A regular maintenance check of your paramotor involves a paramotor spark plug color. It’s one of the things we shouldn’t miss as we can easily overlook warning signs if we do. Ignoring it can hinder the lifespan or the performance of the spark plug.
You can follow out this check easily even if you have zero knowledge about engine maintenance. Just after your next flight, you can carry out this paramotor spark plug check.
CHECKING PARAMOTOR SPARK PLUG COLOR
Initially, you need to separate the engine from the spark plug. After that, you can put a new plug inside. If you can, clean the current plug with the help of a soft wire brush made of brass.
After the plug is back inside, you can go for a flight. You might need to fly for more than an hour as it takes time for the colour to appear on the spark plug. Fly in full power so that the engine is never idle for a longer time.
As you will find that the spark plug gets burning hot, you will have to let the engine stay for a while so it can cool down.
Now you must inspect the plug. If you see a sooty spark plug (image 1), it’s probably because you installed the wrong plug in the machine, which gets hot real quick.
There is always an engine user manual for your reference. Read the guidelines by the manufacturer to check the spark plug color.
Do not use a different or an unfit spark plug. For instance, using the BR8ES spark plug instead of BR6ES can be very hazardous.
You should check out the NGK number system to examine the temperature of a spark plug. The heat range gets colder with the increasing number.
If you are using a higher plug number that is 8 rather than 6, it will be almost impossible to reach the self-cleaning temperature for the spark plug. It cannot burn the carbon deposits as it will not be hot enough for the job.
Letting the spark plug stay as it is for a longer time can also make it unfit for reaching the self-cleaning temperature. After flying under normal conditions, it’s necessary to check spark plug color in regular intervals.
If you see a spark plug with a mid-brown tan((image 2), consider your paramotor engine is running well- the air to fuel mixture is perfect, accurate, and the engine’s temperature is fine.
If you see a carbon buildup near the electrodes, find out a way to optimize the engine’s life span so it doesn’t get seizures and overheating.
If your spark plug is almost light grey or white(image 3), it indicates the mixture is weak or lean. It can also indicate that the plug is very dry, and because of excessive air, the fuel couldn’t completely reach the engine.
Your engine can overheat if you run it in poor settings. It can lead the piston to melt before time and also cause seizures in extreme cases. If we talk about the worst cases, the spark plug’s tip point can also end up melting. I never witnessed it with my paramotor but I saw it happened with my friend.
The weak mixture can be the result of several cases and we need to diagnose each point that can lead up to that.
Poor carburetor settings: this is probably the most popular reason behind a weak mixture. If the carburetor’s airscrew is not fit well, the mixture can be weak as the air will pass into the engine. Therefore to make the mixture richer, you need to turn the air screw in a clockwise direction until you see the spark plug’s proper color.
Air leakage: another popular cause of a weak mixture is the air leak. You need to check the carburetor clips, base gasket, cylinder head, and ensure that it is leak-free.
No air filter: if the previous owner of the machine has removed the air filter, it means your carburetor is exposed to excessive air. If you see this happening with your engine, you need to replace the filter.
If you see an oily or wet spark plug of black color (image 4), it can signal towards an extremely rich mixture. In such cases, abundant fuel is supplied to the engine.
To combat this, you must change the texture of the mixture and make it weak. Although you need to be careful as the weak mixture can cause overheating of the engine, unlike a rich mixture. Go for lesser increments when you adjust the air screw as you can examine the color of the spark plug in each step.
It is always preferred to run an engine with rich mixture if you compare it to the weak mixture. But an extra rich mixture can cause problems in future. It can lead to the formation of carbon in the engine and exhausting the system; it’s a major cause of pre-ignition. Also, your silencer can accumulate unburnt fuel on its top, which can also be formed over the propeller.
That is why it’s better to spend more time and get the perfect mixture settings for your carburettor.
NOTE: adding too much oil in the premix can result in an oily plug. Always add the perfect amount as recommended in the user manual by the manufacturer.
Also, you need to have a quality oil as it will not work efficiently, giving you 100% result. There is a huge difference between premium and cheap brands that manufacture this oil.
WHAT ELSE SHOULD YOU REMEMBER?
After going through the explanation mentioned above, I can conclude that you should always opt for a thorough spark plug check. Even if you lose a small amount of power, you can feel sure that none of your other engine parts will be damaged for this reason. Even if you are going for long cross-country flights or throttle climbs after takeoff, your engine will work just fine.
The density of air completely changes as the result of altitude. The greater altitude you get, the richer the mixture gets. That’s the reason I constantly check my spark plug as I reach at the checkpoint of thousand feet. By this, I can make sure my engine isn’t too lean even if I fly low.
Now you know why it is extremely important to check your spark plug colour after every regular interval. The changing colour of the spark plug can indicate the condition of the engine if it is healthy or not.
It is essential to keep the engines in a flawless condition as you can be facing a very difficult situation if you had an engine failure. Feel free to check out other blogs that talk more about the maintenance of other parts of the paramotor.