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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
2001.5 v6 fwd w/ tiptronic, unitronic tune:

So I've been entertaining the idea of replacing the crank and power steering pulleys with the ECS light weight pulleys at my next timing belt job. Having very little knowledge about the real benefits to this, I'm turning to the masses here to any info that might help me decide if this would be a worthwhile investment.

I'm currently at about 125k and expecting to hit 150k in a year or so. I plan to do the timing belt/water pump job myself when the time comes and I am intrigued by the idea switching to light weight pulleys while I'm already in there doing the work.

My biggest questions are what are the benefits to going with light weight pulleys and do those benefits make the added cost ($250+shipping) worth it? I'm not considering this for some type of big performance mod, but rather for a reduction of stress on the engine over the longterm. It would be nice if it did give a small bump to performance as maybe a compliment to the unitronic tune, but it's not my main concern.

Anyone out there done this or have knowledge of how this would benefit a stock engine? Is it worth doing in conjuction with the timing belt work and would it be a healthier option for the engine as it continues to age?
 

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I have thought about this myself. I found out that it provides zero dampening, while stock pulley does provide dampening.
You might feel the slightest improvement in lower rpms.

Since, me and you have the same engine and the same Unitronic tune, I would probably compare the pulley to HALF or less than half of what benefit we got from the Unitronic tune. I'm just scared it would snap my timing belt. Thought about this but a couple horsepower wouldn't make a difference.
 

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it won't really give you more horsepower (maybe 2 HP or so, at best); it will, however, allow the engine to spin up a little bit faster. it won't snap your timing belt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
info i've been seeing on other car forums suggests that the actual hp/torque bumps are very small, if any, but there is a noticeable increase in revs and responsiveness, especially in low rpm/1st gear acceleration.

it might be a bit of help for our cars inherent sluggishness with throttle response and low rpm acceleration. in some cases, people have noticed that dyno runs were "tricked" into showing +30hp gains in 1st gear due to the faster revs pulling deeper into the powerband where the stock setup would usually plateau. it wasn't really a 30hp gain overall, it was just getting into the powerband quicker than stock would... if that makes sense...

some talk about increased fuel economy, but it's not a claim that i've been able to find any way of consistently measuring/confirming to really base a decision on.

i'm not finding much on possible downsides or issues caused by using an oem sized lightweight pulley, but if anyone has any info, horror stories, or cautions about doing this, please share. i'm thinking that at 150k, it might be a good time to replace the pulleys anyway, so if lightweight has some slight benefits to driveability, performance and/or longevity, then i might just take the plunge.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
just saw your other thread gostivar... Jay, you can merge them if you think it's better to eliminate multiple threads on this.

here's a link: http://www.passatworld.com/forums/42-volkswagen-passat-b5-discussion/346739-do-any-v6ers-have.html

picking up where Steve left off in gostivar's thread:

so now my question is, does the the lightweight crank pulley withstand longterm use if it doesn't somehow account for the harmonic damper that the stock pulley has?

the power steering pulley doesn't worry me in regards to this, but ECS doesn't mention the harmonic damper on the crank pulley... only that "These pulleys are machined from billet aluminum, and though lightweight they are still extremely strong."
 

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so now my question is, does the the lightweight crank pulley withstand longterm use if it doesn't somehow account for the harmonic damper that the stock pulley has?

the power steering pulley doesn't worry me in regards to this, but ECS doesn't mention the harmonic damper on the crank pulley... only that "These pulleys are machined from billet aluminum, and though lightweight they are still extremely strong."
Some of the damping properties are lost. Although we have tested these pulleys rigorously for many thousands of miles without any side effects.
 

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There was another thread I was following last year (will provide link after found), and someone was discussing the same thing, but for a 1.8T. I've always had this in the back of my mind for the next timing belt job (still at least 30k off), and wondered was it worth it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Some of the damping properties are lost. Although we have tested these pulleys rigorously for many thousands of miles without any side effects.
Still on the fence about the crank pulley. Perhaps the harmonic damper at the pulley isn't as critical on our engines but after doing some lite reading about how harmonic balancing is used, I'm worried that this one drawback could be a deal breaker.

Do you know what internals were inspected during testing? Cams, rods, bearings?

I think the doing the power steering and/or any other accessory pulleys is safe, but doing the crank pulley is getting into unknown territory. I've got time to keep researching before my next timing belt job. If I can find solid info that removing the dampening properties of the crank pulley doesn't harm the 2.8 engine, then I'm thinking it might be a good mod to get some improved acceleration and response from the low end.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
There was another thread I was following last year (will provide link after found), and someone was discussing the same thing, but for a 1.8T. I've always had this in the back of my mind for the next timing belt job (still at least 30k off), and wondered was it worth it?
From what I've found, the 1.8t does not have a harmonic damper at the crank pulley. It shouldn't be an issue for you. Since these are oem sized, it would compliment a tuned 1.8t. Going with undersized pulleys is where you might need to do research, as the changes could cause voltage issues with the alternator and other accessories.
 

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Really, I'm having trouble figuring how anyone would notice a difference with a lightened pulley without very accurate instrumentation. What kind of weight difference are we talking about here, vs. the weight of the rest of the rotating parts of the engine? Even the stock pulley is not that large, and is not exactly a hulking chunk of metal. It reminds me of people that put in drilled pedals to reduce the weight of their car...

If you are really that concerned about engine inertia, I'd think you'd be way better off putting in a lighter flywheel.
 

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Ive had the light weight pulley in for 5 or 6 years now. I have no idea whether.it.improved anything at all but it also didnt break anything yet. It isnt.much more money if your already doing the timing belt I also remember thinking my car rev'd faster in 1st whether it actually did or not I have no way of knowing
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
If you have a manual gearbox then a lightweight flywheel would be ideal... Unfortunately, I have an automatic.

@grayscale, v6 or 1.8, and do you have any performance mods, or has it been all stock on your lightweight pulleys?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
another question for someone out there... how similar/different are the v6 and 1.8t cranks? the reason i ask is that from the information i've been finding, it seems that harmonic dampening tends to be a more crucial element on engines with larger/longer cranks... like say, a bmw straight-six. i'm sure VW chose to use a harmonic dampener for a reason on our 2.8l v6, but being dohc and not much longer in size compared to the 1.8t, it might not be as failure prone when switching to a lightweight crank pulley that does not retain the dampening properties of the oem pulley. if the 1.8t doesn't need a dampener and the v6 crank is more similar in size and structure, then i'd be less worried about longterm damage to the crank due to the use of a lightweight crank pulley.

anyone have thoughts/input on this?
 
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