It sounds ridiculous but I have to wait until tomorrow for the tool, but I'm sure there is a way to do it? I haven't even attempted it yet on fear that I mess something up big time. My 95 Camry needs the puller with the 3 arms on it where you put in two bolts and turn it... Any feedback would be helpful and appreciated!

  • Tonight, before you get the tool, soak it in penetrating oil to help it break loose tomorrow. Might help to whack it with a rubber mallet a few times. Be sure to hit opposite sides
    – rpmerf
    Commented Mar 16, 2016 at 20:54
  • What belts are you trying to change? Commented Mar 16, 2016 at 21:29
  • @ducati well I'm trying to change the water pump, but since I'm in there, the timing belt also Commented Mar 16, 2016 at 21:59
  • 1
    You can use an air hammer and a pry bar if you need to but it's safer to use a puller kit instead.
    – Ben
    Commented Mar 16, 2016 at 23:34
  • I tend to go by the addage of "The right tool for the right job". If the puller will be with you tomorrow, be patient. You don't want to do something which could put you in a world of pain for the sake of one day spend waiting for the tool which will make the process easy. Commented Mar 17, 2016 at 13:43

1 Answer 1


There is a way to do it. You put a wrench on the pulley bolt and block the other end against the floor or the frame. Then you use the starter motor to turn the engine (DO NOT START IT, JUST TURN IT) for at most one or two revolutions of the crank. Just enough to break the bolt loose.

A couple of things to watch out for:

  • Be sure the wrench is setup properly to remove the bolt, otherwise turning the engine will tighten it, and that could lead to snapping it off.
  • DO NOT drain the oil before attempting this. The oil must be at normal levels when you do this or you could cause a lot of internal damage as parts will rub together that were never intended to do that.
  • If you are trying to replace the timing belt, there are many videos on YouTube on how to do this. Just be sure you pick one by someone competent.
  • Be sure to remove the spark plug wires from the plugs, and remove the plugs so the engine won't start, and you don't make the starter motor fight engine compression.

Here's a link to a step by step with pictures, but he does reccomend using the harmonic balancer puller in his tutorial.


Hope that helps!

  • 1
    I think the OP is wanting to slide the pulley off the crankshaft, not remove the pulley bolt.
    – HandyHowie
    Commented Mar 16, 2016 at 20:40
  • 1
    @NathanielDavidson I believe you will need to remove the crank pulley to get the belt off/on
    – rpmerf
    Commented Mar 16, 2016 at 20:49
  • 1
    Yes, the pulley must come off on the Gen 4 ('97 to 2001) Camry with the 5S-FE engine to change the belt. I believe it's true for your Gen 3 as well.
    – cdunn
    Commented Mar 16, 2016 at 21:03
  • 1
    BTW, since you're in there and it's a pain to get in there, I would def recommend changing out the water pump while your there. It's not that expensive, and it avoids having to go through all that prep work again later if it fails. And it is a relatively common failure.
    – cdunn
    Commented Mar 16, 2016 at 21:17
  • 1
    @cdunn. That's the whole reason I'm there in the first place, the water pump. It's a pain that I have to unbolt the alternator, release tension pulley and crankshaft, then remove alternator belt, timing belt, align engine with top dead center etc...I joined this site because before this, I had never been under the hood of a car before lol it's a little overwhelming Commented Mar 16, 2016 at 21:57

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .