Alternator Belt Alignment Issue

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leffler
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Alternator Belt Alignment Issue

Post by leffler »

A little over a year or so ago, Van's had Lycoming change the flywheel to a LW-12227 to accomodate a dual belt system to support both the alternator and air conditioning. This part has the alternator belt on the rear and a V shaped groove in front for the A/C.

Myself and several others that purchased a YIO-540-D4A5 and the Firewall Forward kit from Van's have noticed an alignment issue. The Plane Power 60a alternator supplied in the FWF kit from Van's has the alternator about 3/16" forward and prevents proper alignment of the belt.

Plane Power has stated that none of their alternators will work with a dual belted flywheel.

Van's, Plane Power, and Lycoming are currently looking into the issue, so I'm not looking for alternative or creative solutions to this situation. I'm going to let the three companies work through the engineering and come back with a resolution.

What I am looking for is to identify anyone that purchased a YIO-540-D4A5 from Van's in the last two years and the answers to the following questions.
  • 1.Do you have a LW-12227 flywheel or another part (i.e. single belted)?
    2.Do you have a Plane Power alternator?
    3.If you have a Plane Power alternator and a LW-12227 did you have an alignment issue?
    4.If you have a LW-12227 and another brand alternator, did you have an alignment issue?
The reason I'm collecting this data is all three companies apparently were caught off guard on this issue and claimed to have just heard about it. I'm skeptical that if this Van's specified configuration has been sold for over year, there have to have been others experiencing similiar issues. If not, I want to attempt to understand why?

If you don't want your comments to be made public, please PM or email me.

thanks,
bob
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Bob Leffler
RV-10 - Flying
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leffler
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Post by leffler »

To summarize what I believe happened that has not been confirmed by any of the three companies involved. Van's attempted to respond to a large customer and many other RV-10 builders that are installing air conditioning in their aircraft, requested Lycoming to switch the ring gear on the YIO-540-D4A5 that Van's resells to a dual pulley gear. Lycoming compiled with the request and supplied a LW-12227 ring gear. Lycoming failed to mention to Van's that the alternative belt grooved moved aft a little. Nobody told Plane Power that even the engine configuration was changed.

With that stated, both Plane Power and Lycoming have responded to my inquiry and have been very actively working on a solution. The list price on a new ring gear is about $1,700. Van's has not responded other than to pass the buck to their suppliers.

The following was the first email that I received today from Plane Power.

Lycoming reports that the alignment difference is .130â€￾ with the alternator pulley forward of the flywheel pulley. This fits what you have reported as well. If the alternator is adjusted to move aft (toward the firewall) to align with the flywheel pulley the Tension Arm (99-1004) will also be off alignment.

We intend to produce a kit solution for future applications. We understand your need is now so we offer the following suggestion to you.
  • 1. Verify that you need your alternator to be moved .130â€￾ (or whatever your requirement is) and make that your new target point.
    2. Leave the 99-1001 spacer attached to the alternator as it presently is. We don’t think you can remove it with satisfactory results. Machine grind the 99-1001 spacer by .130â€￾. Leave a flat surface. This will move the entire alternator aft. In doing so it will create a void at the 99-1002 front spacer.
    3. Add a spacer or washers between the 99-1002 spacer and the mount bracket.
    4. Add a spacer or washers between the tension arm (99-1004) and alternator where the tension arm connects to the alternator.
    5. The starter strap will be attached on the outside of the mount as usual and no modification should be needed.

The above instructions have not gone through our engineering process. It represents our effort to give you suggestions to assist you in your EXPERIMENTAL effort to fabricate a solution for your application. It is up to you to verify that the above suggestions are appropriate for your application.

To be honest, my immediate reaction was pretty negative with this response. I purchased an engine and a fire wall forward kit from Van's with the expectation that the alternator, alternator belt, and the engine ring gear alignment would be plug and play, just like it has been for years. I don't have the tools to perform these tasks nor the willingness to hire a firm to make them for me. Van's should have stepped up and admitted to the oversight, then work with the vendors to make all the builders that purchased this variation of the engine and the FWF suppled alternator a solution. The more I think about it, Van's should publish a service bulletin on this situation. If folks don't notice the 1/8" offset, they will eventually lose a belt due to coming off or premature wear.

Fortunately, Plane Power understanding that I probably didn't have the tools to be sucessful with their original instructions, sent me the following email a little later today.

We have a new solution for you. We are going to ship you some new spacers which we will cut down the size. So call me ASAP so we can get address, etc. and discus.

We thought removing the existing spacers from the alternator would be very difficult. So we tried and experiment and liked the results. To get your current two spacers out of the alternator do this. Get a container that will allow you to fill to a certain point with lacquer thinner. Arrange your project so you can soak the ear and spacer of the alternator in the lacquer thinner. DO NOT GET THE ALTERNATOR CASING IN THE THINNER - JUST THE EAR AND SPACER.

Leave submerged for one hour. Remove from the thinner and using a vice, pliers, etc twist the spacer out of the alternator ear. Perform the same task on the other ear & spacer. Then you can replace the old spacers with the new ones we will send you.

I suspect it will be a week or so before I can attempt to make this modification. I'll post an update with the results.

Bob
Bob Leffler
RV-10 - Flying
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dons
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Post by dons »

Sounds like Plane Power is really trying to solve this for you.
Don Sinclair
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leffler
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Post by leffler »

Plane Power using data from Lycoming have machined a new set of spacers. My previous post details the removal process for the spacers. I received them in the mail today and am planning on testing their fit on Sunday. I will post the result afterwards.

It appears that Plane Power will sell these spacers for a nominal fee. If you are impacted by this issue, I would call Gus at Van's and let him know that you expect Van's to supply these at their expense. They made the decision to change the ring gear on the engines they sell and they caused the issue.

While I don't have exact numbers, I've been led to believe that there are 30-50 RV-10s impacted in the US. There are more than 100 impacted in Brazil, but I was told that they machined their alternators to make them fit.

I don't think Plane Power is prepared to start producing spacers until I report back my results. Jason at Plane Power is the person leading this effort if you want more details.

It seems that all involved were surprized that Lycoming ring gears don't all align with the standard Plane Power boss mount (including Lycoming). The good news is that they are all very aware of the situation at the moment. We just need to get Van's to step up and let everyone that ordered a YIO-540-D4A5 from them the situation.

bob
Bob Leffler
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leffler
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Post by leffler »

Here's the post that everyone has been waiting to see.

I installed the new spacers from Plane Power this afternoon. They are a perfect fit for those that purchased a YIO-540-D4A5 from Vans and have a LW-12227 ring gear.

If you fall into this category, I would highly recommend that you call Vans and demand that they supply you the appropriate Plane Power spacers for free.

They made the decision to switch ring gears and they packaged the Plane Power 60a alternator in the firewall forward package, which out performing the necessary engineering to ensure power integration.

I will say that the folks at Plane Power have been great to work with to find the appropriate solution. Lycoming was also cooperative in supplying Plane Power the appropriate data to allow Plane Power to fabricate new spacers.

Also note that if you have a 70a alternator, you'll need a different set of spacers.

I worked with Jason and Dick at Plane Power, Marlous at Lycoming (Van's sales rep), and Gus at Vans. Jason and Dick provided outstanding customer support.

My last email to Gus recommended that Vans supply all customers that purchased this combination with the spacers at no charge and issue a service bulletin to ensure nobody attempts to fly in this configuration since it isn't safe.

bob
Bob Leffler
RV-10 - Flying
http://mykitlog.com/rleffler

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