I use the rule that if the oil temp is showing nothing 5 squirts, if it is showing a low temp 1 or 2, and if it has just run I do not prime. I’m not sure about 7 though…if 5 doesn’t work I just stop turning the engine over, pump the throttle once or twice (gives a bit of fuel from the accelerator pump) and usually it fires. I have yet to flood the engine. Good luck starting a cold Pa-28 without priming!
I use the system; if the A/c has been flying in the last hour I give it 2 squirts, if it has been flying in the last half hour I don't give it any, and if it is the first flight of the day I give it the full 5.
That's on the PA28-140. It starts every time
Just "getting into" the pa28 series - much better than Cessnas!
Hmmmm. I've never primed an engine in 8 years of flying (C-152s and PA28 Archer). Never had a problem starting either. Admittedley, I have always taken a winter break (hoping not to this year) but have done early morning starts on chilly mornings the rest of the year.
My only contact with the primer has been to ensure that it was locked.
Have I been doing damage, or just lucky to have easy starters?
If it's fuel injected and been running in the last couple of hours, just turning it over normally works for me.
If it's a first start of the day, 4 secs on the fuel pump or until some pressure shows, then shout clear prop and crank it. Works for the injected travel air I fly.
For carburetted 152 and 172s on a first start of the day, I pull the primer out really slowly and give 2 squirts. Note that you want to feel that some actual fuel is being delivered by the primer. This is not always the case.
If a 152 or 172 has been used that day, then 3 pumps on the throttle (accelerator pump) is invariable enough to get it going on the first crank.
Fuel injected 172s have been my worst experience so far
A normally aspirated engine needs a richer mixture when starting. Those of similar age to myself will remember the need to use the choke when starting a car from cold. Nowadays it is automated on a car and you never see it. Some aircraft, e.g. those with Rotax engines have a choke but most have its less efficient fore-runner, the primer.
The primer is a hand pump which squirts neat fuel into the air intake to enrich the mixture.
Many carburettors also have an accelerator pump which squirts additional fuel in to the carburettor throat when the throttle is advanced, this is because sudden opening of the throttle can cause a "lean cut" as additional air is allowed in by opening the throttle and the fuel supply hasn't yet caught up. Not what you want on a go-around and the reason why you are taught to open ther throttle progressively, not suddenly. Some, like the Luscombe I fly do not have an accelerator pump and are therefore more prone to the problem.
There are therefore two ways of primimg on most a/c, using the primer and pumping the throttle.
Over-priming puts too much fuel into the air intake. You will get a smell of fuel around the engine and some may drip from the air intake on to the ground. The most likely result is that the plugs will get wet with fuel and the engine will refuse to fire. However if you were to get a backfire it could ignite, in which case the remedy is to set the mixture full lean and open the throttle as wide as is safe so the excess fuel is sucked into the engine. Once it has all been consumed the engine will stop.
The Luscombe (Continental C-85) always needs 4 squirts when cold and a couple when re-starting after a taxi to the pumps.
Remember all planes are female so they all have different needs first thing in the morning
Of course all these primers were fitted at great expense as ornamental exentricities ... weren't they? no?
As has been stated, they are there for a purpose ... to richen the mixture to aid starting. All engines are different and if yours starts without all well and good ... or is it? Perhaps the mixture is set too rich generally and you are wasting fuel? dunno?, but it's worth checking.
Cetainly most VW powered homebuilds need priming or they just won't start (of course some have carbs with chokes so may use that method instead)
An added bonus of a primer, though not one I've had to use ... is that you can keep an iced up engine running on one! If you have severely cocked up and choked up the card with ice to the point the engine wants to quit ... you could slowly squirt fuel via the primer directly into the inlet manifold and keep it going until you manage to melt the ice! ... theoretically
In 25 yrs flying i,ve always taught ..2 strokes prime on C150/2 and 4 on Pa28. The rest of the day generally the engines don't need priming to start. The biggest problem to starting i have found are pilots who fiddle around with the throttle whilst the engine is trying to start. Opening the throttle reduces the pressure drop in carb upsetting the mixture. At small throttle setting we get enough suck for the slow running jets to supply fuel. All Archers i've come across would start warm with the throttle fully closed. Would start and tick over at 800rpm for a few seconds to get oil pressure up then set 12000rpm.
How many times have we heard engines scream away at 1700rpm whilst cold and these are from highly experienced instructors.
In the winter with frost and cold soaked engine i always gave the Cessna 2 primes and the third applied as the engine turns. I always felt this would help to prevent engine fires, especially in the C150. Also with carb heat selected hot to bypass air filter which is usually covered in early morning dew.
As been said above it depends on the type etc. and I suppose we ought to be following the advice in the Pilots Operating Handbook/ Flight Manual shouldn't we?
If in doubt under prime since a) less fire risk and b) you know where you are starting from. That said use the oil temp as a guide. If Oil Temp is in the green (talking about PA28/38 here) then do not prime. Oil Temp below green then use 4 to 6 shots depending in conditions.
The PA38 (Mk2) POH says only to prime if engine does not start first time (I wonder whether this is liability in case the engine catches fire on start!) but it also says throttle set half inch for cold start or quarter inch for warm start. It also says leave primer out for cold start and push in whilst cranking.
Sorry but totally disagree with "pumping" throttle on start - quite unecessary and liable to cause many more problems that it will solve.
Whilst on this subject why to some pilots have to keep cranking when it is obvious the engine is not going to start? If you have primed correctly and set the throttle then the engine should start easily first time unless there is something mechanically wrong!
Reading the check list you prime the engine with 5 or 6 shots of the primer ...........back to the list and you check the mixture is set to rich ........back to the list and you check the throttle is set........ back to the list and you put the keys in the Mag switch you take a good look around and yell "clear prop !" and put the check list down and turn the starter.............the engine fires once and you release the starter switch the engine kicks back and the prop comes to rest..............I wonder were that smoke is coming from ?..........S**T ITS THE FRONT OF THE AIRCRAFT !!!!!!!.........maggs off......fuel off ......mixture off .......master off............F**K off !!!!!!!!!.
How often will this happen this winter ? and all because of the "check list" being used as a "DO LIST" .
The time between the last shot of primer and cranking the engine should be as short as you can make it , the reason for this is that the fuel that you have shot into the inlet ports will run back into the carb and then into the airbox and then most likely into the cowlings , the shorter the time between priming and cranking the less chance of this happening.
Remember a check list is to check what you have done NOT a list of things to do!.
Some of us know that when the engine is cold and the OAT is below 20c then you will need about two shots of the primer ,as the OAT drops more priming will be required untill with an OAT of -5c you will require a mimimum of 6 shots of the primer.
I see no reason to crank a cold engine on a cold day when the battery is at its least capacity just to prove what I already know ......the engine wont start without priming.
Most instructors try to teach this to the students so to save running batterys flat and over using starter motors but the bit that is usualy poorly taught is the use of the checklist .....see my post above !.
The advice in the flight manual is not practical advice based on years of starting engines , in is a get out writen in by the lawyers to get out of claims that are the result of overpriming or slow starting after priming.
I can't recall ever flying two aircraft which liked the same amount of priming. Even two aircraft of the same type. And the other the aircraft, the bigger the difference between individual aircraft of the same type.
The POH is, as always, the place to start looking for hints. But you will find a technique which works for your aircraft, based on the POH guidelines.
Even for the same aircraft, different people seem to prefer different techniques. I can't start my Europa from cold without some choke (the amount depends on the outside temperature). Other group members can only start it without choke. Doesn't matter, so long as it's a safe technique which works.
wow, I almost totally forgot how much I usually prime!
I usually do 3-5 depending on when it was last used.
Last time I flew I gave it 5 - when it fired up it was running very slowly; so advanced the throttle and it kicked in, the primer was very sticky though! Almost pulling the engine onto my knees! (slight over exaduration :P)
PA38 by the way, as a far as I can remember even on my QXC where it was only like 20-30mins before the next leg I gave it 3 primes.
Is this wrong? Should I be priming less? I've never had a problem or flooded the engine before.