Crankshaft Pulley Removal: A Complete Guide On the Easy Way

Crankshaft pulley removal procedure is easy if you have the right tools and know the steps to follow. You only need to remove the drive belt, locate and remove the crankshaft pulley mounting bolt using a socket and a snipe, and once the bolt is out, you can easily slide the pulley out with a puller. Crankshaft Pulley Removal This article has discussed the steps below, including several informative details you’ll be happy to discover. Also, you’ll learn to identify a failing crankshaft pulley at early stages and avert expensive engine damages.

How To Remove a Crank Pulley From a Car’s Engine?

To remove a crank pulley from a car engine, remove the drive belt and locate the pulley bolt. Use a socket and cheater bar to loosen and remove the bolt. Once it’s out, attach a puller to force the pulley out of the engine. The crankshaft pulley is a critical part of your engine. It’s responsible for distributing mechanical power and torque to the various engine accessories with the help of the serpentine belt (drive belt). These accessories include the alternator, power steering pump, and water pump. Therefore, if the pulley system experiences problems, it can affect the entire engine and must be replaced. However, there are multiple reasons why you need to remove the crankshaft pulley and not necessarily do a replacement. For example, you may be carrying out routine maintenance and decide to clean everything up. Whatever your reason, crankshaft pulley removal doesn’t need to be daunting. You only need to follow the steps mentioned above. Before we delve into the details, ensure you have these tools:
  • A cheater bar (snipe, cheater pipe, or an advanced breaker bar) and the right-sized socket
  • A puller
  • Gear wrench drive belt remover
  • Remove the Drive Belt

First, park your vehicle on level ground, switch off the engine, and use the parking brake. After that, you can open the hood and remove the engine cover and the plastic guards (shrouds) around the engine. Removing Crankshaft Drive Belt You must use the gear wrench drive belt remover to remove the serpentine belt. Hook the tool to the bolt that loosens the tension pulley, then pull it down. As you do so, the belt gets loose, enabling you to easily pull it out. Before removing it, an expert recommended studying it and drawing a diagram of how the belt is installed. That will eliminate guesswork and confusion during reinstallation.
  • Locate and Slide in the Socket and Bar

The bolt holding the pulley (center bolt) is right in front of the crankshaft, holding the harmonic balancer in position. It’s usually tight, meaning you’ll need a proper tool to loosen and take it out, and that’s where the socket and snipe come in. As stated, ensure you have the right-size socket to fit perfectly on the pulley bolt. It must also be a normal-length socket to avoid pushing the bar out too far. Slide the socket onto the bolt by pressing it down firmly, then push the bar on the opposite end and ensure it snaps into place. Note that you can use the socket and your improvised breaker bar to loosen the bolt manually, which would be a lot of work. As mentioned, the bolt is usually very tight. And you can’t loosen the bolt without the pulley turning. So, some people want to know “how to stop crankshaft pulley from turning.” You use a crankshaft pulley holding tool, available in most auto part stores. But you don’t need that because there’s an easier way – proceed to step 3.
  • Work Out in Which Direction the Engine Turns

According to an experienced mechanic, Scotty Kilmer, you can study the vehicle’s fan’s rotation to determine which direction the engine turns. The fan and the engine rotate in the same direction. That means if the fun turns clockwise, the engine also turns clockwise. Direction of Engine Turns So, to loosen the bolt, you’ll turn the snipe (about a 1/4 turn) in the same direction as the engine. Locate a solid piece of metal and wedge the end of the bar against it. Kilmer says you can do that against the air conditioning bracket.
  • Crank up the Engine To Help Loosen the Bolt

Leave the bar held in that position and crank up the engine for a brief moment, then turn it off so that it can cause the bolt to loosen. Is the pulley bolt reverse threaded (left-handed)? No, the crankshaft pulley bolt thread direction is anticlockwise while being removed. Thus, when the engine turns clockwise, the bolt will unscrew in the opposite direction (loosen) since it’s right-handed. Ensure you don’t hold the key for long to start the engine.
  • Take the Bolt off With Hand

Once the engine has done the heavy lifting for you, remove the bar and socket and turn the bolt by hand until it comes out. It’s now easy to remove the pulley. You can also use a 1/2-inch or 3/4-inch impact wrench or gun to remove the bolt. But we recommend method one because it’s easier and quicker. For those asking how to remove crankshaft pulley bolt with impact gun, it’s an amount of work that can take hours and drain all your energy. You’ll have to remove the radiator and air conditioner to create space for the gun!
  • Take the Pulley Out

With the holding bolt out, the remaining work is child’s play! You’ll need to use a removal tool. Most people use the word puller, available in most local auto parts stores, or you can order online. It’s essential for removing parts, such as pulleys, bearings, and gears, from a shaft. They typically have two or three legs, which circle around the inside or back of a part. Also, they have a screw that centers up against the shaft’s end. Sometimes the tool’s design can differ slightly, so if you have a Volkswagen, you can look for a “VW crankshaft pulley removal tool” or “Ford crankshaft pulley removal tool” if you own a Ford. To use the tool, you’ll secure it to the pulley using its bolts and start tightening the center screw. The puller will force the pulley off the engine as you do that. The tool is also great at removing stuck crankshaft pulleys. Once the pulley is out, replace the crankshaft seal before reinstalling all the parts as you removed them.

How To Know You Have a Failing Crankshaft Pulley?

To know you have a failing crankshaft pulley, watch out for the notorious symptoms. They include an excessively vibrating engine, transmission problems, and alternator failure. A malfunctioning pulley will also cause power steering pump failure, which causes the steering wheel to feel hard to turn. Although the crankshaft pulley is small, it can affect the entire engine’s performance. Therefore, it’s essential to know when the part is starting to fail and replace it before your vehicle can’t move anymore. That’s why you must watch out for the symptoms detailed below:
  • Alternator Failure

The alternator is the source of the electrical power that runs the various electronics in your car. It ensures the battery remains charged, enabling the engine to start and keep the vehicle moving. If it fails, your battery won’t charge, and you know what follows that – dimming lights, a battery warning light on the dash, and unstable working car accessories. Car Alternator Failure As stated, the crankshaft pulley powers the alternator. If you experience failing alternator symptoms, the pulley could be the one to blame. Have a mechanic check it.
  • An Excessively Vibrating Engine

Many things can cause your engine to vibrate, but a failing crankshaft pulley is a common trigger. As mentioned, the pulley is responsible for moving different engine accessories. It consists of a harmonic balancer, which helps to absorb engine vibrations as you accelerate. When the part defects, it will cause you to feel the vibrations of various moving parts in the engine.
  • Transmission Problems

The increased engine vibrations will affect the bearings, gears, and input shaft. Your transmission fluid may leak, causing gear shifting difficulty and making it impossible to drive your car. Car Transmission Problems
  • Rough Idling

A bad crankshaft pulley can also cause your engine to idle roughly. Although this issue has many causes, you won’t experience any combustion problems, such as misfires in the case of crankshaft pulley-triggered rough idling. It usually happens when the drive belt is worn out. And how do you know if your drive belt is nearing its end? You’ll typically hear a high-pitched squeaking noise coming from the engine. When you hear that, know that the belt needs a replacement.
  • Power Steering Pump Fails

The power steering pump is another engine component that relies on the crankshaft pulley. A malfunctioning pulley can disable or reduce the pump’s efficiency. When the part breaks apart, the drive belt also stops turning. As a result, the pump fails, and the steering wheel will get harder to turn right or left, which can be a safety hazard.


– What Causes the Crankshaft Pulley To Fail?

What causes the crankshaft pulley to fail is using components with incorrect torque. The pulley can also fail if the belt tension is excessively strong or the auxiliary equipment has defected. That happens when the coupling makes contact with the flywheel rim.

– What Causes Rough Idle Besides a Failing Crankshaft Pulley?

What causes rough idle besides a failing crankshaft pulley are clogged fuel, filters, and dirty fuel injectors. Your engine is also likely to idle rough if the spark plugs get contaminated or when there’s a vacuum leak. Contact a mechanic to accurately diagnose and repair the issue.

Do Camshaft Position Sensor Problems Lead to Crankshaft Pulley Issues?

Simplified camshaft position sensor problems can potentially lead to crankshaft pulley issues. The camshaft position sensor is responsible for monitoring the camshaft’s rotation, which is crucial for proper engine function. If this sensor malfunctions or fails, it may send incorrect signals to the engine’s computer, causing synchronization issues with the crankshaft pulley. This can result in poor engine performance, misfires, or even a complete engine shutdown. It is important to promptly address any issues with the camshaft position sensor to avoid potential damage to the crankshaft pulley.

Is the Easy Way to Remove a Crankshaft Pulley Similar to Removing a Power Steering Pump Pulley Without a Puller?

Removing a crankshaft pulley and removing a power steering pump pulley without a puller are not similar. While both pulleys require removal techniques, the processes are distinct. The keyword “removing power steering pump pulley” suggests a separate procedure from the easy way to remove a crankshaft pulley.


You have walked through the simple steps to remove a crankshaft pulley from your car’s engine. Let’s summarize a few points that are important for you to remember:
  • The only challenge in a crankshaft pulley removal is removing the bolt holding the pulley in place.
  • You can easily overcome the challenge using a socket, a cheater pipe, and the engine’s rotation to do the hard job.
  • You can also remove the bolt using an impact gun, but that would require removing the radiator and air conditioner first to create a space for the gun.
  • Once the bolt is out, using the more straightforward method, you’ll attach a puller to the pulley to force it out.
  • Remember to check and replace the seal before reinstalling the parts.
Now you can remove the crankshaft pulley and complete your repair and maintenance mission. Remember to watch out for pulley failure symptoms and keep on top of your car’s maintenance.
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