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Q-talk 121 - Update From Northeast Iowa

27 Dec 06- Went to the airport to check why the starter was dragging. The battery was first, it checked out OK. Next the wires. Had one fat wire loose on the downstream side of the starter contactor. While tightening it, Wayne (my local friend and homebuilder) noticed that the starter was barely hanging on. Tightened the two visible screws, and questioned the non-visible screws. After consultation with Mike Connell (AP & AI), it was time to take the engine off.

28 Dec 06- Took the engine off today. Took the starter to Decorah IA for evaluation. We cleaned the tapped holes in the starter motor with carb cleaner, dried them out, found new screws a bit longer than the current ones, and applied Lock Tite to them. I took the starter motor home to cure on the heater over night.

29 Dec 06- Put the starter motor back on. New gasket and sealer were applied. Reinstalled the engine, and hooked up most of the connections. I wanted to put a spring around the exhaust pipe (inside the heat muff) for better heat transfer, so I quit for the day. It was 6:00PM anyway.

2 Jan 07- Put the spring on the pipe, reconnected the rest of the connections. Made sure the battery had full charge, and pulled it out for a go. The symptoms were the SAME. Damn. Very disgusted, I put the plane back in the hanger, and called Paul Fisher. He informed me that the "Sprag Clutch" was probably the culprit.

3 Jan 07- Ordered a new sprag clutch from "Aerotech of Louisville" for second day air delivery. Bruce (Crain of UPS fame) should be proud, it was right on time.

4 Jan 07- Again disconnected all the items firewall forward, and got the hoist in place. Loosened the mounting bolts. Ready for the new clutch.

5 Jan 07- Took the engine off once again. I did change the lift point on the engine as last time it hung nose very low. This time it was almost prefect. Took the starter off, pulled the clutch. Prepped the new clutch as per the enclosed instructions. inserted it in the case, put new gasket sealer on, (after cleaning the area with acetone) and remounted the starter.

6 Jan 07- Finished up the connections. made the tach and OT connections in the cockpit. Paul Fisher showed up about that time. He likes to keep an eye on me. We went over the check list. OK. Pulled it out to test the starter, fired it up, and check for leaks before cowling her up. Paul manned the fire extinguisher as I cranked it over. At least it cranked! Fired after a few tries. Paul checked for leaks. None found. Taxied across the ramp and back. No leaks. Shut down to put the cowl on. Cowl on. Fired up for a test flight. TO on 17 was different because I did not have the weight I had been carrying for the last test flights, and I did not have my reflexor set for the lighter weight. 100 mph down the runway, and not much lift. I did haul it off, but with a lot of back pressure. On climb out I realized that I needed to adjust the reflexor. Much better. Around for a T&G and then around again for full stop.

Paul gave me the loan of a second headset, and I took my first pax for a ride. My daughter Brooke! She had been bugging me since she got home from Christmas break to take her for a ride. We got her strapped in, plugged in, sick sac in hand, and headed out. I did not think she would have any trouble being sick, but better safe than VERY sorry. She will go on any, and I mean ANY of the rides at all the amusement parks, so I had little fear she would get ill. She did very well.

Paul flew formation with us for ten minutes or so, and headed home. We flew around for another twenty minutes, in that time I did let Brooke take the stick. She was not too thrilled with it and gave it back after a mile or so. Back to the field for landing. I explained to her what she might feel, as we had a crosswind, and she was very quiet on final and landing. I think she knew I needed to pay attention. Landing was good.

Taxied in and put the plane away. Brooke was shaking when we took off because she was cold. By the time we got back she was warmed up. The new spring in the heat muff must work. Quite a thrill taking your only daughter for her first Q ride! I had her sign my new journal, the one I will keep of people that take rides with me. Her comment was " I told you I would be the first to fly with you".

A very good day!

Lessons learned:

If taking off the engine with trouble, ask around, and explain the symptoms very well to others. Check out the sprag clutch when the starter is off, even if there appears to be no trouble. Take the time to check out everything the first time. I included some photos to show the area where I noticed the starter was loose, and some showing my intake and C150 heat box.

Thanks to Paul Fisher for all of his help.

Kevin Boddicker

Tri Q 200 N7868B 44.5 hours

Luana, IA



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