If you are into classic Fords, you know all about V-belt front engine accessory drives. These multiple belt systems are more complicated and less durable than their modern counterparts. Over many years in the restoration business, Kevin and Randy Redd grew frustrated with piecing together the parts and making them fit together. As a result, they founded Concept One, which produces complete, stylish serpentine belt drive systems.
“Enthusiasts should consider these pulley systems for several reasons,” Kevin said. “Obviously they look much better than OE parts. The serpentine belts get much better grip than V-belts. They tend to last much longer than V-belts and are much less maintenance. The serpentine belts also allows the use of modern accessories.”
You have to admit that the billet pulleys and brackets that make up the Concept One system are a major appearance upgrade over the factory V-belt arrangement. (Photo Credit: Concept One)
A serpentine belt is better in a couple main ways. — Kevin Redd, Concept One
The ability to add modern accessories is certainly a strong selling point, but having a belt that wears longer and maintains its fit is the reason modern cars use these systems.
“A serpentine belt is better in a couple main ways. First of all, they last much longer because a V-belt will wear down into that single groove therefore will naturally loosen up,” he explained. “A serpentine belt has multiple surfaces where it grips, more surface area and it runs over the top of the grooves so they last much longer. With more surface area to wear, they last longer.”
Concept One provides some nicely detailed instructions to make the process as straightforward as possible, so don’t crumple these up without reading them. Of course, for the more audio/visual oriented installers, the video above is a great primer as well, so you might want to watch it and read the instructions before you start spinning wrenches.
Of course, there are other systems on the market, but Kevin and the Concept One team believe they have developed a superior serpentine mouse strap, which is both stylish and flexible.
We think that the simple clean and neat look sets us apart. — Kevin Redd, Concept One
“We think that the simple clean and neat look sets us apart,” he said. “We also think the quality and ease of installation. We also work very hard at customer service. We use top brands such as Edelbrock, Powermaster, Delphi, GM and Continental because those brands were built on quality products.”
Not only will the systems work with products and vehicles from multiple manufacturers, but they also allow for future augmentations of the accessory drive to let you improve your project down the road if you so desire.
The small-block system requires the 1994-1995 Mustang water pump and EFI 5.0 timing cover, which is available from Ford Performance (PN M-8501-A50). With that setup and the appropriate crankshaft damper, the crank and water pump pulleys bolt right on.
Of course, with the popularity of engine swaps in the Ford world, we had to find out of a Concept One pulley system might be in the offing for the modern Coyote 5.0-liter engine.
“We have considered doing something for the Coyote engine,” Kevin explained. “It presents a lot of unique design challenges. It is so big and the way the front of it is made it will be a challenge to get things tucked in tight enough and not be too long to fit in the engine compartment. It is on our radar. We will have to see what we can come up with and see if the demand is there.”
So, don’t hold your breath, but there is hope that your high-end Coyote engine swap project might be eligible for a Concept One pulley upgrade one day in the future.
“Most of our kits are what we call modular, so you can add air conditioning or power steering at a later date if need be although it is more expensive if you add components later,” Kevin said. “We also have several options as far as alternator amperage and finishes. We have different power steering options as far as pressures and flow rates depending on the application.”
To find out how to upgrade a small-block Ford, we turned to Concept One to walk us through the process. In all, it is a basic, bolt-on process. Just pay attention to the instructions and it’s a straightforward procedure, which we hit the highlights on here. For the full details, you can check out the video above.
Start the alternator installation by installing the Concept One bracket. Then you can install the appropriate alternator pulley, which must be torqued to 60-70 lb-ft, on the supplied alternator and bolt up the complete assembly to the bracket.
“These kits are made to be pretty easy to install with standard tools. Obviously a little mechanical aptitude doesn’t hurt,” Kevin said. “They are designed with the guys who like to work on their own cars in mind. We want them to be able to install these kits in their own garages.”
If you want to install a system, the company offers applications for all the familiar pushrod engines found in early Ford machines, including all flavors of big-block and small-block.
The power steering pump and reservoir go on together and are topped off by the pulley. The kit does not include power steering lines, but you can fabricate your own or order an optional Aeroquip hose kit from Concept One. The pump must use, ahem, “GM-approved” power steering fluid.
“We offer pulleys systems for small-block Ford engines, FE engines, big-block Ford engines as well as Cleveland, 351M, and 400 Modified engines,” he said.
For more on the Concept One systems and their applications, you can visit the official site here.
Moving to the other side of the engine, you can bolt on the air conditioning bracket, install the supplied hard-line fittings and bolt up the compressor. Wrap things up by bolting on the tensioner and installing the serpentine belt.