When it comes to accessory drive systems, there are two schools of thought: go all-out visually with the nicest-looking pulleys, brackets, and tensioners made, or keep things simple in an attempt to reduce cost and keep a stealthy look. We've featured many cars with both approaches, and there is much to appreciate in either camp. When it comes to PHR's project Street Sweeper, our 496ci big-block-powered 1968 Chevy Chevelle, the goal is to deal out maximum punishment on the street while presenting a low-key vibe underhood. This Chevelle is not about bling, it's about brutality, so we do our best to make our hardware reflect that ethos.
Until now, our Chevelle has relied on some stock big-block pulleys and brackets. There's nothing wrong with stock, except that in our case we were experiencing repeated incidents of throwing belts at high rpm. Dragstrip runs and chassis dyno sessions were increasingly being interrupted by belt tossing-both an inconvenience and an embarrassment. In the case of chassis dyno testing, we were able to observe the belt toss first hand; the power steering belt always ejected first due to a pulley/pump alignment issue. Once the power steering belt came off, it would invariably become entwined in the alternator belt, which then came off. Our mission was to fix the problem without abandoning our aesthetic of simplicity, and for that we turned to the Summit Racing catalog.
The solution to the gross...
The solution to the gross misalignment of our pulleys was March Performance's mid-mount power steering pump bracket kit (PN 20151, $121.95). Everything we needed was in the kit except the pulley and belt.
The core problem was power steering pump alignment, and there are relatively few companies offering power steering pump bracket kits for big-block Chevelles. The problem is that GM A-bodies have a front steer steering box, which interferes with the power steering pump being mounted in the normal low position on the driver side. On Chevelles and other GM A-bodies you need what they call a mid-mount bracket. March Performance offers a mid-mount P/S bracket kit for big-block Chevelles that Summit sells for just $121.95. For the long water pump like we have, it's PN 20151.
Although nothing was wrong with our stamped-steel factory alternator bracket, it was starting to look pretty crappy. We figured since we'd be fixing the P/S pump bracket, we should look into doing the alternator too. We discovered that Summit has a really cool alternator bracket kit for just $69.95; we liked it because it had a tumbled, matte aluminum finish and an easy threaded adjustment strut for tightening the belt. We pulled the trigger on that, and also ordered a 5.75-inch diameter Borgeson power steering pulley for our Saginaw Type I keyway pump. The total cost for all this, including the two bracket kits, pulley, and a pair of new belts, was just $270.87. That's a far cry from a complete front runner system, and so far it seems to work just fine. We've had this baby to red line several times since installing this setup, and it's been trouble free. Moreover, we've retained a very Spartan look underhood, and that suits the Street Sweeper Chevelle just fine.
|WHERE THE MONEY WENT
|Mid-mount power steering bracket kit, LWP, big-block Chevy
|Alternator mounting bracket kit, LWP
|5 3/4-inch power steering pump pulley
|47.5-inch power steering V-belt
|48-inch alternator belt
|*Pricing from Summit Racing