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Inexpensive Racing Mod for 2002 Honda Civic

Two days ago, my friend mentioned to me that he has a strange sounding problem on his car. After we took it out to lunch, we had narrowed it down to the air conditioning clutch bearing. We suspected that it was stressing the belt and the crankshaft pully, so it would fail soon. But my friend had gotten pretty excited about fixing the A/C compressor himself, so he was in the process of sourcing parts.

Just yesterday, the actual belt broke. Unfortunately for him, on the 2002 Honda Civic, the A/C belt is shared with the alternator. That leaves him in a bind, because now, he can't drive the car without dealing with the lost of charge on his car battery. After chatting it over, we came up with several options:

1. Buy a battery charger and charge the battery every night. He can use a solar panel charger during the day. This option lets him drive the car short distances.
2. Buy an alternator-only belt. This by-passes the A/C and lets him drive the car all he wants.

The only problem is where to find an alternator-only belt. With some racing experience, I know race cars normally do not have A/C installed. So maybe a race parts tuner for Honda would have such a thing. But we decided to look up local parts store first just in case.

We found alternator-only belt listed on all local parts stores. And it only cost around $15! That's when it occurs to us that race car drivers aren't the only folks that need alternator-only belts. There are cars on the street that aren't equipped with air conditioner from the factory.

From this experience, I thought that getting rid of the A/C is a really cheap mod for your "race car". With an alternator-only belt, you can easily remove the parasitic loss of the A/C pulley. And you can do that for 15 bucks. After doing that, you can pull out the entire A/C compressor and associated equipment. That's a significant weight saving to get you that 1/10th of second advantage.

Chieh Cheng
Sat, 25 Jul 2009 02:16:38 +0000

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