Help needed: crank pulley won't go on, key pushed back in keyway (1 Viewer)

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Dec 10, 2007
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Well, here we go. After replacing the crank seal and oil pump O-ring was gently pushing my crank pulley back onto the crank attempting to line the pulley up with the key, underline gently; turn push, turn push. Then the pulley seemed to line up and moved back a bit but not all the way, so I pulled the pulley back off. Now I can see that the key has been pushed back about half an inch or so. Any suggestions on how to reposition the key, or am I stuck with pulling the timing chain cover off??
 
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Take a pair of sidecutters, dykes, wire cutting pliers, whatever you want to call them.
Reach in and grab the key, use the pliers to pry it up and off.
It's pretty soft so don't get too enthusiastic or you will bung it up.
Use a file to take any burrs off and tap it back into it's slot.
You should now be able to replace the vibration dampener with no more problems.
 
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More information; took some photos; the first one shows how it looked before attempting to put the pulley on, the next two show where the key is; hanging precariously in the background, probably stuck there with some grease. I'm now wondering if I didn't get the pulley lined up initially then when I pulled the pulley back and forth a few times whether the grease grabbed the key dislodging it from the key way??

Problem with doing anything in there is that it would almost be a blind grab; the radiator is still in place. IIRC someone else used a magnet to grab a key that had fallen down into the timing cover?? Assuming I get it out, are these normally set in place with Loctite, Blue, Red??
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jlm43

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Use a magnet and/or tweezers. If the magnet is too big, stick it to the end of the tweezers while you try to grab them. The tweezers will be magnetic as long as you keep the magnet on it. I would try superglue or something like that to hold it in. I have never done this job but I am very familiar with what you are doing (keys and such). IF possible, you can have the front portion of the key slightly lower than the back side. It will level out when you push the pulley back on. If the front is higher, it can push the key right out of the slot.
Hope that helped and good luck
 
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I would try some angle nose pliers or an angled pick if the magnet doesn't work. Use a stick or something on the sides to keep it from falling down inside the pan on a downward angle in case it slips on you.

I've never used Loctite on keys but that would make sure it was set in tight. As mentioned above if you install with the front portion of the key slightly lower than the back side it should slide right in place. Thats alot of grease just to slide that in place. I use a light coat of anti-seize on the crank not grease.

Just an idea
 
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Can't find a magnet small enough to fit between the crank seal and the shaft, so looks like I'll have to remove the just installed seal and order another one. Originally I'd planned to just spray some dry lube on the shaft and the pulley mating surfaces but at the last minute decided to put some grease on the parts; all the grease got pushed out and got stuck on the end of the crank. What I didn't realize before hand is that the key just sits in the groove loosely. Having it greased up may have worked out for the best as the key appears to be stuck (with grease) to the timing chain sprocket, otherwise it probably would have dropped straight down??
 
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Using a taped up flat-blade screwdriver the just installed new crank seal popped out much easier than the old used seal. Looking and feeling around the edges there does not appear to be any damage, it just appears funky in the photo from the grease. With the seal out of the way I slowly stuck the magnet into the opening toward 11 o'clock and out came the key (it seems kinda small for what it does?). Now the question, how to properly reinstall the key?
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jlm43

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The seal looks good from the picture. I would use Fuel lube. Not sure what it is called in the auto industry but it is some pretty sticky stuff. I use it quite a bit installing o-rings and such. And to keep washers on nuts in tight spots. Otherwise, loctite or superglue. Just try to keep the front end of the key slightly lower than the back end. If not, the front edge will get hung up on the pulley and get pushed out again.
 

jlm43

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Why? The key is under "shear" forces. If the key was worn, you would see a definite wear line where the pulley and crank mating surface is. Kind of like if you tried to cut it with scissors. If the faces of both sides seem smooth, it is fine.
 

landtank

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Try using some needle nose pliers to get the key started and then use them to tap down on top of it to set it in place. If you can try and make the key a little nose down in front to be sure it gets started into the slot in the pulley. Fit the pulley on first before re placing the seal. That way you can better feel how things are lining up and fitting without the contact and resistance of the seal.
 

jlm43

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Not sure if this is a great idea or not, but take it for what its worth. You could try taking a center punch and making a dimple in the portion of the key that sits in the crank. It would mushroom out just a bit around the dimple making it slightly larger. That may give you enough friction to keep it in place.
 
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Here are some more photos of the key; it has a dent on the top but the sides are smooth with only a slight wear mark on one side in the direction of rotation of the engine?? I cleaned it up very lightly on the top with 1500 grit sandpaper but the dent is still apparent (I didn't touch the sides), and it still slides into the slot in the pulley smoothly and feels tight. Haven't tried yet to place it into the crank key-way yet. If the local dealer has one in stock I'd prefer to use that, just won't know until tomorrow. A very rough measurement shows it to be 15mmx2.4mmx6.4mm(LWH).
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Having never done this job myself, I can't see how the key can be pushed out of the slot unless you're putting the key in upside down.
 
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The key sits in a grooved key-way with the curved side down. I'm thinking the key may have been tilted up in front and/or is worn making it looser that it should be, so as I was pushing and pulling the pulley trying to line the groove in the pulley with the key, the pulley could have knocked the key backwards out of the key-way. Also I greased the crank and pulley hole (last minute without thinking it through), that may have stuck the key to the pulley and pulled it out as I was trying to line things up, next time maybe I'll just use a dry lube
 
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I cleaned out the key-way with brake cleaner and Q-tips then placed the key in by hand followed by tapping it lightly with a small brass drift to ensure it was all the way down; seems to be in the correct nose-down position. Here's a photo:
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I did what landtank suggested; first slid the pulley on without the crank seal in place to get a feel for how it all locked up; no problems. Then reinstalled the lightly greased crank seal using a 2 inch PVC pipe coupler which turned out to be the perfect size to press on the metal rim of the seal and still fit around the lips. To help line things up I made a mark with soapstone on the pulley in line with the key slot. Then used a smear of Sta-Lube Engine Assembly lube (a thin NLGI 0-1 Molybdenum-Graphite grease) on the crank leaving the area in front of the key bare. Same for the inner surface of the pulley that slides over the crank, also left the key slot bare at the start, then put some further down figuring once the key is in the groove the grease can't mess anything up. Lining up the key with the soapstone mark the pulley slid on and all the way back first try, no problems. Tested to see that the pulley was locked by the key by trying to turn the pulley on the crank, no movement.
 
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Well, tried my new HF torque wrench for the first time and got no clicky!! Set it on 300 ft lb and got the bolt tight but no clicks, turned it down thinking it was set too high, first to 275, then 200, 100, then 50, still no clicks. I pulled on the wrench with all my might lifting one side of the rig I was pushing so hard and the bolt would not budge any further so I figure I got it tight enough?? Also use the Permatex surface insensitive Blue thread locker (180in lb break/62in lb prevail), maybe that will give me some extra insurance?

Some photos of the tool I used to hold the crank pulley while tightening the crank bolt. I plan on modifying the crank holding tool, this one was made up in a hurry; it worked OK, just could be better. Once it's done I'll post up the specs. Also in the bottom photos there's the 2" PVC coupler (Home Depot plumbing dept) for installing the crank seal, and a taped up screwdriver used to pull out the old seal.
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