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Response to: The Danger of Power Pulleys & Understanding the Harmonic Damper by Steve Dinan

Before making judgments with such wide implications it is important to recognize the fact that long-term real world use outweighs theoretical assumptions. Simply stated we have two years of pre-production testing under our belt and an additional four years of real world data (over 300 million miles). Not once in this period have we ever had even the slightest problems in regard to engine longevity, not one claim or call. The fact is that if there were a problem with our product we could never have kept it from the public because of the Internet Unfortunately we have taken the brunt of many rumors flying around the Internet about our products, like this article. Now we spoke with Mr. Dinan and he apologized for any undue problems this article may have caused us as he never directed it towards Unorthodox Racing Inc. That aside we have tried to take the time to educate our owners and potential owners of our products about the facts. It always seems to be that someone's cousin whose girlfriend's brother has a friend that had a problem with our product. Needless to say we never get a phone call, which we would think would be the first thing an owner would do if they have a problem with our product or any product they use that causes a failure. We wish that everybody would try to learn and think for themselves like the old adage "Believe non of what you hear and only half of what you see."
First mistake is that the majority of our gains do not come from underdriving. The majority of the gain from our product comes from weight loss, removal of rotational mass from the rotational assembly. We also do not cause problems with accessory output either, as each model we manufacture is tested to maintain factory acceptable parameters accessory output. So each vehicles underdrive is tailored to what the specs call for and never exceeds 20%. This is also concurrent with information we have received for CARB (California Air Research Board) stating that as long as we do not push beyond 20% underdrive we will remain within acceptable parameters set by the factories. They also mentioned that products exceeding 25% underdrive would not pass emissions requirements because all late model cars would run in a limp mode because of reduced voltage. So Steve Dinan theory one is wrong when applied to Unorthodox Racing products. Secondly the gains are not small, we have seen on BMW E36's 5-9 HP regularly and from 13-18 HP maximum. The stock crank pulley/damper is what is called an audible harmonic damper, in laymen's terms that means control of harmonics you would hear in the occupant compartment. Similar example is the factory use of baffles and resonators in the intake manifold. These methods are used because of the factories fanaticism about quiet in the occupant compartment. They have nothing to do with engine longevity. The flywheel has dramatically greater effect on engine longevity.
We have our own engineering and design team but we have also had direct contact with many of the OE manufacturers on this subject. We have worked with engine builders, many of who have been in the industry since the mid fifties. We also have worked with many Speedvision racecar teams with a number of different vehicle models. One was Last Minute Racings E36, driven by Alain Chebeir. Last Minute Racing ran our 4-piece pulley kit including the crank pulley for the entire 1999 season. Not once did he ever encounter a problem with our product. We also worked with The Wheel Source/Hikari Supra, driven by David Schart. That engine is very similar in many of its characteristics when compared to the BMW straight 6. They ran our 4-piece pulley kit for the entire season, and their motor as turbocharged, making considerably more power than stock, 500-550 HP compared to 320 HP stock. They never had any problems with the use of our product. We also worked with Trac Racings two VW cars, running the VR6 engine. They have run our pulleys for two seasons now with no problems. We also worked with High Speed Racings two VW's and they have had no problem whatsoever. All of these teams have disassembled their engines at various times throughout their race seasons and have found no abnormal wear or crankshaft cranking. Now those were just the road course teams. We also work with many drag racers and one Pikes Peak car (Rod Millens Supra) and none of these teams have ever had problems. Not only these facts but the fact that we have had over 100+ sets in the field on street and street/strip BMW's including some turbo models without ever having any problems leaves you to believe that Steve did not intend to include Unorthodox Racing. All of our pulleys for other vehicles have never once caused any problems, in fact aside from the examples stated above, we have over 250+ million owner driven miles out there with our product.
Steve's association of the stock crank pulley being the primary damper is incorrect, it is the dual mass flywheel that accomplishes this task. But even replacing this dual mass damper with an aluminum flywheel would not cause long-term damage as long as the flywheel were properly balanced. To give an example lets look at the Turner Motorsports Speedvision cars. Those vehicles were running underdrive pulleys from another source. To regress slightly for historical value, we had originally engineered two designs for the BMW crank pulley section, but both kits were four pieces in total. One crank pulley design was a six-bolt pulley section replacement like the way the factory designed theirs. The other design was a complete one-piece replacement of pulley sections and the hub that mounts to the crank snout. We had sent some pulleys up to Mr. Turner for evaluation. The prototype design sent to him replaced the pulley section and the steel hub section with one unit that attaches directly to the crank, as described previously. This once piece design help eliminate the weight from the heavy steel hub. Unfortunately we could not use this design for production because the aluminum would crack shortly after installation due to the high torque specification for the bolt that attached that hub to the crank snout. Now Mr. Turner instead of working with us decided he would not tell us this, which we found out at about the same time from another local owner that worked with us. Mysteriously the following race season, with other pulleys on his car they began to have crank cracking problems. Multiple motors were broken, all at the main journal before the last rear cylinder from what we understand. It was also amazing to find out that they were also using an undampened solid aluminum flywheel. It seems amazingly odd now that the breakage occurred at the rear of the crankshaft closest to the lack of damping component. But as stated before if a properly balanced flywheel would have been used the failures would not have occurred. This is supported by the fact that all the Speedvision teams, described above, we have worked with use aluminum flywheels and have had no problems whatsoever.
We have seen a few of these products and they would not even pass inspection for factory fitment even if they had the rubber isolator. The machining quality is frightening and the products are also unbalanced. These companies cut the factory timing ring off the stock pulley and remount it, for 95 or older model year BMW's, this assumes the balance of the ring once it is removed. We laser cut our timing ring and check balance during machining and after assembly. Our tolerances are held to .001" in critical areas, where we have seen regular tolerances of .005" or more from these other manufacturers. As stated before we have tried to address these issues at various times over the years through education to our dealers to FAQ's on our web page. It unfortunately comes down to the old adage that you get what you pay for when it comes to quality. There are offshore and on-shore copies of our other pulley models out there. All of these pieces are sub-standard and would not even meet factory specifications. So why do owners keep buying them, unfortunately its lack or education/understanding and plain old dollars and cents. The same problem occurs with cam sprockets with tolerances of other products, even at supposed 0 degree factory settings, not being up to even OE specifications. Meanwhile our own sprockets are held to again .001" tolerances and have timing marks that are down to the minute (60 being in a degree). Its price that drives the consumer, so unawares they are buying product that they cannot properly adjust or product that comes loose. Our pulleys are 60-70% more expensive than the offshore and onshore copies and other underdrive only products offered. Our top of the line sprockets are 60-70% more expensive than these others. We have even introduced an entry-level sprocket, which is 15% more expensive in order to be more price competitive while offering the functional quality of our top of the line without some of the additional lightening machining and extra hardware.
One other important issue is the rather random attack on a specific performance adder without looking at power adders in general. If we wish to get technical about this type of issue then all power adders must be looked at under a more rigid standard. Based on factory testing and design even changing the oil to a non-factory used oil puts the power plant or driveline into a completely different set of parameter results. Lets use intakes systems as the first example. By increasing the intake airflow response parameters are changed to some completely different set of parameters from what the factory tested or designed too. Now this does not even take into account the change in intake resonance frequencies, which again creates deviations from the factory design. This does not even take into account that the engine may make more power from this modification, which again leaves us with a deviation from parameters the factory designed the vehicle to be within. Now to be fair lets look at supercharging or forced induction for normally aspirated cars, which dramatically affects every aspect of engine function. More boost of course means more power, which in turn means more engine and drivetrain stress. This is a product that the factory never designed the vehicle to be used in conjunction with. The drive of the supercharger puts more stress on the front of the crankshaft. Turbos put more stress on the exhaust valves from backpressure and heat. Turbos are also less dependable as far as control goes, tending to spike which causes severe engine strain. Turbos also require additional expensive products like boost controllers and turbo timer. This additional stress was encompassed into the factory design of the crankshaft or the pulley system. If the factory pulley were a damper in the traditional sense the additional stress from any modifications would eliminate any special function that the factory pulley may have had because it was never designed for the additional flex of the crankshaft nor the faster spool up of the engine. Looking at other engine systems the fuel pump was never designed to deliver the amount of fuel needed based on the new demands the supercharger puts on that system. Flow might be adequate as a function of output but is the pump up to the day-to-day stress. Another parameter the factory never designed into that system. We can go on and on with how non-factory parts, even regular service parts which are non-factory can effect a vehicle. The fact is that owners that want more power assume the risks of their desire. All the products they desire to achieve these improvements where never entered into the design equation of the factory designers.

Respectfully,
Shawn Baumgartner
President
URI


In addition anyone who claims to have had a problem and never called us is quite suspect of never having had the product at all or is not ready to hear that their driving style or preventative maintenance or lack of caussed the problem they say they had. In 4+ years we have had no call about engine failures with the use of our product. 400+ million miles driven with the product from the street to full race. Bearings are not something our product would have any effect on unless the pulley was out of balance by +10 grams or more which is impossible as every pulley that comes out of production is perfectly balanced and many owners have proved this by having their rotational assembly rebalanced with the pulley and nothing needed to be done.

Enough is enough already, if you have a problem call and maybe we can help you learn something about why engines fail. Also the update about the H22 will be up on the web-page shortly.

Respectfully,
Shawn Baumgartner
President
URI
 

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Mr. Baumgartner:

I don't know a whole lot about engine failures, pulleys, or underdriving accessories. But I do have a pair of eyes, that saw 71dsp's pictures.

What I do know a little bit about is business and public relations. My advice to you as president of URI, is hire a PR firm, and do it quickly. Your post has done nothing to improve your company's reputation, and it may have soiled your own.
 

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controversy will almost all the time kill a product in almost any form.

the history lesson of UR was great reading material, but what you're basically doing in an indirect way is saying that the crank UR crank pulley for a daily driver application will never have any effects on internal engine parts. you mention our fellow member as saying you do not know the maintenance he has performed and what not.
but what maintenance should be required on a daily driver with bolt-ons and a crank pulley. besides the normal oil changes, what can a regular consumer do? basically absolutely nothing.
and the apology by Mr. Dinan really can't be taken seriously. as we all know, that apology just may have been offered up in all abilities to avoid a lawsuit.

though only one member onthis board has actually had a chance to tear down his motor, the facts are obvious. he was running a set-up many of us honda guys have everyday on the street except for the addition of UR pulleys.
i don't think most people such as myself are actually putting the product down because i'd have to say the craftsmanship is very high quality compared to other no-name brands. but when this kind of controversy surrounds a single product it tends to influence potential buyers in a negative. and your solution (quoted uptop) of seeing what you have and not anyone elses is tough. basically your proposition is to learn for yourself and to not pass judgement. i find that hard to do when most people aren't in a position to be worried about modifications that will be detrimental to their motors.

and regarding speedvision challenge series, the shop i goto participates int he series with a yellow type r. i know for a fact that the motor is broken down almost after every race or at most between 2 races. teams with the financial back-up all do this as i've been told. so i think professional and semi-professional race teams justifying the purchase of a modification intended for a street vehicle is irrelevant.

believe it or not, i was going to purchase a full UR pulley set as i have seen dyno plots. but with this in the air, i'd rather lose the 5hp at the wheels and have some piece of mind.
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Pete:
Mr. Baumgartner:

I don't know a whole lot about engine failures, pulleys, or underdriving accessories. But I do have a pair of eyes, that saw 71dsp's pictures.

What I do know a little bit about is business and public relations. My advice to you as president of URI, is hire a PR firm, and do it quickly. Your post has done nothing to improve your company's reputation, and it may have soiled your own.
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You did see his pictures, but what you have not seen, and Billy hasn't either, are pictures of bearings from a similar age motor without the pulley. This would be similar to me pulling out my piston, pointing to some scarring and concluding that my oil was worthless. I continue to be amazed at how quick people on this board are to be swayed into a conclusion.

Take Tein HA's for an example. People swore they were the best until one picture of a rusted damper appeared. Now, everyone's scared to touch 'em. Noone knows where that piece came from. It could have been pulled out of the junkyard for that matter.

I do NOT wish to argue the UR point again. In my opinion, it stands where it always has... Billy's pictures mean as much to me as Mr. Baumgartner's soliloquy... nothing. Do your own research and come to your own conclusions people....
 

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In all that... did anyone catch anything about actual extensive testing on the prelude and/ or specifically the h22 and h23 motors?

I guess I could see that unorthadox is addressing the paper by dinan mostly when was talking about testing, but that does not mean a whole lot when we drive lude's not supra's/ bmw's. I personally would be more convince'd by direct testing, and not in-direct assumption that it is ok cause it work'd on a somewhat similar motor.

If there was testing done on lude's, cool... by all means... but why not mention in the original post if it exist'd... it is obviously relevant.

(quote from unorthadox post)"We can go on and on with how non-factory parts, even regular service parts which are non-factory can effect a vehicle. The fact is that owners that want more power assume the risks of their desire. All the products they desire to achieve these improvements where never entered into the design equation of the factory designers."

In that quote, kind of sounds like you're saying how can we expect non-factory parts to not effect the engine good/ bad/ or whatever, right? Well I think good extensive engineering/ designing/ testing would be a start! If the factory design people can figure out how to make parts that do not effect the motor in a overly negative manner, why can't the aftermarket performance part design people.

Is it so much to ask that a company design parts that do not adversly effect the motor and still supply the power gains.

I do admit, we assume the risk for mods to the cars... but I do not think that gives the right to any part manufacturer to exploit us cause they wanna make their money. I mean honestly if there was a problem/ complaints would part manufacturer's tell us, or do exactly what your doing and say there is all kinds of testing and there are not any report's of damage to your knowledge.

Also it was said every mod has it's effects, and though that is true... the effects may not be all bad. Just cause it is not in the factory operating specs does not mean it is automatically going to cause damage as an effect. Thats were I would expect the R&D people come in and make sure it does make the power, but without damaging the motor extensively or cost more than it's benefits.

This is all just my opinion, and I am not trying to knock UO products or anything cause they are awesome quality... just in general about some parts manufacturer's. I think sometimes the R&D may be a bit lacking or not, but either way it is somewhat disregarded cause of possible profit margin's.

This really does not mean nothing anyways. It is about the same arguement it always was... and just comes down to what you think personally.

[This message has been edited by Luder-xhpx (edited April 11, 2001).]
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by baked:
You did see his pictures, but what you have not seen, and Billy hasn't either, are pictures of bearings from a similar age motor without the pulley. This would be similar to me pulling out my piston, pointing to some scarring and concluding that my oil was worthless. I continue to be amazed at how quick people on this board are to be swayed into a conclusion.
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No that would be a little ridiculous. Billy's car had 50K on it and the bearings should not have looked like that, period. If all stock honda bearings (not to mention the oil pump gouging) were worn like that I would predict that most of them would have catastrophic engine failure somewhere short of 100K miles. Do you see these things happen on an engine with a stock crank pulley? No.

Gabe

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97 Prelude
see it here:Hondaprelude.com
 

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If I remember correctly, Billy's pulley was NOT Unorthodox. I don't think he made that very clear. But I remember reading the review on NTPOG and it's not an UO pulley.

Daniel

grnlude97
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by grnlude97:
If I remember correctly, Billy's pulley was NOT Unorthodox. I don't think he made that very clear. But I remember reading the review on NTPOG and it's not an UO pulley.

Daniel

grnlude97
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I am 99% sure Billy said it carried the same design and that it was basicly the same, just had a different brand name on it.
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by vabeach_lude:
I am 99% sure Billy said it carried the same design and that it was basicly the same, just had a different brand name on it.

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I'm not saying who's right or wrong but if it was a knock off they could be different besides jsut the looks. If the knock off wasn't balanced well couldn't that trash the bearings rather quickly? I mean how could you know if it wasn't balanced right? Once it's bolted up and spinning I doubt anyone could tell. Just another thought while I'm bored at work
 

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Exactly what "THATPRELUDEGUY" said. You can't tell by merely looking at a metal part if it was constructed to superior standards. My father's company does industrial aluminum machining and tolerances are VITAL! If your eyesight can detect .0002" differences then you are superhuman. Sorry but simply looking at something just doesn't cut it.

Daniel

grnlude97
 

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guys,
do people like me with the AEM kit, have nothing to worry about...?
I don't know ANYTHING about internal components of the engine, and i plan to keep my car for a long time, 2+ years...
so i am scared..
 

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I agree that the pulleys that he bought were probably inferior to UR set, and MAYBE thats what caused the bearings to go. But didn't the pres of UR state that even if unbalanced, this would NOT cause the bearings to go b/c the crank pulley has NOTHING to do with the bearings?? And dampening for that matter?

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1997 Prelude SH
Eagle F1 tires
Iceman CAI,
cleared side markers
Cleared signals
JDM fogs
Clifford G4 alarm
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by joedaddy:
guys,
do people like me with the AEM kit, have nothing to worry about...?
I don't know ANYTHING about internal components of the engine, and i plan to keep my car for a long time, 2+ years...
so i am scared..
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Same here, I just ordered AEM pulleys today ...should i not install it?



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97 Prelude
Mugen headers/exhaust
AEM CAI
bunch of nyc dents
 
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How quickly you guys respond to these posts!!

Mr. Baumgartner,

Before I respond, I would just like to clarify a few things that seem to have mislead some people. First, I did NOT have an Unorthodox brand underdrive pulley on my H22. It was merely a generic solid crank pulley that was made to the same specifications as your crank pulley (supposedly). If my memory serves me correct, I never claimed to have one of your pulleys. HOWEVER, I did buy a 3 pulley set, and your pulley was very similar to the one I had on the car. Now that that's cleared up, I have a few questions and comments.

Simply stated we have two years of pre-production testing under our belt and an additional four years of real world data (over 300 million miles). Not once in this period have we ever had even the slightest problems in regard to engine longevity, not one claim or call. The fact is that if there were a problem with our product we could never have kept it from the public because of the Internet.

Would you be willing to release this data? What does data consist of? Have you taken a fresh engine, installed one of your crank pulleys then inspected the bearings, etc. after xxxxxx miles? I would be interested in seeing your results.

Now we spoke with Mr. Dinan and he apologized for any undue problems this article may have caused us as he never directed it towards Unorthodox Racing Inc.

That may be true, but did he recant any of his statements in his article?

It always seems to be that someone's cousin whose girlfriend's brother has a friend that had a problem with our product.

I know it wasn't your product, but I have direct experience with a solid underdrive pulley. I am 95% confident that this particular item is what caused the damage in my case.

They also mentioned that products exceeding 25% underdrive would not pass emissions requirements because all late model cars would run in a limp mode because of reduced voltage.

Reduced voltage at idle, right? The voltage at 5k rpms on a pulley that has 30% underdrive would be the same as a stock engine turning 3.5k rpms, so there shouldn't be a problem there. Please explain this further.

The flywheel has dramatically greater effect on engine longevity.

How? You will be interested to know that I had a lightweight flywheel on my car (8.2 lbs). The #5 bearing (closest to the flywheel) looked fine. The #1 bearing (closest to the crank pulley) had noticable damage, and the scoring was bad enough to easily catch a fingernail.

We have our own engineering and design team but we have also had direct contact with many of the OE manufacturers on this subject. We have worked with engine builders, many of who have been in the industry since the mid fifties.

Could you tell me (privately if you like) the names of a couple of these engine builders?

We laser cut our timing ring and check balance during machining and after assembly.

What do you do to correct balance issues? The Unorthodox Racing pulley that I had did appear to have any spots that were altered in order to balance the pulley.

In addition anyone who claims to have had a problem and never called us is quite suspect of never having had the product at all or is not ready to hear that their driving style or preventative maintenance or lack of caussed the problem they say they had.

Well, I didn't call you because my problem wasn't caused by your product. However, even if it were, what good would calling you do? Are you willing to pay to repair a customer's engine? Or are you going to make them jump through 50 hoops in order to have some type of action taken? How would you determine whether or not your product or the consumer was at fault? Now you're blaming the consumer for the problems. I would like to hear what you would do if someone did call you.

This discussion isn't about power adders in general. The discussion focuses on your product in particular. Not turbos, intakes, exhausts, super chargers, rods, pistons, etc.

Bearings are not something our product would have any effect on unless the pulley was out of balance by +10 grams or more...

This is why I made my conclusions based on my use of a "copycat" solid underdrive pulley. It seems to me that even without balancing, a solid underdrive pulley would be very close to perfect (balancewise) because the metal is quite homogeneous and the size of the pulley is so small (and light) that to detect an imbalance the pulley would have to be grossly out of balance.

Now, I would like to propose something to put some of this to rest. Keep in mind, I do not own a shop, I am not a mechanic (although I do all of my own work), and I am not affiliated with any manufacturer, retailer, etc. for aftermarket parts. That being said, I don't have deep pockets unlike a business, but I would like to propose an "experiement."

I know that getting a sample size large enough to show a statistical difference would be quite difficult, but perhaps we could do a sample size of 4 similar year Preludes or so.

The problem is the cost and time involved. I am sure I can find others around here interested, and others that might be able to help financially. What I am proposing is that we find 4 similar Preludes (year model, mileage, etc). Then;

1. pull the engine, inspect the crank bearings, oil pump, etc.
2. install new crank bearings (using stock clearance specs) and a new oil pump.
3. drive the cars similarly (perhaps some road racing, street driving, drag racing, a few dyno runs, etc.) for perhaps 10k miles.
4. disassemble the engines and inspect the parts in question.

I am sure we could find 4 people willing to donate cars. However, I do not have the time to pull and disassemble 4 engines twice. Also, there has to be some checks and balances so that individual biases don't come into play. If you're willing to split the cost of doing something like this, I would be willing to be part of it (if my finances can support it, sorry I just got married), and I am sure I could find others.

Again, this won't be enough data to determine whether or not solid crank pulleys cause problems because the sample size is too small, but it will give us more insight in to this debate.

No one here attacked your products personally. I know I didn't, and I don't know exactly how you got this idea. Most of the debate centers around solid underdrive crank pulleys in general.

On another note, I have UR accessory pulleys and UR cam gears. The quality is outstanding. I would highly recommend them to anyone. I disagree about solid crank pulleys for Hondas at least. No matter who makes them, I wouldn't recommend them.



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Billy
North Texas Prelude Owners Group
www.ntpog.org
 
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One other thing, I will gladly send you my crank bearings and oil pump for examination. The crank bearings are in my possession, and I will have the oil pump shortly.

I forgot to clarify that the bearings looked progressively worse going from #5 to #1. #5 looked the best and #1 looked the worst.

I would be happy to talk to my engine builder concerning your product. I will be sure to mention your post concerning this product. In fact, I am going to see him tomorrow, so I will print your post and let him read it.

If you wish to contact me, I can be reached at [email protected]

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Billy
North Texas Prelude Owners Group
www.ntpog.org
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by 71dsp:
no one has anything else to say?
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Do you still have the pics of your bearings on the web? On the thread that you started a long time ago with the pics the links to the pics don't work.
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by unorthodox:
Response to: The Danger of Power Pulleys & Understanding the Harmonic Damper by Steve Dinan

The stock crank pulley/damper is what is called an audible harmonic damper, in laymen's terms that means control of harmonics you would hear in the occupant compartment. Similar example is the factory use of baffles and resonators in the intake manifold. These methods are used because of the factories fanaticism about quiet in the occupant compartment. They have nothing to do with engine longevity.
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I question the basis for this remark. At issue is whether a harmonic damper on the crank pulley is purely a feature to lower noise levels for car occupants or whether the harmonic dampener is engineered to reduce crankshaft resonance and vibration...

Honda produces a car sold in North America as the Acura Integra Type R. This car is, for all intents, a competition-prepped street-legal race car. As such, it deletes all sound-deadening material on the chassis, along with most other comfort/convenience features from the regular production Integra on which it is based. Ask anyone who has driven an Integra Type R, and they will tell you what a loud, buzzy, uncompromised ride it is. This is one of the only cars sold in the US where everyday comfort was sacrificed for the benefit of all-out performance...

Yet, what kind of crank pulley does the Integra Type R have? A lightweight solid metal unit to enhance performance?

No. It has a harmonically dampened crank pulley...

On a car where Honda clearly had no concern for passenger compartment noise levels, why would Honda's engineers see fit to use a heavy, inefficient, harmonically dampened crank pulley? ...Unless the part had purposes other than noise reduction...

Respectfully,
Andrew
 
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