Can you get away with notching a belt pulley for easier removal/installation?

This is in regard to a 2002 Daewoo Lanos, but the principle should be the same on any car.

So I am close to putting the car completely back together after taking apart the engine to replace the head gasket. Of course, I had the head reconditioned, and replaced a ton of other parts as well, to ensure that the car will be reliable for a long time.

The problem I am having is that I cannot get the power steering pulley to clear the frame rail, no matter how much I raise or lower the engine. I have no idea how I got this pulley off in the first place, but it needs to be feasible with a reasonable effort, since this has to come off every 6 years to do the timing belt. (On this car, the power steering pump bolts to the passenger side of the engine block, and protrudes through a round hole in the timing belt cover.)

The pulley would, of course, clear if I traced out the tip of my thumb and took an angle grinder and ground off that much from the inner edge of the pulley. Presumably I’d have to make a second notch as close in size as possible, and as close to 180° from the first notch to prevent excessive noise/vibration.

This is a ribbed pulley, and the accessory belt is ribbed as well. The accessory drive system consists only of the alternator and power steering pump, as the water pump is driven by the timing belt, and the A/C/ compressor is driven by a separate V-belt. So if, for some reason, making this notch causes the belt to fail prematurely, it shouldn’t damage the engine, and the belt itself is not expensive.

Has anyone ever done this sort of thing on any vehicle, and did you get away with it, i.e. had a favorable result?

Did the water pump bolt into the head or the block Did you remove it from the head after you took it off f you did not then there must be a way to get it on without cutting the pulley?

Did a Daewoo Lanos provide 6 years of reliable service when new. Some cars may be very cheap to buy but still be more trouble than they are worth.

You have put so much time and effort into this that I hope you prove me wrong and get 10 years out of it.

They did it somehow when they built the car, you did it somehow getting it out of the car, I would rather cut and rewleld the frame rail, but I am not really sure what you are up against.

Without pictures and such, I have no idea what the issue is but would not go cutting the pulley. I think it is back to studying the manual and procedure to try and discover that ah ha moment of what was done wrong or out of sequence.


A picture is worth a thousand words. Is the pulley truly larger than the hole, or is this just a problem getting the pulley and hole in perfect alignment?

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Please look at the following pictures.

Here is the power steering pump, the rotating shaft protrudes through a round hole in the timing belt cover.

Note the tight clearance to the frame rail.

Here is the pulley itself.

I taped a U.S. quarter to the pulley to show the area which I need to notch out (where the coin overlaps the pulley). Of course, a matching notch would be needed opposite to the first notch in order to avoid a rotational imbalance.

The notch will allow the pulley to easily clear the hub at the center of the power steering pulley when the motor mount bolts are removed, and the engine is raised with a floor jack. Currently, the engine cannot be lifted enough for the pulley to clear the frame rail, hence the need to notch it.

Also, using an angle grinder may not be the best tool for the job, because a round notch is desired, so any ideas would be appreciated. If notching the pulley is not a DIY project, I can see if the machine shop which rebuilt the cylinder head for this car, as well as for other vehicles in the past for me, would be willing to do it.

some dumb questions. but the pulley looks like its offset. maybe your trying to put it on backwards without realizing. can you go from under the engine upwards? can you call a dealer service department and ask one off the mechanics


You say the engine can’t be jacked high enough for the shaft to clear the rail… why? What is keeping it? Can it be lowered?

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No matter how smooth those notches are, they will cause premature failure of the belt.


Use a small scissor jack wedged between the chassis rail and engine to shove it sideways a bit. A large bolt/nut would also likely work by unscrewing the nut to force the engine sideways.

Where are you going to find a Daewoo dealer ? Plus how many mechanics are there who have even seen one of these things ?

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Rent a cherry picker. Lift motor 6-8”. Or, jack up motor?

If the engine came out with the pulley on, it should go back in that way. Notching the pulley will create a problem for the belt, and won’t fix whatever problem is causing the engine not to go back in, which you’ll probably discover if you notch the pulley…

I think the OP removed head only.

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Oh, OK. Then replace ‘engine’ with ‘head’ in my post. If it came out, it should go back in, if it can’t something’s out of alignment or installed incorrectly, like the comment above about the pulley.

Stating the obvious, I guess, but cutting a part to get it to fit isn’t the way I’d go.

Exactly! The Daewoo brand disappeared–along with its dealerships–19 years ago.

That is a good point, but the first-generation Chevy Aveo was essentially just a re-badged Daewoo Lanos, so it is possible that some mechanics have worked on something similar.

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Do you have the crank pulley installed yet? According to my service info, if you remove all the drive belts, remove the crank pulley, and jack the engine up as far is it will go you will have enough room to install the pulley.

Under no circumstances would I ever cut into a pulley.


My memory is a little shaky but didn’t some of us say months ago to not even start this project?

What happens if you unbolt the engine mount on that side and jack up the engine?