What Are the Best Tips for Crankshaft Pulley Removal?

Lori Kilchermann

In order to properly perform crankshaft pulley removal without damaging the crankshaft pulley, or harmonic balancer, as it is more commonly called, it is best to obtain a harmonic balancer removal tool. This tool can also be critical, depending on the style of the tool, when installing the balancer. Attempting to complete the pulley removal without the aid of a specialized removal tool will nearly always result in a damaged balancer that will mandate replacement. The crankshaft should also be protected during the removal process by installing the harmonic balancer bolt back into the snout of the crankshaft and placing the puller on that bolt instead of on the crankshaft snout itself. This is best accomplished by removing the washer that is on the crankshaft bolt prior to reinstalling the bolt back into the crankshaft.

The crankshaft should be protected during the crankshaft pulley removal process by installing the harmonic balancer bolt.
The crankshaft should be protected during the crankshaft pulley removal process by installing the harmonic balancer bolt.

The single best tip in crankshaft pulley removal is to absolutely never, under any circumstance, use a jaw type puller to remove a crankshaft pulley. There are several types and styles of removal tools on the market. Some of these tools can be used to install the harmonic balancer without damaging the soft rubber ring in the balancer. Using a jaw-type puller will typically result in the rubber bonding ring, used between the two cast iron harmonic balancer pieces, being ripped or torn by pulling on the outer edge of the pulley. A crankshaft pulley removal tool does not apply pressure to the outside of the pulley; it bolts to the center of the pulley and applies all of the removal force to the center of the assembly, thereby eliminating pressure on the rubber ring.

Often, a light shot of an aerosol type of silicone lubricant sprayed directly on the front of the crankshaft snout and the pulley will aid in breaking the pulley free. For a stubborn crankshaft pulley removal tip, once the initial pressure is applied to the pulley with the removal tool, a few taps to the center of the removal tool with a hammer will usually break the pulley free. Crankshaft pulley removal is commonly a straight-forward exercise provided the proper tools are used from the onset. One of the most frequent problems with crankshaft pulley removal comes from not having the puller tool straight and squared on the crankshaft snout bolt. Any attempt to pull the pulley off of the crankshaft while the puller is crooked will typically result in a difficult-to-remove pulley and could even result in a damaged crankshaft.

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