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Hanging loose pulley!

On Friday of the long bank holiday weekend I decided to drive TheHoff to work - it appears as if Friday is the day to do such things with classic cars, as I see all manner of retro & classics out and about on dress down day, and I wanted to join in the fun & games.

Sadly my enthusiasm was curbed rather too soon into my drive...about 200 yards from my driveway when the low oil pressure warning light came on; the steering lost all powered assistance and my heart sank a little while I quickly did a u-turn and headed back for the garage and trusty Preston Tucker.

The cause of my short lived Friday expedition & distress, it turns out, was the crank pulley in rather unusual position - hanging loose.

Upon closer inspection I discovered that the 24mm crank pulley bolt had become undone and had fallen out completely but only as far as the engine undertray thankfully. Which I only thought of while retracing my route to search for the missing bolt...

I ordered up a fresh tube of Locktite from Amazon Prime for the weekend and on bank holiday Monday set to work with my OM doubling as bonding time.

What I was puzzled about was why the oil pressure light was on if only the outer pulley driving the power steering pump belt was loose...

After removing the radiator fan and plastic covers on the front of the engine I soon discovered that the inner balance shaft crank pulley was also loose and had come adrift from the woodruff key - no longer held in place by the crank pulley & bolt. Which explained why the oil pressure warning light had illuminated as the oil pump, which is run by the toothed balance shaft belt, was not being powered correctly. Furthermore, it was apparent that the balance shaft pulleys were no longer synced correctly. Oh boy. All of that in a few hundred yards. Thankfully this never happened further away from home!


When I rebuilt the engine I took Clarks advice and marked TDC clearly on the camshaft gear with pink nail polish which is now easy to see through the inspection hole at the back of the dizzy cap.

How'd I get TDC with the crank pulley & bolt out - just screw the bolt back in and turn with a large socket wrench...then remove the bolt again & begin installing the main balance shaft gear & crank pulley again.

The balance shaft gears have little marks at the back which are lined up with the plastic cover housing - I just mark them with a red pen to help with locating the marks down the front of the engine:

First on went the toothed gear then the crank pulley with the bolt torqued up to 210Nm (155ft.lbs) but not before copious amounts of Locktite!

 Without an available flywheel lock my Pops and I used 22mm open end spanner carefully wedged between the tensioner & toothed gear to lock it all down - plus someone standing hard on the brakes. All good on the torque wrench. Click.

With everything lined up the tooth belt was reattached and tensioned using the accentric bolt on the front of the oil pump gear:

Then it was on with the accessory belts and a beer. Before realising we'd not put the lower front plastic cover back on before the accessory belts...feck it, that can wait for next weekend before hopefully heading to Beaulieu Porsche Day.


  1. I had the exact same thing happen to my '88 944 a few years back. I however wasn't luck and lost the pulley, washer, and bolt somewhere on the street. I found it much easier to torque the bolt with a flywheel lock tool. It was about $50 from Arnnworx. Not something I use every day, but it makes timing belts much easier.


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