Crankshaft Pulley Removal on 2002 Legacy


I have a 2002 Legacy, and I am trying to replace the water pump. I am using a Haynes manual to do this. I’m a first timer at doing this kind of mechanical work!

The manual says that I have to first position the engine in Top Dead Center for cylinder one. It also says that I have to take out all the plugs.

According to the manual, while I try to take off the crank pulley, I have to keep the notch on it in line with the 0 mark on the timing scale.

Next, the manual says that next I have to attach a chain wrench to the pulley to keep it from spinning counter clock-wise, while I use a breaker bar and socket to unscrew the pulley bolt. NO SUCH LUCK!

First, as seen in the picture, I could not find the kind of chain wrench the manual says I should use in any stores (6 stores I looked in) so I had to settle for the Vise Grip kind of chain wrench. The problem with this is that the Vise Grip can only be braced against the A/C pulley, which will damage that pulley, and this I’d like to avoid.

Second, I can’t get the damn pulley to not turn counter clock wise even with the Vise Grips tightly on the pulley and braced (got a piece of old belting underneath the Vise Grip chain).

Here are my questions:

Will the car being in gear help in getting the pulley off? Been trying in neutral.

I’ve been using standard socket. Should I switch to metric, if so what size? (23mm I think)

Should I use a pneumatic wrench instead of standard muscle wrench? If I use air tools, how should I set up the car for it (meaning TDC, neutral or in gear, starter connected, etc…)?

How much CCW rotation is acceptable when I try to get the pulley bolt unstuck? I know CCW rotation of the crank pulley is bad for the engine.

Should I just put the car back together, enough to use the infamous “Starter-Loosen-the-Bolt-with-Wrench-Braced-Against-Chaise/Ground-and-Pray-I-Don’t-Kill-My-Engine/Flywheel” method? How do I set up for this method?

Thanks guys (and dolls), I really need to get this car back on the road.

You should use some rags on the chain to keep from scarring the pulley. You SHOULD BE USING METRIC SOCKETS!!! If you have access to an air wrench, by all means, use it. Set the balancer at TDC, and the air wrench will not turn it. Save yourself some heartache. BTW, you’ll need to remove the radiator first. I don’t think you’ll have room with it in place.

Another trick is to use a long breaker bar that will reach the car’s frame. Use the starter to turn the wrench, and let it bang the frame, and the bolt should pop loose. Then, use the chain wrench to put the balancer back to TDC.

Cut a length of engine belt to wrap around the pulley grooves and clamp the chain wrench there. The belt serves to cushion the metal on metal and it provides good grip so it won’t slip. Cut an appropriate length of 2x4 wood to prop against the base of the chain wrench against a sturdy and immovable body part to keep the pulley from turning. Don’t prop the wood straight down against the ground because it will just lift the engine/car up. I wouldn’t prop it against any accessory pulley or you might damage it.

It would be best to use a 6 point socket but whatever you do use the correct metric size. I don’t know what it is. You’ll have to fit and see. I always use a 24" breaker bar.

I managed to remove the crankshaft pulley bolt from my Legacy with a strap wrench and a breaker bar, very similar to what you’re using. It wasn’t easy keeping the engine from turning, but eventually the strap gripped tightly enough and it worked. If your car has a manual transmission, by all means put it in gear to stop the engine from turning. This will help A LOT.

It won’t matter if the engine turns a bit while you remove the bolt, just make sure it’s correctly set to TDC before you remove the PULLEY.

Do you have a way to compress the timing belt tensioner? This must be done, carefully, before you reassemble everything.

You don’t have to worry about keeping the crank mark at 0 while you break the bolt loose. Just keep it there when the pulley is removed.

One slick trick you can use to keep the crank from turning is to stuff some small rope into one of the cylinders through the sparkplug hole. It will jam up the piston movement without hurting anything.

One other thing to be aware of but it may not effect you, since it may have been for earlier models. I think it was a Haynes manual that didn’t mention turning the crank one turn after the first timing belt was installed to keep the timing correct for the installation of the second belt.

I assume you are just doing a timing belt replacement but you may want to replace the idler pulley and tensioner while you are in there. Inspect the cam seals also. Replacing the water pump is a good idea also.

Thanks for the advice guys. I am going to try to loosen the bolt by turning the breaker bar with the starter flick method.

Hopefully I wont encounter too many problems with the timing belt removal. I’m going by the Haynes manual.

Well, the good news: I got the pulley off with the help of my brother( = 2 mules).

I have 2 new questions:

  1. Can I just use a regular bench vise to reset the timing belt tensioner? I WOULD DO IT VERY SLOWLY - SNAIL PACE - so I don’t ruin the piston. Good idea, bad idea?

Is this seal important? It is on the timing belt tensioner bracket. Haynes manual didn’t say anything about it. Looks like it is for shock absorption. If I have to glue it back on the bracket what kind of glue can I use, it is really jiggly!

I bought a chain wrench from Northern tool for about $25. Much more leverage than the tool you show pictorially. I don’t know how many miles you have on the vehicle but will all that effort, check oil pump seal and replace, also cam seals id;ler pully etc Does the book say to compress that tensioner with a vise SLOWLY and put in pin (4 penny nail worked on my 95 2.2L) till belt is back If you boogered up the pulley with your cahin wrench get rid of burrs with a file ? otherwise you will shorten the life of accessory belt. MHO

Yeah, it was more of a pain to use the chain vise grip ( handle short), but this was all I found in the immediate area stores. It worked though, and I put a piece of belt underneath it so it wouldn’t destroy the crank pulley grooves.

All I’m going to do is replace the belts, I’ve gotten more than what I bargained for already. Thanks for the tips though.

Now I have a different problem, I stripped one of the water pump mounting bolt threads. (ROOKIE HERE!)
I think I’m going to fix it with the Heli Coil stuff. I have five other bolts that hold on the water pump so I’m not too concerned about how well the Heli Coil works (or should I be?).

Greetings, I did something dumb and need some help. Replacing a timing belt at 110k on an 03 Legacy.
I removed the crank pulley, covers and belt and the cam pulleys turned. Yep evidently I was NOT at TDC on the # 1 cylinder.
My question is can I just line up the cam and crank pulleys with their respective index marks (with the crank pulley at TDC on cyl #1) or is there more than one sequence of events for each revolution of the cam pulleys?