I’ve had no trouble this winter starting at 20F and above except once when the battery needed service.
The battery needed water probably due to excessive cranking earlier in the year while learning how to start it - it doesn’t start a lot better in the spring and summer if the proper procedures are not followed.
After the 30 seconds plus of prime, then putting the switch to boost or just continuing to prime, the main thing is to barely open the throttle.
Better yet, close it and barely open it after cranking a short time.
Cranking with the throttle closed may suck more fuel into the engine.
The only heat I’ve used is a small hair dryer put in by the oil cooler - not aimed up at the fiberglass cowling - when the temperature was below 20F.
It also works to preheat the interior.
Heat is critical below a certain temperature not just for starting but for engine longevity because the iron cylinders expand and contract with temperature change at a different rate than the aluminum pistons causing destructive metal to metal contact.
Since the cylinders of the Continental IO360 are smaller than those of the large six cylinder engines or the four cylinder Lycoming 360’s, there may be a little more leeway in the SR20.
The 100LL fuel doesn’t vaporize adequately for reliable starting at low temperatures but it shouldnÂ’t be a problem if the engine has been preheated to 20 to 30 degrees F.
I know that using a synthetic oil greatly improves cranking compared to a non-synthetic oil so I would assume that a semi-synthetic oil would help some too.
The strangest phenomenon in cold weather starting is that an unsuccessful starting attempt can cause the spark plugs to frost over (water is a byproduct of combustion) making a preheat to above freezing necessary.
I haven’t tried blowing a hair dryer up the exhaust to deal with frosted plugs since it hasn’t happened to me recently but it might work.
I haven’t yet had trouble starting away from home but I am considering carrying a spare recombinant gas battery (safe to transport) which could be kept in a warm place until needed to help in starting.
A reasonably priced substitute would be two maintenance free 12 volt motorcycle batteries connected in series (they could be connected in parallel for charging with a cheap trickle charger or a small generator).
I liked the suggestion I saw here of a small generator and saw a 1000 watt unit which may not have weighed a lot more than an aircraft battery.
With a small generator providing heat and a sleeping bag to throw over the cowl you should eventually be able to get going even away from home at a remote unattended airport with temps 10 or 20 below. Add a 24 volt charger to almost guarantee it.
The instructions for recharging the battery require that it be removed from the aircraft though I canÂ’t imagine why since it has a manifold vented to outside the aircraft.
It would be very handy if a charging connection could be accessed just inside the oil access door or inside the cabin.
I saw a posting saying that the lower cowl must be removed to get at the cotter pins in the battery hold down bolts.
It isnÂ’t comfortable or easy but they can be removed with only the upper cowl removed even with large hands and in the cold.
This winter has been unusually cold. All of the new Cirri in Duluth are kept in a heated hanger. After delivery, there has been a rash of folks reporting problems with cold starting the engine.The last thing one wants in a new plane is the unreliability of its engine to start.What are you folks finding out there? Is this engine unusually difficult to start in cold weather? Has anyone found a method that works? We are talking about temperatures between 20 and 40 degrees not the below zero weather of extremes. Has anyone found wear problems with the starter, battery or boost pump as a result of the starting woes?
It would be a shame to have a wonderful new Cirrus that will not start on the ramp every time it gets a little chilly out there!