Whether for the motor on an 8,000 horsepower Top Fuel Dragster or the water pump on a 1978 Dodge Aspen, changing a pulley is one of the most annoying, but important jobs for any mechanical situation. In theory it’s a very simple process:

- Get the right tools
- Take off pulley
- Replace it with a new pulley

The first thing you’re going to need is the right tools. Make sure that you check your specific requirements and get the right tools for the job. The biggest mistake most people make when removing or changing a pulley is they tend to work with inferior tools. Follow the advice of your father who said, “Get the right tools for the right job.”

After you get the correct tools, you might want to take inventory of some other accessory tools to assist in the removal of the pulley. These include:

A can of WD-40 – It doesn’t need to be this specific brand, but you’ll find that often bolts attached to your pulley are rusted solid to the pulley and need some liquid confidence to remove them. A good quality lubricant can significantly help you remove rusted bolts easier. The proper way to use WD-40 or another lubricant is to spray the product onto the bolts and let them sit for at least five-minutes. This way, the enzymes in the product can eat through the rust and properly lubricate the bolt for ease of removal.

A Pulley Puller – A pulley puller makes the job of removing a pulley much easier. This mechanism works best by applying pressure to the pulley and literally ‘popping’ it from the attachment. It is very hard to remove a pulley without the proper tools.

A replacement pulley – I know this seems like common sense, but so many people tend to purchase the wrong replacement part. Make sure you check with the manufacture of your product and ensure you have the correct part number and pulley for you exact application.

Once you have the right tools, the process of removing the pulley is quite simple:

  • Locate the bolts or screws that attach the pulley to the motor
  • Use the right tool; whether Allen bolt, socket or wrench in American or metric sizing, and loosen up the bolt. Sometimes the bolt will be attached with a secondary nut on the back of the screw, so you’ll need to secure this bolt to make sure the bolt loosens up.
  • Once your bolts are loose, attach the pulley removal tool to the pulley and slowly pry the pulley from the assembly.

Once you’ve removed the first pulley, you’ll need to attach the new pulley.

  •   Make sure to properly lubricate the new pulley to the attachment. Proper lubrication will ensure the pulley works properly. Check manufacture specifications for the right lubrication to use
  • Make sure the pulley is aligned straight and tighten the screws until hand tight
  • Contact the manufacture of your product to check the torque settings of the bolt. Many people forget about this setting, but making sure to tighten the bolts to specific torque pressure will ensure the pulley engages smoothly.

If you follow these procedures, you’ll find the process of removing any pulley simple, easy and less time consuming.