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Old 03-07-2016, 05:02 PM
Mike S's Avatar
Mike S Mike S is offline
Senior Curmudgeon
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Dayton Airpark, NV A34
Posts: 14,926
Default SkyTech LS starter solenoid

This was in a prior post from Heinrich Gerhardt, and I thought it was worth having documented and easy to find.

"The solenoid mounted to the LS starter is a Ford PMGR unit as used on most Fords from around 2000-up. Just go to an autoparts store and get a solenoid for a 2005 Crown Vic. The Crown Vic only has one engine available, so it's an easy one to remember."
Mike Starkey
VAF 909

Rv-10, N210LM.

Flying as of 12/4/2010

Phase 1 done, 2/4/2011

Sold after 240+ wonderful hours of flight.

"Flying the airplane is more important than radioing your plight to a person on the ground incapable of understanding or doing anything about it."

Last edited by Mike S : 03-07-2016 at 05:04 PM.
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Old 06-12-2018, 08:54 PM
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BruceEicher BruceEicher is offline
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Wilsonville/Aurora KUAO Oregon
Posts: 742
Default Brand and part numbers...

For me the stock solenoid showed signs at 300 hours/3 year’s and failed at 400hr/4yr round numbers.
I replaced it from Napa with Echlin Ignition ECH ST421 which lasted less than a year and failed with almost no warnings.
Now it is replaced from O’Rielly with BWD S5613, only a few hours on it but working fine.
I have now on the shelf a spare from Amazon a Standard Motor Parts SS754
And another VAFer used Auto Zone’s Duralast SS1115

Any reports of which has been better or worse for you?
Bruce, Katie, Hana and RV-8 HulaGirl
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Old 06-12-2018, 10:06 PM
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hgerhardt hgerhardt is offline
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: torrance, ca
Posts: 535

So, why are so many of these Ford PMGR solenoids failing at such low hours? Skylor had an interesting theory: on airplanes, the ring gear and starter nosecone are exposed and pull in dust and grit kicked up by the prop and deposit that dust on the plunger of the solenoid, which eventually binds it up. To be clear, I'm talking about the smaller metallic cylinder, not the white plastic part. The clearance is pretty tight on that plunger. Of the three I've had fail in 750 hours, all have had sticky plungers. Cars have their ring gear and starter nose enclosed with a dust shield.

Or, the problem is cheap offshore-sourced parts. Including the ones that Sky-Tec supplies.

As shown below, the solenoids we're using look like this:

There are ones available which have rubber dust caps on the plunger; need to check if they will fit in the Sky-Tec housing. If so, could be an improvement.

Last edited by hgerhardt : 06-12-2018 at 10:09 PM.
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Old 11-12-2019, 07:34 PM
NewbRVator NewbRVator is offline
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: CA
Posts: 169

I literally just put in a new Skytech 149-12LS starter complete on a Lycoming O-360 A1A and it is doing the same thing after 10 hours.

Click no start. Not the battery or master relay. Seems to be the starter solenoid. Arrrggghhh. Any help appreciated.

Was assisted by an A & P. He says send it back for another?!?

What say ye all.
19 dues paid member since 2018
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Old 11-12-2019, 11:34 PM
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hgerhardt hgerhardt is offline
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: torrance, ca
Posts: 535

I received a rebuilt LS from Sky-Tec and the solenoid lasted just a few hours... failed in Furnace Creek, Death Valley of all places. That experience is what drove me to figure out these LS starters.

You have 2 choices: send the starter back and wait until they replace the solenoid under warranty or you can just get the above-referenced solenoid and replace it while the rest of the starter motor remains attached to your engine.

On one hand you could make the point that Sky-Tec is responsible for the failure and have them warranty it, but on the other hand, I'd rather have my airplane back in the air in a day with less work on my part.

Last edited by hgerhardt : 11-12-2019 at 11:37 PM.
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Old 11-13-2019, 08:03 AM
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bjdecker bjdecker is online now
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Georgetown, TX
Posts: 168
Default Bad Solenoid...bad bad bad bad.

My Skytec 149-12LS began showing signs of a problem this summer -- right around the end of phase I with about 100 start cycles.

The first flight of the day wouldn't be a problem, but the second and third hops, after the engine was nice and hot and the ambient temps were > 95°F, turning the key would yield a "clunk."

I found a BWD S5613 at Advance Autoparts and installed it. The BWD unit looked a little different than the original -- the piston rode in a bronze liner, the electrical connections were more robust.

The piston in the original solenoid was sticking about 2/3rd of the stroke. The metal, once I removed the carbon/dirt/whatever, was pitted. Each time I depressed the piston I could see little puffs of dirt come out of the mounting holes...

Brian Decker
Retired Firmware Guy and Airplane Builder

2018 RV-7 QB -- Built, Flying
2007 RV-7 QB -- Built, Drowned, Resurrected and flying
1998 RV-8 QB -- Started, Sold
1986 Mooney 205SE
1980 Mooney 231

Aided and abetted building a number of other RV's.
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Old 11-13-2019, 08:25 AM
NewbRVator NewbRVator is offline
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: CA
Posts: 169

That’s what I will do. Replace the solenoid. If it works I will carry a spare solenoid. Thanks for the replies.
19 dues paid member since 2018
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Old 01-16-2020, 09:34 AM
rgroiss rgroiss is offline
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Germany
Posts: 1
Default It's not the dust...

Can't be the dust - I had the same issue on the second attempt to start, there was definitely no dust on it because the plane did not fly since then. There was not any dust on it. And the solenoid is a closed system which showed a short circuit inside when checking.

I did order a new starter (maybe I did the error to order the same Skytec 149-12XLT) from Aircraftspruce Germany after communication with Lycoming.

And the Ford Crown Victory Solenoid from a local US car shop.

The Ford solenoid works fine since I got it few days later. So I did order another one to be prepared for the future.

Altough on stock, the starter arrived after 4 weeks.

Regarding the warranty:

Lyconing says contact the local distributor
The official local Lycoming distributor - they did not even answer
Hartzell says they won't do anything because I did repair it myself
Aircraftspruce Germany refused to cancel the starter order (long before it arrived) although in Germany they'd have to by law

So forget the big name companies, if you have a problem they leave you alone.

And from today's sight would have been better to have a Superior engine because for the Lycoming there is no exhaust system with mufflers available. But it was easy to get the Lycoming engine via Vans.
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