Maintenance Matters

February 2013 Issue

Alternator Repairs: Plane Power Tops

If your charging system quits, troubleshooting will save bucks. If it’s the alternator, overhaul is usually best, but there are good new ones on the market.

When pilots talk about problems with their airplanes, alternators tend not to be a subject of the conversations. That’s because alternators are pretty reliable, which is a good thing because most of our airplanes have just one and they are run to failure items. However, when an alternator does fail, an owner is suddenly thrust into a confusing world of original equipment replacements, upgrades, overhauls, new manufacturer replacements, core credits, repairs and prices that can vary by 400 percent. We’ll explain what an alternator does, why it’s important to troubleshoot electrical system glitches before buying replacement parts and what your options are if your alternator truly has slipped its mortal coil.

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