12: Maintenance

Our flying machines look so simple and, in most ways, they are. But proper setup and maintenance is critical. Cheaper, too. These PPG Bible extras should help keep you, or at least your gear, airworthy.

A lot of this information is just too specific to put in the book but it’s no less valuable. Plus, technology will hopefully improve enough to someday make spark plugs and mixed gasoline seem quaint.

But for now, we spark, mix, and fix.

Click Here for Troubleshooting

Correctly adjusting your harness is incredibly important for both safety and comfort. Numerous accidents have resulted directly from incorrectly adjusted harnesses. The instructor that you bought from or a pilot who is intimately familiar with the gear is your best resource.


Field Fix for Damaged Threads

While in Panama, far away from spare heads and helicoils, my spark plug came partially unscrewed. I found out when I went to remove it and encountered enormous resistance. Thankfully it didn’t blow all the way out but id did damage the threads. I could neither...

Simonini Mini 202 Issues & Information

Thanks to Dan Clarke, Contraphioneer I’ve had the kill switch fail to stop the motor on more than one occasion after the motor had been running hard. Judging from the response I got from asking about it on the internet groups, many people have this problem with...

Mx: Simonini Specifics

Resources for some common Simonini paramotor engines 2011 Mar 31 Thanks to Dan Clarke for information on correcting some Simonini issues and general information. 2007 Oct 2 Thanks to Adam Bell for the genesis and initial information on this page. This information is...

Paramotor 2-Stroke Ignition System

When troubleshooting motor problems it’s handy to understand how the various systems work. Fortunately ignition is quite reliable and rarely causes problems beyond the spark plug. This may help when it does. Basic Coil Description A correctly timed spark is the...

Pistons & Prevention

How to tell your motor’s condition through it’s most tortured moving part The piston can reveal much about your motor’s condition. Besides showing how well the motor is “tuned,” it can show whether a catastrophic failure is imminent....

Resources: Paramotor Repair & Welding

These shops or individuals work on paramotors for pay. Some extremely helpful folks, like Lance Marczak, do it for the sheer pleasure of helping people, but they can only do so in their spare time when it’s convenient. If you know of a shop that works on...

Seat Fix Sling

Hanging too low? Thanks to Jason Wright If your harness leaves you too low and your butt sinks too far back in the harness, there’s a simple cure. It only requires some seat belt material and . The sling is not structural so it’s failure would only be...

Removing (Pressing off) a Top 80 Clutch

The Top 80 (and others) clutch is held in place by pressure against a conical shaft. No spline. It gets locked into position pretty hard and can be a pain to get off. There is an easier way than trying to pry it off with a screwdriver, not that anyone would try that...

Fuel: Priming & Primer

Priming is squirting fuel directly into the carburetor’s air/fuel intake stream, usually before cranking the motor. It helps with cold starts by providing an immediately combustible mixture. Squeeze bulbs are commonly used. They have two one-way check valves so...

Ignition Problems on Paramotors

Help troubleshoot ignition problems, especially on 2-stroke paramotors A gas engine needs fuel, air, and spark delivered at the right time and in the right amounts. Spark involves really high voltages (20,000) which can create a number of problems. Kill switches on...

Simonini Ignition & Charging Issue

Troubleshooting Common Coil/Stator/Ignition Problems on the Simonini Paramotor Engine | Overall Ignition / Charging Thanks to Paul Czarnecki  who disassembled his Fresh Breeze Ignition System to show us how to fix two of the more common problems. Like all two strokes,...

Walbro Buyers Guide

Rebuild/Repair Kits for the Walbro Carbs used on Paramotors Walbro carburetors are used on more paramotor models than any other brand. Most have two needles for idle and high rpm and an idle stop adjustment although for smaller motors, the WG8 is prevalent. It only...

Walbro Carburetor Troubleshooting & Tuning

Adjustment and correction of problems found on Walbro Carburetors See also membrane carburetor overview, Buyers guide for Walbro Carbs and Rebuild Kits Visit http://tech.flygsw.org/walbro_tuneup.htm for even more detail. The most relevant parts have been included here...

All About Fuel

Extracting this much power from such tiny, lightweight motors, requires great care. The following will help you to make the most intelligent fuel choices for your favorite propulsion. Excerpted from Group K Technical Documents. See also Alcohol in Fuel,   Does AvGas...

Shutting down: Motor Won’t Stop

The motor continues to run even after activating the kill switch | Emergency Kill All gas paramotors that I’m aware of shut down the engine by preventing a spark. The preferred method is by shorting out the coil with a switch on the throttle stem. Anything that...

Changing the Ignition Coil on a Top 80

This is, unfortunately, a lot of work. You’ll need a drill, 1/8″ drill bit (for the rivets), a rivet gun, rivets, rubber bands (to hold the starter pawls) and nerves of steal. OK, copper nerves may work but you’ll still need that rivet gun. Thanks to...

Paramotor Engine Pull Starter

Most paramotors use a manual pull starter due to its simplicity and light weight. They’re slightly more reliable than an electric start because no battery is required but they’re far from perfect. Problem Possible solution or link. Pull starter feels...

Carbon Fiber Propeller Tip Repair

Ding the tip of your carbon prop? Is the prop in good shape otherwise? This may work to repair it if the damage is minor. It’s based on the same technique as covered in Chapter 12 of the PPG Bible. Flying a repaired prop could cause injure or kill a bystander if...

Engine Mx: Top 80

Spark Plug Selection Thanks Dave Moore and Brian Del Campo with this information. The NGK BR9ES is the most common plug. Do not combine it with a resistor cap–the spark will be too weak. Redrive & Bearings Visit the Top 80 parts site listed above to find the...

Motor: Fuel & Feed

Anything related to fuel or getting fuel to the motor including gas tank See also Choosing Fuel & Oil | Does Avgas Run Cooler? Is Avgas Cooler?  Priming  Fuel Tank Repair The fuel system provides fuel to the carburetor. It usually consists of a tank with vent...

Paramotor Overheating

Causes and cures of this motor killer Heat is a paramotor’s mortal enemy. Worst cases have the piston welding itself to the cylinder wall in the mother of all motor failures: a seizure. A close cousin is the piston burning a hole through it’s top. Molten...

Decompressor Issues

Automatic Decompressor These use vacuum from the motor to create a hole in the cylinder so that the motor is easier to pull through compression. It must remain open for easy starting and stay closed afterward for proper running. If the decompressor is stuck open...

Top 80 Exhaust improvements

For those who have aftermarket exhausts that vibrate and self destruct you will find this an early and easy fix before yours self destructs. Take a TOP80 standard crankshaft seal (for this application) and install it over the stinger. Place the silencer firmly against...

Exhausts: Preventative Mx

Thanks Scott Traverse There are a number of preventative measures you can take to avoid needing the troubleshooting guide. The picture at right shows one such mod but most are much simpler. Minimize vibration by using high temperature silicon around and through...

Exhaust Issues for Paramotors

One of the most likely places for problems to appear is the tuned pipe and muffler. They usually revolve around vibration and cracking from heat. Exhausts usually have two parts, the tuned pipe and silencer. A few, like the box muffler of the long-retired Solo 210...

Mx: Propeller Problems

Start with the simple and cheap. Here are some that qualify. Repair cracks. Under air loads they can cause an aerodynamic imbalance besides sapping power. Static balance. Make sure the bolts are tightened evenly. If the prop is askew widthwise on its mount (making one...

Choosing Fuel and Oil

Straight talk about this nearly religious subject | Fuel Feed Problems | Is Avgas Cooler Avgas or Mogas? Castrol or Pennzoil? 2% or 3%? What’s best for my engine? Ask this question in a room full of paramotor pilots then take cover. Instructors and dealers will...

Mx: Motor Problems

If your motor doesn’t start on the first few attempts, something is wrong. Continued pulling without corrective action will just wear the starting system and decrease your respect for the prop—making a life-changing prop injury more likely. Troubleshooting is...

Mx: Redrive & Clutch Problems

Problem Possible solution or link. Calculating Redrive Ratio If you have a paramotor for which you don’t know the ratio you can calculate it using one of several methods, measure the radius (or diameter) or count the teeth. Here are the details of each method....

Paraglider Care

Paragliders are like film. Remember that? They like it cool, dry and dark. Care is sweetly simple–keep them reasonably clean, don’t stuff or fold tightly, and get them inspected periodically. The paraglider is more important than the motor in that...

Tip: Brake Toggle Bungees

A brake toggle entangling the prop can be fatal. Two fatalities have been caused by it, one captured on video. It’s most likely to happen right after launch, when thrust is pushing the motor towards the riser, and you let go of the brakes. It’s far more...

Harness Myths

I hear the darndest things sometimes. One frequent misconception regards paramotor harnesses. Over zealous sellers try to sucker people in to their gear using misinformation that requires a lack of understanding. If you ever “this is the only _____, and...

More Bang For Your Fueling Buck

Getting the most from gas station pumps With fuel prices high, Shane Banquer, a helicopter pilot who has been in the petroleum industry for 31 years, offered some tricks on how to get more of your money’s worth for every gallon. Thanks to Eric Dufour for sharing...

Agama Water System Reset

After manual or automatic activation you must replace 3 parts, the bobbin, indicator tab and CO2 cartridge. The bobbin, which contains some type of paper, has a 3 year shelf life. You’re not allowed to carry CO2 cartridges on airliners so, if you travel, the...

Mx: Winterize (Pickle) Your Paramotor 1

For those in frigid climes, hibernation is fact of life; preparing your motor will avoid problems next spring. These tips, from long-time two-stroke expert Alex Varv (www.Aerocorsair.com) will help. This is like “Pickling” but of shorter duration. Here is...

Rebuilding the HE 80 Reduction Drive

Thanks to Rick Cavallaro for explaining and taking pictures (see PDF) Disclaimer: I am NOT an expert mechanic. If something looks or sounds wrong in these directions, it probably is. I’d be happy to receive any tips or feedback on how to improve this...

When you Paraglider Gets Wet

What to do if your paraglider goes in the water In May 2010 i recorded an interview with Elisabeth Guerin of Paratour’s glider shop about what happens when your wing gets dunked and what to do. She’s now had lots of experience dealing with wings that have...

Carburetor Issues

The best thing to do if you suspect a carburetor problem is replace the carb with new. That way you can rule out the carb as a problem right away. Then, if you want to fix your carb, put it back on and start troubleshooting–at least now you know it’s the...

Paramotor Gas Tank Repair

Permanent fix for PPG fuel tanks | Thanks to Alex Varv If your gas tank gets damaged, it’s frequently almost impossible to fix since no glue that we’re aware of permanently adheres to the polypropylene material. Epoxy Repair Various epoxies, such as JB...

Communications Troubleshooting

How to get radios to work with PPG gear, Thanks to Robin Rumbolt, Nick Scholtes and others It’s rarely plug and play, especially when mixing and matching radios and helmets. Robin Rumbolt is an electronics engineer who has done extensive helmet mods and created...

Aluminum Welding Notes For Paramotor Pilots

Thanks to Brian Del Campo Welders own the world. But it’s a surprisingly steep learning curve that our contributor, Brian Del Campo, has climbed. And when it comes to aluminum, not all shops can handle it. Assuming that you want to fly the weld being considered,...

Membrane Carburetors for 2-Stroke Paramotors

Thanks to Brian Del Campo | Walbro Carbs | troubleshooting carbs. A carburetor’s job is to feed the engine a perfect mix of fuel and air as commanded by the pilot. There are two basic types of carburetors: Float bowl and Membrane. About 70% of all paramotors use...

Paramotor Pull Start Repair: Black Devil 172cc

Remember, they’re made to be lightweight. So before the inevitable comparison with your starts-every-pull lawnmower, be thankful you don’t have to carry your 22 hp garden, 200 lb rider on your back. The most likely problems will be the cord breaking or the...

Mx: Paramotor Pickle and Resurrecting the Dead

Long-term storage and resurrection, thanks to Brad Weiss | See also Alex Varv’s tips 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...