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The Mock-Up Method for Aligning Engine Pulleys

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While working on or restoring your truck’s engine, it can be difficult to align the pulleys precisely. Pulley misalignment is easier to notice when the engine is running, because you’ll hear squealing or chirping sounds and feel vibration. During the engine work itself, it’s trickier to determine whether you have the pulleys in alignment. Project C10’s Rick Drewry explains an efficient way to ensure a perfect alignment every time: the mock-up method, where a rope takes the place of the belt and shows whether you need to make an adjustment in alignment before proceeding with your engine work.

Project C10 Tech Tip – Aligning Engine Pulleys

Rather than using the belt itself, start by finding a clean piece of rope that isn’t too thick or thin for the V-groove. The belt is usually too tight, plus it’s the same color as the groove, so it’s harder to see what’s going on. Continue with the mock-up method of pulley alignment by running the rope around the V-groove and through the components. Observe from several angles to see if everything is lining up perfectly. Adjust as needed, then re-run the rope through the groove as many times as necessary until you have a totally smooth run.

Why Use Mock-ups?

Mock-ups, like the engine pulley alignment tip described here, are extremely helpful when checking engine work. They prevent the worst case scenario – re-assembling the engine, starting the truck and causing catastrophic engine damage due to an error in assembly. Even a slightly misaligned belt can impede the proper functioning of your engine and reduce belt life by up to 75%. A mock-up allows a preview of your work, so you can see how much progress has been made and whether you need to make fine-tune adjustments.

Ask a Classic Truck Restoration Mentor

The experts at Project C10 welcome questions about engine work from classic truck restorers. Because engine work is tricky, it helps to have advice from experienced vehicle experts. Before starting engine work on your next truck or other vehicle, feel free to reach out to the mentors in the Project C10 community to ensure you’re always headed in the right direction.

Join the Project C10 Truck Community

Project C10, powered by American Modern, an original video series from Classic Auto Insurance that chronicles the restoration of a 1965 Chevy C10 truck to a beautiful restomod worthy of car show display. Stay up-to-date with Project C10 by subscribing to Classic Auto’s YouTube Channel, following us on Instagram and visiting our C10 Restoration page on, where you’ll enjoy step-by-step episodes, project-specific Tech Tips and behind-the-scenes articles that give you an inside look into what it takes to restore a classic collectible like a Chevy C10 truck.

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