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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 01-03-2011, 06:00 PM
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Any tips for getting the clutch fan off?

I'm trying to replace the thermostat in my car, but I can't get the clutch fan off. I don't have the BMW tool, and would rather avoid buying one if possible.

I've tried hitting the wrench with a hammer, but when ever the nut turns, the pulley turns with it. Has anyone done this without the tool that could give me some advice?
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  #2  
Old 01-03-2011, 06:52 PM
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I used a very large flat blade screw driver that I wedged in between the water pump pulley bolts and the pulley to hold it in place and then smacked the wrench with a hammer while holding the screw driver. It provided just enough hold to get the nut broken loose.
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  #3  
Old 01-03-2011, 07:03 PM
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Ok, thanks for the tip, I'll try that. I'm guessing that I would have to do the same thing with the screwdriver when putting the fan back on, right?
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  #4  
Old 01-03-2011, 07:11 PM
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Joe__Sterling Joe__Sterling is offline
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Yeah that's pretty much what I had to do when replacing my thermostat.
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  #5  
Old 01-03-2011, 07:16 PM
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FenderBender FenderBender is offline
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The easiest way:

Put the wrench on the fan, and smack the wrench with a hammer, works every time.

For install, hold the fan in place, and have someone start the car.
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  #6  
Old 01-03-2011, 07:24 PM
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He already tried smacking the wrench with the hammer..........

I had the same problem on mine. My serpentine belt needed to be replaced so it was slipping a bit when I smacked the wrench. Just needed a little bit more resistance to get it broken loose and the screw driver was just enough. Putting it back on (with a new belt) smacking the wrench the other direction was enough without the belt slippage....
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  #7  
Old 01-03-2011, 07:29 PM
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Whoops, I just read the title, not the first post.
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  #8  
Old 01-03-2011, 07:58 PM
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ZeGerman ZeGerman is offline
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Placing a screwdriver between the pulley bolt heads always works for me.

I'm also assuming you're turning the wrench the correct direction - it's reverse threaded. Just in case:
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Last edited by ZeGerman; 01-03-2011 at 08:00 PM.
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  #9  
Old 01-03-2011, 08:04 PM
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Yep. It's just getting stuck. I'll give it another shot tomorrow.

It would probably help to get an open-ended 32mm wrench as well. I've been using an adjustable wrench that's kinda hard to get a solid hit on with the hammer.
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  #10  
Old 01-03-2011, 08:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cj.surr View Post
Yep. It's just getting stuck. I'll give it another shot tomorrow.

It would probably help to get an open-ended 32mm wrench as well. I've been using an adjustable wrench that's kinda hard to get a solid hit on with the hammer.
Bike shops sell nice, flat 32mm wrenches.

Also, some of this helps a LOT...
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  #11  
Old 01-03-2011, 09:39 PM
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flat steel + Grinder + drill= BMWm50/m20/Ford 3.0 clutch Fan removal tool

Look mom i can use paint

I literally have made like 10 of these stupid things for my friends

Drill the holes so they either fit over the bolts or so you can bolt through them.. (easier to bolt through since its hard to make it perfect)
also the cutout doest have to be round just has to fit over the pully

wedge the bottem end against something with one hand and turn the adjustable wrench.. literally once you make it it only takes 30 seconds to remove the fan and its the same size as the ford 3.0 motors watpump pully 90's-2006

(the first one i made i copied the M20 BMW tool)
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Last edited by noexceptions325; 01-03-2011 at 09:42 PM.
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  #12  
Old 01-03-2011, 09:43 PM
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ZeGerman ZeGerman is offline
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Yep, the bike shops will have a 32mm open wrench for less than $15. A wrench like the one in the photo above will run you around $25 (but they're so much nicer...)
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  #13  
Old 01-04-2011, 02:32 AM
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Harbor Freight Tools has a 16 piece metric combination wrench set that includes a long 32 mm wrench for $28.

http://www.harborfreight.com/hand-to...h-set-541.html

When I bought my set I did it to get the 32mm wrench and at the Harbor Freight store they had the same wrench set for $19.99.

The 32mm wrench in this set sticks up 3"-4" above the radiator when you've got it on the fan clutch nut and you can really get a good shot on it with the hammer.......
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  #14  
Old 01-04-2011, 06:19 AM
injunmort injunmort is offline
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you can use a large pipe wrench or strap wrench on the fan clutch, 32mm nut is left handed so if you are facing the fan from the front of the car you will be turning the wrench to the right. it should come right off as it is only torqued on to about 12 ft/lbs.
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  #15  
Old 01-04-2011, 06:23 AM
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where in CT are you? I'm in Jersey and I have the correct tools.
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  #16  
Old 01-04-2011, 10:42 AM
Mark@EAC Mark@EAC is offline
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no replacement for the fan holder tool. Some people get lucky and get them off with wrench taps etc but encounter a stubborn one and you will be praying for the holder tool. Best 30 bucks I have spent on tools, takes 20 seconds now.
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  #17  
Old 01-04-2011, 11:24 AM
Theo podges Theo podges is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noexceptions325 View Post
flat steel + Grinder + drill= BMWm50/m20/Ford 3.0 clutch Fan removal tool

Look mom i can use paint

I literally have made like 10 of these stupid things for my friends

Drill the holes so they either fit over the bolts or so you can bolt through them.. (easier to bolt through since its hard to make it perfect)
also the cutout doest have to be round just has to fit over the pully

wedge the bottem end against something with one hand and turn the adjustable wrench.. literally once you make it it only takes 30 seconds to remove the fan and its the same size as the ford 3.0 motors watpump pully 90's-2006

(the first one i made i copied the M20 BMW tool)
+1! This IS the tool to use for holding the pulley when loosening the nut.
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  #18  
Old 01-04-2011, 11:40 AM
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cj.surr cj.surr is offline
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Thanks for all the suggestions, everybody. I'm gonna try each option in order of easiest to hardest/most expensive. Jamming the screwdriver in the bolts, building the tool out of some scrap metal i have, buying a good wrench and hitting it with a hammer, lastly buying the actual tool.
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlesberry View Post
where in CT are you? I'm in Jersey and I have the correct tools.
Thanks for the offer, man, I actually am kinda close to NJ, but I have no license, which makes it kinda hard to get around.
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  #19  
Old 01-04-2011, 11:46 AM
injunmort injunmort is offline
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i have done many using a large pipe wrench to hold the fan clutch and 32mm wrench on the nut. the pipe wrench faces left and you pull right on the 32mm. you can whack the wrench if you want to but i have found a good hard tug frees it up. fwiw.
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  #20  
Old 01-05-2011, 03:26 PM
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I couldn't get it off with the screwdriver, so I came up with my own method. First, I sprayed it with pb blaster, then I got a grip on two of the pulley nuts with vise grips. It was a little difficult to get the vise grips on, but they stayed on very strong. It was then easy to use the adjustable wrench to get the clutch fan off.
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  #21  
Old 01-05-2011, 03:46 PM
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ZeGerman ZeGerman is offline
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Careful on those pulley bolt heads though. If you round them off with the vise-grips, you're royally screwed.
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  #22  
Old 01-05-2011, 05:55 PM
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I was easy on it anyway, but why is it so important? They sell tools to remove bolts that are stripped if I ever needed to remove the pulley.
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  #23  
Old 01-05-2011, 06:49 PM
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ZeGerman ZeGerman is offline
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It's important because stripping heads off of bolts leads to huge headaches down the road. Even though they make kits to help with all kind of problems (stripped heads, stripped threads, cracked bolts, etc.), that doesn't mean it's easy to get yourself out of trouble. Being able to easily remove the pulley is important because it will be pretty difficult to change your water pump (or a cracked pulley) without removing the pulley.
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  #24  
Old 01-05-2011, 06:58 PM
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Good point.

Any idea why the thermostat may be stuck in the head? I've tried pulling and prying, but I can't get the damn thing out. The DIYs that I am reading make it seem like it should come right out.
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  #25  
Old 01-05-2011, 07:10 PM
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They can be difficult sometimes. It took a little bit of force to remove mine, and I ended up breaking it during removal. It's fairly normal, just be sure you don't lose any bits/pieces down the hole.
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