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Jeff Goin

 

 

Paramotor Pickling: Storing or Resurrecting Dormant Machines

Apr 25, 2006 Long-term storage and resurrection.
Thanks to Brad Weiss.

One of the worst abuses you can inflict on your paramotor is letting it sit unloved. Fuel degrades, Oil evaporates and dust gathers in places it ought not. Absent any protective oil, parts start returning to dust—Seals crack, aluminum corrodes, steel rusts, and rubber hardens.

Storing (Pickling)

If you know your paramotor will be idle for a long time, more than month or so, these tips will reduce the degradation of disuse.

  1. Dump the fuel out of the tank then run the motor until it dies. That should rid the system of old fuel. Trying to run a motor on real old fuel can cause no end of grief as it gums up everything from the filters through the carburetor and reed valves. Not that it will likely get that far, but if it does you're in for trouble.

  2. Spray WD40 or similar into the fuel pickup (clunk) and motor, including exhaust. On the exterior it will provide limited protection for about a month but anything helps. Wrap the motor with Seran Wrap® or similar to extend the effectiveness of the protective oil spray.

  3. Spray WD40 into the throttle end and kill switch. Spray or wipe down the exposed metal of the frame and cage although this will only be effective for less than a month. If it's stored in a dry location it shouldn't matter but if it's damp, there will be a higher likelihood for corrosion and rust.

  4. Seal the air intake to reduce the amount of oil evaporation. Spray WD40 around the carb and into the open side of the membrane (where the needle release hole is) then wrap the hole thing up with cling wrap. Spray it into the end of the muffler and seal off the muffler to keep the oil from evaporating as quickly.

  5. Make sure sunlight or creatures cannot reach the harness. Neither is good for it.

  6. If possible, store in a dry location to reduce the chance for mildewing of the harness and corrosion or rusting of the motor and frame.

  7. Fold the wing loosely and store in a cool, dry, dark place. Stuffing is is ok but the wing stays very wrinkled. Folding loosely reduces the wrinkles without stressing any seems.

Resurrecting A Stored Paramotor

How much you have to do here depends on how well it was stored. If you've done all the above and you can tell it still has oil residue then you should be able to remove all the cling wrap, fuel it, prime it and start it up like normal. Starter fluid can be quite useful—most auto supply stores carry it. Spray it into the air intake before pulling the cord.

If you're facing a motor that has sat unused for over 6 months with fuel in it, here are some tips. Don't skimp, either, flying a machine that sat for a long time and dried into various problems could easily cost a lot of money. For example, letting a motor heat up to the point of getting a hole in the piston can equate to a nuclear meltdown—particles go down into the crankcase causing contamination of bearings and gnashing of teeth. A complete rebuild including the lower end. That's a LOT worse than taking these steps.

Here are some tips on how to more safely resurrect a neglected motor: Do these before trying to start it.

  1. Replace the fuel with new. If there was old fuel in the fuel line, pull the fuel line off at the carburetor nipple and prime until new fuel is coming out. If you dont have a primer bulb, put the cap back on your fuel tank and blow in the air intake so that it forces fuel up to the carburetor. The goal is to insure there is no old fuel in the line.

  2. Replace soft parts of the carburetor with a rebuild kit. Membranes can dry out. Check the pop-off pressure.

  3. Remove the cylinder body and check the piston rings for free motion. If they are gooped up or sticking you'll need to clean them out. Stuff a clean rage below the piston to prevent contaminants from entering the crank case, remove the ring(s), clean out the ring groove with gasoline. This is also a good time to decarbon the cylinder head and piston top.

Don't let your machine gather dust for too long. Run it every few months and oil parts that are subject to rust or corrosion. Fuel in a sealed system will last up to several months but otherwise may only last a month or less. You know your system is sealed if removing the cap produces a hiss. Most are not sealed.


Remember, If there's air there, it should be flown in!