Jabiru Starter Clutch Replacement

A few weeks prior the starter motor began acting up when starting the plane. The bendix would not engage the flywheel reliably, even though the starter itself was spinning away. I removed the starter a total of 3 times to try and correct the problem: the first two times I cleaned and lubed the bendix, then I removed the clutch and flushed it out real good in carb cleaner (soaking it for 3 days on the suggestion of Jabiru USA). None of those resolved the problem.

After discussing the problem at length with Pete at Jabiru USA, I purchased a replacement starter clutch from Jabiru as it appeared that the root of the problem was a failing old clutch. There is no way to disassemble or service the clutch, so replacement is the only sure-fire option. Jabriu suggested soaking the clutch in carb cleaner, but pointed out that it may not work, or may not hold up over the long run.

Replacing the clutch is only complicated due to the difficulty in removing the starter from the engine. The bolts holding the starter in place are blocked by the firewall, so I was forced to remove the engine from the mount and "swing it forward" to provide clear access to the bolts. It's really a pain!

I don't have an engine hoist, so I fabricated a simple A-Frame and used my come-along to hoist up the engine. This takes slightly longer that using a hoist, but works well enough and is inexpensive.

With the wiring and accessories removed (smoke lines, battery and ground cables, smoke tank fill line, mag wires, oil temp and pressure sender wires, oil separator, CHT and EGT wire looms loosened, AeroInjector removed), and the engine swung out of the way, it was a simple matter of a couple minutes to swap out the clutch and then reinstall the starter motor. Then the whole process is reversed to put the engine back on and connect everything back up. Total time was about 4 hrs (and that's with a lot of practice).

NOTE:  photos link to full size image

The old clutch is on the left, the new on the right. There are some minor differences visible, but otherwise appear interchangable.


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Updated: 20 Feb 16