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Old 05-04-2011, 06:16 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Crankshaft Center Bolt Removal-Piece of Cake

After blowing the head gasket on my 1987 Samurai I decided that while I had a good excuse to occupy my wife's space in the garage that I would do some needed engine maintenance, including the replacement of the front crankshaft oil seal. It appears that the main obstacle to getting to the seal is getting the crankshaft center bolt off. The Haynes manual suggests putting a chain wrench around the crankshaft pulley while trying to loosen the bolt. Others on this forum have suggested various alternative ways to getting some resistance to loosen the bolt, such as stuffing the number one cylinder with rope, heating up the bolt, taking the radiator off and getting your friend at the tire shop to use his impact gun on it, etc. While each of these methods may eventually get the job done they all have their obvious drawbacks. Well after thinking about it. I came up with the definitive method to get that @#%* bolt off.

Like most things done well it involves a little preparation, but not much. The idea is to hold the crankshaft stationary while wrenching off the bolt and to do it without trying to enlist the help of your neighbor or brother-in-law in the process.

What I did was to make a custom wrench to fit on the crankshaft sprocket on one end with the other end resting under the driver's side frame of your rig. To make the wrench get a piece of 2" wide flat bar about 16" long (thickness is not critical, but I would think 1/8" would be a minimum). Use the crankshaft pulley (which you have already removed) as a template and mark out the four little bolt holes, the center hole and the key way on the flat bar with a pen. Next drill out the the four little holes. The center hole is a little more difficult, it needs to be drilled out to about 1 5/16". Most of us don't have this size bit or the means to turn it if we did. So you can either used the biggest bit you have and grind out the rest, or take it to a shop which can drill it out for you. I took mine to a metal fabrication shop and they drilled it out for free.

Next clamp the flat bar in your vise and file out the key way. You'll find that if you are using 2" flat bar it will not quite fit between the frame and the pitman arm if your wheels are turned straight ahead, so turn the wheels to the left until the bar fits under the frame on the drivers side. Turn the crank until the four holes and the key way line up and bolt the wrench to the crankshaft sprocket with the four little bolts that came off the crankshaft pulley.

You're now ready to wrench the bolt off. I sprayed the bolt several times the day before with some Blaster Penetrating Oil, but most penetrating oils will probably work fine. The bolt comes off like a regular bolt, in a counter clockwise direction. I used a 2 foot breaker bar with a 17mm impact socket on the end, but with the leverage I got with the custom wrench resting against the frame I could have easily removed it with a 1/2" dive socket wrench and short piece of plumbing pipe. Your experience might be different, especially if the bolt has rusted.

This method worked really slick for me and I was able to avoid having to entertain and feed my neighbor or brother-in-law and listen to their the lame suggestions on how to get the bolt off when the chain wrench or other method did not work.
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Old 05-05-2011, 09:30 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Good job. Here's an alternative.
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Old 05-05-2011, 11:28 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for the pic. That is esentially what I did, but I did not think of securing the custom wrench with a bolt on the other end. My wrench was a little simpler, but I can see if you had a particularly stuburn center bolt with some rusting issues you might want to giggle it back and forth a bit with some penetrating oil, which the pictured solution would allow you to do easily.
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