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Stubborn Crankshaft Pulley Removal

3736 Views 10 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  John Anthony
So, I was replacing my girlfriend's 1996 Camry's front brakes and as I was testing the car out, I heard a wonderful noise coming from the drive belt assembly. I thought it might be a belt problem but after inspection, it appears to be the harmonic balancer wobbling really bad. I looked and it appears that the mechanics that put the drive belt on made it EXTREMELY tight and perhaps it was putting too much stress on the pulley.

So, I'm trying to remove it to inspect but the pulley bolt is being extremely stubborn. I took an impact wrench to it with ~700lbs of torque and nothing. I sprayed some WD-40 around the bolt head overnight and tried again with the impact and still nothing. This sucker has probably put a lot of stress on the bolt, I think.

Pretty afraid of the "start bump" method. I have a Haynes repair manual and it says you can remove the flywheel/driveplate cover and jam a screwdriver into the ring gear teeth or converter bolt to hold the crankshaft in place and use a breaker bar. Anyone use this method with success?

Would love some suggestions on how people got this damn bolt off. It's pretty frustrating.

Also, once it's off and I take a look at the pulley, what's the best procedure to get it back on? I'm assuming you have to apply 80lbs of torque on the bolt. So, an impact would be overkill. Would putting the screwdriver into the ring gear teeth/converter bolt be an appropriate way for installation as well?
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1997 Camry LE I4
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Pretty afraid of the "start bump" method. ......Would love some suggestions on how people got this damn bolt off. It's pretty frustrating.
The start bump method is easy and reliable. I did this a few weeks ago. You only need a very quick turn on the starter. Make sure you take all the spark plugs out. I used a tow rope to tie the breaker bar to the lower control arm.

Honestly, its easy.

Also, these bolts self-tighten with engine use. As you have found they can get very tight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hey thanks 97 trophy. Just to be sure, removing the spark plugs will ensure that only the starter will turn turn the crankshaft, but not turn the engine over, yeah?

So you actually tie the breaker to the control arm? I've heard people just have it rest against the ground.

Thanks for the info. I'll give it a shot today and let people know the result.

But that's getting it off.

What about getting it back on?
 

· Toyota Collector
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If a 700 pound impact is not doing the job then jamming a screwdriver into the flex plate is not going to work. The starter bump method is safe when done right you can try it but it sounds like the bolt is on there extremely tight. Maybe take the car to a shop to see what they can do with their air tools.

Putting the pulley back on is easy your impact should have no trouble getting the bolt to spec.
 

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Just to be sure, removing the spark plugs will ensure that only the starter will turn turn the crankshaft, but not turn the engine over, yeah?
Don't understand, yes the engine spins but you dont want it to fire up. Just remove the wires not plugs sorry.

So you actually tie the breaker to the control arm? I've heard people just have it rest against the ground.
IMO tying it makes the job a lot easier. You worst case is if the 19mm socket flys off at speed. Makes sure no one is standing nearby.

What about getting it back on?
Push on the best you can by hand. Bang into place with a rubber mallet and a piece of wood. That will get it all the way on. You do NOT need to torque it (yeah I can see the critics coming). These bolts self (over) tighten. If you torque it will soon tighten further with age due to the rotation of the engine.
 

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03 CAMRY XLE
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The harmonic balancer is actually two separate pieces. The inside core is attached to the outer hub by a layer or rubber or plastic. Take a close look and see if the two pieces are still intact... They need to act as if they are one piece ... If you see any play or movement between the two pieces, then you will have to find another one ... could cause vibration of some sort when you get the engine going. ... If you do find a problem with the balancer ... I suspect that it was caused by somebody using an inappropriate method of loosening the center bolt ... to try to remove it.
 

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Last time my impact wrench could not loosen that bolt, I tried the starter bump method and it worked easily. I braced the bar against the garage floor.

Before putting it back on, yeah, I would make sure the harmonic balancer is not compromised in some way. Might need to replace it. Look at your crankshaft where the harmonic balancer goes. Is it corroded? You might want to clean that up slightly with some very fine sandpaper. Then, if reusing the balancer, do the same on it's inside where it contacts the crankshaft. Lastly, coat the crankshaft with some anti-seize. The next time it will pull right off without having to use a puller.

To torque the bolt, I use an impact wrench with an 80 ft lb torque limiter extension. Works great and super fast.
 

· Super Moderator
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Here is a photo of the torque limiter extension to work with an impact wrench. Two of the best tools I have.

 

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Nope, though one of my sons is in the service.
 
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