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80 HP 912UL will not start

  • David Wallis
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3 years 3 months ago #8652 by David Wallis
David Wallis created the topic: 80 HP 912UL will not start
I have been having intermittent starting problems for a while now. Currently the engine will not start at a all. I have done some research yesterday and came away with the tip to heat the cdi units with a hot air gun. I charged the battery today for 4 hours to be sure it was in good condition. The engine would not start. I heated the top cdi with a hot air gun on low setting for apron. 10 seconds. The engine tried to start but sputtered. I felt the top cdi and it was already cool. I heated the cdi again for a few seconds longer this time. The engine immediately started. My engine was made in 2007 and installed in a 2008 aircraft. It has approximately 365 hours on it.

I am ready to order a soft start kit from Lockwood but they are out of stock. Apparently all the dealers have the same kit on sale now. I will check around for availability Wednesday.

I crank the engine with the mags off to burp the engine. I wonder if that played a role in the premature demise of the cdi modules?

I seem to recall a posting somewhere that there was a bunch of weak modules in a certain year that were prone to early failure. Are there any comments about that?
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3 years 3 months ago - 3 years 3 months ago #8655 by Roger Lee
Roger Lee replied the topic: 80 HP 912UL will not start
In the past I would have said the modules are very robust, but here this last 8 months or so I have seen a very high number of module failures from the 2006-2007 time period. I have talked to and seen close to two dozen and that's just the ones I know of. Module failures from 2006-2007 seems to be on the rise. I'm sure there may be more we never hear about.

Roger Lee
LSRM-A & Rotax Instructor & Rotax IRC
Tucson, AZ Ryan Airfield (KRYN)
520-574-1080 Home (TRY HOME FIRST)
520-349-7056 Cell
Last Edit: 3 years 3 months ago by Roger Lee.
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3 years 3 months ago #8657 by William Campbell
William Campbell replied the topic: 80 HP 912UL will not start
Hi Dave,
I went over to the airport this morning and tried to start my engine. It cranked but as usual nothing happened. I had a hair dryer there and decided to take your advice and warm the modules up. It was already 85F at the time. I heated the top module till it felt warm to touch. Got in and cranked it and it immediately started - WOW! what a surprise. The engine was clearly getting fuel as it ran rough and smelt rich for a few seconds. So it looks like it is time to pay the piper and buy a new set of ignition modules. I am going to wait a couple days and try it again to see if I can repeat the sequence.

Thanks for your input and advice.

Bill

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3 years 3 months ago #8658 by Keith Moon
Keith Moon replied the topic: 80 HP 912UL will not start
2007 seems like 'all those years ago'... how long is the warranty on those modules, anyway? :huh:

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3 years 3 months ago #8659 by William Campbell
William Campbell replied the topic: 80 HP 912UL will not start
Hi Keith,
I don't know if there is any long term warranties on the modules. If anyone else has knowledge on this please chime in.

Bill

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3 years 3 months ago #8660 by David Wallis
David Wallis replied the topic: 80 HP 912UL will not start
I cannot take credit for the discovery of using a hot air gun. I found it by doing a google search on the internet. I am a believer in sharing knowledge with brother pilots. My pleasure.

There was a discussion this afternoon at the hanger chat session and it was brought up that the culprit may be dampness in the module. One guy suggested cooking the module in a oven at low temperature for a while and then sealing it with the paint used on motor windings. I may try that when the new modules arrive so I can keep on flying.

In my situation, if I fly every few days the module stays operational. If I let the plane sit for a week it will not start. I do not recommend anyone fly with known bad modules. Fly at your own risk.

I am not interested in doing any cross country flights at the moment. Sadly, I may miss a few local fly-ins.

I have ordered the "Advanced Start Kit" ASM-kit 881-280 for $942 which includes two soft start modules.I have the 6 pin plugs on mine. They are on backorder with LEAF and Lockwood. So I am on the backorder list. Parts due in sometime in Sept.

It would be nice if the module manufacturer would step up to the plate and refund a bit more of the cost. I only have around 364 hours on mine. I flew today for half an hour but stayed within 15 miles of the airfield.

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3 years 3 months ago #8662 by William Campbell
William Campbell replied the topic: 80 HP 912UL will not start
With all this being said my sources say how can both modules be bad? When heating the top module with little or no heat going to the bottom one why does it run ok once it starts and I flip each mag to see if one ignition is inoperative and they both check ok. This engine did set in a cold damp hanger before I bought it so maybe the elements got to them. I, like you are going to change both of them out. I would think the ones on my engine now have dried out since the engine has been been run on some 100F days for hours on end and we do not have any humidity here in Fresno, Ca during the summer.

As an aside, awhile back some suggested I put some Ice on the top module and the engine did start as well. That only worked one or two times and I could not buy into it as the temporary fix to the module. Again how can they both be bad unless the bottom one does not start working until the engine has started and RPM's permit a higher voltage to be generated by the flywheel and coil on the back of the engine. Just a thought.

Again thanks for sharing your experiences with me. I will let you know how this all shakes out in the end. Have you looked at the Bullyhawk soft starts at www,bullyhawk.com?

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3 years 3 months ago - 3 years 3 months ago #8667 by Roger Lee
Roger Lee replied the topic: 80 HP 912UL will not start
I have seen both modules fail several times. I wouldn't nickle and dime purchasing modules. Just get them and go fly or you will be beating you head against the wall and be down for a long time. You don't know what caused the modules to go bad and may have affected both (i.e. heat). One may have been bad until the second failed. Don't buy and install one new style soft start module and use it with one that isn't a soft start.

Just for an FYI;
Just had a mechanic friend in New Mexico with two engines with bad modules.t. Pulled a used set off an engine that had a bad lifter that had sat for 6 months. Another set of bad modules. Bought a set to put on and issues solved.

I hate to say it like this, but sometimes it's easier to just suck it up and get back in the air. Things happen and until forums became really popular you never knew what was going on in another state much less the world with everyone's planes. Now the world is smaller with instant communications and forums like this so now you hear about everything. Some times it may sound like a lot of issues, but with the shear volume out there and the poor maint. on some enginse you can and will hear of issues far more than you would have 15-20 years ago.

Roger Lee
LSRM-A & Rotax Instructor & Rotax IRC
Tucson, AZ Ryan Airfield (KRYN)
520-574-1080 Home (TRY HOME FIRST)
520-349-7056 Cell
Last Edit: 3 years 3 months ago by Roger Lee.
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3 years 3 months ago #8669 by David Wallis
David Wallis replied the topic: 80 HP 912UL will not start
Again, I can not take credit for discovering this problem and temporary solution. I googled it. I am not a engine mechanic or electronics tech. I do have a mechanical background though.

That said, what I have learned elsewhere is that the lower module goes bad and the engine will start on the upper one. Then when they run for a very short time the lower will come back to life. When you get the engine up to operating temperature the mag check is good. I have no clue why that occurs. The Electronics inside the module might have come from a new production run or different supplier.

I fly a ELSA Weight Shift Trike and the modules have lots of cooling air compared to a engine buried inside a hot airplane cowling. But they failed anyway so I can't blame heat so much. I usually try to cool down my engine a bit before I shut it off.

I started my engine yesterday without the hot air and it ran just fine. Shortly thereafter I did a low rpm mag check and both mags were firing. I have absolutely no doubt if I let the engine set for a week or two it will not start. If you run the engine every few days it will stay good until they ultimately both completely fail.

I have no idea what the warranty is, but 7 years would be a stretch. Nothing's forever. And I suppose the current half off price is nice to get although they should have lasted much longer, in my opinion.
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3 years 3 months ago - 3 years 3 months ago #8712 by Daniel Leach
Daniel Leach replied the topic: 80 HP 912UL will not start
Hi dave

One of my pet hates is those modules , in Australia there has been a lot people had failures with those modules . They seem to have a few failure types the hard starting i(weak spark ) we have found mostly due to caps in inside loosing there ability to hold a charge. But normally once the engine is up to speed there don,t show to be a problem but you have to throw the $800 unit any way for a one dollar item . A few units have gone dead totally throw a chip failure again a $3 item, there is a few guys over here which used to design circuit boards for a living have pulled them apart .They have worked out the circuits a have found a few design faults and to be honest the rotax modules are not the best put together rough in side and they have things like heat sinks that go to no wear just to the middle if the epoxy block so don't transfer heat. It's around about a 30 dollar main module board inside one of the guys here prices board design for a job and has costed it out . I,m not sure how rotax can make a aircraft motor with out any aircraft grade wire in there motors . So you where lucky to get the time you did out of them . Heat and cranking motor with out all pugs grounded are the to main causes to module problems we have found . Both causes could be easy designed around but hey 800 dollars each is good money to keep making them not last . For about a 40 dollar item .

Good luck.

Dan
Last Edit: 3 years 3 months ago by Daniel Leach.

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3 years 3 months ago #8720 by paul harrington
paul harrington replied the topic: 80 HP 912UL will not start
It is strange that you all are having problems with the modules. It seems that many parts were subcontracted out at some time in the early 2000's and a hell of a lot of problems have occurred. My 912s (certified) was produced in 1996 and the modules have never given a seconds problem. I see most AD's on the engine concern parts produced after 2000. Now, because my engine is over 12 years old I can only fly 'On Condition'. The engine has only accumulated 780 hrs and apart from a preventative cylinder head overhaul and a carby rebuild, has run well since new. It has also had very few AD's that required attention. Rotax must hate me, they haven't been able to screw much money out of this model and local farmers here are running Rotaxs' of this age to well over 4000 hrs. You'd think that some of the later models were built in China.

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3 years 3 months ago - 3 years 3 months ago #8726 by Daniel Leach
Daniel Leach replied the topic: 80 HP 912UL will not start
You do wonder at times with some of the items they have had big big stuff ups with on the 912 engines most after 2000 cam shafts, engine crank casing fretting ,models failing , fuel pumps failing and list go on . All this tends to happen when you out source you parts to the very very cheapest manufacture they can find . They add 1000 percent to there spare parts cost and charge the customer full ticket plus more to teach them a lesson on for owning a plane even if they can,t make those over priced part right in the first place . I seen guys spend $12 000 on parts on engine that have only do 600 hours due rotax crank casing stuff ups . I remember back in the old 503 days you where lucky to get 150 hours before the cranks broke right throw . 4 designs later to fix the problem obviously the owner of the company never flew behind one or it would have been fixed first go .
Last Edit: 3 years 3 months ago by Daniel Leach.

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3 years 2 months ago #8771 by Hans Ryrstedt
Hans Ryrstedt replied the topic: 80 HP 912UL will not start

David Wallis wrote:
I have no idea what the warranty is, but 7 years would be a stretch. Nothing's forever. And I suppose the current half off price is nice to get although they should have lasted much longer, in my opinion.


Hi David.
Where do you get the ignition modules for half the price? 966 927 model?

/ HR

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3 years 2 months ago #8772 by Hans Ryrstedt
Hans Ryrstedt replied the topic: 80 HP 912UL will not start

David Wallis wrote:
I have ordered the "Advanced Start Kit" ASM-kit 881-280 for $942 which includes two soft start modules.I have the 6 pin plugs on mine. They are on backorder with LEAF and Lockwood. So I am on the backorder list. Parts due in sometime in Sept.


Saw the 881-280 on Lookwood. What are they? A set of two 966 727? Then I will order too!
Cannot find 881-280 as a Rotax part#

/ HR

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3 years 2 months ago #8773 by David Wallis
David Wallis replied the topic: 80 HP 912UL will not start
You have to talk to a live person to inquire about the ADVANCED START KIT ASM-kit 881-280 for $942
I ordered from "leadingedgeairfoils.com" in Lyons, Michigan USA.

Lockwood aviation is in Sebring, Florida USA and has a waiting list as well.

I also talked to a order taker at another company and they were oblivious to Rotax parts so I gave up on them.

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3 years 2 months ago #8882 by David Wallis
David Wallis replied the topic: 80 HP 912UL will not start
I have been flying almost every day and at first the engine would start well. Then as time went by I had to heat the module to get it to start the engine more often.

Bear in mind I am always staying within a few miles of the airfield. I have not really heard of the modules failing in flight but don't want to be the first.

Anyhow now it is taking longer and longer to heat the modules to get them to fire the engine. I am hoping the replacements come in soon. I don't think mine are going to last much longer.

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3 years 2 months ago - 3 years 2 months ago #8883 by Roger Lee
Roger Lee replied the topic: 80 HP 912UL will not start
Hi David,

I have been noticing a terrible trend of 2006-2007 modules failing. I have talked to at least 20 people over the last few months with failing modules and read on forums of more. Due to the high demand for modules right now there is a longer than normal delay in getting them.

Roger Lee
LSRM-A & Rotax Instructor & Rotax IRC
Tucson, AZ Ryan Airfield (KRYN)
520-574-1080 Home (TRY HOME FIRST)
520-349-7056 Cell
Last Edit: 3 years 2 months ago by Roger Lee.

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3 years 2 months ago #8885 by Daniel Leach
Daniel Leach replied the topic: 80 HP 912UL will not start
Hi roger

There is a lot in those years have failed in Australia too , we have pulled a few apart and a friend has drawn up the full circuit with all component values he has found a few things they should have put in the circuit to help stop them from failing . The caps inside need to have a higher heat rating then 80c deg temp there are 100 c rated caps out there for cents more . A few of the chips need a little circuit protecting so stop them burning out if ever started with one spark plug lead not on or grounded properly . You are only looking at 5 dollars more in total cost bring hole unit manufacture cost to under 70 dollars . Cheers Daniel .

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3 years 2 months ago #8886 by David Wallis
David Wallis replied the topic: 80 HP 912UL will not start
What a shame all this had to happen for a few pennies so to speak after the large amount they charged initially for these Modules. Are they made by Ducati I wonder? They should offer a trade in program for bad units.

I was going to stop flying until the new modules arrived but decided to try ice instead of hot air today. I have a small fridge in my hanger and chemical ice packs in the freezer. I put one on the module and did my usual preflight. I was pleasantly surprised when the engine started immediately on the first try after all the checks were done.

I still don't venture very far from the airfield. The air was very pleasant with low temperatures (75 °F is equal to 23.89 °C. ) and not too bad humidity and a very slight crosswind. Just enough to make it interesting doing T& G in the pattern.

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3 years 2 months ago - 3 years 2 months ago #8887 by Roger Lee
Roger Lee replied the topic: 80 HP 912UL will not start
Hi David,

The failing modules seem to only have a starting circuit issue and if they start should do fine once running. Just keep in mind that repeated attempts to start either one time or multiple days may ruin your starter or shorten its life. Just be careful.

Roger Lee
LSRM-A & Rotax Instructor & Rotax IRC
Tucson, AZ Ryan Airfield (KRYN)
520-574-1080 Home (TRY HOME FIRST)
520-349-7056 Cell
Last Edit: 3 years 2 months ago by Roger Lee.
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