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Fan Clutch Removal

Old 05-16-2009, 06:17 PM
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Fan Clutch Removal

I'm in the process of installing an electric fan setup on the truck in my signature. I'm trying to remove the factory fan clutch and am having problems. I've done it before on this truck but it's been a while and it's being stubborn.

The Flex-A-Lite instructions say to use the 36mm wrench and turn it counter clockwise to remove the nut. I tried that and my 8mm wrench on the pulley keeps slipping and tries to strip the bolt. I thought I remembered the clutch assembly having reverse threads but I tried that and I still keep stripping 8mm bolt heads.

What can I do differently? Is there a special tool to hold the pulley in place while I turn the fan clutch? I think I've seen something that holds 2 or three bolt heads at once. Are the instructions wrong in telling me to turn the 36mm nut counter clockwise? I didn't want to strip any more of the pully nuts so I've left it until the morning. I was thinking a large strap wrench might do the trick but I'm sure there is a better way. Thanks for your help
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Old 05-16-2009, 06:19 PM
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The big nut goes clockwise. If you hit the wrench with a hammer you will probably get it free easier. You can hold the pulley with a pipe wrench or big channellocks (wrap the belt around the pulley to prevent gouging the pulley).
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Old 05-16-2009, 06:21 PM
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Turn the nut clockwise as you face it.
Here's my homemade fan removal tools-


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Old 05-17-2009, 06:41 AM
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Thanks for the help. I'm going to start with it again this morning. I used a breaker bar with the 36mm wrench and tried snatching it quickly to get it to break loose yesterday but it wouldn't come loose. I'm not sure if I have a pipe wrench or channellocks that big but I get the idea. It looks like from the tools that a 3rd gen pulley is larger. I'll let you know how it goes.

infidel - nice looking tools. It appears that you've had to do it more than once?
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Old 05-17-2009, 08:25 AM
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i used a strap wrench to hold the pulley, pinned it so it was tight and then i hit the other wrench 4 pounder.
popped right off.
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Old 05-17-2009, 02:50 PM
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I got to practice removing and installing my shroud and serpentine belt this weekend. I also figured out that my water pump has a very slight leak. I did not get to install my electric fan kit.

I guess I tightened the crap out of the fan clutch when I started off turning it to the left. I should have looked here when I thought I remembered the fan clutch having reverse threads instead of following the instructions. I can't get the thing off. Of course my strap wrench was about an inch too small to fit the pulley. I took a piece of heater hose, opened it up, and then put it between the pulley and a ratchet strap thinking I could accomplish the same thing this way. I then proceeded to hit the 36mm wrench with the 4lb hammer. Nothing. Last time I took it off it was fairly straight forward and I had it off in 30 minutes. I've spent 4.5 hours trying to get it off this time and it doesn't want to cooperate. I don't have a pipe wrench that opens up to 6" to fit the pulley but it seems like it would be a tight fit even if I did.

I've had the kit for a month and this is the first opportunity I've had to put it on. I guess I'll have to make a tool like infidels and try again when I have some free time. I was going to buy a larger strap wrench but none of the local stores have one. Any other words of wisdom or tricks that might help me next time? Thanks
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Old 05-17-2009, 03:54 PM
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Forgot to tell you that even though I have the tools I always use a drift on the right side of the nut flat and hand sledge to give it a good whack.
Don't shy, hit it hard, once is enough.
Otherwise even with the tools they don't always break loose.
Some folks use an air chisel with a blunt tip on the right side nut flat to spin them all the way off.
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Old 05-17-2009, 07:46 PM
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Be wary of flexlite fans and thermostat boxes I have had nothing but problems with them just be sure to keep your old set up in the truck in case
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Old 05-18-2009, 05:55 PM
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Several months ago I took the fan off of my truck. I got tired of beating on the nut so I ended up taking the the whole fan assembly off. Before I did that, I taped a 2x2 piece of cardboard to the radiator fins to protect them. I tried using a 16 inch pair of chanellock pliers to hold the pulley; a 36mm wrench and a 2lb sledge. I even used a drift punch - never could get the thing to budge. I was going clockwise too. After I removed the whole assembly, I mounted the bracket in a large vice; got a friend to hold the pulley with the chanellock pliers and then I hit the wrench a couple of taps and the nut popped loose. Fortunately for me, I didn't damage the fan blades or anything else. Despite my pounding, even the nut didn't suffer too bad. I might add, the fan assembly with the mounting bracket attached is fairly heavy and very awkward to handle; especially trying to remove it from the engine compartment.

Last edited by billmac; 05-18-2009 at 05:56 PM. Reason: to correct wording
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Old 05-18-2009, 07:51 PM
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I certainly wasn't afraid to hit the thing. I was wailing on it pretty hard with no luck. I couldn't get the pulley to keep from slipping. I picked up a different strap wrench and a pulley holding tool from Napa this morning. It'll be a couple of weeks before I have another opportunity to try but hopefully I'll have better luck. It shouldn't be this hard! Thanks for all the help
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Old 05-18-2009, 08:30 PM
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Try using an air hammer if you have access to one. Works for me every time. Just be careful, but it will work.
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Old 05-30-2009, 06:22 PM
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So I finally got the fan off today. I had to turn the nut to the LEFT - COUNTER CLOCKWISE!!! I tried and tried using a pulley holder and a BFH but couldn't get it off. Then I used an air chisel with a blunt edge, hitting the side of the wrench. The 36mm nut actually started to just round and wouldn't budge. I got fed up and took it to a local repair shop and the tech took out a Matco fan cluch wrench set that hooked to an air chisel and he worked on it for an hour. Then when he told the owner he couldn't get it off the owner walked over with an air chisel and cut into the side of the 36mm nut and it popped right off - turning counter clockwise.

I'm just glad it came off...I was worried when it started to round. The 36mm wrench actually started to round too. I was almost positive that the threads were reversed and from what you told me I didn't have a doubt. I'm glad that guy didn't listen to me! Thought I'd give an update...
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Old 07-26-2009, 10:46 PM
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So it wasnt reverse threads?
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Old 07-27-2009, 07:13 AM
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Nope, mine definately wasn't reverse threaded.
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Old 07-27-2009, 08:51 AM
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I used a wrench and a air chisel on the end of it. Broke it lose everytime without even breaking a sweat.
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