Ed Note: As mentioned in the pilot report on the M20E in this issue, starting the IO-360-A1D in our evaluation airplane humbled me. I could start it cold. But hot starts were another matter. I could never get it right. Using procedures I learned for the J model and procedures straight from the E model ownerís manual, I would crank and crank without so much as a feeble misfire from the engine. For a while, this inability to start the engine made me not like the airplane. But David McGee from All American Aircraft came to my rescue. He probably started more E models than anyone in the country and has developed his own starting procedures for the airplane that worked perfectly for me. I thought this information would be interesting to everyone who owns or flys an E model regularly. Here is what David had to say concerning his starting procedures for the IO-360-A1D fuel injected engine in the M20E.
MAPA: David, I made a fool of myself trying to start the engine in the E model. I never could get it to fire, especially when hot. I went by the procedures in the ownerís manual, but they didnít work. I used procedures that have never failed me in the J model-again no luck. You then gave me your personal procedures for engine starts in the E model and I started the engine every time. I thought our members might like to know how it is you get such good starts in the E model.
DAVID: Glad I could help. We saw you out there on the ramp cranking away. Itís a good thing the battery in that airplane was fully charged. You used enough electricity to power a small city.
MAPA: Okay, I stand humbled. So tell us how you start an M20E.
DAVID: After starting too many different E models to count, I have developed a set of start procedures for a cold engine, a hot engine and a flooded engine. First, letís talk about a cold start, or the first start of the day. Hereís how I do it:
∑ Master switch on
∑ Throttle, prop and mixture controls full forward
∑ Boost pump on 5 seconds
∑ Mixture to idle cutoff
∑ Throttle reduced to the approximate position for a 1000-1100 idle speed
∑ Engage starter
∑ When the engine fires, release starter key and firmly (but not rapidly) move mixture control to full rich
∑ After engine is running, lean mixture control out for smooth idle
MAPA: This procedure sure worked well for me. But cold starts are pretty easy. The real test and the area I had the most trouble with were hot starts.
DAVID: You must remember that one of the secrets to hot starting the IO-360-A1D in the M20E begins with the engine shutdown made just prior to the hot start you are about to make. If youíll remember to use the following engine shutdown procedure in the E model, you sure will make it easier on yourself for the next start, especially if that next start is done with the engine still hot.
∑ Idle the engine at 1000-1100 RPM
∑ Pull the mixture control to idle /cutoff from this idle speed
DONĒT TOUCH THE T
∑ Ignition switch off after the engine spools down
∑ Master switch off
MAPA: Okay, so we come back out to the airplane in a few minutes with the engine still hot to fly again. Now give us your hot start procedure.
DAVID: Here is my hot start procedure for the M20E that hasnít failed me yet:
∑ Master switch on
DONíT TOUCH THE
∑ Engage the starter
∑ Expect about 15-20 blades before the engine fires
∑ When the engine fires, smooth (not rapidly) move the mixture control to full rich
∑ After idling, lean the mixture for smooth operation on the ground and during taxi
MAPA: Tell us about a flooded start. The IO-360-A1D in the M20E seems easy to flood. What if I mess up and have somehow flooded the engine during my hot start attempt or the above hot start procedure has no results.
DAVID: Then go to my flooded engine start procedure. If you suspect a flooded engine (and itís easy to do in the E model), hereís what you do:
∑ Master switch on
∑ Throttle, prop and mixture full forward
∑ Boost pump on 3 seconds, then off
∑ Mixture to idle/cutoff
∑ Throttle full open
∑ Engage the starter
∑ Slowly pull the throttle back towards idle as the engine is turning over with the starter engaged
∑ When the throttled is reduced to about Ĺ to ĺ towards the idle position, the engine should fire after the throttle hits the position for the perfect fuel/air mixture for starting
∑ When the engine fires, smoothly increase the mixture to full rich
∑ Bring the throttle back to the normal idle speed (1000-1100RPM)
∑ After idling awhile, lean the mixture for smooth operation on the ground and during taxi
MAPA: Thanks for the good advise. I can affirm that your procedures worked for me. Any other words of advise for our M20E owners concerning engine starts.
DAVID: Absolutely. One of the best investments an M20E owner can make is the purchase and installation of a high speed, lightweight starter for his or her airplane. The primary advantage of either a SkyTec or Prestolite lightweight starter is much higher turning speeds for engine starts. These starters really get with the program and will spin the engine almost twice as fast as the standard starter they replace. These higher spin speeds make the M20E much easier to start, hot, cold or flooded. On top of that, they are 10 pounds lighter than the standard starters they replace. We highly recommend both of these starters to our customers as a big help in curing any engine starting problems they might be experiencing with their E models. But with or without a lightweight, high speed starter installed, using the procedures I have outlined above will give you the best chance of getting a quick and easy engine start in the M20E.
MAPA: Thanks for the advise, David. I think more of our M20E owners have a problem hot starting their engine than we think. Itís probably due to the tightly cowled engine or the design of the induction system, but for whatever reason the IO-360-A1D engine in the M20E is very difficult to start when hot. I hope our M20E members will give your procedures a try. I know I will use them from now on. Maybe in the future I wonít embarrass myself as much as I did during my first attempts at starting the M20E.