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After I had fabricated my new 4-Seasons idler pulley's mount bracket and installed the assembly about 11 years ago I assumed all was well. I had run my engine in my garage for a good 30 minutes at a fast idle and noted the belt was properly aligned with the engine's pulleys so I decided to take it for a spin.

I went to my highway's gang mailbox about 2 miles away and with my engine idling I got out to get my mail. After getting back into my '71 and seeing what I had received I decided to give my 454" engine a brief full throttle just to feel its awesome power.

My engine wound up to about 5000 rpm and BAM. Steam came gushing out from under my hood so I immediately pulled to the side of the road then popped my hood to see what had just happened. After the steam cleared I was in shock over what I was seeing. My aluminum 7 blade clutch fan was crumpled into a ball and resting against the rear of my brand new Griffen aluminum radiator. But how had my 7-blade clutch fan become detached from my water pump?

And then I saw what had happened. The whole nose of my 454's water pump had broken off. But how? I assumed my idler pulley had seized but I could easily spin it so what caused the nose of my water pump to break off? Fortunately one of my neighbors stopped by and with his long 1/2" nylon rope towed me back to my garage.

I removed my new 4-Seasons idler pulley, popped the bearing's seals out, and discovered its Chinese bearing didn't have any grease in it. It had somehow gone down the assembly line and didn't get any grease before its seals were pressed in. Rather than trusting it I replaced it with a new American made BCA 203-FF bearing but this time I packed the new bearing full of #2 lithium/moly grease before pressing it back into the pulley. After that unfortunate event in 2011 I put 100,000+ miles on it with no further trouble.

The lesson learned? Never buy anything made in China unless it's of known quality. Even though 4-Seasons is a well know American brand name most of their products are made in China and therefore have questionable quality.
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