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Old 10-13-2017, 10:04 AM
JimRice JimRice is offline
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Collierville, TN
Posts: 93
Default Bendix Kicking Out after 2 Blades

I recently began experiencing an issue with my starter on my O-320D1A on my RV-4. It is a regular Prestolite (IIRC) starter (not Sky-Tec or other lightweight starter).

It always seems to crank fine cold on first start of the day, but on subsequent starts, the prop will only turn two blades and the Bendix will kickout/disengage. I let it spin down, try again with same results. My battery (Power Sonic) is less than 2 years old and stays on a Battery Tender when in the hangar.

I'm going to dig into this this weekend but wanted to inquire here first for some ideas where to check first.

Since it always starts well after coming off the battery charger without kicking out, I'm leaning towards this being a battery, relay or grounding issue. I don't think it is a problem with the starter or ring gear, but will definitely be looking at them too.

I am thinking there is sufficient voltage for first start due to battery being topped off by Battery Tender, but it loses charge after sitting even a couple of hours without being charged. When it first happened, once I got it started and flew home, once I landed I shut it down and immediately tried starting and it started just fine. Three times. At that point I thought I might be having a switch issue (Typical keyed switch with starter position). The next time, I went to fly, it started well for first flight, but after sitting at a buddy's strip for 2-3 hours, it did the 2 blades and kicked out again. Once again, I was able to finally get it started, trying two blades at a time and flew home. Once again, when I got home, it started just fine.

My plan tomorrow is to open it up and begin inspecting/troubleshooting. I think first thing will be checking voltage drop at the starter...I may go out and take the charger off overnight so it won't be freshly charged. If it isn't the battery, I suspect the relay may be going bad. I'll also be checking the grounds as I've seen a poor ground cause lots of different problems.

My alternator appears to be charging properly as it shows a short charge after starting and a discharge when I turn on landing lights but comes right back up...though occasionally, I have had the "waving ammeter needle"...again intermittently which I've been unable to track down.

So, I'm open to whatever suggestions folks might have on possible problems and where to start.
Jim Rice
Collierville, TN

1994 RV-4 N4WJ (Purchased/Flying)
1946 J-3 Cub N7155H (Restored/Flying)
1946 Globe Swift N3368K (Purchased Restored/Flying SOLD)
1987 Starduster Too SA-300 (Purchased/Flying/SOLD)
1994 V6STOL (Built w/dad/SOLD)

US Army Retired (still working to pay for flying)

When my ship comes in, I'll probably be at the airport.

Last edited by JimRice : 10-13-2017 at 12:16 PM.
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