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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 04-16-2011, 07:12 PM   #1
gsbmw
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Homemade Fan Nut Tool (water pump pulley holder) w/Pic

There are a number of methods to immobilize the water pump pulley when loosening the fan nut with a 32mm (or 1-1/4”) wrench. I tried "hammering-the-wrench", screwdrivers, etc but nothing worked for me, so I easily made this tool, which some may find useful. The nut loosened easily right away.

It’s just a piece of aluminum bar (1” x 1/8” x 36”) with a 1/2“ diameter hole drilled near the end (approx 1/8“ from one side of the bar) for fitting over one of the 10mm water pump bolt heads.

I bought the bar at Home Depot for about $6. Aluminum is a soft metal, so it was easy to drill through it with a standard 1/2” drill bit. Just took a couple of minutes to make. It’s best to aim at having the hole about 1/8“ from one side of the bar, so that it fits easily between the bolt and the axis of the water pump behind the nut. (My drill bit drifted a bit, so the hole in mine was almost in the middle of the bar [~1/4” from the sides]; it still worked but closer to the side is better.) The aluminum bar is softer than anything it will press against, so nothing will be damaged by it. And the bar can be flexed outward to avoid the thermostat if needed. This long bar gave a lot of leverage, but shorter bars are also available at HD if you prefer. Below is a picture of how the bar fits over a bolt (of course, the fan with nut was removed to allow this picture).


Last edited by gsbmw; 04-16-2011 at 07:32 PM.
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Old 04-30-2011, 07:34 PM   #2
jazzyjeff
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While the "hammering the wrench" trick always works for me, this is a great DIY. I love cheap little ideas like this that can save people a lot of headaches!
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Old 09-27-2011, 05:23 PM   #3
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good stuff!
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Old 09-28-2011, 12:42 AM   #4
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awesome! thanks for sharring
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Old 10-02-2011, 09:11 AM   #5
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Smile

Thanks to all! Happy to help.
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Old 11-15-2011, 07:38 PM   #6
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FYI for anyone who attempts this... if you make it 1/8" from the edge as advised, the aluminum WILL break. (I used the exact same bar of aluminum from Home Depot and that's what happened this morning. Best to aim somewhere around the middle.
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Old 11-17-2011, 06:57 PM   #7
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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?
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Old 01-09-2012, 11:19 PM   #8
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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?
Use of proper tool is always the best, whether you make it or buy it.

Don't use the hammer, because when you combine hammer with anger and frustration of that fan clutch nut being so tight and seized, bad things happen. Like the upper radiator hose breaks, the pulley bolt snaps Ask me how I know.
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Old 12-19-2011, 09:23 AM   #9
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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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Old 01-01-2013, 11:50 PM   #10
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Great DIY. I need to replace my water pump and I was going to use the hammering away technique to remove the fan but this seems like a perfect low cost solution.
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Old 01-15-2013, 06:47 PM   #11
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Great idea but it only works on paper. The metal is too soft and pretty tough to get the correct measurement. For how often you will work on our car, I say go OEM all the way for this.
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Old 01-15-2013, 07:13 PM   #12
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I was going to try the DIY method here over the weekend, but I thought I would try just banging on the 32mm wrench. Much to my surprise, after a banging couple of times, I was able to get the nut loose. I think it depends on whoever tightened it the last time.
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Old 06-08-2013, 12:19 PM   #13
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I guess I can make a 32mm opening in a piece of steel. I was here yest...

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Old 06-09-2013, 04:55 PM   #14
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Homemade Fan Nut Tool (water pump pulley holder) w/Pic

I was able to pick up a set of BMW fan nut and pulley holding tools for $20 on here. Search guys, good deals are floating around.


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Old 06-09-2013, 09:52 PM   #15
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anybody got one for me? and a LR shock?
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