So, I've been having trouble starting my 02 - Diesel Excursion 4WD (7.3 PSD with 4R100 tranny). I get the squealing/grinding sound of a starter/flexplate with missing teeth. I replaced the starter last month due to the same issue and could see the flex plate had some worn teeth. This is a common issue on this vehicle.

I plan to replace the Flexplate this weekend, but I have to drive it at least 6 times before that. Right now it won't start. If I just put a socket on the front of the cooling fan and turn the engine over manually, will that turn the flexplate as well? I would assume so... but I'm kinda dumb on some engine internals and automatics especially.

I'm also reading thru the flexplate replacement guide for this vehicle and it mentions I should use a "flex plate worm gear" to turn the flexplate to reach all of the bolts when disconnecting it from the crank adapter. Same question - couldn't I just turn the engine crank from the front of the cooling fan with a big wrench/ratchet instead of buying some specialized tool? Seems odd that people would mention this specific tool if that was the case...

  • 1
    You can turn the engine by the crank bolt. The fan clutch is attached to the water pump pulley. You may get some movement but if you're on the compression stroke it'll probably slip if you try turning the engine by the fan clutch nut.
    – Ben
    Sep 14, 2016 at 19:26
  • Feels like it's had to turn, then turns all of a sudden. I would expect that / kinda makes sense. I just wonder for my second part of the question (replacing the flexplate) how much this is actually moving the flex plate around? Should be a tiny amount right?
    – maplemale
    Sep 14, 2016 at 19:31
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    it'll be 1:1 with how much you turn the crank bolt. the hard turning is the engine compression. you could pull the plugs to make it easier.
    – Ben
    Sep 14, 2016 at 21:00
  • 2
    @Ben I think he's going to have a tough time pulling plugs on a 7.3 Powerstroke... (That's the IH T444)
    – SteveRacer
    Sep 15, 2016 at 12:29
  • @SteveRacer indeed. OP could also use a longer breaker bar/ 1/2" drive ratchet. I have a 36" one just for turning over engines.
    – Ben
    Sep 15, 2016 at 12:56

2 Answers 2


I never use the tool, there's never enough room to get it in there. I use a screw driver/pry bar to turn the flywheel/flexplate by the teeth. You should be able to do that once you get the cover and or starter off. And yes you can turn the flywheel/flexplate by turning the crank bolt. That will work fine to move the flywheel/flexplate to get it started, but it's easier to turn it at the flywheel/flexplate with screwdriver/pry bar when you are removing the bolts.


Summit Racing offers a (Performance Tool Flywheel Turners W80510) for under $20. For it to work you have to have a removable cover that allows access to the bottom of the flywheel. I have a similar tool and it works well although it can get tough to turn once the cylinder pressure builds up.

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