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Old 12-19-2011, 10:23 AM   #8
Registered User
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 125
My Ride: 2000 323i
What happens when you bend one of those bolts and throw the pulley out of balance and then run the possibility of ruining the engine, isn't it better/cheaper to go buy a used 32mm (even used on Ebay) open end wrench and a hammer?
The problem is that the hammer method doesn't work for everyone (like me), even after many many tries. I used the 32 mm wrench together with two heavy duty nailing hammers strapped together for more mass (also tried a heavy mallet), but could not get the nut to budge. The hammer method has other drawbacks, such as needing to pad carefully any plastic that the wrench will bang into on the driver's side (for example the air filter box, radiator hose couplers, etc). I damaged my air filter box using the hammer method when the force of the hit made the belt slip on the pulley. I even tried tightening the belts by depressing them between pulleys to prevent slippage, but none of these attempts worked to loosen the nut over at least an hour of trying. (Of course, I was hammering in the correct direction for this reverse-threaded nut—toward the driver's side (USA).)

The aluminum bar tool worked surprisingly easily on the first try by just pushing the bar and the wrench in opposite directions by hand—no hammering necessary. The length of the aluminum bar gave a lot of leverage and uses the same principle as the commercial steel water pump holding tools that cost $30 or more. The soft aluminum is much gentler to the water pump bolts than the commercial steel tool. There was absolutely no damage to the bolt(s) or the pulley after using the aluminum bar, even after establishing that the nut was unusually well-seized. In contrast, you may see a bolt indentation in the aluminum bar, which effectively spreads the force over a wider area of the bolt so as to be less likely to damage it.

By the way, the bar is long, and if your first drill hole does not work well for you for some reason, just move up the bar an inch and drill another in a better spot. Takes 10 seconds. Because the fan needs to be removed for so many engine diys, it just makes sense that people should have some sort of nut tool available at all times. This is just one of several out there, but to me it's the best combination of effectiveness, ease-of use and low cost, and any diy-er can make one easily and quickly.
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