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New alternator coupling tools announced

A new tool could help mechanics more safely install and inspect alternator drive couplings on Continental Aerospace Technologies piston engines.

Approach Aviation announced a set of tools to install, remove, and test alternator drive couplings found on many Continental Aerospace Technologies engines. Photo courtesy of Approach Aviation.

Approach Aviation announced “a zinc-coated coupling spanner wrench and unique coupling gear socket” on April 12. “Together, these tools allow the coupling to be held in place (mounted on the alternator or free-standing) while the coupling gear slippage is checked with a calibrated 3/8” torque wrench (as specified in the engine maintenance manual),” the company said.

The coupling protects the engine from being damaged in the event of an alternator failure. However, “an out-of-tolerance or improperly installed coupling can lead to catastrophic engine failure,” the company said.

Approach Aviation also said that without having specialized tools, it was difficult for shops to inspect and diagnose coupling failures, leading to inaccurate assumptions that the alternator had failed.

The coupling on these engines shouldbe inspected every 500 hours or whenever the alternator is removed from the aircraft, according to Approach Aviation.

The tools are being offered at an introductory price of $169.95 through Approach Aviation, Aircraft Tool Supply, and Aircraft Spruce & Specialty.

Alyssa J. Miller

Alyssa J. Cobb

The former senior director of digital media, Alyssa J. Cobb was on the AOPA staff from 2004 until 2023. She is a flight instructor, and loves flying her Cessna 170B with her husband and two children. Alyssa also hosts the weekly Fly with AOPA show on the AOPA Pilot Video YouTube channel.
Topics: Sun 'n Fun, Ownership, Aircraft Maintenance

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