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Old 05-13-2011, 02:20 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I want to completely remove my belt

I only have two drains on my belt: power steering and alternator. The solution for the power steering is easy, just loop the rack lines and develop some arm strength. At that point it seems silly to have a belt just for the alternator, so I'd like to learn to stop using that too. People have recommended deep cycle batteries and solar chargers, but I wonder if I could take a simpler approach. I was hoping I could just run without the belt for as long as possible, then pull it back on and charge back up as needed.

In order to minimize current usage, I was planning to remove the wiring for every unecessary device, such as the radio and (maybe) cabin fan. I was also hoping that I could push start the vehicle as often as possible. I once had a 4.0 liter explorer 4x4 with a bad starter, and I push started it everywhere I went for at least a month. My current motor is only 1.6 L and will have no belt or transfer case, so I believe it will be a lot easier to pop start. The question is, will I damage or excessively wear down any parts by doing this?

My plan was to try this until the battery dies, and then plan to hook up the belt and charge whenever I reach 80% of that time interval. So another couple of questions, how long would my battery keep it's charge like this, and how long does it take to fully charge back up?

I also might install an aluminum underdrive pulley to minimize the wasted energy when there is no belt.

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Old 05-13-2011, 03:04 PM   #2 (permalink)
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With an under-drive pulley the alternator is still trying to put out the same number of watts and if anything it is going to have a harder time doing so at an idle so at an idle you will still have that load on your engine but it's not going to be doing any useful work, or if it is it will be stressing the alternator more and could make it fail sooner.
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Old 05-13-2011, 03:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks, I would install a smaller alternator pulley as well so they are still matched. The goal of the underdrive pulley would be to minimize drain with no belt. A lighter smaller crankshaft pulley should take less energy to spin.
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Old 05-13-2011, 03:38 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Install an onboard trickle-charger and just plug your car in every night. It's better to charge your battery from the grid than by burning gasoline in a small engine.

You can do daily driving without the belt, and run the belt for long road trips that would drain the battery.
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Old 05-13-2011, 03:50 PM   #5 (permalink)
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First off, if you start deep cycling your starting battery it will die fairly quick. They simply aren't made to do that. Second, if you recharge from the alternator its just as bad doing it now vs later (unless later is always during braking, aka regenerative braking). Also, the radio and fan don't use any power if they aren't on (ok, the radio uses a tiny amount, not worth removing anything). You definitely need to keep the cabin fan for defogging the windows and heat. I dunno, I think your way is way more complex and more inconvenient than just disabling the alternator, getting a deep cycle battery, and charging from an outlet. I've been running for over a year with my alternator disable and it works great.
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Old 05-13-2011, 04:10 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Hi 07aveoSVM,
The engine rotating parts are 10 times heavier than that pulley. You won't be able to measure the difference between an over sized pulley and an under sized one in the amount of power the engine needs just to spin.

But anyway your main electrical load will be your engine electronics, and brake lights as needed. Assuming you don't drive at night. If you get LED brake lamps you can reduce that load by about 80% The engine, gauges and other incidentals might need 10 to 20 amps. A car battery has a reserve capacity (RC) rating, which is how many minutes it will deliver 25 amps before it is so run down it probably won't start the engine. RC is in the range of 80 to 100 minutes mostly. So you could probably run the engine for 3 or 4 hours. Assuming newish good battery with a full charge. Charging time with the alternator will probably be about the same as discharging time. The alternator will deliver a very large initial charge, but that will taper off quickly to 10 or so amps and the battery will take a few hours of that.

But but but, I don't see what you are saving. Unless you charge the battery from the grid...
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Old 05-13-2011, 06:29 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Daox- How often are you having to purchase a new battery? I've often wondered how much money can be saved in fuel vs the cost of more frequent battery replacement. I normally get 8yrs or so on a battery in a car with an functioning alternator.

As everyone else has stated, the under-drive pulley won't help much, and you need to charge the battery from the grid to get any benefit.
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Old 05-13-2011, 07:05 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Old 05-13-2011, 08:13 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 07aveoSVM View Post
Thanks, I would install a smaller alternator pulley as well so they are still matched. The goal of the underdrive pulley would be to minimize drain with no belt. A lighter smaller crankshaft pulley should take less energy to spin.
Smaller pulley = belt has to bend and unbend more to get around it = less efficient drive.
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Old 05-13-2011, 10:22 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redpoint5 View Post
Daox- How often are you having to purchase a new battery? I've often wondered how much money can be saved in fuel vs the cost of more frequent battery replacement. I normally get 8yrs or so on a battery in a car with an functioning alternator.
We still have to wait and see. I've been using the current new battery for a little over a year. Before that, I had acquired a heavily used deep cycle battery that was on its last leg. That one lasted me roughly 1 year, but wouldn't keep the voltage up in winter thus the new battery.

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