Avstar Aircraft of Washington, Inc.

10415 172nd St. E., Hangar A1
Puyallup, WA  98374
office (253)770-9964
or (253)770-0120
email:  avstarair@att.net

09-01-1999 Ask Mike! Archive
Can a simple shot of WD40 save my starter?

I just got a report that the starter is a bit reluctant to engage. Is that a replacement thing, or as simple as a shot of WD-40, or somewhere in between? I'm told it takes a few tries, then it hits and all is okay. Seems to spin up okay, but the bendix fails to come out and catch the fly wheel.  No report of grinding though.

If you're speaking WD40 generically, that is probably all it needs. The external starter drive on a Lycoming does tend to dry out. Recommended lube interval should be at oil changes, more often if you fly through a lot of rain. HOWEVER - use a dry film lubricant, such as silicone spray.
Make sure the exposed end of the starter isn't full of oils or other goo, spray the exposed end of the shaft liberally, so as to work it into the drive, then, while it's still moist, rotate the drive backwards (with your finger or a screwdriver) to work it in. Then spray it again, and use the starter. (DON'T TRY TO SPRAY IT WHILE IN USE!!!)  Life should then be good.
Gear Green,