So you've just finished building the Bow Tie powerplant of your dreams-polished intake manifold, shiny new valve covers, and a fresh coat of Chevy Orange on the block. Why stop now? To this very day, some enthusiasts still believe in restoring the old pitted and rusty stock accessory brackets, spending numerous hours sandblasting, powdercoating, painting, or whatever.
While the stock bracketry is a mainstay in the heads of many, it can pose possible issues beyond looks alone. Whatever flavor tea you choose is ultimately your decision, and restoration-specific vehicles must be period-correct, but if you're not hung up on originality, why not step into 21st century looks with the technology of today?
While a wild-looking engine is important to some, there are additional factors to think about when purchasing engine accessories and/or bracketry of any kind. Focus on the importance of, for example, the alternator. What will cause the unit to function as it should, opposed to how it should not? Proper belt tension must be obtained for effective alternator output; a loose belt may squeal, causing less output, while an overtightened belt may give proper output while causing premature bearing wear within the unit. If improper bracketry is used, alignment issues are eminent and may cause inconsistent belt tensions as well as belt throw. The same concept will hold true for the water pump, power steering pump, and air-conditioning compressor mounting practices.
March Performance Pulleys recently announced its new Style Track Serpentine Drive system, claiming rigid support, style, and a price tag $500 less than its competitors. Let's see: style, functionality, and a bargain price all in one? We had to see this one for ourselves.
The timing couldn't have been any better; after learning of this new part, we received a call from Tom Egan and our friends at Muscle Car Unlimited in West Berlin, New Jersey. They just happened to be installing the new Style Track kit on a fresh 475-horse 383-cid small-block, so we ventured south to get the lowdown.
We're happy to report that the installation was a snap. It couldn't have been easier, and the finished product looks outstanding. Sounds like a bargain to us.
Before beginning a project of this magnitude, you should lay out all the parts to be sure nothing missing and to give the installer a better idea of what's involved. As we suspected, nothing was missing. Muscle Car Unlimited Technician Dave Genovese began by installing the supplied fan and pulley to the polished 105-amp alternator included kit. It you are performing this install with the engine in the car, the radiator will have to be drained, the battery disconnected, and if so equipped, the air-conditioning system evacuated, as well as removed.
Next, Genovese installed the alternator pulley cover, the power steering pump pulley (which will require the use of a pulley installation tool), and the A/C compressor pulleys were properly installed, we began to mate the items to the engine. It should be noted that all kits produced after May 30, 208, will have a power steering pump with a pressed-on hub. This will make mounting the power steering pulley a simple bolt-on.
Once the supplied water pump (which is a reverse-rotation unit) is slid into place, the four threaded stainless spacers are installed using antiseize on the threads. The shorter 1.9-inch spacer goes in the lower passenger side position.
We proceeded by installing the crankshaft pulley via the three provided fasteners followed by the reinstallation of the dampener bolt in the center. It was now time to mount the main bracket utilizing the four 3/8-16x1-inch fasteners. Besides the main bracket, Genovese installed this threaded bushing into the alternator support bracket, which is crucial for proper mounting/fitment of the alternator assembly.
Pictured is the alternator installed utilizing the threaded bushing and the spacer provided. Do not fully tighten the alternator at this time, as it will need to tbe moved for belt tension adjustment later. About one hour into the install we are looking good using basic hand tools and a set of Allen heads.
It was now time to install the chrome Sanden A/C compressor. Once bolted into position (again, leaving it loose for adjustment), Genovese installed the water pump pulley by installing the four provided dab of Loctite on the threaded portions.
Coming down the home stretch, Genovese installed the hose extension into the water pump, which will be used to transfer coolant toward the heater core for the heating system. Next, Genovese slipped the six-rib, 62-inch serpentine belt (which is included and can be easily obtained at any local parts house when it's time for replacement) into place following the proper routing procedure. March provides this nifty belt tension adjustment tool to aid in proper adjustment and alignment.
According to the supplied instructions, the serpentine belt is tight when it can't be moved more then 1 inch at its longest span between pulleys. Once the proper adjustment is achieved and all the accessories are tightened, Store the adjuster in a safe place for future use. We also opted for the # 450 billet remote power steering reservoir to maintain fluids in style (available at additional cost). A stainless breaded power steering kit also available.
After a couple of hours of what we believe to be enjoyable labor, the March Style Track kit was installed and looking great. As far as the tedious task of continuously polishing this unit, forget it. The Style Track is powdercoated with clear for a long-lasting shine. With its rigid design, extremely good looks, and a price tag $500 less than a comparable system, we believe we've finally encountered a "deal."