Dressing up a classic pickup engine has come a long way from the days of a rattle can and some chrome-plated tin. Today aftermarket companies are pushing the envelope developing a myriad of cool CNC-machined gingerbread for our beloved trucks – and some of ’em, like March Performance Pulley’s serpentine drive systems actually perform needed tasks above and beyond just looking good.
With this in mind we chose to equip our latest project engine, a muscular 351W Ford, with a new and really cool-looking Style Track system.
March Performance’s new Style Track serpentine system was created with a combination of style and affordability that’s sure to find favor among enthusiasts everywhere – it sure caught our eye. The stylized one-piece alternator and air-conditioning bracket provides solid support for the alternator and A/C compressor; and a separate bracket assembly allows the option of either power or non-power steering. Best of all, March’s new Style Track bracket kit is much more affordable than similar units.
The Style Track makes use of an easy-to-use belt tension adjustment tool. Once the belt tension has been set, the adjustment tool is easily removed and stowed away for future use. As a result, the Style Track displays a much cleaner appearance than others with large adjusting assemblies that are integral in their design.
The Style Track comes complete with alternator, an alternator pulley with fan and nose cover, a polished A/C compressor and nose cover, a water pump with pulley and cover, a crank pulley, and an alternator/A/C bracket complete with the belt-tensioning tool. Kits with power steering include a GM type-2 remote power steering pump and the power steering pump pulley with nose cover. These kits also include all the mounting hardware you’ll need and detailed instructions so installation is a snap. You can also forget about polishing this assembly, as it features maintenance-free clear powdercoating – all features we liked when considering which system to use on this particular engine.
Another important factor was the system’s ease of installation. Since I do a lot of these installs in my home shop, I not only have to perform the actual install, but handle the photography and write the story – all while trying to stay one step ahead of the “page police” and make deadline. The Style Track was a really easy and straightforward install that, even with the stop-and-start procedure required for developing the story, it only took me about an hour and a half from start to finish (though the engine was out of the truck and more easily accessible than it would have been if it was in the engine bay). That said, I’d happily repeat the install in any vehicle – it was that easy. So go ahead and check out the install shown here and then get over to you preferred street rod parts source and take a look at a Style Track system in person – once you see it, you’ll want it!
01 The Style Track system we chose came complete with alternator, an alternator pulley with fan and nose cover, a polished A/C compressor and nose cover, a water pump with pulley and cover, a crank pulley, and an alternator/A/C bracket complete with the belt-tensioning tool. Kits with power steering include a GM type-2 remote power steering pump and the power steering pump pulley with nose cover, everything we’d need for an awesome conversion.
02 Here’s the recipient of the new Style Track system, an extremely healthy Ford racing 351W destined for a future project vehicle. Luckily for me I got to perform the install out of the vehicle which made it a bit easier as you might imagine.
03 As with any V to serpentine belt
conversion you’ll have to swap
the standard water pump for a reverse
rotation one because the belt configuration
reverses the direction that the water pump
pulley turns. In our case (an early version
SBF set up for V-belts) March supplied
us with a new water pump and timing
cover. On late-model engines with factory
serpentine systems this swap will not be
required. The job began by removing
the harmonic balancer so I could pull the
old-style timing cover and pump. With the
balancer out of the way I then pulled the
water pump and then the timing cover
assembly, taking care not to damage the
pan gasket. I should also note that the fuel
pump concentric will have to be removed
and discarded and the system converted to
an electric fuel pump.
04, 05 The new timing cover and
were installed next. I bolted it in completely.
And as is typical, I only then picked up and
began to read the installation instructions
supplied by March – hey, at least I read ’em.
06 A quick
paint to match the
engine block came
next, and while it
dried I read on.
07 Upon actually reading the
instructions I learned that three of
the original water pump bolts were actually
supposed to be replaced by a set of studs
included in the kit – someday I’ll learn my
lesson and actually read the assembly
instructions before I start a job.
08 Luckily, I was able to thread the
studs in without a problem – the
directions were clear as to where they
09 With the four studs in place I
was ready to proceed – now
paying close attention to said installation
10 Three threaded stainless spacer
assemblies were then screwed into
place on the aforementioned studs and will
serve as mounting points for the front main
bracket – but not quite yet – see, it does
help to read the instructions!
11 The next step was to install the A/C
rear support bracket to the passenger
side head using the supplied bolt and
washer – it was left loose at this point
12 I then grabbed the rear power
steering bracket and timing pointer
assemblies and hardware.
13 Mount the timing pointer over (actually in front of) the rear
power steering bracket as shown, and use two of the supplied
5⁄16 bolts to mount ’em – leave these loose for the time being, as
well. Also, for those situations where power steering will not be
used, March supplies a pair of spacers so you can properly mount
the timing pointer alone.
14 The alternator rear support comes next. There’s a threaded
bushing in the kit that threads into the bracket as shown.
15 With the bushing in place, mount the bracket to the driver
side head with the supplied 7⁄16 or 3⁄8 bolt from the hardware
selection – leave this one loose, as well.
16 Now it’s time for the front main
bracket. Secure the front main
bracket using two 5⁄16x51⁄2-inch-long socket
head cap screws along with two spacers
between the bracket and the water pump.
Then install three 5⁄16 bolts through the
bracket and into the threaded stainless
spacers which were previously threaded
onto the water pump studs.
17 Next, fish through the supplied hardware and
locate a machined bushing like the one shown here.
This will be a part of the upper alternator mounting.
18 Line up the alternator mounting ears with the
upper and lower brackets and attach it as shown
using the small bushing shown in the previous photo at
the top, and another larger spacer (also supplied in the
kit) at the bottom mounting point. Once its mounted
leave the attaching bolts a bit loose, but tighten up the
bracket to cylinder head bolt at this time.
19 With the
place, you can now
attach the A/C
to the compressor.
mounts to the
bracket in much
the same way as
the alternator, and
the March design
makes it pretty
foolproof – as long
as you read the
20 So far, so
Style Track system
is one good-looking
accessory, that’s for
21 Next, move
on to the
Secure the power
bracket to the
pump, using Loctite
on the threads of
the 8mm screws
from the hardware
pack. Then install
bracket and pump
assembly to the
main front bracket.
22 Once attached to the main bracket at the front, move to the rear and
secure it with an 8mm bolt provided. At this point go back and tighten
the balance of the bracketry and recheck all of the mounting bolts of the
23 Here’s the nearly completed assembly from another angle. Pretty
impressive, don’t ya think?
24 March also supplies
a good-looking billet
power steering pump pulley
and cover as part of the kit,
and as you can see I hadn’t
gotten around to pressing it
on at the time of this photo.
25 The water pump pulley comes next
and is one of the most stylized
components in the kit, aside from the front
main bracket, that is. And like the alternator
and A/C pulleys, it comes complete with a
nose cone cover, as well.
26 The final steps are the crank pulley
and serpentine belt installation.
Both are as straightforward and easy as the
rest of the install and the perfect finishing
touches to a fine system – one that any
classic trucker would be happy to add to
their pride and joy – I know we were!