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Harmonic Balancer Bolt Removal?


litespeedman
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Need help desparately! I have my wife's car all apart and am having trouble getting the bolt off the harmonic balancer. Is it reverse thread? I want to know before I go putting too much torque on it. Also, I want to make sure I time it right. If all the marks are lined up, top and bottom, is it right for sure? Can everything line up and the engine be on the wrong stroke? I have looked everywhere for a manual, and the service guys at the dealer have been, shall we say, not very helpful. I have to get this thing back together! Please help!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks in advance for your assistance

Jere :o

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You almost definitely will need a fairly powerful impact wrench and good quality impact socket to remove the center bolt as it is normally on too tight for hand tools. You may also need a tool to keep the engine from turning especially if you are usinf hand tools. Be extremely careful to not round off the bolt or you will will really have a problem(normally happens with cheap or incorrect sockets). I wasn't able to use hand tools but impact did the trick.

If your timing marks line up you are good to go as you can't be off stroke, just be certain marks line up perfectly. If you are replacing belt, your new belt may even have alignment timing marks on it to help.

Did you replace the water pump? STRONGLY recommend while you have the chance.

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Thanks for the very prompt advice. Yes, I began this whole job because the water pump was bad, and when I saw how far I had to go in to get to it, I decided to replace the timing belt as well. I think I had better go buy the right socket for the bolt. I've got the correct puller to get the pulley off once I get the bolt out. Does anyone know what size it is? Gaknut, can you tell me for sure if the bolt is reverse thread or not? Tansupplyman said his manual does not indicate that it is, but I am trying to be sure of everything. Any little mistake could potentially be a very expensive one on this car. Thanks for the help with timing. Yes, my new belt has timing marks on it.

You guys are saving my butt!!! Thanks!

Jere :)

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The threads are normal rotation. I changed my timing belt last week and used the starter to break loose the bolt (breaker bar impeded by the garage floor). Do a search on timing belt and you will find others who have used the starter method. You will also find one person who couldn't get his off with any method.

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Bolts are indeed normal threaded (RH). I, too have heard of others removing this bolt successfully with the starter method, however, as difficult as it is to replace these starters I personally wouldn't recommend this as the starter drive could easily break if the bolt was simply too tight.

I don't recall the size of the bolt for sure but think it was a 22mm head which is nearly eqivalent to 7/8" (6 point impact socket recommended)but do recall that the torque was 180 lbs

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dont even thin of using standard sockets on a metric car go out and get the right one and it is possible to get it off by hand if your changing the timing belt just shove some towels between the belt and pullies so that it wont move then just have a breaker bar thats a good 2 feet and it will be fairly easy. i dont recomend the starter method because it sounds crude and i dont think its really good for the car or its electronics.

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I was hesitant to use the starter method until I read this post. If a Lexus starter/flywheel could withstand a locked bolt with an extra battery added for more current, I was willing to try it once on my engine. It took only a couple light bumps with the key to break the bolt loose on my LS400.

I had also heard of using the starter method on the BMW M30 engines (3.3, 3.5 L) and they are torqued to 300 ft-lbs. These engines have a timing chain; the harmonic balancer must be removed to replace the front seal. I went by the book with this engine and made the tool to hold the M30 crank in place. It took a 4 foot cheater bar to break loose the M30 crank bolt.

I have to agree the starter method doesn't sound near as elegant as "shove some towels between the belt and pullies so that it wont move then just have a breaker bar... ". Just kidding, I wish I had thought of it.

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Hey lsm

I usually slip a piece of conduit or pipe over the end of my breaker bar and it makes it very easy. Try to spray some liquid wrench in there first as it sometimes helps.

The other thing you need to remember is that an impact wrench is only as good as the compressor driving it. Big shops like the dealer have mama compressors. They rent them at Home Depot and many other tool rental places. If you don't have enough air, the impact wrench will not loosen the bolt.

Good luck on the job, you will do great. I think you'll owe yourself a little treat when your finish!

Denny

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I wasn't really recommending using a standard socket instead of a metric but simply to determine the correct size that a 7/8 socket is very nearly identical to a 22mm which I believed to be the correct size needed. I wasn't sure of the size and this is an easy method to determine unless you want to buy a complete set of GOOD quality impact sockets (not a bad idea anyway). A suitable compressor is indeed a necessity. Should build to at least 125psi and large enough capacity tank to maintain enough pressure. Normally 5 horsepower/60 gal tanks will suffice. More power is even better.

I'm hoping by this time you have been successful!

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For sure 7/8 and 22mm are close enough that one doesn't have to worry. Several metric and imperial socket sizes do match up, with 3/4 inch and 19 mm being the closest of all, with less than .005 in between them. With a six point socket there is no problem at all, and of course all impact sockets are six point. Some "power drive" types, between hand and impact are 12's, but I don't own any.

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A six point socket on a six sided fastener is the best. Twelve points were developed simply to allow the socket to go on the nut faster, excepting those fasteners that are twelve point, like old Buick connecting rod nuts. I buy only six point sockets, and individual twelves as I need them.

Sometimes I even machine the lead in angle off the socket to ensure full engagement on the nut, as the lead ins are quite deep. You will see it by looking in the socket as a kind of chamfer. Some makers use only a small lead in, others quite long.

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99,

12 point sockets are more prone to rounding off the nut or bolt head because the load is applied at the intersection of each face. The area of shear is very small where the faces intersect so the stress is very high. In theory a good six point socket applies the load evenly on all six faces but in reality this is not the case. However, many good six point sockets have a stress-relieving groove machined or cast into them where the faces meet. This serves two purposes ... it reducus stress concentrations in the socket and shifts the applied load away from the face intersections on the nut/bolt. The OD of the socket needs to be a minimum while still maintaining the socket's integrity under load i.e. minimal stress > minimal deflection > minimal strain. 12 point sockets rarely have stress relief grooves designed into them (wall is too thin), so they are typically more likely to fail and more likely to apply loads in the worst possible location. I haven't done this topic much justice with my brief explanation but you get the idea! 12 point sockets should be AVOIDED!! Buy a good ratchet (SNAP-ON) and you won't miss your 12 point socket!

:)

P.S. 12 point AND 6 point box-end wrenches do have a place in your tool box. A 12 point wrench only needs to rotate through 30 degrees vs. 60 degrees for a 6 point wrench. If clearance is a problem this could make all the difference!

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As a professional mechanic (Diesel) I can assure you that while 6 point sockets are an absolute neccessity in instances where considerable force is necessary, the sockets in my set that see the most usage are indeed 12 point. Much easier and faster to use, not to mention the fact that I have seen too many instances where side clearances and smaller turning radius dictate that a 12 point be used. Each type has its place and if I only were able to own only one it would have to be a high quality 12 point set. Just my opinion formed by years of actual experience.

As a practical matter, I regularly interchange 5/16=8mm,7/16 =11mm,1/2=13mm,11/16=17mm,3/4=19mm & 7/8=22mm in instances not requiring extreme force and vice versa (in some instances, substituting provides an even tighter fit) I know, right tool for the job!!! ;)

P.S. I hope you got that damn bolt off!

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... not to mention the fact that I have seen too many instances where side clearances and smaller turning radius dictate that a 12 point be used.

The turning radius with a socket is a function of the ratchet being used. A 12 point socket has to rotate through 30 degrees between each alignment on a nut/bolt whereas a good ratchet has a 10 degree gear action (rotation between each click). For the "shade-tree" mechanics (myself included) that don't have toolboxes filled with Snap-on sockets, cheaper 12 point sockets can lead to expensive or time-consuming mistakes.

:)

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:lol:

Thanks for all the great advice! I got the job done. I held the pulley by taking a piece of angle iron. drilling a hole in it, putting a long bolt, with the correct compliment of washers on either side, into one of the threaded holes on the pulley. I then put a piece of wood between the pulley and the bottom "L" of the angle iron where it contacted the side of the pulley. I then braced the angle iron against the concrete floor. I went and bought the correct 22mm socket (just to be safe) and, with a 24" breaker bar, easily romoved the bolt. I found that I could put the bolt back on using the same piece, I simply had to drill a hole in the opposite end and brace it on the opposite side of the car.

Not sure that I have described this in a way you can visualize, but I thought I would try. Maybe it will be of some help to someone.

Thanks again for everyone's advice

Jere

P.S. I bent the bolt that I threaded in the hole a little bit, but I don't think think this would have happened if I had used the correct size washers that fit tightly. It did not bend enough to get weak or be difficult to remove.

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Glad to hear you got it done. Ingenuity, I love it! Almost always several ways to get to the end.

Incidently, I'm not sure of the mileage on your ls but you might take a good look at the 2 idler bearings while you have it apart. If mileage is high (150,000+) suggest changing them.

True, turning radius is a function of the ratchet. What if you are using a breaker bar?

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For the "shade-tree" mechanics (myself included) that don't have toolboxes filled with Snap-on sockets, cheaper 12 point sockets can lead to expensive or time-consuming mistakes.

:)

I agree cheap sockets can cause some problems, however normally the damage is caused to the cheap tools instead as the bolts themselves are normally stronger than the tools. I have seen far more damage caused by attempting to use the wrong tool ( i.e.vise grips, "monkey "wrench, pliers,even pipe wrenches.) :chairshot:

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It is true that sockets and wrenches do wear out. The bolts and nuts can be harder, and the tool sees more bolts, than the bolt sees tools. Worn out sockets and wrenches should be replaced.

And it is also true that 12 point sockets have a thinner wall, and can fit into restricted areas better. I use them when I have to. In most cases I use 6 point.

Of course sometimes the fastener gets damaged. In marine environments rust can change the shape of the hex. Suspension parts get salt on them too from winter de-icing. Six point is again the only way to go.

And when you work on old vehicles there is no substitute for the flame wrench, and a big pair of straight jaw vice grips.

Good work Jere - you had a plan and it worked out great! Next time will be a breeze.

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