March 2020. Small Block Gen 1 V8 Engine Dress-Up
The engine at the beginning of 2020 and for many years has looked pretty good but there is room for improvement.
GM Performance rocker covers, Chevy orange paintwork, Sanderson manifolds, R & M Specialities HT leads support
bracket, carb and air filter, finned aluminium water pump are all detailed elsewhere on this site. Some of these
upgrades were done in 2015 and some earlier. It is now time to improve the appearance of the front of the engine.
(Pictures of the engine when the truck was purchased in 2007 are lower down the page.)
Before this mod. The engine in Jan. 2020 -
At the front of the engine there is a compressor and an alternator. The compressor was already fitted to the truck when
I purchased it in 2007. The original alternator was changed to a 140A “Summit Racing” chrome alternator in 2007 ($99).
After this mod. The engine in March 2020 -
Stripping it down.
The new chrome compressor.
Now in 2020 it is time to make improvements. It was always planned to eventually replace the compressor with a chrome
compressor and so in late 2019 this option was researched. The Vintage Air “04808-VUQ” (Summit Racing $260) was
chosen and ordered from Summit Racing in March 2020.
The compressor clutch pulley cover
There is a wide choice of clutch pulley covers for the Sanden 508 type compressors. This one is polished
aluminium and came from Summit Racing, part number SUM-G3971 and cost $27.99.
The very important compressor/ alternator mounting bracket
Finding the correct mounting bracket was the key to this upgrade and based on a recommendation -
the "Billet Specialities 10120" was chosen.
This large polished aluminium bracket holds the compressor and the alternator.
This bracket has a number of very important advantages over any other bracket(s) available.
Note, most if not all other brackets are separate brackets on each side of the engine.
Looks fantastic. Polished aluminium.
Very important - more rigid than any other bracket. The problem with the Gen 1 Small Block is that there
are only 2 bolts holes for the alternator bracket to hold the alternator rather than 3 on later engines. That
means it is not held as rigidly as it should be. When you have a on-piece bracket like the Billet 10120 here,
which holds both the alternator and the compressor and uses multiple mounting bolts on both sides of the
engine, (including sharing a water pump mounting bolt) everything is very rigid. This sorts out the
problem of a slightly flexible alternator when held by only 2 bolts.
The alternator and compressor are both at the same height and position. Symmetrical mounting.
The alternator has a large amount of adjustment both sideways and vertically. This makes it easy to mount with
the correct clearance from the rocker cover but also plenty of adjustment to achieve the correct belt tension.
Due to the new compressor input and output pipes being at a different angle, the pipes now need new ends
on so that they can be connected to the compressor. The old 180 degree fittings would no longer fit and
135/120 degree fittings were ordered. One is a 10AN fitting and the other is an 8AN fitting.
The 135 degree 8AN fitting (above left) came from "JEGS
" via ebay at $11.49 part number ("Vintage Air") 35842-VUG
The 120 degree 10AN fitting (above right) came from "acpartsguys
" via ebay at $17.95
The Sanden compressor has 2 ports -
The 10AN female O-ring Beadlock fitting is for the low suction port
The 8AN female O-ring Beadlock fitting is for the high suction port
The 10AN (5/8") fitting with 7/8-14 thread size is for #10 1/2" ID and 1" OD barrier hose.
The 8AN (1/2") fitting with 3/4-16 thread size is for #8 13/32" ID and 29/32" OD barrier hose.
Unfortunately this is when a problem arose trying to buy one of these 10120 brackets. I ordered it from JEGS and a
few days later was told it was discontinued. Checked Summit and Speedway. Discontinued. Rang Billet and was told
discontinued. Reason? “Not very popular as not that many people have the earlier V8 any more”. Summit had them
in stock in January 2020. Billet told me it was actually discontinued at the beginning of 2019 but stocks lasted until
the end of 2019. After some research I found one (new) still available on eBay.com (and with international shipping).
In March 2020 and ordered it. I ended up paying more ($225) but at least I have now obtained one.
When the hood is lifted the first thing you see behind the radiator is the alternator, compressor and bracket.
This new polished aluminium bracket kit looks amazing and everything is polished and symmetrical.
Of course you can get a similar appearance with a “Serpentine system” (if you have room for one) but
here you can see it is possible to achieve a similar great appearance without that amount of expense.
Direct temperature gauge clearance problem
At the start of this update, there was a direct water filled temperature gauge in one of the sensor connector ports
in the inlet manifold. There are three connections possible, one is close to the alternator, one is close to the
compressor and one is in-between. The one in-between has the main temperature sensor fitted for the cab gauge.
Unfortunately the new position of the compressor and compressor bracket does not allow enough clearance to
mount the direct temperature gauge into any of these three ports.
Since the direct gauge was a very useful tool for accurately checking engine temperatures. The only option is to mount
it in the top hose using a hose adapter. Engine temperatures should be between 160f and 200f or 210f Max. Any more
than that and it could start boiling up. Using a summer thermostat the fan comes on at about 160f and so the
temperatures are properly controlled. For peace of mind it is good to see that confirmed on the gauge.
The notes and pictures on how to fit this gauge close to the bottom of the top hose will follow soon.
Changing the top hose outlet, which is about 45 degrees to a vertical type will be necessary.
The adapter has a 1/8"npt connection and it will need to be drilled and tapped to 3/8"npt. There is a fairy expensive $50
polished adapter available from "Autometer" with a 3/8"npt thread (but with an unsightly reducer which increases
the stand off distance), however black will look better in a black hose and this aluminium adapter is only
about $10.00 (£8.00). Since the "40mm" refers to the diameter of the "push over bead", with this type
of adapter, when it says "40mm" it means it actually fits a 38mm hose.
The original radiator has a 32mm inlet and so a "Gates 26390" hose reducering rubber shim will be used.
Stainless steel 1XSS 30-40mm "Jubilee
" hose clips and "Ash
" 38mm black double ply wire reinforced silicone
hose will also be used. The original "Jubilee" (established 1921) clips are probably the best clips available
and the Ash hose is strong, flexible and shiny black so should look very good.
The adapter was drilled and tapped to 3/8 NPT and the gauge fitted to the adapter.
More pictures and notes soon
Shown below is the truck engine
when it was purchased in 2007
It had the same compressor as per Jan. 2020. It did not have a chrome alternator, and many other differences.