Reviewer's Notebook

CB Performance Serpentine Belts System

Dec. 01, 2005 By Norm Lenhart
Bye-bye V Belt Blues!

The V-Belt was a good design in it's day, and served well in hundreds of millions of applications ranging from sports cars to lawn tractors. Clearly however, it's time has passed. Owners of VW's have put up with V-Belt hassles for over 50 years, and when the serpentine belt went into widespread use, it seemed natural that the VW aftermarket would pounce on the new technology. The SBS (serpentine belt system) has better belt retention properties, longer life, and because of it's higher efficiency, robs less power, and decreases fuel consumption..

For some reason, the SBS from CB Performance is only the second system to hit the VW aftermarket.CB's SBS delivers all the benefits listed above to the venerable flat four, and adds a few more just for good measure. The VW implementation of V-Belts has long been the bane of performance enthusiasts. The two biggest problems have always been thrown belts and broken pulleys. As this is a problem on even a mild, low revving buggy motor, you can imagine that the problem only gets when the envelope is pushed to 200+ HP and 7,000+ RPM as seen in many Rails and desert racers. Utilizing an idler pulley, the SBS dramatically increases belt retention, and lowers vibration to almost nothing. Longer belt life and pulleys that stay in one piece are the result.

Currently, the SBS comes in standard size only. CB has stated a willingness to produce a "Power pulley"version if demand dictates it. As the Billet craze is going strong, don't be too suprised to see designs other than the solid hub in the future.

Initial Impressions

  • The SBS arrived well packed and in perfect condition. The kit is shrink-wrapped via heavy gauge plastic to a backing board. It is set up for storefront display, and is protected from casual damage.
  • The pulleys are CNC billet aluminum and are really works of art. Quality of materials and of workmanship are evident throughout.
  • The belt is an OEM product and of high quality.
  • The idler pulley uses a sealed bearing, and has a good "feel" to it.
  • All the CB Performance products I have encountered have used top shelf hardware and this kit is no exception. When spending hard earned cash, it's really annoying to see some companies products shipped with dime store fasteners. If more companies followed CB's lead, they, and we, would have less problems.


Once again, Ronnie at the "Old Volk's Home" in Lake Havasu City AZ was called upon to handle the installation. It should be noted that this can easily be handled by the average shade tree mechanic in about 2 hours..

First, remove the old pulleys, shims, belt and alternator stand. You will need to purchase an aftermarket type alternator stand, as the factory unit will not allow the idler pulley to align properly. With this out of the way, Ronnie began the process of bringing the Type 1's belt system into the 90's.

As our engine was still in the assembly stages, no fuel pump was attached, and access to the alternator stand was easy. Ronnie felt it would be a tight fit to access all the alternator stand bolts with a stock pump in place. You may need to remove yours. The idler pulley was fitted to the stand, and all bolts were tightened down.

The next part of the process is a necessary evil. You have to install the pulleys, play musical chairs with the shims and repeat the process until the pulleys are in alignment. CB has done their best to ease your pain by machining the pulleys outer edge square, and a straight edge will tell you when everything is in sync. This is of ultimate importance, as a misalignment will SERIOUSLY shorten belt and pulley life.

Finally, the bolts are torqued down (bottom to factory specs, and top to a reasonable amount). once the belt is installed and tightened, you're ready to reap the benefits of a modern belt system!


Overall, this somewhat pricey belt system ($149.95) is worth every penny. The engine is much smoother and substantially quieter. The old V-Belt headaches have become a thing of the past. If you are in the market for a new set of pulleys, consider going the extra mile and purchasing the Serpentine Belt System from CB Performance. You will not be disappointed.

CB Performance Products Inc.
1715N Farmersville Blvd.
Farmersville CA. 93223


SCORE San Felipe

March 10-12

ATVA GNC Round 2
February 12, 2006

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