Author: William Howell
Once Jason got the engine lowered a little, he put the Honda tool on the pulley (see the above picture). He had to use a 2 ft. 3/4 inch drive Snap-On breaker bar with a 3 FOOT cheater bar to break torque on the stock pulley. It took a few tries, but finally torque broke on the pulley bolt. After that, the pulley easily slid off of the crank. Here is a picture of the installed underdrive pulley:
Now it was a matter of finding the right belts to fit. The belts that Top Speed and Unorthodox recommend DO NOT fit. They are too big. Both recommend using a Gates 060408 (alternator and a/c) and Gates 040410 (power steering). We ended up using a Gates 060390 and Gates 040395. The 060390 barely goes on, but once you get it past the lip on the pulleys, it fits like a glove. Both belts leave plenty of room for adjustment, and the Gates belts are some of the best belts that I have seen.
The engine seems to pull slightly harder in first and second, but there is a noticable difference in third gear. Also, throttle response is greatly enhanced. One benefit that I like is that the A/C no longer drags on the engine so much. The only side effect to this is that the A/C is not as cold at idle. When driving around, the A/C is as cold as stock, however when idling, the A/C is slightly warmer than stock. Not really a problem in my opinion, even with the hot Texas summers.
I have now had the pulley on for about 10000 miles, and I have had absolutely no problems. I have been sent e-mail concerning the AEM ad that states that the crank pulley contains damping material that is "critical to engine life." True, the stock pulley is potted in a rubber compound, but I suspect this is to damp vibration from the p/s pump, the alternator, and the A/C kicking on and off. I haven't noticed any increase in engine vibration and engine sounds fine at idle and WOT. I am not saying that the guys at AEM don't know what they are talking about, but on our particular application, I don't think that changing the crank pulley will affect life at all. Also, the crank pulley is not a harmonic balancer; that is what we have the twin balance shafts for. There is much debate on this topic, and this is just my opinion. If you ask three different people, you will get three different answers!
We have no idea what the bearings from a 45k mile engine are supposed to look like, but by comparing the #1 bearing to the #5 bearing in Billy's engine the difference is stark. The # 1 has deep grooves which have worn away all the original machining marks, still visible on his #5 bearing. Larry also reported that his oil pump was so damaged as to be unusable. It is possible, though unlikely, that overly tight belts may have contributed to this.
While we aren't going to detail all the arguments for or against pulleys, or tell you what you should do with your daily driver or track-only car, we (and Larry feel that the damage in Billy's engine far outweighs the benefits seen by the pulleys. We (including Larry) feel that the "accessory" pulley kits offered by companies like Unorthodox should NOT cause the same damage we think the crank pulley did- the harmonic balancer is weighted and damped to absorb the impulse energy created by the accessories as well as the crank itself; while changing the pulleys on the accessories will alter the characteristics of the load, we feel that any change would be a positive one. - Todd Marcucci
For comments or questions, e-mail me.
This page last updated 4/3/01.