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E36 (1991 - 1999)
The E36 chassis 3-Series BMW was a huge hit among driving enthusiasts from the first moment the car hit the pavement. The E36 won numerous awards over the years it was produced and is still a favorite of many BMW enthusiasts to this day! -- View the E36 Wiki

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Old 01-15-2013, 10:43 PM
Freudeam Fahren Freudeam Fahren is offline
Freeway Prince
Location: Baton Rouge, LA
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 190
Mein Auto: E36 328is
Lightbulb Fan clutch removal trick, screw that stupid special tool

Hey this is for any of you that during various occasions have had to take the cooling fan out from the front of your inline-6 e36 to make room or change the waterpump, but can't find a simple way to stop the damn waterpump pulley from rotating with the fan bolt. I looked on various forums and in manuals for how to take out the fan clutch and they all want people to either buy some special tool or tried difficult balancing acts as they try to wedge some kind of ultra thin bike wrench between the bolts on the waterpump pulley to counter-torque it. For a task as simple and as essential(given our engine's tiny living space) as removing the cooling fan from the front thats all quite unneccessary and complicated if you ask me. Besides its hard to find a wrench or other metal thing thin enough to fit in such a small gap(thats why they had to make a special tool i guess).
What I did will I was trying to refurbish my cooling system was I took the accessory belt, relieved the tension and unwrapped it from the other pulleys, but kept it wrapped arround the water pump pulley, which is the one that rotates with the fan clutch. I kept it wrapped around the pulley firmly to stop the pulley from rotating and just torqued the big bolt to the right and voila, easy as ****. no tools neccessary other than a good sized adjustable wrench (capable of 31-32mm). The accessory belt provides ample grip to keep the pulley from rotating. Of course i was replacing both the pulley and the belt as well, but the force required shouldn't be enough to break or damage anything as the belt grips onto the pulley quite easily, and my belt was quite worn.
Idk if anyone has already done this or if its just common knowledge at this point, but when i was looking up articles on removing the fan clutch, i didn't come across anything this simple, even the guys at pelican parts were saying the only practical way to remove the fan clutch is to use the special tool(and they've figured out how to do a lot of **** without special BMW tools), and i did not feel like waiting for days to order a special part just to remove a damn fan since all my other parts came in already, and i was pretty frustrated that i would have to order another special part and wait even longer when i have been on a time crunch to atleast finish the cooling system before my classes start. So one day I thought about using a rubber grip to hold the pulley with my hand while i torque, then i thought, "**** why not just use the accessorry belt? its designed to grip on the pulleys without slipping anyways" If it sounds like im being a bit pompous its because i am a little bit. It might be a simple thing that I figured out, but so much of my project was being halted because of this stupid fan clutch and not having the time to order another "special tool" because of all the other **** i have to do to my car. so for any of you newbies that are left scratching your head whenever your haynes/bentley/chilton manual tells you to remove the cooling fan for every simple task this should help you out
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