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What Are the Different Types of Pulley Removal Tools?

By Lori Kilchermann
Updated May 23, 2024
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Many pulley removal tools also double as installation tools, making the tool capable of performing two functions for the cost of a single tool. There are several different styles and types of pulley removal tools, from the jaw-style and pickle fork-type tools to threaded rod or bolt-type removers. The type of pulley removal tool required to remove any given pulley is determined by the type and size of the pulley requiring removal. While many pulley removers are capable of being used successfully on many different sizes and types of pulleys, there are some pullers designed to work exclusively on one individual type and size pulley and occasionally on a single manufacturer's brand such as Ford or General Motors pulleys, for example.

One problem with pulleys is that, for the most part, they are easily damaged if attempted to be removed improperly or with the improper pulley removal tools. For a heavy steel pulley, two-, three- or even four-jaw pulley removal tools are often required for the task of removing the pulley from a shaft. The jaws on this style of tool are placed behind the outer edge of the pulley while an adjustable, threaded center bolt is placed on the center of the pulley's mounting shaft. As the bolt is tightened against the shaft, the puller's body and jaws are forced upward on the bolt, effectively separating the pulley from the shaft.

For lighter-duty pulleys, another family of pulley removal tools resembling flat steel equipped with a bolt on each side or in the center can be used to evenly distribute the force of the pulling action across the entire width of the pulley. With the flat pulley-puller body placed behind the pulley, the pulley-puller's bolts are tightened and the flat pulley-puller body is forced upward against the pulley's face. As the pulley-puller is raised, the pulley is pushed off of the shaft. Other pulley removal tools use this same design, however, the pullers are C-shaped to slide around the shaft.

Some task-specific pulley removal tools are used to remove power steering pump pulleys as well as other similarly-designed pump pulleys. This style of pulley-puller consists of a heavy bolt with a two-piece coupler that slides around a collar on the face of the pulley. With the coupler in place, the bolt is tightened against the pump's shaft and the pulley is pressed off. These types of pulley removal tools also work to press the pulley back on the shaft.

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Discussion Comments
By everetra — On Dec 07, 2011

@Charred - That’s good advice. You can remove other pulleys too, like those that are used in the power steering of your car.

It appears that the power steering pulley pump is rather simple. I’ve come across some how-to instructions on how to remove the power steering pump from your engine, and they don’t always demand that you use a power steering pulley removal tool.

Some of them just use a socket wrench. The two tools appear similar in appearance and operation. But I’m with you. If you’re good with cars and handy with tools, then go ahead and use a regular old socket wrench. Otherwise, use specialty tools like a power steering pulley removal tool to do the job (or have a mechanic do it).

By Charred — On Dec 06, 2011

This is why I never do the timing belt replacement on my car. For my particular engine (it’s a Japanese car) I need a crankshaft pulley removal tool.

My friend works with cars and I had him use a tool he had to do the job. I’ve since learned that you can put together your own tool with metal parts if you’re handy with metal work, but I decided to pass on that.

As the article correctly points out, it’s easy to damage the pulleys if you apply too much force. In my opinion unless you really know what you’re doing, timing belt replacements should just be left to the mechanics.

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