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Problem removing 525d crankshaft damper pulley

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Over the last couple of weeks there seemed to be a bit of  clatter from my 2001 525d at tickover as if some thing was a bit loose. Yesterday the engine developed a knock at the front rather like an exaggerated diesel knock.  The engine runs fine at higher revs and came back from Faro airport last night at a steady 80mph.  Having done some research and after removing the auxiliary belts I think that the problem lies with the crankshaft damper pulley which unfortunately is not a cheap part. On this engine the pulley is held on by 4 bolts and I naively imagined that unlike the single bolt system it would not be too difficult to remove these but they are pretty tight and since the car is an automatic I can't lock the engine by putting the car in gear. Does anyone have any tips for removing these bolts? Is it possible to lock the engine by some means without a special tool from BMW? All ideas gratefully received.

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Hi. I had the same symptoms and noise on mine when the crankshaft pulley went. The garage removed the radiator and stuck an impact gun on it, you can buy cordless guns if you wanted to. 

By the way, can't you leave it drive with the ignition on, wouldn't that have the same effect

Edited by Qasimahmed

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If the outer part is still engaged to inner part usually you can lock the damper with the belt. Route the belt around the damper and at the root lock it with locking pliers. Then route the belt around for example power steering pump and again lock it around with locking pliers.

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Thanks to Qaasimahmed for your suggestion. I looked at this idea but even if I removed the radiator my impact wrench would not fit in the space available due to the presence of the A/C radiator and my star sockets are for 3/8 drive and I don't have a 1/2 to 3/8 converter. Thanks too to Clavurian but his idea came after I had found another solution. I noticed that the front face of the pulley has a hole in it which goes about 10mm deep so I removed the front undertray to give access to the floor beneath the front of the engine. I then cut a length of square tubing and drilled a hole through it and welded a bolt through the hole which I cut off to leave 10mm protruding. I placed the bolt in the hole in the pulley and turned the pulley slightly until it was locked into place by the end of the tube tube against the floor and the bolt at the top of the tube. I was then able to undo the star headed bolts with a 3/8 rachet and a length of tube to give a bit more leverage. I attach photos to show what I mean. A word of warning if you do this job the pulley weighs about 6.5 kilo so you do not want to be under the car when it comes off.IMG_0586.thumb.JPG.9f2a1071512fe62b228cb842c6c4c2fa.JPGIMG_0587.thumb.JPG.148f57a0ac857dba5ac2352e3adbff9a.JPGIMG_0587.thumb.JPG.148f57a0ac857dba5ac2352e3adbff9a.JPG

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New pulley fitted and problem resolved. I have followed BMW forums for a number of years but I had not heard of this issue before. 

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The crankshaft pulley is common on the m57 engines, I had a quick read while mine was going and luckily I had the pulley in the boot at the time, so I drove to a friend's garage and was hoping to get to do it myself but was busy with other stuff. They ended up changing the water pump as well as a precaution.

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Doh, if I had seen this when you posted it I’d of told you to lock the flywheel with the aid of a very sturdy flat bladed screwdriver or crow bar and a friend holding it! 

But it’s sorted now and before the whole thing failed, well done sir ;) 

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Hmm interesting. I did notice when looking down into my engine bay some time back that the crankshaft damper pulley certainly looks a little... wobbly shall we say? I did look into replacing it but was astonished at how much they cost.. but it doesn't sound a total nightmare of a job to swap (plus I have a manual which would make it easier) - one to look into perhaps. Cheers. 

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It is a pretty straightforward job and you don't need a manual except perhaps if you forget to note how the serpentine belt fits. In any event the Bentley manual does not cover the diesel engines. I paid €200 for an aftermarket unit which my local motor factors got in for me the next day because  the BMW price is horrendous. You can get them a bit cheaper on EBay but for me to get things sent to Portugal costs money and adds to the delay.

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I clearly misinterpreted what you meant and in this context my reply must have seemed a bit odd. Yes you will have no trouble if you put the car in gear to do the job.

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