Jim Smart
January 22, 2016

When you consider the durability of serpentine belt drive systems it makes you wonder how we ever got along without them. For decades we dealt with all of the frustrations of V-belt drive, belt adjustment, and frequent replacement. Then came a light bulb moment in Detroit when automakers began installing wide-track serpentine drive belt systems as original equipment. Mustang got its first serpentine belt drive system in 1979 on the all-new Fox-body Mustang with 5.0L V-8 power. Serpentine belt drive evolved from two belts on some applications in 1979 to a single mega-serpentine wrap from the factory during the 1980s, making light work of both maintenance and durability.

In the 1990s the automotive aftermarket began developing good-looking serpentine drive belt systems with striking billet brackets and pulleys that yield great function in a compact front package. These front serpentine belt drive systems began with the more popular small-blocks, then, the 385-series big-block. In more recent times, manufacturers like Concept One have come to understand the passion and interest in classic FE Series Ford big-blocks and are answering the call with easy-to-install serpentine belt drive systems.

In this story we highlight several of the serpentine drive systems on the market and also install one of them from Concept One.

SERP for Success

Concept One was founded by Kevin and Randy Redd, brothers who started Redd Manufacturing in the heart of Georgia in 1996. Meanwhile, their folks, Jean and Darryl, founded American Classics Restoration with an intense focus on Corvettes. Kevin and Randy began to study the restoration marketplace and asked themselves what they could do to make it better. This was when they founded the Concept One Pulley System in 2001.

For 15 years, Concept One has been developing and producing impressive serpentine accessory drive systems for a variety of popular applications, including all classic Ford V-8s. We are going to install the Concept One SFE-01 complete front SERP system for the FE Series Ford big-block, which includes alternator, power steering pump, water pump pulley, air conditioning compressor, all installation hardware, and detailed instructions. If you get stumped during installation, the Concept One team offers excellent technical support. Let’s get started.

This is the Concept One SFE-01 complete front SERP kit for Ford’s FE-Series 390/427/428 big-block. It is easy to install and will clear nearly any radiator/fan combination out there. For just under $2,000 (not including shipping and taxes) you get machined-finish billet aluminum brackets, a standard pressure power steering pump, a 100-amp alternator, a polished air conditioning compressor, and all mounting hardware.

01. The crankshaft drive pulley is installed first using the provided 3/8-16x1.00 socket hex head and 3/8-inch flat washer hardware. It is suggested that you use thread locker on bolt threads and torque to 70-90 lb-ft.

02. The water pump pulley is next using the 5/16-24x0.75. Because these bolt heads are serrated they will lock securely once seated. You don’t need to use a thread locker.

03. This is the power steering pump and alternator bracket, which is secured to the cylinder head as shown using the 2.756-inch spacers provided. We like these 3/8x3.75 Allen head bolts, which go flush as torqued.

04. Check out this Concept One power steering pump with its compact design and integral reservoir. Two 5/16x3.00 hex-head bolts secure the pump.

05. The power steering pump pulley is installed as shown with three 1/4x0.63 Allen head bolts.

06. The alternator spacer is next using the supplied 3/8x0.25 Allen head bolts.

07. The alternator bracket is installed next using the 3/8-inch Allen head bolts of various lengths. Heads are self-locking.

Concept One—Small-Block

Check out Concept One’s front SERP for the small-block Ford V-8. Like the SFE-01 package we’re installing on the 390, the small-block Ford kits are easy to install and arrive with clear instructions and all attachment hardware. All you have to provide is the labor and a warm garage. What’s more, the Concept One front SERP is priced under two grand, not including shipping and tax.

08. The alternator installs as shown with Allen-head pivot and sliding adjustment bolts. The pulley, spacer, nut, and cap are included in the kit. You will need an impact and 1-inch socket to tighten the pulley-retaining nut to 60-70 lb-ft.

09. Here’s the completed alternator/power steering pump package.

Concept One—Big-Block

Just look at how compact the Concept One system is on a 385-series Ford big-block. This simple two-belt serpentine drive system can be installed in one day putting you back on the road for Saturday night cruising and showing. Four different systems are available depending on how your Mustang is equipped.

10. This is the A/C compressor installation, which consists of spacers at the water pump and block. Be prepared for variations in replacement and aftermarket water pump castings, which can affect the installation. A 7/16x2.25 Allen-head bolt secures the compressor at the block with a 1.061-inch spacer. There are five bolts at the billet aluminum compressor bracket: three 3/8x1.00 bolts and a 1.50-inch bolt to secure the bracket, and two metric bolts (8mm by 1.25 inches) to secure the compressor.

11. Install the PN 4060395 water pump/air conditioning compressor drive belt and slide the compressor adjustment tight. Do not over tighten the belt.

12. Here is the installed power steering/alternator/water pump belt (PN 4060485). Adjustment is at the alternator. Concept One makes adjustment easy with Allen-head bolts and an 11/16-inch open-end wrench.

Concept One—Cleveland

Concept One has a front SERP for nearly every Ford V-8, including the legendary 351 Cleveland. As with other Ford V-8 applications, there are two independent drive systems: one for alternator, water pump, and power steering, and another for water pump and air conditioning compressor. Four different Concept One packages are available.

13. The Concept One kit is equipped with a high-efficiency air conditioning compressor, which is capped from the manufacturer. Two hardline AN fittings, -8 (high side) and -10 (low side), are included in the kit, but you will have to have custom hard lines and hoses fabricated for your package—easily done at an air conditioning or hydraulic shop.

14. The power steering pump is fitted with two connection points, one pressure (white arrow) and one return (black arrow). You will need to have hoses fabricated at a hydraulic or air conditioning shop for your application. This is something we’re going to show you how to do later on in Mustang Monthly.

15. Concept One shows you two possible power steering pump configurations (integral or remote) you can apply to your classic Mustang installation.

16. Look to Concept One for all of your power steering system needs. Again, any local hydraulic or air conditioning shop can fabricate.

17. Concept One provides you with a single-wire 100-amp alternator. You must provide circuit protection in the form of a master fuse, a fusible link, or a circuit breaker—no exceptions. Optional high-amp alternators are available.

18. Here’s the complete Concept One SFE-01 SERP installation. Even with the superwide Redline Cooling radiator and Spal electric fans, the system clears with room to spare. It is important for you to look at your radiator/fan dimensions prior to ordering to confirm fitment. With small-block and Cleveland applications, fitment is generous. When we get into big-block applications it can get tight.

March Performance—Summit Racing Equipment

Summit has an array of serpentine belt accessory drive kits for small-block Fords. You can install a complete billet aluminum accessory drive or stick with factory brackets and opt for any number of pulley kits available from Summit.

This good-looking March Performance compact serpentine drive kit for Ford 390/427/428 FE Series big-blocks (PN MCH-19030) locates the A/C compressor low and under the alternator using a unique one-piece bracket. Power steering brackets are available for the Saginaw pump. This system makes the grade with the company’s own billet aluminum power steering pump and billet alternator. This kit is equipped with stainless steel tensioning rods and chromoly rod ends for high-performance operation. All necessary hardware is included.

The March Performance system MCH-1670 is a single six-rib aluminum serpentine performance ratio system for Ford small-block 289, 302, 351W, 351C, 351M, and 400M engines. This kit is designed to replace your factory alternator/water pump V-belt system.

Check out the MCH-30186 serpentine belt drive system from March Performance and Summit. We’re talking precision CNC-machined 6061-T6 billet aluminum engineered to fit perfectly and handle high torque and vibration. This kit arrives on your doorstep complete with stainless steel tensioning rods and chromoly rod ends. All necessary hardware is included. You get nice powdercoating designed to eliminate polishing in those hard-to-reach places. Matching serpentine pulleys too!

Vintage Air—Frontrunner

Vintage Air is well known for extraordinary climate control systems for nearly anything that rolls. But did you know Vintage Air has a patented serpentine accessory drive system for small-blocks Fords with a special one-piece timing cover on which the entire system is mounted? Mustangs Plus liked it enough to install it on its Project Reclaim Mustang restomod fastback project. It is a system liked and respected by enthusiasts worldwide and always gets the looks.

Here’s what you get.
• Patented one-piece timing cover with integral accessory mounts
• Sanden SD7 compressor with hard lines
• Stewart high-performance water pump
• Dayco Performance serpentine belt
• Power steering pump pulley (if so equipped)
• Delphi-Saginaw power steering pump with reservoir
• Air conditioning compressor clutch cover
• Four-bolt crankshaft pulley
• Belt tensioner cover kit
• Dayco OEM tensioner
• Water pump pulley
• 170-amp alternator
• Timing cover gasket set

Since there is no provision for a mechanical fuel pump, you’ll need to switch to an electric pump. The system also requires a four-bolt harmonic balancer (all 1970 and up). If using 6.753-inch-diameter Ford Performance balancer, spacer 199002-HFA is required. And if you’re using a front sump oil pan, you need the Stainless Steel Dip Stick Kit (sold separately).

Eddie Motorsports—S Drive

Eddie Motorsports invested a lot of time developing the new S Drive serpentine belt drive system for the small-block Ford, fitting it with easy-to-find, off-the-shelf components like a Sanden air conditioning compressor, a Powermaster 105-amp alternator, a Maval power steering pump, and a Ford Performance Racing Parts water pump. The S Drive system is CNC-machined in-house in Eddie’s Southern California shop and is designed to fit both low-deck 260/289/302 and the tall-deck 351W. When you install the S Drive system, it becomes an integral part of your engine because the foundation for S Drive is a cool billet timing cover on which everything is mounted. You’ll need to specify which type of steering (gearbox or rack-and-pinion) and reservoir type (attached or remote) in the notes when placing your order. The gain from S Drive is durability and really bitchin looks. Regarding looks, the system is available in matte black, raw machined aluminum, gloss black anodized, clear protective coat, polished, clear anodized, and gloss black.