter mechanism is going bad by visual inspection?  The tiny slivers of metal lead us to believe something isn't 100% correct.

Thanks,

Mark 

Edited by Mark89114

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Continental starter adaptors start slipping when they start to fail.There are shops that can repair them by machining starter shaft undersized and thus saving AMU over new replacement.Better to address sooner rather than later as this will get worse

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It wont fail on you just like that. Itll start slipping slowly and one day you just hear grinding with no prop moving. I took it out and it wasnt too difficult to get out. Id say you have a couple dozen starts left before the clutch just dies. I would get it fixed asap though. When it slips, all that metal goes straight into the engine.

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They all fail a little different.  Sometimes it bogs down the start like a weak battery or starter motor.  Fix it now before you get stranded in Naples paying twice the price for the repair and lost vacation time (although there are worse areas to break down). 

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5 hours ago, Mark89114 said:

In the 4 years I have had my Ovation (IO-550) the first 2 years of oil changes and filter inspection were normal, about 2 years ago during oil change and filter inspection we found some tiny, tiny little specks of non metallic material.  Oil analysis didn't show anything.  About a year later, found a whisker or two of shiny "brassy" looking material in filter, nothing on oil analysis and the last oil change there was a bigger whisker.  Discussed with mechanic and waiting for another oil change to see if anything changes.  Just today when starting, it seemed like there was a tiny lag and different noise before propeller started.  The airplane starts almost immediately so whatever happened was really fast and could have been my imagination.  The oil change is due so will inspect with extra care.  My friend with a Brand C and same engine, ignored his slipping and it left him broken down, but I travel a lot and do not want to be broken down in the middle of nowhereversville.  My mechanic said it was a PITA getting the starter adapter off of the Brand C (Cessna Corvalis) and is wondering if it is the same problem for removal?  We looked at the back of engine case and looks like plenty of room, but looking for advise on the removal.  

For those who have done this, can you tell if the starter adapter mechanism is going bad by visual inspection?  The tiny slivers of metal lead us to believe something isn't 100% correct.

Thanks,

Mark 

Mark,

The slipping will eventually get to the point that the engine won’t turn over and won’t start.  Best to repair it while it’s realatively cheap.  Some airframes are a real pain to work on, the Ovation is not difficult.  Having changed lots of them on Cirrus airframes I would suggest getting rid of the tiny Iskra starter and buying a better more powerful one and accepting a slight weight gain.

Another cause of metal from a starter adapter is kick back during start caused by poor magneto timing or magneto internal issues.

Clarence

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I agree.  The Energizer starter is the only sensible choice for the IO550 platform.   @Mark89114, PM me if you need details.  Happy to help.

Steve

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There are a few repair options. The best one adds a longer spring with more surface area. In the northeast, you can use Pine Mountain Aviation in Danbury CT. In Florida, Certified Engines Unlimited at Hollywood North Perry Airport is the best choice for repairs. If you still had an Iskra starter, there is a chance the $950 shaft may need replacing in addition to the spring and bearings.

I would recommend installing a new Skytec C24ST4 starter at the same time. No drag on the clutch means your adapter will last much longer. Your objective is a no-drag release starter. There is no need to carry around the bulk of the antique Energizer starter, since the Skytec ST4 does the same job at half the weight. Do not use the ST3, or the ST5, on an IO-550. The ST3 is not powerful enough, and the ST5 has had some solenoid failures. The ST4 has the same motor as the ST5 but without the redundant solenoid that can fail.

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It certainly came off easy enough.  This isnthe starter motor....i am guessing it is an original continental starter therefore a "good" one?

20190527_121319.jpg

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2 hours ago, Mark89114 said:

It certainly came off easy enough.  This isnthe starter motor....i am guessing it is an original continental starter therefore a "good" one?

20190527_121319.jpg

No need to replace that one, it’s a good one.

Clarence

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2 hours ago, Mark89114 said:

Doc, Is Niagara the best place to get this repaired?  

We’ve had good success with their Canadian division.

Clarence

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I went through the same issue with my Ovation and best to catch it early. There is a place I think Niagra Airparts or something I'd have to look at my logs n see its been awhile but in talking with them I was told about the problems a high torque starter can cause if it doesnt back spin freely. I was told that when a starter wont let the starter adapter spin back freely to let the spring/clutch unwind and release it will burn up the spring and drum producing metal and making a mess of the engine. I was told the best starter was the Energizer or Prestolite and to throw away the Iskra and not to use any geared starter or there would be no warranty on my reman adapter. They didnt have any starters at the time but steered me to a fellow in a small town in Kentucky I called and was back in business in maybe 2 days.The very worst thing to do is to continue flying with the starter adapter not working properly. It can make metal and ruin your engine if not repaired. I looked and couldnt find it again but there are horror stories I had read about some of the Bo Drivers trashing engines because of not getting the issue fixed. I am not an aircraft mechanic and everyone has a different opinion, mine is I would not fly it with a malfunctioning adapter. The place in Brooks Ky. thats the town yes. Good folks

 

Edited by triple8s
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It is pulled off and at Niagara now....will advise if they find anything.  Thanks for the advise.  Mark

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Hi Mark,

I had something similar last year with my TSIO-550G.  I noticed long brass colored slivers of whisker-like material in the oil filter and the prop would spin during start, and occasionally stop during the start, and then it would start.  Speaking with Continental, they said it was the starter-adaptor going bad.  I had that replaced and a short time later, I also had the starter replaced with a Sky-Tec C24ST4, due to oil leakage from the seal inside the starter.  All is good now with no more whisker-like bronze material in the filter and good starts.

Good luck with your issue, I hope it's resolved by now.

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Update:  (bear with me on some of the terminology here) the spring mechanism had failed to retract at some point in time and wore on the shaft, the heat buildup caused it to lose it's temper so rather than a $1200 exchange, I am now looking at $2200 repair/overhaul/exchange.  Talked at length with the Niagara tech and there doesn't seem to be any real consensus on what causes this, oil additives were mentioned, lightweight starters, lightweight props, stuck starter relay, etc.  Of which I have none, except for starter relay.  I did have a weak battery several months ago and that was causing what potentially could be a "slow start", if I understand some of the mechanics of what is happening inside this adapter.  Pure speculation.  He did mention drag on the starter, or the starter staying engaged.  I have a light on my panel that tells me when the starter is receiving power and that has never stayed lit.  He suggested I call the guys in Brooks KY, talked with their tech, super knowledgeable and he mentioned drag on the starter being a possible cause.  I personally spun the starter and I think it spins pretty easy, but he convinced me that less drag is better and that the starter leads to some of these starter adapter issues, even with a "good" Continental starter.  He is going to look at it and evaluate and repair if necessary.  For $300 seems like good policy, based on the $2200 already spent and the possibility of further damage to the engine.  Will advise if he finds anything, good or bad.

 

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2 hours ago, Mark89114 said:

  He did mention drag on the starter, or the starter staying engaged.  I have a light on my panel that tells me when the starter is receiving power and that has never stayed lit.  He suggested I call the guys in Brooks KY, talked with their tech, super knowledgeable and he mentioned drag on the starter being a possible cause. 

Glad to hear you are paying attention to this, Mark. When a new Ultra owner is taught starting techniques, Ill point out the "START POWER" annunciation while cranking. If it does not extinguish when the starter key is released, turn the master OFF immediately to prevent this hangup and filling the crankcase with metal.

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