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harmonic balancer does not want to come off [changing timing belt]

 
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Old 04 Dec 2015, 09:05 am
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Default harmonic balancer does not want to come off [changing timing belt]

Hi everyone, I'm working on a preventative timing belt change, and I've spent about four hours just trying to get the harmonic balancer off - it doesn't want to budge!

I'm using a rental puller from O'Rielly - it is basically the same as this one, but it only has two rods and the head of the bolt is larger. I wedge in some bits of wood to prevent the arms from slipping off the balancer. Incidentally, anyone know why it has such a deep hole in the center of the bolt? It seems far deeper than necessary just to prevent the rod from slipping off. And it fits so tight to the rod that it is a huge pain getting the rod back out after you are done. The longest rod on the one I rented it's only just long enough, so I put a length of an old Grade 2 bolt inside it, so not the rod only goes into the pushing bolt maybe a quarter inch.

I have cranked it down as hard as I possibly can and it will not budge. I've tried encouraging it with a prybar and by giving the bolt of the puller a some sharp raps with a heavy hammer. I've also tried heading it up with a heat gun (stuffed some fiberglass insulation behind the dampener to protect the plastic timing belt cover) and then cooling the interior of the bolt hole with WD-40. And the damn thing still won't budge.

So, a few questions:

1. Is there any danger to the engine if I use a lot of torque? As I understand it, the hole that the rod of the puller tool goes in is drilled into the core of the crankshaft, so presumably should be able to withstand any pressure I can subject it to. But I'm not sure...

2. I wonder if the heat gun just didn't heat it up enough. The WD-40 I used as coolant was smoking or steaming, and the balancer was hot enough to be difficult to touch, but maybe it needed more. Is there any particular danger from heating the balancer more, with a torch? And if I try that, any hints on how to better protect the timing belt cover?

3. Any other suggestions?

Thanks!
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Old 04 Dec 2015, 10:10 am
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Default Re: harmonic balancer does not want to come off [changing timing belt]

I have seen a few people have this problem with that puller. In the performance section there is a how to. Sticky at the top. I have a thread on what I used. Too and tricks removing the harmonic balancer. It also give you good advice on other aspects of the belt job. Torque won't hurt if you are bottomed out on the threads. But that requires a longer than stick bolt. Or a rid small enough not to engage the threads, bottomed out in the crank. Get as much pressure on it you can and pop it with the hammer. Repeat this if it doesn't move.
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Old 05 Dec 2015, 10:51 pm
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Default Re: harmonic balancer does not want to come off [changing timing belt]

Thanks Busted_PT! I finally got it off - heated it up pretty good with a heat gun, spraying keyboard cleaner (compressed air) into the hole every now and then to keep it cool. Then put on the 3-jawed tool and cranked on it hard with a breaker bar.

What alarmed me was the loud crack I heard every time the balancer moved a bit. At first I thought it was the puller breaking! Each time the balancer slid a bit farther off the crankshaft, it would emit a loud cracking sound. So, for those of you trying this for the first time, don't panic like I did!
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Old 05 Dec 2015, 11:54 pm
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Default Re: harmonic balancer does not want to come off [changing timing belt]

Btw, for anyone having trouble with the balancer turning while you try to take it off, here is clever idea my brother showed me - a makeshift strap wrench.

I was going to replace the serpentine belt anyway, so I cut it and then wrapped part of it around the pulley. Then I placed a long piece of wood against the pulley and pulled the ends of the serpentine belt tight along the edges of the piece of wood, which I then clamped down, as near to the pulley as possible, with a C-clamp. Worked surprisingly well!

You can see a pic here.
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Old 06 Dec 2015, 10:52 am
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Default Re: harmonic balancer does not want to come off [changing timing belt]

Quote:
Originally Posted by ushumgal View Post
Btw, for anyone having trouble with the balancer turning while you try to take it off, here is clever idea my brother showed me - a makeshift strap wrench.

I was going to replace the serpentine belt anyway, so I cut it and then wrapped part of it around the pulley. Then I placed a long piece of wood against the pulley and pulled the ends of the serpentine belt tight along the edges of the piece of wood, which I then clamped down, as near to the pulley as possible, with a C-clamp. Worked surprisingly well!

You can see a pic here.


That's very cool. Here's my method. I screwed the crank bolt back in to about an inch. Then I put a wrench on it. And I put a nut on the end of the puller ram to it would fit flush against the head of the crank bolt with a little grease in between. When the whole thing tries to turn, the wrench hits the chassis and can go no further so there's no spin. Of course, I have to reset this once the ballancer is out an inch. Your method is likely better if you don't have a big impact wrench.

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