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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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  #1  
Old 01-15-2013, 10:43 PM
Freudeam Fahren Freudeam Fahren is offline
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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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  #2  
Old 01-16-2013, 12:03 AM
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I always just leave the belt tight over the pulleys and tensioner then use a 32mm service wrench and give it a whack with a 24oz. hammer. Worked on every car so far (6 and counting). By the way, you can buy the whole set of service wrenches at Harbor Freight for less than $30 when they're on sale. They are indispensable for suspension work. Good investment.
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  #3  
Old 01-16-2013, 07:16 AM
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I do as Ken does, don't touch the belts at all before removal and give the 32mm a good whack. Voila, that's it.

If you just try to pull, you can just spin the engine.

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Old 01-16-2013, 10:16 AM
SCJon SCJon is offline
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Originally Posted by hornhospital View Post
I always just leave the belt tight over the pulleys and tensioner then use a 32mm service wrench and give it a whack with a 24oz. hammer. Worked on every car so far (6 and counting). By the way, you can buy the whole set of service wrenches at Harbor Freight for less than $30 when they're on sale. They are indispensable for suspension work. Good investment.
You wouldn't happen to have the set name would you? I was there Sunday with money burning a hole in my pocket and came out with only a 1/2 drive torque wrench. Couldn't find anything else.
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:24 AM
rdorman rdorman is offline
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Wrench and whack. Sometime even with channel locks works. Or a wedge between the belt and pully if it turns. Fortuniately, never needed more.
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  #6  
Old 01-16-2013, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by SCJon View Post
You wouldn't happen to have the set name would you? I was there Sunday with money burning a hole in my pocket and came out with only a 1/2 drive torque wrench. Couldn't find anything else.
Here you go, Jon.

Wait for a sale or use a coupon:

http://www.harborfreight.com/15-piec...set-93668.html

I paid $29.99 for mine. Use them ALL the time.
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hornhospital View Post
Here you go, Jon.

Wait for a sale or use a coupon:

http://www.harborfreight.com/15-piec...set-93668.html

I paid $29.99 for mine. Use them ALL the time.
I must have those.
Thanks for the link Ken!
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SCJon View Post
You wouldn't happen to have the set name would you? I was there Sunday with money burning a hole in my pocket and came out with only a 1/2 drive torque wrench. Couldn't find anything else.
Jon, I was just looking online to get the stock number and it looks like HF doesn't carry the $25 set anymore with the 32mm size. Their metric combo wrench sets top out at 25mm and their jumbo set starts at 35mm. This is the only set that has a 32mm now it appears....
Northern Tool does have the 32mm individually for $9 though....
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Old 01-16-2013, 01:45 PM
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That's the same one I linked, Don. The "list" price is $44.99, but it always sells for less than that. Typical HF hanky-panky with the price listing, they frequently run a "sale" on them for $34.99 and list the 'regular' price as $54.99 (SAVE $20!), but if you're patient they run them about twice a year at $29.99.

I have severely beat on mine for two years and haven't broken one yet. I mean, really abused them. Frankly I was surprised. When you put 290 pounds on the end of a 3' cheater pipe and bounce on it, and nothing breaks but the grip of the bolt on the nut, that's good stuff.
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1995 318is "Bebe"; 1993 325is "Elvira" 1985 635CSi "Katja" 1984 633CSi "Sylvia"
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Last edited by hornhospital; 01-16-2013 at 01:48 PM.
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  #10  
Old 01-16-2013, 03:41 PM
SCJon SCJon is offline
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Sorry OP, I jacked this thread. I will go back to HF this weekend and see what I can find. They had a tent sale or something last weekend, nothing good though. Thanks Ken and Don, I have options and alternatives now.
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Old 01-17-2013, 04:19 AM
hnaz hnaz is online now
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Channel Locks, grip, rubber mallet strike, done. Done in no time.
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  #12  
Old 01-17-2013, 01:22 PM
john kaminski john kaminski is offline
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Wonder how replacing the cloth strap on a strap wrench with a length of an old belt would work on this and other applications ?
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Old 01-17-2013, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by john kaminski View Post
Wonder how replacing the cloth strap on a strap wrench with a length of an old belt would work on this and other applications ?
Sounds suspiciously like reinventing the wheel.

What's wrong with the belt already on it?
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Old 01-17-2013, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by hornhospital View Post
That's the same one I linked, Don. The "list" price is $44.99, but it always sells for less than that. Typical HF hanky-panky with the price listing, they frequently run a "sale" on them for $34.99 and list the 'regular' price as $54.99 (SAVE $20!), but if you're patient they run them about twice a year at $29.99.

I have severely beat on mine for two years and haven't broken one yet. I mean, really abused them. Frankly I was surprised. When you put 290 pounds on the end of a 3' cheater pipe and bounce on it, and nothing breaks but the grip of the bolt on the nut, that's good stuff.
Yeah, I think we both posted that about the same time LOL.

I was really looking for the set I got a year or so ago. It's a set of combination wrenches that has the same as this set that goes from 8mm to 32mm that I got at HF for $22.
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Old 01-17-2013, 03:13 PM
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Sounds suspiciously like reinventing the wheel.

What's wrong with the belt already on it?
The cloth won't grip a polyribbed pulley.

I actually had a few strap wrenches that were made with a thick rubber strap. They were a little unwieldy though and I never cared for them, so I'm not convinced it would work on this.

Again, just a quick whack with the mallet. There's no problem with that and it's dead simple.

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Old 01-18-2013, 03:34 PM
john kaminski john kaminski is offline
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Just thought strap wrench with old belt ould provide better grip with leverage of the wrench if nut was really tight. Never tried just hiting the wrench with a mallet - will try next time. However when tightening I would feel more secure holding the pully than whacking it back tight. I did make a holding tool out of some scrap steel using a blown water pump to get the shape and holes right. Works a bit better than levering a screw driver across the bolts.
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Old 01-18-2013, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by john kaminski View Post
Just thought strap wrench with old belt ould provide better grip with leverage of the wrench if nut was really tight. Never tried just hiting the wrench with a mallet - will try next time. However when tightening I would feel more secure holding the pully than whacking it back tight. I did make a holding tool out of some scrap steel using a blown water pump to get the shape and holes right. Works a bit better than levering a screw driver across the bolts.
If I'm not mistaken, you don't have to worry about getting it real tight as the rotation of the engine tightens it. I'm open to correction if I'm wrong.
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Old 01-19-2013, 11:33 AM
john kaminski john kaminski is offline
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Yes rotation direction "tends to'' tighten it but being an old belt and suspenders guy for this type of thing I use the words "tends to" rather than - will definitly will keep it tight and act accordingly. I believe Chrysler cars in years past had left hand threads on their lug nuts for the same idea but they still told you to snug them up. How do the rest of you feel about how much to tighten the fan nut ?
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Old 01-19-2013, 11:50 AM
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If I'm not mistaken, you don't have to worry about getting it real tight as the rotation of the engine tightens it. I'm open to correction if I'm wrong.

That's the purpose of the left hand thread's BUT, you still need to make certain it's tight or you may go through 2 new fans in 3 days like I did. I'd replaced my fan because it chucked a couple of blades and when I put it back on I relied on the friction of the belts to hold the nut while I tightened it. This is a bit extreme but a couple days later during hot weather and after sitting in a drive through line for a while, probably long enough for the viscous clutch to kick in and be spinning the fan, I needed to pull out into traffic. It was a 6 lane road and I had to really get on the throttle to get across the first three lanes then back down to a stop to wait for an opening in the direction I needed to go. Apparently the quick acceleration with the viscous clutch engaged followed by the hard deceleration left enough inertia in the fan that it loosened the nut and spun out and off the water pump. Fortunately it only damaged the fan shroud and didn't puncture the radiator!
Sooooo......my advice and now my practice is I give the wrench a couple whacks with the hammer to tighten the nut and finish off the job.
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Old 01-19-2013, 11:50 AM
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This is what the Bentley says.
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Old 01-19-2013, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by dc_wright View Post
That's the purpose of the left hand thread's BUT, you still need to make certain it's tight or you may go through 2 new fans in 3 days like I did. I'd replaced my fan because it chucked a couple of blades and when I put it back on I relied on the friction of the belts to hold the nut while I tightened it. This is a bit extreme but a couple days later during hot weather and after sitting in a drive through line for a while, probably long enough for the viscous clutch to kick in and be spinning the fan, I needed to pull out into traffic. It was a 6 lane road and I had to really get on the throttle to get across the first three lanes then back down to a stop to wait for an opening in the direction I needed to go. Apparently the quick acceleration with the viscous clutch engaged followed by the hard deceleration left enough inertia in the fan that it loosened the nut and spun out and off the water pump. Fortunately it only damaged the fan shroud and didn't puncture the radiator!
Sooooo......my advice and now my practice is I give the wrench a couple whacks with the hammer to tighten the nut and finish off the job.
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This is what the Bentley says.
Thanks guys. Next time I will give it the whack like suggested. I do have the proper hold down tool so it will be easy for me.
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1991 735i - Sold
1992 525i - Sold
1995 325is - Sold
2000 528i - Sold

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Old 01-20-2013, 02:11 PM
john kaminski john kaminski is offline
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To actually use a torque wrench you would need a 32mm crows foot. However lacking that you could just put a nut & bolt in a vice or what ever and torque it to the specified torque a few times to get the feel for it and then torque the fan nut with a plain wrench to the same pull feeling. Should be pretty close and for sure a heck of a lot closer than a wack with a mallet, especially if no type of holding tool is used.
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