A friend is helping me change the timing belt on my 2003 Acura TL 3.2. Yes, I paid for the beer!!!

We've successfully removed the upper timing belt covers, drive belt, and serpentine belt.

We're following instructions in a Hayne's manual. As many of you know, these manuals have a lot of information, but often times they leave out key information.

As you may know, the timing belt goes around three gears. There are the two on top that we have no problem accessing. The third one on the bottom requires the removed of a 19mm bolt. If I'm not mistaken, this is called the "crankshaft bolt". After destroying one of our socket wrenches by trying to remove this bolt, we went to the shop and purchased a long socket wrench with 1/2 inch drive. Even still, the bolt won't budge. When I crank that bolt as hard as I can, I can feel the weight of the entire engine shifting.

I feel like I'm going about this wrong. Can I use something like liquid wrench or PB Blaster to loosen this bolt? I know that I'm royally **ed if the bolt comes off while I'm driving, so I don't want to do anything that might screw it up. Please advice me about the crankshaft bolt.

  • Thanks for the answers. My assistant and I decided to drive the car a while longer before trying anything else because upon inspection, it became apparent that the previous owner of the car already replaced the timing belt and the new one looks like it has a good bit of life left on it. Dec 1, 2011 at 17:54
  • For clarification, a 14 mm bolt has a 19 mm (JIS - Japanese Industrial Standard) head. AFAIK, there are no standard 19 mm bolts in JIS or otherwise. A bolt is sized by the body (outer) diameter of the threads, not the size of wrench you turn it with.
    – user16128
    Mar 17, 2020 at 2:49

6 Answers 6


There is some sort of a lock-tight compound inside that thread. I have already removed that screw in my V6 Accord twice. (Practically the same engine) The first time was a pain. I have good socket spanners so instead of braking a socket I broke a, 1/2" in diameter, extension shaft. I used 5 feet long extension bars on both sides of a wrench - delivered torque was at least 240 kgm ( 1800 foot pounds). The screw did not even budge. The fix - You have to use an acetylene torch on the head of the nut (NOT the wheel !!!) Once you have the bolt glowing red hot use a good 1/2" impact gun. That did the trick for me. The second time (after 5 years) removing the screw went without any problem - with just an impact gun.


Honda crank pulley bolts are always a pain to remove, but I think most Honda products have right handed threads, so:

Easy way: Lots of penetrating lube with a 3/4" impact and 19mm socket

Hard way: The way you're trying. Put more back into it.

  • What, specifically, should I ask for when I go to the store to get "penetrating lube"? Nov 21, 2011 at 18:44
  • I've always been a fan of "Free All" but other people like PB Blaster. Just spray it where the bolt head meets the pulley and wait a few minutes. You might repeat the process a couple of times.
    – Jaime
    Nov 21, 2011 at 18:48
  • Well, after a 1/2" impact wrench failed to do the trick, I put my 1/2" socket on a ratchet with a four foot breaker bar. I cranked it, and the socket broke! Nov 25, 2011 at 3:48
  • I've had the best results with "Liquid Wrench", but "PB Blaster" is almost as good. When using a breaker bar, you need to use a 6 point socket, prefereably an impact socket. 12 point sockets are real common in most kits, but are fairly weak. 6 point regular sockets are better, but the best are impact sockets (of which I've only seen 6 point). Dec 1, 2011 at 15:18

The crankshaft bolt on that engine is just a standard right hand thread bolt. The correct way to get the bolt off is to get as big of an impact as necessary to make it happen. If a 1/2" impact does not cut it then get a 3/4". If you are breaking sockets then you are using the wrong sockets. Make sure to use an impact socket.

I have found that penetrating lube on these bolts does not do much good, but heat does. I don't mean heat from a propane torch either, I mean real heat from an oxy/acetylene cutting torch. Try this if you a you don't have access to a 3/4" impact or if the 3/4" impact fails.

There is a final approach, but it can be dangerous if you are not VERY careful. First disable the engine so it will crank but not start (i.e. remove the fuel pump relay or unplug the ignition coil pack). You can put a socket attached to a break over bar on the crankshaft bolt and angle the bar so the end is touching the floor or some part of the car that is very solid. Have an assistant with a pry bar hold the socket and breaker over bar firm against the crankshaft bolt while you bump the starter. If done properly, this will cause the starting motion of the engine loosen the bolt. Only do this as an absolute last resort.

For a visual of what I am talking about see this video.

  • 2
    Be super careful with open flame in and around your car. You absolutely must have properly charged fire extinguishers of the correct type WITHIN REACH. That way, if things go wrong, you probably won't die.
    – Bob Cross
    Dec 1, 2011 at 15:03
  • 1
    Also, if that breaker bar pops loose when you're using the starter motor, it will easily kill someone. Make certain that it can't fly around.
    – Bob Cross
    Dec 1, 2011 at 15:06
  • @BobCross Yup, good advice on both points. About the breaker bar, that is why I suggest having an assistant hold it firmly against the bolt with a long pry bar, preferably at an angle where the assistant's head and other extremities are not in line with the bar and where the assistant can get away quickly if things go badly. Dec 1, 2011 at 15:25
  • 4
    Warning don't crank the engine over with the timing belt removed (or loose), this is an interference engine and valve damage can occur. Dec 1, 2011 at 16:22

I used the breaker bar and ignition method. I disabled the engine by pulling the fuel injector fuse. Car cranks but doesn't start. I put the breaker bar and 19mm impact socket in place, made contact with the frame and the breaker bar, and duct taped everything in place. One second on the ignition key and the bolt is loose.

To tighten, get the 50mm crankshaft bolt tool from PepBoys,(no charge if you return it within 5 days), put some locktite glue on the threads, and torque the bolt tight.


When this question was asked eight years ago, extensions, breaker bars and cheater pipes (risky if the pieces break) or using the starter (again, risky if pieces break or risky to the flywheel) were often used by DIYs who did not have an air compressor and an air impact.

Today, the battery powered high torque dewalt impact gun dcf 899 and the Lisle 77080 19 mm Harmonic Balancer Socket for Honda (mentioned by Mark Falagan above) are a relatively affordable way of getting that pulley nut off.

The lisle pulley socket works by using its thicker walls and higher mass to transfer more of the gun's torque to the nut.

I just changed my timing belt last month. I needed the gun on its highest setting and the Lisle socket to get the nut off. Others have reported success with the lisle socket and a mid-range impact gun.

I am providing a link to a DIY for the timing belt. This thread discusses many of the risks of using the starter method and well as the difficulty of using a cheater pipe on a breaker bar.



There is a special crank socket on Amazon it works amazing it is a special alloy to increase torque on your impact

  • 1
    An explanation of this special socket's abilities or a link to the manufacturer's web site might have been an appropriate addition (providing you don't own the company) to this post. As is, 'a special alloy to increase torque' seems like shenanigans to me.
    – user16128
    Mar 17, 2020 at 2:53

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