I am new to working on cars and this is the first timing belt change I have attempted. I was trying to remove the crankshaft bolt using a breaker bar and my pulley broke. Now I am unable to remove the crank pulley bolt as a result.

The car is a 1996 4Runner Limited 3.6 liter V6.

Any advice on what I can do next?

Here is a video explaining the details of what happened.

  • Thanks for question and welcome to the site! I think you should get some good answers from the community. Is your 4Runner an automatic or standard transmission? Nov 21, 2016 at 4:10
  • Thanks @DucatiKiller. The car is an automatic. Tomorrow I plan to heat the bolt with a propane torch and then use a breakerbar along with bumping the starter motor to try and get the bolt off. I already ordered a new harmonic balancer as the old one can't be salvaged.
    – EasyOhm
    Nov 21, 2016 at 7:07
  • 1
    The propane heating could work, If it does it will need a new bolt. You could try a 3/4" drive impact gun. Nov 21, 2016 at 7:21

2 Answers 2


Using the starter to crank the bolt off seems to have worked for a decent number of people on the internet, but seems slightly dangerous. Heat seems hit or miss on a bolt that is usually torqued well beyond its official torque numbers.

When I encountered the same problem with a Honda crankshaft pulley bolt, I ended up using a 1/2" drive impact gun with a massive, 2 pound impact socket. While I don't fully understand the physics behind it, the added mass makes it more impact-y, or something. After breaking 2 breaker bars trying to get the bolt off with the official pulley holder tool, one of these big sockets got it out in 2 seconds, no holder tool required. I think this would certainly be a safer thing to try, and would work despite being unable to hold the pulley in place

Just need to find one for whatever size bolt that is on the Toyota


I recently did this same job on a '99, with the same engine. I used the starter-bump method to loosen my pulley bolt. It took just a single quarter- to half-second impulse to break it loose. [EDIT: be sure to disable ignition / remove sparkplug wires before doing this!]

Also, some advice for when you go to tighten your NEW bolt on your new pulley: I have that same pulley holding tool. It did not seem particularly ideal for holding that particular pulley. While trying to pull your torque wrench to 217 ft-lbs, you will likely find that that tool will want to twist out of the pulley's holes (especially if you are relying on the trucks frame, down by the AC compressor line, as a leverage point for the tool.) My solution to that problem was to get a friend to lay on their back under the front of the 4runner, and use their foot to hold the tongs of the fork in place while I pulled on the torque wrench from above.

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