Vintage air

Roel85ss

Not-quite-so-new-guy
Thread starter
Jun 23, 2020
19
3
Hello, I’m need some help. I have a 383 stroker in my 1985 Monte Carlo ss. It has the V belt. I called to order the vintage air system and they asked me if it was v belt or serpentine. It’s v belt but I thought about converting it to serpentine. What are y’all’s thoughts on v belt versus serpentine. Also, the man from vintage are said if I did convert it to serpentine, that I would need to get the bracket for the serpentine compressor because they don’t offer it. Thanks in advance for yalls input.
 

ck80

Comic Book Super Hero
Feb 18, 2014
3,693
113
I like v belts. The old K*I*S*S* principle.

If my alternator fails, I can drive a few dozen miles on my battery and my water pump still turns and cools. A/c seizes up, same deal, just keep on driving without it.

When you go serpentine, anything goes wrong, including an old tensioner, you're stuck roadside.

But that's just my opinion.
 
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scoti

Royal Smart Person
Supporting Member
Sep 5, 2019
1,488
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Texas
I like v belts. The old K*I*S*S* principle.

If my alternator fails, I can drive a few dozen miles on my battery and my water pump still turns and cools. A/c seizes up, same deal, just keep on driving without it.

When you go serpentine, anything goes wrong, including an old tensioner, you're stuck roadside.

But that's just my opinion.
I agree but will counter.... There are pro's & con's for both.

V-belts are easier from the perspective if one fails, others can keep you going. But how many have carried a spare v-belt for a JIC scenario? A serp belt can be carried just as easy. Yes, it's more expensive but it is what it is. Tensioner? Same deal. Spare tensioner stored w/the belt. It's a small box so not like it takes up a bunch of room, V-belts adjusted to correct tension can be a PITA just as much as remembering how to loop the serp belt when swapping (when you don't have the schematic diagram sticker on the core support).

The 88-94-ish GM sbc serpentine system is pretty solid w/lots of miles logged w/o constant/repeat issues. I would opt for one of them if not on the fence. If it's a 'proper' resto type of deal I get wanting to stick w/the v-belt for that scenario too.
 
Nov 4, 2012
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Personally I hate v belts. I have a much easier time installing and removing a serpentine belt. I usually carry a spare one in the vehicle. I just replace them and keep the old one as a spare in the trunk or with the jack.
 
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tkruger

Master Mechanic
May 6, 2015
330
63
NY
For someone that works on cars and checks things regularly I prefer the v belts from a stand point of if one breaks I just remove it. Years ago I had the AC compressor seize on a Firebird with a 2.8 in it and no money to fix the AC. Just removed a belt and kept going. If that was a serpentine I would have had to figure a way to delete the compressor. I tighten them if needed when I check fluids etc.

This said most people never open their hood. For these people the serpentine is far superior. It self adjust so that it is always the correct tension. I have a van with 103K on it and the belt has ben changed but nothing else. My wife's last truck had 125k on it and the tensioners were still good, to bad rust ate the frame on that one forcing it to be unsafe.
 

ck80

Comic Book Super Hero
Feb 18, 2014
3,693
113
The 88-94 era sbc GM serp set-up has a bolt-in pulley for the purpose of a/c delete. Dorman has the part as well.
I guess you could keep a separate belt. A delete pulley, and pile of tools in the trunk along with all the other stuff... but that gets noisy and takes up space quick.

Besides, if your ac compressor locks up on a drive, would you rather sit on the side of the road doing all those modifications? Or just cut the belt off the a/c and continue on your way?

That's the advantage in the v-belt. You can have your alternator, your ac compressor, accessories fail WHILE ON THE ROAD AWAY FROM HOME and still continue on your way either at least a good 30 miles minimum (did it in an 83 regal that lost its alternator) to safety without overheating and blowing your engine, or in the case of a/c indefinitely.

Sometimes you just don't want to sit on the side of the road, in the dark, or in an undesirable area, heck even just an unsafe high traffic area working under the hood swapping a bunch of parts or sit waiting for a tow.

That's the v-belt advantage.
 

scoti

Royal Smart Person
Supporting Member
Sep 5, 2019
1,488
113
Texas
I guess you could keep a separate belt. A delete pulley, and pile of tools in the trunk along with all the other stuff... but that gets noisy and takes up space quick.

Besides, if your ac compressor locks up on a drive, would you rather sit on the side of the road doing all those modifications? Or just cut the belt off the a/c and continue on your way?

That's the advantage in the v-belt. You can have your alternator, your ac compressor, accessories fail WHILE ON THE ROAD AWAY FROM HOME and still continue on your way either at least a good 30 miles minimum (did it in an 83 regal that lost its alternator) to safety without overheating and blowing your engine, or in the case of a/c indefinitely.

Sometimes you just don't want to sit on the side of the road, in the dark, or in an undesirable area, heck even just an unsafe high traffic area working under the hood swapping a bunch of parts or sit waiting for a tow.

That's the v-belt advantage.
If you're traveling in an older car, you're likely to already have the majority of the tools required to get the job done. If you don't travel w/tools w/an older vehicle, you should. But you're right, it is much easier to whip out the knife & cut a v-belt off. I've done it more than once.
 

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