Auto Repair Q&A



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Removing the Power Steering Pump Pulley

Power Steering Box (typical)

There are many times where removal of the power steering pump’s pulley is needed. Some p/s pump replacement kits, for example, do not include a replacement pulley and expect the mechanic to remove the pulley from the old pump and install it on the new one. Sometimes the problem isn’t a broken p/s pump, but instead a bent or broken pulley.

Whatever the reason, removal of the p/s pump’s pulley can be daunting for those not familiar with how to do it. Specific tools are required to do it correctly and careful attention to balance is important as removing the pulley incorrectly can result in a bent or broken pulley. Which defeats the purpose of removing it in the first place.

Start by removing the power steering pump itself. On some vehicles, it is possible to remove the pump’s pulley without removing the pump first, but it’s nearly always easier and less problematic to remove the p/s pump assembly. Refer to your repair manual or shop manual for details on how to remove the pump.

If the pump can stay in place while removing the pulley, then the serpentine/accessory belt that powers the pump (and runs around the pulley) will have to be loosened and removed. On most vehicles, a tensioner pulley or the loosening of another accessory (typically the alternator) is the proper way to loosen the accessory belt.

Removing the Pulley
How to go about removing the pulley will depend on the way that the power steering pump’s pulley is attached. Most p/s pulleys are mounted in one of two ways: on a flat-ended central shaft or over/around a central shaft and held into place with a pressure retainer. Having the right tool for the type of pulley mount is important. For the reasons already outlined above and because the right tool makes the job much easier to accomplish. Most pulley removers can be purchased or rented from any auto parts store.

The right tool will, again, depend on the type of pulley mount used on your vehicle’s p/s pump. For a pulley mounted to a flat-ended shaft, there will be 3 or more bolts attaching that pulley to the shaft. The puller will be designed to clamp to the pulley’s outer rim at regular intervals to hold it squarely as the bolts are loosened and removed from the pulley and shaft. This puller keeps the pulley straight as the bolts are turned and removed and provides a counter to “lock” the pulley in place so the bolts can be turned without spinning the pulley and power steering pump shaft.

Another common pulley removal tool is made for the central shaft held through the pulley with a pressure bolt or nut. With these, the puller first locks the pulley into place so that the nut/bolt can be turned and removed without spinning the pulley. These typically, again, clamp to the outside of the pulley at regular intervals or on the pulley’s splines. Once the retainer nut/bolt is removed, the central shaft of the puller can then be extended to the shaft and then slowly cranked with a wrench to pull the pulley away from the shaft slowly and evenly. This keeps the pulley balanced and unbent and reduces the pressure that might otherwise be put on the p/s pump’s shaft.

Removing the power steering pump pulley is a relatively easy job that any home mechanic can do, given the proper tools and guidance. Most amateur DIY mechanics can accomplish this job in half an hour or less, depending on how easily accessed the p/s pump is when mounted on the car.