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Wobbling crank pulley


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21 replies to this topic

#1 TROGDOR!

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Posted 14 May 2006 - 08:27 PM

Had the hood of my Legacy open while the engine was running today, and noticed the crank pulley had a bit of a wobble in it. I've heard this can be a symptom of bad main bearings... but the car still runs perfectly, no knocks, plenty of power, runs smooth as silk, etc. Anything else I should check before assuming I have bearing issues? Could this be caused by an unevenly worn belt? Or could the pulley itself be bad?

If anything else... since the car still runs so well, barring any easy fix... any harm in running it like this?

#2 NorthWet

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Posted 14 May 2006 - 08:34 PM

I can't imagine anything causing a visible wobble while the engine is running that wouldn't be directly related to the pulley, such as it being bent or the pulley bolt having backed out (latter is common on EA82s, don't know about the EJ-series... yet). Seems to me if the main bearing was that badly worn you would have more serious symptoms, like outrageous knock, low/no oil pressure, massive oil leak out of the front seal.

#3 TROGDOR!

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Posted 14 May 2006 - 08:41 PM

Massive oil leak, yes. From the front seal, no. After all, it IS a Subaru. :lol:

I'll be sure to give the pulley bolt a nice pull before hitting the road tomorrow morning, to make sure it's tight. 200 miles from home right now, but I'm not too worried about anything happening- as long as it's been since I had the hood open with the engine running, the car may well have gone over 1000 miles like this already.

Any other quick roadside checks before I head out tomorrow?

#4 svxpert

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Posted 14 May 2006 - 08:50 PM

a wobbly pulley could be the effect of 3 things:

1. crank pulley broken

2. crank pully not tightened down enough

3. keyway on crankshaft ruined

#5 blackbart

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Posted 14 May 2006 - 08:50 PM

Good bet the keyway in the pulley is messed up. I have seen it before on the ej22's. Just hope the keyway in the crank is okay.

#6 grossgary

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Posted 14 May 2006 - 09:28 PM

crank the crap out of it. if it's loose it'll wobble some.
remove it and check it and the crank shaft as well at some point.

the EA82 and ER27 and probably the EJ22 pulleys (pretty sure)...golly i hope this doesn't degrade into the same thing as a week ago..anyway it has a rubber ring in it (i think it does). there are really two parts, an inner and outer ring separated by a thin rubber ring. these outer and inner rings can separate causing multiple issues, one being wobbling. if you tighten it down and nothing happens it is more than likely beginning to separate.

#7 JPX

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Posted 14 May 2006 - 09:44 PM

Check the keyway on the pulley itself too....Here is BAD (left) vs. GOOD (right).

Posted ImagePosted Image

My pulley wobbled bad enough to cause 2 additional headaches:
1. Premature death of alternator bearing
2. Tore apart alternator belt

#8 blackbart

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Posted 14 May 2006 - 09:48 PM

If you need one of these pulleys I have one here and can send it out to you Monday for $25 delivered.

#9 Gnuman

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Posted 14 May 2006 - 10:54 PM

If you need one of these pulleys I have one here and can send it out to you Monday for $25 delivered.

Actually I need one. How much to ship it to CA (say, Berkeley?) Send me a PM? I got a car for parts that had a pully fall off for not being tightened down enough. Heyway is mangled pretty bad, but I have JB Weld for that The pix that JPX posted are nothing. Mine has that cut part going all the way around the pulley. The proper torque for the crank pulely bolt is 150ft-lbs to prevent this kind of thing. . . In other news, the car gave up a fair pile of good parts for me to use fixing other 'roos :headbang:

#10 blackbart

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Posted 14 May 2006 - 11:11 PM

Same price, I have a few of them. PM on the way......

#11 TROGDOR!

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Posted 17 May 2006 - 06:12 PM

Well, I went to put a new pulley on it, and found some bad news... the keyway on the crankshaft is damaged, as is the notch on the pulley. The new pulley wouldn't even fit on. I put the old pulley back on and tightened the bolt to 175ft-lb, and everything feels nice and tight... but it still wobbles.

So in a nutshell, there's no way to fix the wobble without replacing the crankshaft (or the engine).

As long as the pulley is on tight, what's the risk of running it with the wobble? Should it be OK? Or should I start getting ready for an engine swap? :banghead:

#12 operose

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Posted 17 May 2006 - 06:23 PM

Well, I went to put a new pulley on it, and found some bad news... the keyway on the crankshaft is damaged, as is the notch on the pulley. The new pulley wouldn't even fit on. I put the old pulley back on and tightened the bolt to 175ft-lb, and everything feels nice and tight... but it still wobbles.

So in a nutshell, there's no way to fix the wobble without replacing the crankshaft (or the engine).

As long as the pulley is on tight, what's the risk of running it with the wobble? Should it be OK? Or should I start getting ready for an engine swap? :banghead:



I've put 5k miles on mine with the keyway in the crank and the pulley completely screwed...

I bought the highest quality lock-tite I could find, and torqued it down to 180lb-ft

I keep telling my girlfriend "any day now this thing is just going to let loose"

seems like the more I say it the longer it lasts :brow:

#13 nipper

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Posted 17 May 2006 - 07:01 PM

You can make a repair, but realize the odds are the repair made (like the loc-tite) can make removing the pully impossible. If you go the loctite route, i would replace the main seal, then bolt it back on TIGHT. Make sure all the surfaces are clean and use a loctite primer.
You can also try JB weld to rebuild the crank. Again replace the crank seal and clean all the surfaces.
The key doesnt really transmit force, as opposed to holding location, so there are some things that may work.
At this point, you have nothing to loose and everything to gain by trying these things. It's not hopeless yet.
The design does suck, but they all do it. It serves a purpose.
Have you had any work done to the car in the last year ?

nipper

#14 grossgary

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Posted 18 May 2006 - 05:53 AM

he just got the car recently.

don't think you'd have any problem if you can get the new crank pulley to fit. why won't the new one fit? get a file, a dremel or whatever to clean up the crank and get the new pulley on there and crank it HARD. 1/2" socket and 3 feet of pipe have always worked for me steve. i would not waste time on a motor swap if the car runs fine. i've seen a number of cars with sheared pins and keys, crank the pulley on super duper tight (cast iron, won't strip unless you try!) and you're golden. seen this before and no problems. i would not use locktite and i wouldn't worry too much about it. it's not ideal but i haven't seen any break loose that had issues.

#15 DerFahrer

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Posted 18 May 2006 - 07:46 AM

TROGDOR, you've got a PM my friend...

#16 Lawsonmh15

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Posted 19 May 2006 - 07:43 AM

Had the hood of my Legacy open while the engine was running today, and noticed the crank pulley had a bit of a wobble in it. I've heard this can be a symptom of bad main bearings... but the car still runs perfectly, no knocks, plenty of power, runs smooth as silk, etc. Anything else I should check before assuming I have bearing issues? Could this be caused by an unevenly worn belt? Or could the pulley itself be bad?

If anything else... since the car still runs so well, barring any easy fix... any harm in running it like this?


YES!!!!!!! Your engine is NOT, I repeat, NOT ruined. Your mechanic may tell you that, but I (And MANY others) have had this happen and all that needs to be done is get a new crank pulley, and have a new woodruff key put on your crankshaft. about 3.5 hours of labor.:brow:

I can't believe some of the replies. Gary!!! Locktite???

Seriously. I've had this happen. It will NEVER be balanced until the job is done right. I did band-aid fixes for about a week then wised up and had a new crankpulley and woodruff key put on. You do NOT NEED A NEW CRANK SHAFT!!! Just the woodruff key.

If you continue to try driving it "rigged up" so the belts technically stay on, you will be giving some lucky SOB a HELL of a deal on your car. That's how my friend got his sisters' subie. His buddie drove around with the crank pulley issue for a couple of weeks until the car died on the highway. Engine = GONE. So he inherited the subie for the cost of a new engine and a tow...

Wanna be my friend?

#17 coroboto

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Posted 01 July 2010 - 06:06 PM

What exactly is the procedure for doing it the "right" way considering that it seems like the whole cam shaft would have to be removed?

I am gonna file the smeared key way and have my buddy weld it up and file it until the crescent moon fits and the pulley slides over it...right?

#18 lone500

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Posted 01 July 2010 - 06:20 PM

i had this exact same problem from not torquing the bolt down good.

if your pulley is messed up you will need a new one.

basicaly you will have to grind off the old key in the end of the crank. take the crank sprocket off to get the nub of the old key out and put in the new one (and hope to god the hole the key goes in isnt messed up). put in a new key and reassemble and make sure to tighten it very good.

havent had a problem with mine in this area yet. just other problems :P

#19 grossgary

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Posted 01 July 2010 - 08:46 PM

if you crank the pulley down tight enough, it's not coming off. i've installed them without any key in place. with a 3 foot pipe and some stank it's not going anywhere. so whatever you want to do with the key, make it work, just make sure you tighten the SNOT out of the bolt when you reinstall. and make sure the crank pulley is still okay.

#20 MRossmiller

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 06:05 PM

Had the hood of my Legacy open while the engine was running today, and noticed the crank pulley had a bit of a wobble in it. I've heard this can be a symptom of bad main bearings... but the car still runs perfectly, no knocks, plenty of power, runs smooth as silk, etc. Anything else I should check before assuming I have bearing issues? Could this be caused by an unevenly worn belt? Or could the pulley itself be bad?

If anything else... since the car still runs so well, barring any easy fix... any harm in running it like this?


I am posting this for those of you that may be experiencing the P301, P302, P303 and P304 codes - I had the same problem with my 97 Subaru Impreza.

After replacing the plugs (needed) and plug wires, knock sensor, and fuel filter yes the car seemed to run fine - but there was a more serious problem. Having recieved all four cylinders showing misfires, I intuitively thought the problem would have to be with a central function of the ignition system - not a single cylinder problem.

Turns out that the crankshaft alternator belt pulley bolt had loosened causing the pulley to dislodge from the crankshaft and timing sprocket. This caused the pulley and sprocket to walk - damaging the crankshaft, sprocket and pulley when the shaft key wore away. The choice now is an expensive replacement of the engine crankshaft (hopefully no piston or valve damaged) or replace the engine.

My suggestion to all concerned it to have your timing belt, crankshaft pulley and timing sprocket checked ASAP - if this is the probelm it would most certainly result in the four cylinder misfire codes P301, P302, P303 and P304.

Good luck.

#21 WoodsWagon

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 08:47 PM

I am posting this for those of you that may be experiencing the P301, P302, P303 and P304 codes - I had the same problem with my 97 Subaru Impreza.

damaging the crankshaft, sprocket and pulley when the shaft key wore away. The choice now is an expensive replacement of the engine crankshaft (hopefully no piston or valve damaged) or replace the engine.


NO, read the thread, especially if you're going to revive it from 5 years ago. YOU DON'T NEED CRANK OR ENGINE REPLACED!!!!!

Replace the crank pully, bolt, sprocket, and key, clean off the cam and crank sensors that are covered in metal shavings, weld or JB weld the key in the right spot on the crank, and tighten it all down. The key, as Nipper said in the this thread, and I have pointed out many times, does not carry the load. It is merely an allignment device. The flat faces of the crank shoulder (where it steps out right at the oil pump) the crank sprocket, pully and bolt head are what transmit the force. Thats why it's crucial that the bolt keep them clamped together. The snout of the crank only centers the pullys and gives a spot for the key to allign them to TDC. It doesn't need to be structural, just keep everything lined up until the bolt is tightened.

Seems like I've been over this way too many times in the past 6 months, If people could read, or seach (which you obviously did to drag up a 5 year old thread), then I wouldn't have to go over this again and again and again.

I'm not usually a wongleflute and I'm pretty forgiving but for christs sake READ and absorb what's said before giving advise.

#22 Fuzpile

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 09:17 PM

This is one of those deals where a person gets cranky . I'm cranky at 59. The threads also mention the refacing or trueing the surfaces that are mates to the pulley and crank sprocket. Make them true so they can deliver . You may have been the author of that wisdom.




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