Starter replacement cord for paramotors
by Had Robinson
updated July 08, 2021
Note: For all starters, the spool should be wound three complete revolutions after the cord is fully installed on the spool. This will give adequate tension when the pull handle and cord return to the top pulley.
There must be adequate tension to keep the handle from creeping out and back into the propeller.
This is especially a problem with the Polini starters. It is also a GOOD idea to attach the pull handle to the front of one of the bars with a piece of bungee cord, just in case the rewind spring breaks or fails. It happens way too often with the Italian starter assemblies.
Miniplane USA stocks a 1.25m (4.1') x 3.0mm 100% Dyneema starter cord which is of superior quality to the Italian Miniplane OEM cord. It is ordinarily used in the rigging of sailboats and is designed for extreme strength and durability. It is also 0.25m longer than the original cord. Taking an engine off the frame and disassembling the starter is not particularly easy and you want to do it as infrequently as possible. This cord fits various starters, including the Miniplane Top 80. We can supply the correct length of cord for the Polini 1.8m (5.9').
Remember to thoroughly clean the insides of your starter if you are going to replace the cord. I have tried using pure graphite powder to lubricate the internal parts of the starter but it does not have the staying power of ordinary grease. This part of the engine is a powerful vacuum cleaner (the cooling fan) and graphite powder just gets sucked away by the air moving over the starter. Grease will stay inside the starter but dust gets mixed in with the grease. Eventually, everything becomes a gummy mess. Use only light machine oil to lubricate the starter spring. Grease will just make a mess.
Routine maintenance of the starter (removing, cleaning, and re-greasing) is important. If this is not done, the grease becomes ineffective.
Because the cord is a bit thinner, the extra length will fit on the spool and pilots will not engage the end of the cord as easily when starting their engines. Not pulling the cord to the very end saves a great amount of wear and tear on the starter assembly. If you have worn out your stock cord, this is the cord to use as a replacement.
For the "how-to" on replacing your cord, go here. You must remove the starter to do it. There is a notch in the spool which allows you to wind the spring without removing the cord.
When examining the starter, pilots will often find that the cord pulley(s) on the paramotor frame has failed or is about to. Rather than the short lived OEM pulley, install a quality Harken block that is available worldwide. For info and the stock number of the Harken, go to this page.