Saturday, 24 October 2009

Starting a Bailey engine after it has stood for some time

Ben wrote back to my worried enquiry about my starting problems, and his advice was very helpful indeed. I followed it up with a call about charging my battery and that too very much reassured me. He is very clear that when in doubt, he is happy for people to ask.

I hope he won't mind me quoting him, because I think this could help others:

"Starting the engine after leaving the engine for a few weeks:

1) No throttle, throttle closed.
2) Turn engine over and keep it turning to pump up the fuel. This may take up to a minute if the fuel bowl in the carburettor is empty. Once the fuel bowl fills the engine will fire.
3) If the engine does not start after turning over for up to a minute. Leave alone for at least 2 - 3 minutes, the generated vacuum in the crank case and fuel system will draw up the fuel. Now try to start and she should fire almost immediately.
4) Do not use any throttle until the engine fires, the automatic choke is on full at this point and any throttle will simply flood the engine and prevent firing.
5) If engine fires and stops, open the throttle by a small amount (10%) and she will fire.

Pissing in the wind is better than 5 second bursts, the initial rotation of the engine requires huge power from the battery and repeating this will flatten the battery very quickly, make sure the battery is fully charged before starting, charge at home if you haven't been running the engine for a long time.

Try to start the engine and run it for a minute or two every couple of weeks, this will keep the fuel line and fuel bowl primed and help start the engine first swing. "

It all makes perfect sense. Short bursts just drain the battery. Ben said that the initial load on the battery is actually, for a microsecond, greater than the fuse rate, but it is so short a burst that the fuse doesn't blow....but if the process is repeated over and over, it is bound to deplete the battery, especially as it hadn't been charged after standing for a few months.

So, this afternoon I need to snip my securing wires on my battery connectors and get that battery on charge while I find someone local who sells locking wire. I reckon I will get loaded up to fly tomorrow, when hopefully the weather will be better.

Thank you, Ben

I have just heard back from Cath at Flylight, too, confirming my payment for a front strut protector; they now have them in red :) again, and for an F1 funnel, which is the type she uses on her Dragonfly and which she says fits the Dragonfly well. The great thing about these funnels is that they are designed to filter out water caused by condensation in fuel tanks.

Thanks Cath.

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