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Chrome vs. Billet Aluminum (or....Show vs. Go!) Pulley Removal Tips and Tricks Racing Jokes
Serpentine Conversions What are Underdrive Pulleys? Why 6061-T6 Billet Aluminum?
Chrome vs. Billet Aluminum (or....Show vs. Go!) Pulley Removal Tips and Tricks Racing Jokes

Chrome Pulleys vs. Billet Aluminum Pulleys (or Show vs. Go)

We get a lot of questions about whether to use chrome or billet aluminum pulleys and what the differences are. 

Let's start with the similarities....as long as you use 6061-T6 aluminum, both aluminum and steel are very durable and look great.  Both materials are corrosion resistant and are an easy bolt on upgrade.  But, you want to know about the differences right?...

Pulley Removal Tips

Obviously, a good penetrating oil and soaking go a long way (we recommend PB Blaster).  If you have tried that without any luck, here are some tips we have gathered from our customers.  If you have other ideas, let us know at support@cvfracing.com
 
Alternator Pulley:  This is a standard right handed thread on most American automobiles.  Use a box end wrench to hold the pulley nut and then us an Allen key on the alternator shaft.  This works best if you have an Allen key that fits on a socket...that way you can get more torque on the alternator shaft.  If this doesn’t work or if you strip the Allen key, another method is to wear a heavy leather glove and....

You know you have too much horsepower when:
1. The emissions test guy starts laughing as soon as you pull onto the
rollers.
2. You can't drive your car in the rain.
3. Your 'significant other' is afraid to drive your car.
4. You are afraid to drive your car.
5. You spend more on tires than on food.....

Serpentine Conversions What are Underdrive Pulleys? Why 6061-T6 Billet Aluminum?

How to Select the Right Serpentine Conversion Kit

Nearly every modern car uses a serpentine drive system so you have finally decided to make the upgrade. What should you look for in a conversion kit?

1) Flexibility - A lot of serpentine conversion kits only work with a certain water pump, alternator and power steering pump. In fact, many kits come complete with all of these items included so you end up throwing away your old accessories even if they are perfectly good. I guess that is ok if you are made of money, but for the rest of us, it makes a lot of sense to re-use your gently used components.

2) ...

How Do Underdrive Pulleys Work?

Do Underdrive Pulleys Save Horsepower?  Underdrive pulleys save horsepower by reducing parasitic losses created by the water pump, alternator and power steering pump.  By spinning these accessories more slowly, you have 10 - 20 more horsepower available to the wheels.

Will Underdrive Pulleys Cause Overheating?  Your water pump is designed to provide ample cooling on hot days during extended idle.  OEM engineers also provide a safety factor to account for pump wear, radiator scale build-up and debris in the radiator.  Generally, if your cooling system is in good working condition our underdrive pulleys will provide plenty of cooling flow.  If you have a marginal cooling system and sit at idle for extended periods in the summer heat, you may want to consider upgrading your cooling system when you add a set of underdrive pulleys to your engine.

Will Underdrive Pulleys Cause Alternator Charging Problems?  Just like with your water pump, the alternator is designed for the worst case scenario which is at idle, so naturally you won't have issues at higher RPM's.  As with your cooling system, Engineers have built in quite a bit of safety factor to account for cold weather, wear, long period of idle, etc.  Your battery will continue to charge as long as you are spinning fast enough for the voltage regulator to work.

Will Underdrive Pulleys Cause Power Steering Problems?  Just like with your water pump and alternator, the power steering pump is designed for the worst case scenario which is at idle. Generally, we do not see issues with power steering pumps running out of flow.  If they were to have problems, the worst that will happen is that your steering power steering will slow down slightly at idle.  The only time that would cause a problem is during high speed parallel parking maneauvers....

CVF Racing only uses 6061-T6 Billet Aluminum in our Pulleys and Brackets

Think everyone uses 6061-T6 billet aluminum in their pulleys and brackets? Think again!
Several manufactures of billet aluminum pulleys cut corners and use a lower strength aluminum or they conveniently forget the T6 temper. This makes a big difference!  You definately want your billet pulleys made from 6061-T6 aluminum! 
Here is the skinny on the strength properties of various billet aluminum grades (according to Wikipedia.)
6061-T6 Billet Aluminum
T6 temper 6061 has an ultimate tensile strength of at least 42,000 psi (290 MPa) and yield strength of at least 35,000 psi (241 MPa). In thicknesses of 0.250 inch (6.35 mm) or less, it has elongation of 8% or more; in thicker sections, it has elongation of 10%.   This is a true billet aluminum which means it comes in extruded bars instead of poured into a casting.
6061-T4 Billet Aluminum
T4 temper 6061 has an ultimate tensile strength of at least 30,000 psi (207 MPa) and yield strength of at least 16,000 psi (110 MPa). It has elongation of 16%.  This can technically be called billet aluminum, but it's not nearly as strong as 6061-T6.
6061-O Billet Aluminum
6061 Aluminum (6061-O temper) has ultimate tensile strength no more than 18,000 psi (125 MPa), and yield strength no more than 8,000 psi (55 MPa). 6061 Aluminum has elongation (stretch before ultimate failure) of 25-30 %.  This is billet aluminum, but some manufacturers of billet accessories use this soft and weak material to save money.
A356-T6 Cast Aluminum

A356-T6 Aluminum has ultimate tensile strength of 33,900 psi (234 MPa), and yield strength of 23,900 psi (165 MPa). The material has elongation (stretch before ultimate failure) of 3.5%.  This is NOT billet aluminum and many of our competitors use this on their pulleys.  They use it because they can cast a pulley close to the final dimensions and then do a finish machining cut.  That way the don't make as much scrap aluminum.  Besides the fact that the material is weak, it is also less uniform and subject to porosity (sand from the mold and air get imbeded into the aluminum)  This really cheap stuff!!  If someone advertizes -T6 aluminum, run don't walk!  You can assume that it is this cheap stuff...otherwise they would advertize 6061-T6 aluminum.

Insist on 6061-T6 Billet aluminum for your custom billet pulleys and brackets!

 

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