When in Doubt, Accessorize - Vitals for our BluePrint Engines 383
You wouldn’t replace your shoes and reuse the old laces, would you? A common mistake with weekend builders: After they overhaul or replace the engines in their vehicles, many fail to replace the accessories that drive the critical components and assist the engine’s operation. Why replace an old worn-out engine with a fresh, strong one, and maybe double the horsepower mill, only to re-install old, tired, worn-out pumps or inefficient charging components? Today, I’ll walk you through a simple replacement series of engine accessories for you small-block Chevy aficionados.
Professional Products saw a need for simple, direct-bolt-on accessories that rival or surpass the ones used to run your SBC in the first place—in looks and performance. The company’s version is called the Pro Drive, but you don’t have to be a pro to install it. As a matter of fact, the company prides itself on how simple they are to install. PP applied this straight forward approach to installing vital accessories, such as water pumps, power-steering pumps, and alternators, to just about every model of GM truck built from the mid-sixties to the late-eighties (for the smog exempt ones). Best of all, the system installs in about the same time you usually spend watching your favorite sporting event.
Two finish options allow you to choose your style, whether it is shiny chrome to show off your new power plant or factory black to give you a stock or modern look. We decided on this system for our 383ci Stroker SBC from BluePrint Engines. This model makes 430hp, and we added a Professional Products harmonic damper to handle the increased horsepower. Check out the play-by-play below. Log onto the Professional Products and BluePrint Engines websites to see the huge variety of options offered for your truck.
Shown are the main components from Professional Products, along with a sample of the pulleys, brackets, and hardware available to complete a kit for just about any small-block Chevy.
We looked at the 430hp rating of the BluePrint 383 small-block, we chose to go with Professional Products PowerForce Plus harmonic damper. The hub and the inertia ring are made from an extremely strong 1045 steel forging that meets the 18-1 SFI spec, making it NHRA legal. Other features include a 0- to 60-degree timing table, which is clearly printed on the outer ring of the part to allowing for easy tuning.
Once the damper was installed, we set the Pro Products crank pulley into place and ran the supplied fasteners into the damper.
Maintaining the strong relationship with an SFI approved component, we chose to use ARP’s Balancer bolt. ARP’s fasteners far exceeded what stock from the factory, giving you more piece of mind in a high-horsepower application.
When we installed the bolt, we smeared ARP’s assembly lube over the threads before running in the fastener into the crankshafts snout.
After the threads were lubed up properly, we ran in the bolt, by hand first, followed a torque wrench—tightened down to 85lb-ft.
The next part installed was the polished, hi-flow water pump from Professional Products, using the supplied gaskets and fasteners included in the kit.
Seen in this photo, you’ll notice on the face of this small-block are two vertically stacked thread bosses that are purposely set for the power-steering pump bracket. Those are the bosses that align with the lower mount on the power-steering bracket.
We mounted the pump to the bracket first before mounting the whole assembly to the block. Afterwards, we tightened the lower fasteners snugly.
Finishing off the pump install, the adjuster arm bolts to the thread boss on the water pump. For now, we leave the adjuster bolt set loosely until it’s time to install the pump drive belt.
Our next step, install the alternator to the lower bracket that bolted to the water pump. For the lower alternator mounting point, we set it into the mount and bolted through to an accessory thread boss on the cylinder head.
Here we installed the Pro Products alternator adjustment arm to the water pump and to the top-mounting point of the alternator. After which, we set the set bolt in the center of the adjuster slot, which allows us to measure for a drive belt and adjust it properly.
Moving on to mounting water pump pulley, we slid it over the water pump locator hole, and while some applications call for a fan spacer to hold on the pulley, as well as the fan itself, we’re using an electric fan.
We opted to install button-head stainless steel fasteners that we picked up at a local part house to maintain the same theme of the kit.
Installing the power steering pump pulley was simple. We used an open-end wrench (size 7/8-inch) to hold the pulley while the pump’s shaft nut was tightened down using a ½-inch drive ratchet and a ¾-inch socket.
Now because there are many applications this kit can fit, we must measure for the drive belts by using a flexible measuring tape (tailor’s tape). By stretching the tape around the crank pulley and the power-steering pulley, we could get a measurement. This way, we can pick up the right size belt on the very first try at the local parts store.
The same procedure was used on the water pump/alternator setup. They were both adjusted to about an 1/8-inch of slack. Once the engine ran for a little while, we rechecked the slack on both belts. Around ¼-inch of slack is acceptable; the belts will stretch a bit.
This Professional Products Power flow water pump came equipped with a port to pass coolant through to a stock manifold or to a heater core, if your vehicle calls for such an application. Our C-10 project didn’t call for this so we picked up a pipe plug from a local part house. We used ARP’s thread sealer to ensure the seal on the thread would be watertight.
Using a paste-style thread sealer, like the one we used from ARP, makes more sense because the tape style application will never hold up to normal engine temps like the paste-style does.
We’re ready to go, all the accessories have been installed and adjusted to operational spec. The classic look of the chrome and polish was just what we’re looking for on this project Check back in the coming issues as we finalize this stroker 383 and put it through its paces on the road.