Ford F-150: Lightweight and Underdrive Pulley Reviews

Underdrive pulleys are an easy way to free your F-150's engine from some unnecessary drag. Knowing which brands to trust is essential if you want a more responsive and powerful truck.

By Marc Carter - December 4, 2014

This article applies to the Ford F-150 (2004-2014).

Want to squeeze out up to an extra 15 horsepower from your truck's drivetrain and get one to two more MPG? Underdrive pulleys don't add new horsepower, but instead reduce the amount of drag from accessories like the alternator, power steering pump, water pump, and air conditioning compressor. The newer Coyote 5.0 and Ecoboost motors don't benefit as much from these mods nearly as much as the Ford modular 4.6-liter V8 and 5.4-liter do. Of course, there are pros and cons to consider when choosing an underdrive pulley:

Pros:

Power gains and improved fuel economy from less load on your truck's engine, less component wear since the underdrive pulley turns up to 30 percent less than a factory pulley.

Cons:

By slowing the speed of the alternator, water pump, power steering pump, and air conditioning compressor, there could be issues with charging and engine cooling. Depending on how you drive and the condition of your truck, less cooling capacity could make your engine more load sensitive, the alternator may not charge enough at idle, your power steering could have have less boost at idle, and the A/C compressor may not work as well at idle or slower speeds.

Pulleys are generally constructed out of aluminum or iron. Typically, the steel pulleys will not wear out as quickly and are generally less likely to be damaged. Aluminum is by far the more popular option because they're less expensive and perform just as well most of the time. The finish on the pulley is purely cosmetic. If you're looking to dress-up your engine a bit, take a look at the polished aluminum units from BBK or the adonized pulleys from Summit Racing.

Underdrive Pulleys


Steeda
BBK
Summit Racing
Auto Specialties Performance
Troyer Performance
Price
$180-$250 $100-$160 $100-$200 $200-$250 $225-$310
Material

Steel

Aluminum

Aluminum

Steel/Aluminum

Aluminum

Finish
Hard Coat Black Polished Aluminum Anodized Aluminum Aluminum Nitride Hard Coat Black
Warranty Lifetime 30 day return policy 90 days from purchase Covers manufacturing-related problems only None
Best Quality: Troyer Performance

Best Value: Steeda

Steeda

Price - $180-$250

Material - Steel

Finish - Hard Coat Black

Warranty - Lifetime

Steeda underdrive pulleys are made of steel and are one of the most popular brands. Steeda underdrive pulleys are not a "piggyback" style pulley. Most pulleys (including the others on this list) replace the pulley attached to the harmonic balancer. This kit kit comes with a balanced pulley/dampener combo. Steeda is also rated higher than BBK with pricing ranging from $180-$250. Recommended if you intend to drive your truck hard with an underdrive pulley.

(Related Discussion: Steeda Underdrive Pulleys Opinions - Ford-Trucks.com)

BBK

Price - $100-160

Material - Aluminum

Finish - Polished

Warranty - 30 day return policy

BBK under drive pulleys are made of aluminum and are cheaper than brands like Steeda and ASP, with pricing ranging from $100-$160. Although they cost less, reported charging issues make them difficult to recommend if you spend a lot of time in traffic. That said, those issues tend to disappear with any amount of throttle. Mustang owners with modular motors use these pulleys frequently without issue. Recommended if you want a good underdrive pulley in aluminum.

(Related Discussion: BBK Underdrive Pulley Review - Ford-Trucks.com)

Summit Racing

Summit Racing Underdrive Pulleys for Modular Engines

Price - $100-$200

Material - Aluminum

Finish - Anodized

Warranty - 90 days from purchase

Summit Racing underdrive pulleys are the least popular out of all the pulleys in this review. Buyers have complained about installation problems, and their aluminum construction may make them not last as long as a comparable steel pulley. Still, they are inexpensive and they do work as long as you have the correct pulleys for your truck. Pricing is on the cheaper end, ranging from $100-$200. Recommended if want to dress-up your engine with cool looking pulleys.

(Related Discussion: Summit Racing Underdrive Pulley Install - F150online.com)

Auto Specialties Performance

Price - $200-$250

Material - Steel/Aluminum

Finish - Brushed, Painted

Warranty - Covers manufacturing-related problems only

Auto Specialties Performance (ASP) underdrive pulleys have received positive feedback from the ford community, and since they are made of steel they are strong with no cooling or charging issues. They are a bit cheaper than the Troyer Performance pulleys with pricing ranging from $200-$250. They are a good alternative to Steeda underdrive pulleys. Recommended if you want a popular underdriven pulley at a good price.

(Related Discussion: ASP Pulley and Electric Fan Review - F150online.com)

Troyer Performance

Price - $225-$310

Material - Aluminum

Finish - Hardcoat Black

Warranty - None

Troyer Performance underdrive pulleys are recommended and one of the more popular choices by forum users. The biggest claim is that the Troyer Performance pulleys are designed to reduce any charging issues. This means that they are ideal if you spend a lot of time in traffic or driving at slower speeds. They are made out of aluminum and are on the higher end of the price scale with pricing for a pulley kit ranging from $225-$310. Recommended if you need a pulley that won't give you charging issues.

(Related Discussion: Troyer Performance Underdrive Pulley Review - Ford-Trucks.com)

Final Review

If budget issues are not a concern, the Troyer Performance under drive pulleys stand out; they reduce charging issues and are one of the most popular brands chosen by forum users. If you want to do the upgrade, but don't want to break the bank, you can't go wrong with the ASP or Steeda underdrive pulleys.

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