One of the most powerful drivers of change is governmental legislation and in few areas is that more evident than in the automotive industry, where legislation influences everything from lighting to safety standards in the event of a collision.

Understandably, activities that have an effect on the environment are particularly highly regulated, which is why one of the key areas that appears to be under almost continuous review, is the level of exhaust emissions emitted by the internal combustion engines (ICE) that are still used to power the majority of the world’s vehicles.

In order to minimise the environmental impact, vehicle manufacturers (VMs) work alongside their manufacturing partners to design and integrate innovative solutions that reduce the level of emissions their ICE engines produce, as well as the amount of fuel they use. Thus, innovation is also the name of the game when it comes to mechanical products, such as drive belts, tensioners and pulleys.

Dayco is the company that pioneered the belt-in-oil (BIO) concept for automotive applications and also designed, developed and co-patented with BMW, both the single-arm torsion bar tensioner for the auxiliary drive system and the motorised friction pulley for the cooling system on the award-winning BMW-PSA 1.6-litre turbo petrol unit used in such vehicles as the MINI and Peugeot RCZ.

BIO – As Ford’s power transmission supply partner, Dayco designed the world’s first BIO drive system in 2007, when it developed the engineering solution to supersede the previous chain driven high pressure injection pump for the popular ‘Lynx’ engine, which had been widely used to power various Focus, C-Max, S-Max, Mondeo, Galaxy, Tourneo Connect and Transit Connect models between 1998 and 2013. Since its successful introduction, BIO technology has now been incorporated into several engines from other VMs including PSA and VAG, as well as additional Ford engines, such as its multi award-winning 1.0-litre EcoBoost unit.

BIO technology has brought in a true revolution in synchronous transmission systems because developing a solution that enables a drive belt to work inside the confines of the engine has meant that the best of belt and chain technologies have been brought together.

As a result, the previous advantages associated with a chain driven system over an external belt system in terms of the size of the engine, have been mitigated and the more evident advantages of a belt transmission have been maintained. These benefits translate into the ability to reduce the weight of the transmission system and therefore reduce its inertia, which combined with the lower friction properties of a flexible belt, delivers the twin environmental benefits of lower fuel consumption and reduced emissions. The technology also produces noticeably lower noise levels than a comparable chain driven system.

VMs are under enormous pressure to reduce exhaust emissions and increase fuel efficiency of the engines that power their vehicles, which means they need to push the technological boundaries in order to achieve the gains they need. Therefore, it is necessary for them work in partnership with specialist component manufacturers, such as Dayco, to develop the technology needed to meet their objectives.

Looking at their mainstream power plants, Ford has made the decision to deploy a range of high performance, small capacity petrol and diesel engines to address the emission/consumption challenge.

Ford’s EcoBoost family of turbocharged, direct injection petrol engines are designed to deliver levels of power and torque normally associated with larger capacity engines, while at the same time achieving 20 per cent better fuel efficiency and 15 per cent lower emissions. Integral to the EcoBoost design is a revolutionary belt-in-oil timing drive system developed by Dayco.

Friction Wheel – Turning to the award-winning BMW-PSA 1.6-litre turbo petrol unit, one of its most interesting characteristics is the system that controls the water pump, which is activated only when the temperature of the engine needs to be controlled. Dayco designed, developed and manufactures for original equipment (OE) fitment, both the unique single-arm torsion bar tensioner, which replaces the traditional spiral spring tensioner on the auxiliary drive system and the motorised ‘switchable’ friction pulley that actuates the water pump.

At start-up, or whenever the engine is operating below its optimal temperature, the water pump is disengaged, which decreases the engine’s warm up time, reduces its overall emissions and improves fuel consumption. However, once the engine reaches a predetermined temperature, the friction wheel is activated, and the water pump engaged, therefore allowing the engine to optimise its thermal management.

To prevent excessive acceleration forces on the bearing during off-on operations, the friction wheel is in constant contact with the back of the auxiliary belt that runs around the crankshaft pulley, but with the use of an electric motor and small planetary reducer, which works in conjunction with a multi-function control system, the pulley’s radial movement is altered, and the rotating friction wheel comes into contact with the surface of the water pump pulley and thus the water pump is brought into operation. The Dayco friction wheel is worldwide protected by Patents.

Due to the confined space around these components, a traditional auxiliary belt tensioner could not be employed, which therefore required Dayco to design another innovative solution, this time in the form of the single-arm torsion bar tensioner for the auxiliary drive system.

Technicians in particular need to be aware of this development because it is a very different solution to the traditional design they are generally familiar with and without prior knowledge, it could potentially lead to the misdiagnosis of faults or an ineffective repair. However, being made aware of the differences in the system, they will be able to make their diagnosis with this in mind and accordingly implement the correct repair.

These design solutions naturally filter through to the aftermarket and as a demonstration of how the market is shifting to include new products developed to tackle the technical challenges of ever-changing engine design, Dayco has introduced several new references into its aftermarket programme, including the auxiliary belt tensioner and water pump friction wheel drive, along with the water pump and its pulley, as well as several now familiar BIO references, including the original Ford Lynx application

Dampers – Dayco has further underlined its OE pedigree by designing and manufacturing the crankshaft damper for the award-winning 3.6L DOHC 48V eTorque V-6 Pentastar engine used in the Dodge Ram 1500 and 2020 Jeep Wrangler Sahara, at the 2020 Wards 10 Best Engines and Propulsion Systems competition, which took place in Detroit on 16th January.

The Dayco crankshaft damper is designed to reduce noise, vibration and harshness, and incorporates technology that maximises power system stability, whilst minimizsng variations in belt tension, extending the lifespan of its associated components and improving the vehicle’s overall fuel economy. Using proprietary software, in conjunction with state-of-the-art commercial software packages, the company is able to virtually optimise and validate its products before the creation of prototype parts, thus enhancing their performance in full production.

Dayco’s crankshaft damper for the belt starter generator (BSG) system on the winning eTorque Pentastar engine, helps the Ram 1500 light duty pickup achieve EPA certified 20 mpg city and 25 mpg highway fuel economy. The damper mitigates vibrations caused by the stop-start system and allows smooth, quiet engine operation and, according to FCA, the BSG system helps the Ram 1500 achieve an 18% improvement in city and 10% in combined mpg, over the previous generation model.

Dayco’s aftermarket programme, which allows independent workshops the ability to offer their customers a like-for-like replacement that provides them with an alternative to the franchised dealer.

For more information regarding the OEM quality power transmission products in the Dayco range, visit: