Avoiding Alternator Comebacks: Did Your Supplier Provide the Right Pulley?
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Avoiding Alternator Comebacks: Did Your Supplier Provide the Right Pulley?

Automotive repair businesses that install remanufactured alternators are urged to verify that their units are equipped with overrunning alternator decoupler (OAD) pulleys for the growing number of late-model vehicles now requiring this advanced technology.

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Automotive repair businesses that install remanufactured alternators are urged to verify that their units are equipped with overrunning alternator decoupler (OAD) pulleys for the growing number of late-model vehicles now requiring this advanced technology.

Installing a non-decoupler pulley on an OAD application can lead to failure of multiple parts within the vehicle’s accessory belt drive system.

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OAD decoupler pulleys – also known as “isolator decoupler pulleys” (IDP) – are now used by several vehicle manufacturers to enhance engine efficiency and reduce noise and vibration associated with the accessory belt drive. These sophisticated pulleys also enable the alternator to “coast” freely in cases of sudden belt deceleration.

Applications originally designed to use an OAD decoupler pulley are not compatible with any other pulley design, including an overrunning alternator pulley (OAP, or “one-way clutch”), and a solid pulley. Use of either of these parts on an OAD application can cause severe belt vibration and premature wear to other components within the belt drive system.

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“Even when a one-way clutch or solid pulley might seem to fit in an OAD application, there’s a good chance the vehicle will be back with damage to the bearings in the alternator, water pump, air conditioning compressor and other components being driven by the belt,” said Chuck Pullins, market consultant to Litens Automotive, exclusive global supplier of OAD pulleys to the original equipment and aftermarket industries.

Litens recommends that automotive repair businesses confirm that their alternator suppliers include genuine OAD decoupler pulleys on all corresponding applications. If the supplier substitutes another technology in place of a genuine OAD decoupler pulley, there is a significantly increased chance of a belt drive system issue.

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Genuine OAD decoupler pulleys are now available through a variety of aftermarket sources, including leading national alternator and belt manufacturers and distributors. To locate a trusted source of these parts and for additional technical and application information regarding OAD decoupler pulleys, visit www.decouplerpulley.com.

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