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Back at it...gear drive?


Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Hello all, been a while since I posted, but I was having a conversation with a fellow "rodder" last night at a holiday party (while the ladies were talking about the boring stuff).

First off, sorry if this horse is in the barn recovering from a whoop'n already.

We were talking about motors (we both have SBCs). I was telling him how much I like the sound of a blown motor pulling into a car show or other event I am at. I don't have the finances at this point to install a blower (could probably afford a blower, but need to build the motor to "support" it in my opinion). He said "I have a gear drive and it sounds a lot like a blown motor". That got me thinking (always dangerous)...why not? I have been doing some research on the subject this morning on several different sights and as you might guess...lots of opinions out there. I looked around on here and saw some older post about it, but nothing real recent. There are several different options on price and such, but it looks like for around $250.00 a guy could get everything he needs to install a decent dual idler gear drive. My car will not ever be driven too hard or raced, but being able to have that gear whine for that cost is somewhat appealing. Thoughts? -Bubblehead
Well, Mike will probably have to put on his WWE Referee outfit on this one, but here goes....
The gears drives started because back in the 60' and especially the 70's, the timing chain sets had that horrible nylon gear that would strip out. My Dad, rest his soul, probably was dog cussed over a million times for helping design the thing at LinkBelt Corp. and put it into production. This was a cost cutting manuveur....
Anyway....Since these things were stripping out right and left, someone had a lightbulb moment, nad said they'd never seen a Six's Timing get all mangled. So....back in the 60's, they started making the Gear drives for the V8's....Really caught on.
You could degree your cam in to perfection, then upon major rebuild, throw your roller bumpstick and everything is as it was, valve timing wise. Sped things up.
Now, folks started to run these on the street, and there are the pros and cons. Yes, they whine, but they're extremely durable, they rattle, but won't stretch, they can't jump time unless you loose the dowlpin or the key.
Yes, there is a problem with harmonics and harmonic vibrations under racing conditions....but whose gonna see those on the street. Now, they even have the silent drives now....(The cut on the teeth cause the whine).
Me, myself, I like gear drives and I most always run one unless the customer doesn't want it. There is nothing wrong with a doubleroller timing setup....they can break and jump time. 99 9/10s they don't, but a Asteroid could fall on the WhiteHouse, too.
In racing, you want to remove all the negative variables. Thats just one of many. In a motor that costs between $35,000 to $200,000+, and a Championship at stake, alot of folks aren't gonna trust that to a cheap timing chain setup....

If you like the whine, and the thought of a gear drive, I say go for it. I'll be there till you change it. The only other thing I wanna say is if later on you wanna go to EFI, The knock sensors won't like all that rattling it makes....but there are ways around that....
Proform makes a SBC geardrive for about $90....and you can get them thru Summit and Jegs also. There are alot of other manufactures also. Shop smart though....on some, if your cam has a front thrust plate, a little machining might be involved.
99% of the time, its just a dropin....
I always run a competition cover with a adjustable thrust button....
Thanks SM (as always). Hopefully Mike does not jump on me too hard. the way Mike, I still need your address to send the Christmas gift to. ;-)
I put a quiet Pete Jackson Gear Drive in my Big Block Motor. I now wish I would have put in a Loud one that I have. With all the wind noise you only really hear it at stop lights. Sometimes I like running it in low gear just to get the rpms up to really hear it at slow speeds.
I had a gear drive in a 1975 camaro with way more cam than I should have . (It was meant for my dirt Sportsman car) I would be at a stoplight and people would ask me I had a blower. I always wanted to say "If I did it probably be sticking up out of the hood wouldn't it?" I do like the sound of them. I'm on the fence on wetter to use one in my bucket. I'm afraid it will annoy the wife and I want her to want to ride in it.

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