Sluggish Start

Sluggish Start

I own a recently purchased 1975 Cessna 177B Cardinal (fixed gear). It has a O-360. When I purchased it back in August 2012, I had an annual performed fresh. They put a new Gill G-25 battery in during annual. Recently, the plane has been sluggish starting. USUALLY when I perform a cold start, it turns over rather quickly. However, once i've flown around for an hour or two, I shut it down to re-fuel, then go to start it back up again to taxi across the field to my tiedown spot. It is at this point, where the starter will engage but then the prop will stop at the compression stroke. I have to try the starter a few more times and eventually, it will pass the compression stroke (just barely) but luckily the plane almost always starts with a single propeller revolution. It has been fairly cold outside but I feel it should at least make it past the compression stroke, especially when the engine is already warm. Any ideas? Could my battery not be charging fully (alternator going bad?) or does it sound like the starter? or is it just a 'bum' battery? I am going to go to the airport tonight and try a jump from a known good battery to see what happens.

aharrin1
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Re: Sluggish Start

This sounds remarkably similar to a problem I've been chasing down for almost a year now in my 172. But I had an old generator/DC based system, and any taxiing I did that was around 5 minutes or so at low RPMs would leave the battery undercharged. I use the self serve pumps at my field, and it's about .5 mile from my hangar. I got caught a couple of times unable to re-light when I stopped to fill up the tanks after a flight. The solution was to go to an alternator, which you already have, but after I still had starting problems (slow turn over, hit the compression stroke, and that was all she wrote) I also decided to dump my Gil-25 and go to the Concorde RG-25XC. THAT was the magic bullet and it seems to have resolved everything. I don't get the chance to fly my plane as often as I like (who does?) but it can mean it will sit about two weeks between flights. I've heard that Gils are not good batteries to have if you don't fly frequently. They are mass produced to be cheap for FBOs and flight schools where planes are flown multiple times a day usually. If you don't want to dump the Gil, then you might consider a battery minder. It will keep your battery charged up and ready to go.

One thing I haven't mentioned so far is that it seems a little unusual in your case that the battery doesn't seem to be charging up during your flights. That does sound like it could be an alternator or voltage regulator problem. What is happening on your ammeter during flight? Are you getting a discharge indication? Is your battery light illuminating? They can be very dim and difficult to detect in some cases.

squawkvfr
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