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Thread: How to keep recoil starters from flash freezing in temp. changes

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Default How to keep recoil starters from flash freezing in temp. changes

    How DOES one keep recoil starters from flash freezing in temperature changes from warm to cold? I thawed two of mine with a hair drier this AM, third one wouldn't budge. Anyone have a good idea about how to keep this from happening? I don't have a garage BTW.

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    Member alaskabliss's Avatar
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    Never had it happen. If it is the rope freezing and not the mechanical mechanism then you could pull the rope out once it is thawed and put some glycol on it. I would look and see how or why your getting moisture in there. If your getting it from running in powder then it would simply be powder screens.
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    Quote Originally Posted by alaskabliss View Post
    Never had it happen. If it is the rope freezing and not the mechanical mechanism then you could pull the rope out once it is thawed and put some glycol on it. I would look and see how or why your getting moisture in there. If your getting it from running in powder then it would simply be powder screens.
    Not powder; temperature differential.
    Not the rope; recoil starter dogs frozen in mechanism.
    Has happened to me out on overnight camps too where it was very warm spring weather riding during the day, then froze hard at night. Banging on the housing sometimes works, but that is not preventative.

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    If it not a moisture problem, it must be to of heavy grease. What I would do, remove the recoil starter degrease it using gas, then put it the freezer for 48 hr to see if it fix. If ok lubricated it with a low temp oil and put it back in the freezer for a final test.

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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    You need to use a low temperature rated grease. I use a silicone based something or other. Your manual will give you part numbers.

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    I don't believe it is a grease problem, especially at +29F (maybe below zero it might be). If it was grease- even thick grease- it might be extremely hard to pull, but you could still pull it,. But on these old ACs, they flat out won't budge at all until you heat them up to unfreeze them. I believe moisture gets caught in the dogs, then freezes, So I'm looking for an oil to spray in that stays fluid at temp. Maybe a gun oil. Maybe gun oil with alcohol to displace the moisture. Surprised no one has ever had this problem. I never ride my old machines too hard, but I've had this happen over the years on various machines, but mostly ACs. With my old Polaris yesterday, the cord would pull out freely but not engage. But as I said before, with the ACs, they don't even move. It's like the engine is seized!

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    The only time I've had a starter that would pull freely but not engage, it was due to an issue with the spring. That on a Tundra and it plagued me for awhile until I got it figured out. Only experience with AC's has been with 80's and 90's Panther's and Bearcat's, and have never experienced or heard of this problem before. First inclination would be to disassemble and inspect. Don't recall having ever disassembled one on an AC, but if like a tundra there is no lube; parts should be clean and dry. Due to experience with the Tundra, my first suspicion would be something associated with the spring. Next, I think I might suspect some sort of dirt/grease/or contaminate from worn parts gumming up dog freedom of motion, perhaps in concert with moisture. That's just a wag. If the problem persisted after having inspected to ensure parts are clean, dry, and functioning properly, and allowing the engine to run for a few minutes and dry out before shutting off, I'd be stumped.
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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    How are your clutch springs on those old AC's? Any chance the clutch is failing to fully disengage, making them difficult/impossible to pull? I've had that happen too.
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    Supporting Member AlaskanSD's Avatar
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    My wife's 2005 550F Summit is doing this occasionally - it operates fine COLD, but after riding and getting to full operating temp, sometime the recoil won't engage (pulls and retracts easily, but doesn't turn over the crank). I think Taiga is correct is that it's a spring issue, however I have not fully diagnosed it since it would require pulling the whole engine in that REV chassis.

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    All these are valid thoughts, but the clutches work fine under all operating conditions, even loads. The recoils work fine too, when cold or hot so I know the springs are OK. Only when there is a rapid change in temperature do they freeze and not engage.

    I think my solution may be to just WD40 the heck out of them to disperse any moisture inside the housings. If it works I will post it for anyone's edification.

    Incidentally, I've had this happen to my auger and chainsaws too, taking them out a warm cab into the extreme cold. In those cases I've had to build a fire and warm up those units in the peripheral warmth of the fire. After that they were fine.

    I'm glad ya'll don't have such problems. In the old Alaska way they'd probably have called me "Stuck Dog Pete" or similar.

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    ...Incidentally, I've had this happen to my auger and chainsaws too, taking them out a warm cab into the extreme cold. In those cases I've had to build a fire and warm up those units in the peripheral warmth of the fire. After that they were fine.

    I'm glad ya'll don't have such problems...
    That's really weird. I have never had a problem like that with a saw, except in the case of getting lots of snow in a clutch and freezing the clutch together, or more commonly getting snow on a warm bar and freezing the chain to the bar. Never a problem with the starter dogs. Anyway, best luck.
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    Member alaskabliss's Avatar
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    I would try and get som Isoheat into the mechanism to get water out and unfreeze it. Very weird issue. Let us know what you find
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    If your recoil starters are freezing you have too much moisture under the cowl when running. Get rid of that moisture and the problem will go away. There are good cowl vent screens available that allow air flow without snow getting into the cowl. Buy a Frogskin kit or make your own.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    All these are valid thoughts, but the clutches work fine under all operating conditions, even loads. The recoils work fine too, when cold or hot so I know the springs are OK. Only when there is a rapid change in temperature do they freeze and not engage.

    I think my solution may be to just WD40 the heck out of them to disperse any moisture inside the housings. If it works I will post it for anyone's edification.

    Incidentally, I've had this happen to my auger and chainsaws too, taking them out a warm cab into the extreme cold. In those cases I've had to build a fire and warm up those units in the peripheral warmth of the fire. After that they were fine.

    I'm glad ya'll don't have such problems. In the old Alaska way they'd probably have called me "Stuck Dog Pete" or similar.
    I'd suggest using tri-flo or another silicon based aersol oil as they do much better in cold temps and won't leave a gummy residue like wd-40.

    Rapid temp changes can definately do some wierd things causing a combination of condensation and freezing. I imagine it's similar to what can happen to an automobiles door lock getting frozen.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul H View Post
    Rapid temp changes can definately do some wierd things causing a combination of condensation and freezing. I imagine it's similar to what can happen to an automobiles door lock getting frozen.
    Exactly! On the very same morning all of my vehicles' doors were frozen shut.

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    I have gone to this http://www.fluid-film.com/ for all my winter lube. It is actually a lube and works better than silicone products and won't attract dirt like WD-40.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    Exactly! On the very same morning all of my vehicles' doors were frozen shut.
    Who uses a key for there vehicles these days? Haha
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    Quote Originally Posted by alaskabliss View Post
    Who uses a key for there vehicles these days? Haha
    Not lock. Rubber weatherstripping frozen to steel; rain then flash freeze.

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