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Crankshaft Pulley Removal – A Step-by-Step Guide

Crankshaft Pulley Removal

Is it that time of the year for some much needed repairs, maintenance, and replacement work on your vehicle? Do your seals and timing belt need replacing already? Then the first step you should do is to remove the crankshaft pulley.

To help you out here is an easy step-by-step guide on crankshaft pulley removal, so you can successfully disassemble the crankshaft pulley and do the necessary replacements and repairs that your car so badly needs.

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What is the crankshaft pulley?

Before we talk about how to remove your car’s crankshaft pulley, it’s important that you first understand what exactly it is and what purpose it serves in your vehicle. It’s essentially a wheel shaped mechanical system that connects to the crankshaft and other components of your car.

The crankshaft pulley is what’s responsible for distributing power throughout the vehicle, especially to the car’s alternator and steering pump, by transmitting torque and mechanical power through the accessory belts and pulley system.

It’s also what allows the serpentine belt to turn, and it reduces the car engine’s crankshaft resonance, not to mention balances the overall harmony of the vehicle. The crankshaft pulley is also commonly removed when it comes to replacing your car’s timing belt.

How to remove the crankshaft pulley

How to remove the crankshaft pulleyHere are the steps on how you can successfully remove your car’s crankshaft pulley in order to change the timing belt. In order to do this, you will need several tools, including an impact wrench, a lug wrench, a car jack, a puller kit, and a bolt remover tool.

Read through all the steps first before proceeding with the task of removing the pulley, so you know which tools are needed for your car. Also, be prepared to replace the bolts on the pulley afterwards, since these torques to yield bolts will get stretched once you’re done.

Step 1: Find the crankshaft pulley

This is a no brainer, but before you can go about removing the crankshaft pulley, you must first find where it’s located, especially since different cars have different mechanical systems and thus, the crankshaft pulley may not be where you expect it to be.

The most common scenario for many cars is that the crankshaft pulley is near the driver side or the left side where the engine compartment is, but there are occasions that it can be found at the engine’s bottom front part. If you’re more familiar with what a timing belt looks like, you can look for that instead, since the crankshaft pulley is always located near it.

Step 2: Disassemble the wheel

The next step is to prepare for removing the wheel, which allows you to remove the crankshaft pulley. This step slightly varies depending on what kind of transmission your car is built with. Typically, the easiest way to remove the crankshaft pulley is by removing the right front wheel.

If you have a standard transmission, you need to set your car in gear so that the wheel locks in place. Then, using a lug wrench, slacken all the lug nuts on the wheel one at a time. Otherwise, if your car uses an automatic transmission, you have to use a manual or electric impact wrench.

After getting the bolts off, set your transmission lever into park, then insert a jack stand under the car frame and near the wheel. Using this car jack, raise the wheel and lower the car onto the stand so you can safely take off the crankshaft pulley later.

A bit of advice…

Remember to follow safety precautions and the instructions on your car’s service manual when raising your vehicle to avoid any incident, damage, and injury. Moreover, it will also be a lot more convenient to remove the crankshaft pulley if you take off the splash shield. You can do this by removing the rivets of the splash shield with the use of a flathead screwdriver.

Step 3: Unscrew the pulley bolts

After you successfully remove the wheel, the next step is to disassemble the bolts that hold the pulley in place. For this part, you will need to use a puller kit. First, screw the rod to the puller and snap it onto the puller’s opposite ends one at a time.

This is so that the tool creates pressure by pushing against the pulley and the crankshaft, enabling you to get it off of the vehicle. At this point, you need to screw bolts into the holes at opposite sides of the pulley assembly. Then, use a socket and wrench to remove the pulley altogether.

You can also opt to use impact tools in order to remove the crankshaft pulley bolts, since these are almost always snugly torqued and are therefore difficult to remove.

Important note:

It’s a big no-no to use a jaw type puller when removing the crankshaft pulley, especially if your vehicle makes use of a crankshaft pulley that incorporates a harmonic balancer. This is because it creates pressure on the bonding ring, and thus is highly likely to rip the bonding ring all the way through the crankshaft pulley’s outer portion where the pulling is located.

Step 4: Remove the crankshaft pulley

Finally, you can now remove the crankshaft pulley. You just have to take off the timing cover, grab a bolt removing tool or a crankshaft pulley removal tool to slacken the bolts on the pulley by using an impact wrench, and tighten the removal tool until the crankshaft pulley is fully separated from the vehicle.

If the bolts are proving difficult to remove, you may opt to use a half-inch drive impact gun and a torque wrench.

Also, remember that it’s a must to be careful especially in this last step, since disassembling the crankshaft pulley incorrectly can cause various problems later on, such as slippage, which causes wobbling of the crankshaft pulley and leads the central hub to get misaligned from the other drive rings.


The process of crankshaft pulley removal is relatively easy, as long as you know what to look for, you have the right tools for the job, and you can follow instructions to the letter. If you are confident that you can do it correctly, then there’s no need to spend hundreds or thousands of bucks paying your local mechanic for something you can do yourself.

Now, you can conveniently proceed with whatever repair and maintenance work that your car needs, such as replacing your seals and timing belts. Remember to install new crankshaft bolts, and torque it according to the manufacturer’s specifications.

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One comment

  1. Hey Stephen,
    Precise and actionable guide, I must say.

    I use a specialty tool that holds the pulley in place while I loosen and tighten the crank pulley bolt. Very useful and affordable makes the whole process much easier. I hope that helps.

    Keep up the good work. Off to share.

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