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6th Gen ('00-'05): Smaller Pulley?

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Old 08-22-2018, 06:26 PM
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Default Smaller Pulley?

So I had some exhaust work done at a local Muffler Man and I was chatting with the dude he said if I really wanna "wake up the Monte" I should consider getting a smaller pulley for the supercharger? Is it really as easy as changing out a pulley? Anyone have any experience in doing this? Is it a 15 pack in a pole barn job? LOL What are the pitfalls (if any)? What are the gains?
 
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Old 08-22-2018, 08:12 PM
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The job itself isn't too bad, but you do need a specific type of pulley puller, not just a parts store 2 jaw. ZZPERFORMANCE sells them (and used to rent them, not sure if they still do). You just remove the belt like normal, pull the old pulley, press on the new pulley, put on the new belt and go.

When selecting a new pulley, you've got 2 options- press on or bolt on. A press on is cheaper and work just like stock. A bolt on is about double the price, but makes future pulley changes simple as only the hub is pressed on - the pullies just bolt on with a handful of Allen bolts. Just depends if you think you may want to change pullies again.

The upside is that spinning it faster forces more air in and should make more power. The downside is that the engine can only take so much extra air (and the accompanying added heat) before it starts to knock. Push it too far, and it'll snap chunks off the top of the piston.

Unfortunately, if you've got a stock engine, the stock pulley is probably best for you, especially considering most of these engines are a bit older and higher mileage.

When you start playing with pulley size, you need to have a way to scan the engines computer for something called KR (knock retard - how much ignition timing the computer is taking out to keep the engine from actually knocking). It doesn't do any good to slap on a smaller pulley for 10% more air if the computer has to dump a bunch of timing (and also kill your power in the process) to keep it from knocking itself to death.

That's where you'll hear about the term 'supporting mod'. Basically, those are the supporting engine mods you do (such as a cam, e85, headers, intercooler, etc) that allow you to run the smaller pulley without causing the computer to pull timing. How small you want to go on the pulley depends on how many supporting mods you'll need.

Your mechanic is certainly right, a pulley change can add a lot of power - but it must be done with supporting mods and proper monitoring.​​​​​​
 
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Old 08-23-2018, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by bumpin96monte View Post
The job itself isn't too bad, but you do need a specific type of pulley puller, not just a parts store 2 jaw. ZZPERFORMANCE sells them (and used to rent them, not sure if they still do). You just remove the belt like normal, pull the old pulley, press on the new pulley, put on the new belt and go.

When selecting a new pulley, you've got 2 options- press on or bolt on. A press on is cheaper and work just like stock. A bolt on is about double the price, but makes future pulley changes simple as only the hub is pressed on - the pullies just bolt on with a handful of Allen bolts. Just depends if you think you may want to change pullies again.

The upside is that spinning it faster forces more air in and should make more power. The downside is that the engine can only take so much extra air (and the accompanying added heat) before it starts to knock. Push it too far, and it'll snap chunks off the top of the piston.

Unfortunately, if you've got a stock engine, the stock pulley is probably best for you, especially considering most of these engines are a bit older and higher mileage.

When you start playing with pulley size, you need to have a way to scan the engines computer for something called KR (knock retard - how much ignition timing the computer is taking out to keep the engine from actually knocking). It doesn't do any good to slap on a smaller pulley for 10% more air if the computer has to dump a bunch of timing (and also kill your power in the process) to keep it from knocking itself to death.

That's where you'll hear about the term 'supporting mod'. Basically, those are the supporting engine mods you do (such as a cam, e85, headers, intercooler, etc) that allow you to run the smaller pulley without causing the computer to pull timing. How small you want to go on the pulley depends on how many supporting mods you'll need.

Your mechanic is certainly right, a pulley change can add a lot of power - but it must be done with supporting mods and proper monitoring.​​​​​​
WOW thank you for the detailed explanation that's what I was hoping for. So I just had the PCM tuned at ZZP I had to drive up to Wyoming MI. (I live only about an hour from there) but that so far is the only "mod" I have done, I think they mention something about "knock retard" in their specs for the tuned PCM?

I'm thinking its best to leave the pulley alone I don't desire to toast my engine. LOL.

 
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Old 08-23-2018, 08:40 PM
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If you're ever up by them again, they're one of the biggest 3800 shops in the country. They could certainly show and explain to you all of the different options.

I'm sure they modified some of the settings related to knock retard when they did the tune. Unfortunately, it's still pretty unlikely you could run a smaller pulley knock free.

I don't mean to scare you away from modding though. As long as you don't do anything stupid, you won't blow it up. Taking the most common step from a stock 3.8" to a 3.4" doesn't take a ton of money in supporting mods and will pick up a noticeable amount of power. Lots of apps and cheap tools nowadays that can monitor the computer and KR - plug in, phone apps, etc. Just have to be safe.
 
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Old 08-31-2018, 07:32 AM
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Not plugging the website or anything, but I've been using UltraGauge to monitor KR and other things (coolant temp, intake temp, etc.) Pretty cool device.

I wish I lived close to the ZZP command center, I'd have to drive 7-8 hours one way (Des Moines, IA). I'll have to buy one of their 1.00 cores for better performance and less KR. Can you really tell the difference when they tuned it up for you?

Last thing I'll say, the supporting mods I have is a custom intake, headers and ZZP catback system. Went from stock KR (6-7 degrees) to almost 1 degree with wide-open throttle.
 
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Old 08-31-2018, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by HKnux5112 View Post
I wish I lived close to the ZZP command center, I'd have to drive 7-8 hours one way (Des Moines, IA). I'll have to buy one of their 1.00 cores for better performance and less KR. Can you really tell the difference when they tuned it up for you?
Can't speak for their specific tune, but I can talk to tunes in general on these cars. The power gain is noticeable, but pretty small. What is most apparent is the transmission tuning.
 
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Old 08-31-2018, 10:21 PM
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Originally Posted by HKnux5112 View Post
Not plugging the website or anything, but I've been using UltraGauge to monitor KR and other things (coolant temp, intake temp, etc.) Pretty cool device.
I looked into an UltraGauge and instead used the ScanGauge II. I went with the SG because it had the ability to let you program more read outs beyond what came out of the box and can daisy chain multiples together.
Since owning it, I have worked with tech support add different read outs and tweak some existing ones (such as where is the decimal point). They were fantastic to help and got me dialed in! I also found for logging data, I could use their pass-through port and make a custom cable to now have another diagnostic port (can hook up a TechII or my tuning box). I have threads here on the settings and how to make the cable.

I was VERY close to going with the UltraGauge. I have also seen some Chinese knock-offs that look and describe to be almost identical to that ScanGauge, but I stuck with the real ScanGauge.

And as mentioned, for monitoring, bluetooth OBD-II (ELM-327) devices that pair with your phone are dirt cheap and some of the apps for the phone are free.

 

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