Continental C125/C145/O-300 Starter/Generator/Alternator

KEY START FOR AN O-300A?  (9299)
From: Lewis & Lily Fisher <>
Can key start be installed on a Continental O-300A Swift engine?

Yes, using a B&C starter. It is made in Wichita, KS and advertised in the magazines and Trade-A-Plane. I have one on my O-300A and love it. I formerly had an O-300D with key start, this is about 10 pounds lighter, plus the clutch design is much superior than either the A or D. Price is about $800.00. -- Jim

From: Don Thomson <>
The winter project will be an alternator conversion. I actually have an's a 'D' case with an 'A' crank shaft....... The ones I see in Wag Aero say they are STC'd for the 0-300, but don't specify which model.....

Some O-300D's had an alternator as original equipment, so if you want to save a few bucks, you can get one from early '60's 172 or even a 150 and use it. It is a Ford based unit. You also need a matching regulator and to rewire to the C-172 diagram. Years ago, all the items necessary could be bought from Cessna quite reasonably, I suppose Cessnas prices are high enough now that the Wag Aero unit might be feasible.

From: Marvin Homsley <>
Subject: conversions
I actually have a question I know the Swift gurus can answer. Can my C-145 engine be converted to a push button starter. Second one, is there an alternator conversion for the same engine. It seems like I have heard of both of these somewhere. Marvin Homsley N80740

A C-145 can be fitted with a B&C starter. The price is about $800. Look in TAP or the trade magazines. I have been asked if the O-300D push button starter and vacuum pump can be adapted to a C-145. The short answer is no, unless you use the O-300D main case, accessory case, some gears and misc. small parts. In other words, you can't just bolt the O-300D accessory case on to the C-145. The O-300D has an alternator, a complete setup from a late '60's 172 can be installed, or there are some STC'ed units in the WagAero and Aircraft Spruce catalogues. -- Jim

MR. CLUTCH... (030500)
From:Marvin Homsley <>
Subject: Re: Starter trouble
Sometimes the simple things may need repeated for the newer swift mechanic/owner like myself. I have an 0300-A with the old type starter where you pull the cable to engage it. My starter sometimes would not fully engage and would slip. I could just imagine the gears grinding and I hated that. I used to pull really hard on that starter cable trying to make it engage without some slipping and grinding. Sometimes I would hurt my fingers pulling so hard. I found the trouble and it is so simple and adjustment I could not believe it. Just adjust the screw that actually pushes the starter electric plunger. I adjusted it slightly shorter and the starter engages perfect every time now. All that hard pulling was doing no good at all. Now I only have about another million things to learn about my Swift. Marvin Homsley N80740

I'm glad you got it adjusted OK. This adjustment is detailed in all the Continental Overhaul Manuals from the C-85 to the C-125, C-145 and O-300. When your starter clutch starts slipping, you might get a "Niagra" rebuilt starter clutch. See their ad in Trade A Plane. Myself, I just popped for a B&C starter, now all I have to do is push a button. -- Jim

Subject: Re: starter
Thanks for the reply about my slipping starter. I was thinking about a B & C starter also. How much trouble is it to install ? Marvin Homsley

There is one problem, the existing steel pivot that the Continental clutch rides on needs to be cut off. This is best done at overhaul. If done with the engine "together" it is perhaps easiest to remove the whole engine, then remove the accessory case and oil sump and carefully mask off every opening to the core engine and use a cut off wheel in a high speed grinder. Possibly it could be done with the engine on the airframe. As you can imagine, there is a possibility of getting steel shavings into the engine. The rest of the starter installation is a piece of cake! -- Jim

C125 STARTERS LEAK OIL... (050100)
Subject: Re: C125 Starter
From: Bob Runge
Hi Jim;  I always seem to have a drip of oil hanging from my starter gear engaging shaft. This continuous drip of oil causes a cumulative mess all along the bottom of my cowling and firewall when all the drips congregate to make an oil leak. Is there a seal behind the starter housing that I could replace to stop this or is this just another vintage advantage? Best regards....... Bob Runge

The C-125 and C-145 had several seal arrangements on the starter clutch shaft. The earliest version had no seal at all. The latest O-300A/B starter had a Garlock seal about 1/4" deep and about a 3/4" ID and a 1 1/4" OD. You would have to remove the 5 ea. 5/16" bolts, plus the cable and the actuating cable to remove the starter and determine which style you have. Back in the '30's and '40's a little oil leakage didn't get anybody too excited apparently. Even with a new, good seal installed, an oil drip will still fall from the starter clutch. -- Jim

Subj: Swift N2412B
From: Fred Lipscomb <>
Hi Jim: Enjoyed meeting you at Swift National, and letting you see your old airplane. We talked about putting a new light weight starter on my 0-300D. Do you have any recommendations as to which manufacturer to buy from? Best: T. Fred Lipscomb

It was nice to meet you. There are 3 or 4 lightweight starters available for the O-300D and they are all good as far as I know. Aircraft Supply has one for $315. I'm not sure what mfg. that is. Aircraft Spruce has Sky-Tec, ElectroSystems, B&C and Lamar. The starter for an O-300D is brain dead simple to install and only requires a few minutes of time and no modifications like the O-300A which requires the starter pivot to be cut off. -- Jim

Subj: Starter for a C-145
From: Larry Owen <>
Sorry Monty, but you may have begun a long running discussion about starters.... I would dearly like to replace my cable pull C-145 starter with something that was made after the Model T was built. I have been told that to replace the C-145 starter, the starter bolt (pivot ?) needs to be cut, but I have been unable to find someone who knows anything about this. Can you do that on the plane or do you have to yank engine? Is this a major deal or can I (with my AP's blessing ) get this done with the normal cut-off tools and the like? Which starter has the most straight forward intall. etc etc etc Thanks! Larry N78287

I have an O-300A (same starter as C-145) with a B&C starter. The starter is best installed at overhaul. The B&C is the best starter for the O-300A-B-C and C-145. TCM makes a lightweight starter also, but I believe the price is out of sight. Yes, the pivot needs to be cut off. I have not done this with the engine installed and assembled, but I believe it might be possible. The accessory case etc. would have to be removed and all the openings to the engine carefully masked off. It might be most practical to remove the engine from the airplane. I cut my starter pivot off with a high speed cut off wheel, but of course I had the engine completely apart so I didn't have to worry about getting steel grindings in the engine. Maybe some genius will devise a tool similar to a pipe cutter that will cut the pivot off thru the starter opening. B&C would sell thousands of starters! The B&C starter is STC'ed and other than the cutting off of the pivot is straight forward and easy to install. -- Jim

STARTER SEAL... (090201)
From: Jim Coats <>
Subject: Swift Starter Seal
The Delco-Remy starter used on the Swift is very similar in design to the starter used on early 1950's General Motors cars. Obviously they are different in appearance and mounting but they share the same "guts" as the ones used on the cars. I went through a starter not too long ago on a '49 Chevy Fleetline and noted that it was very similar in design to the one on the Swift. (Hell, it's a starter, how complicated can it be.) NAPA had all of the parts for the thing, including a rebuild kit, catalogued by Delco Remy part number. That seal is a Garlock 63-270 I believe, Jim's eyes haven't failed him yet. Most of those Garlock-type seals have some kind of sizing or part (or both!) numbers on them somewhere. If for some reason that search comes up short, let me know and I'll see if I can dig one up around here somewhere.
Jim Coats
Swift & Old Car Nut
Marion, NC (9A9) and B'Ham, AL (BHM)

ALTERNATOR ON O-300A...(030102)
Subj: Alternator install on 0300-A
Hello Jim
I am wondering about the paperwork involved to replace a gen. with an alternator. My A&P says I need an STC or a 337 for the airframe. What does the guru say. Thanks, Tom Gulizia N2708W SN3741

The later O-300's had alternators as factory equipment. (mid-sixties 172's) Yes, to install an alternator on an O-300A in a Swift you will need a field approved 337 or an STC and a 337. You can use the 150/172 60 Amp. alternator installation with all Cessna factory parts. I have done several of these. The Cessna parts are now getting so expensive that the STCed installations are now not too far out of line price wise. Aircraft Spruce has an STCed 50 Amp. alternator for $724.00, it has been STCed on many type aircraft but not on a Swift to my knowledge, so you would still need a field approval. By scrounging, you might round up a used Cessna type alternator for 200 or 300 bucks, then there is a Cessna installation kit which includes a regulator and a switch and circuit breaker. I have some 337's here someplace which call out the part numbers. Last time I looked, I had misfiled my 337 but the Swift Association has sold copies of my first one for years. The 50 Amp. alternator may be more desirable than the 60 Amp. It has a lesser power requirement to turn it and rarely will an airplane like a Swift need that kind of amperage. -- Jim

NOISY STARTER...(030302)
Subj: O-300-D Starter Adapter (90 degree)
From: Steve Wilson <>
Jim... What are symptoms of problems with the starter drive? Mine works OK and shows no signs of failing; however, it seems very noisy. More noisy recently than it used to. Should I be concerned? Is it likely to shed parts into the accessory case? If needed, who do you recommend for overhaul. I remember you sent one out a few years ago. Was it Bulldock? Thanks... Steve W

I had my O-300D starter drive overhauled at Bolduc. If you saw the way TCM designed that drive, you would never think it would work at all. Usually, they just start slipping real bad and they need an undersized spring installed which wraps up on kind of a knurled shaft to engage the starter to the engine. Remember Mobil 1 Aviation Oil? It was so slippery that all the TCM starter drives started slipping. Aeroshell 15/50 has been known to do that too. There is a minimum dimension on that shaft and if it's below that you have to turn it down to clean it up and get a more undersized spring - eventually you have to get a new shaft. $$$$$$ As far as noise goes - engine oil pressure does lubricate the starter drive, but there is just one little oil passage, so maybe you could pull the starter (5 minute job on an O-300D) and pack the bearing and what gears you can get at with Lubriplate or some other oil soluble grease to quiet things down. I think I remember doing that in years gone by. You only need to do that about once a year. -- Jim

OFF TO A GOOD START...(040302)
Subj: B&C starter
From: Porter Houston <>
You had said you installed a B&C starter on your Swift. Do you like it? Also, Even though it is STC'd for an 0-300A, do I need a field approval to install it? Also, are you familiar with an oil filter adapter by FM enterprises the GO-300. It is also STC'd for the engine but not the airframe. I went to Sun n Fun last week. Had a great time but had to leave early because of weather. If I didn't leave when I did, last Tuesday, I'd still be there. How you doing these days. Do you fly much. Say hi to Hoover. I'm planning to fly to Oshkosh this year for the first time. Weather permitting of course. Porter

Yes, I have the B&C starter. I love it. It is lighter and cranks the engine faster. I would not advise installing at at other than overhaul, because the old pivot needs to be cut off, for which the case should be split. It might be possible to cut it off with the engine assembled, but the chances of getting steel shavings into the engine are such that I wouldn't want to try it. The STC is "SE" -- the "E" being for engine, so the airframe doesn't matter, so you do not need a field approval. Last week I did a 337 for a Brackett air filter on a 210 Swift. That STC is SA71GL. It is STC'ed for the IO-360 engine but not the Swift airframe, so I had to get a field approval, which was no problem. Some aftermarket starters are PMA, like for the 210 or many Lycomings, in which case you only need a log entry, no 337 necessary. I'm not familiar with that particular oil filter adaptor, but I recently did one for a C-85 and there was a statement in the STC saying a field approval was no longer necessary for installing in different airframes. When you come to Oshkosh you should come by here. We are only a little over 200 NM west, and we have a great fly-in the weekend before. -- Jim

Subj: generator oil seal
From: Marvin Homsley <>
Jim, a couple of newsletters ago you mentioned that the generator drive on a 145 Cont. had to have an "0" ring or it would leak oil. Well I have that very problem. It is not a gushing leak but just enough to be annoying. After every flight I can wipe a few drops of oil off the bottom of my generator. If I let it go for a few hours it blows back on the firewall and gets everything oily. I have access to a local FBO and their microfiche but there is nothing showing any "0" ring. Can you tell me or fax a picture showing just where it should be located. My generator is freshly rebuilt and I do not remember seeing that seal when I installed it. Fax number is 419 715-3640 or Thanks

It is item #13 in figure 16. of the O-300 parts manual. Also, it is #14 of figure 18. in the C-75, 85, 90 and O-200 parts manual. -- Monty

From: Larry Meyers <>
Subject: Starter problems
I recently purchase NC2412B from Fred Lipscomb. After I purchase the plane I had the engine overhauled to "0" time. Fred had installed a Sky Tec high torque starter on the plane just before I purchase it. After the overhaul we flew it for and hour and it developed a high pitch noise in the starter adapter. My mechanic located a used one and installed it. After another hour and a half the adapter started slipping. I then purchased a rebuilt adapter from Niagara Air Parts and had it installed. In reading all the information that came with the new rebuilt starter adapter, it warned against using the high torque starter because the starter adapter has to turn the starter motor backwards 3 turns to unwind the spring that is inside the adapter. It said you need to be able to turn the starter backwards by hand to keep from damaging the adapter. The Sky Tec starter say right on it that it will work on 0300D engine. This is not true. I purchased and installed a rebuilt starter motor. I have 18 hours on the engine with no problems. Thought you might want to pass this along to others so they won't suffer the problems and cost that I went through. I know that you once owned NC2412B for a while in the early 80's. I have went through 15 hours of dual instruction and really love to fly her. She is a great little bird. She is now based in Sky Point Estates, Greers Ferry, Arkansas. -- Larry Meyers