What Size Bolt To Install Power Steering Pulley?

It’s not every often you need to change your Power steering pulley on your favorite car. Then again, it’s not entirely unusual to replace the old one that has been damaged or worn out due to constant use. This is one of those car chores you need to do rather not when you have to.

Doing this procedure, one common question may come into mind, what size bolt to install or remove power steering pulley? 

3/8-16 is the perfect bolt size you need to remove and install a power steering pulley. Although this may not apply to every car brand and model in the market. For the most part, 3/8-16 works just fine without much compatibility issues. 

Power steering pulley plays a huge role in making your steering soft and smooth to control. Instead of using manual hand force, the clever design of power steering allows you to use hydraulic pressure to control wheel movement. Naturally, when there is hydraulics, there will be some sort of pump to create pressure. And the pulley turns that pump rotor in the process. 

This process clearly shows how important all of these components are. If any of these loses its integrity, your whole power steering system loses its usability. Some common symptoms are as follows: 

  • Hard steering wheel 
  • Choppy movement of the steering wheel 
  • Pulls to one side 
  • Weird noises while turning 
  • Excessive Vibrations on steering wheels, ETC. 
what size bolt to install power steering pulley

These symptoms have a close relation to the power steering system. If you are facing the above issue, check your power steering system. That includes the pulley, pump, belt, fluid, and reservoir. All the other problems except pulleys are easy to fix. But when it comes to the pulley, it needs your undivided attention. 

One of the most crucial steps of fixing a power steering pulley would be changing the pulley itself. Although you can’t just pull it or unscrew it as it doesn’t have any thread on. You will need a pulley removal tool set with all the necessary bolts, nuts, and clamps. A competitive removal set will undoubtedly save you a lot of time in this case. 

Alternatively, you will need 3/8-16 bolts for the removal operation. If that doesn’t fit your pulley shaft check the manufacturer’s spec sheet for the proper size. As a last resort when either of those is not available, you try to closely match any bolt you have with the shaft. Then you can bring it to a hardware store for a longer and stronger bolt for your pulley operation.

What Is A Power Steering Pump Pulley? 

The power steering pump pulley is a fundamental part of the power steering system. Most of the time it’s on the side of the engine coupled with just one or multiple belts going through other pulleys. When the belt moves, the pulley moves, and that’s how the Power steering pump gets all the mechanical energy from an engine. 

Depending on the vehicle model and internal structure, the power steering pulley can be different. But the main purpose stays the same. Pulley runs the internal pump mechanism and with that steering function it also maintains fluid flow/pressure throughout the power steering system. 

What Does A Power Steering Pump Pulley Do? 

The power steering pump pulley gives power to the power steering pump. When the engine is running, some of the mechanical power from the engine transferred through belts. That way the pulley can circulate steering fluid from the reservoir to various channels and dump it back in the reservoir again. 

The power steering pulley moves the driveshaft and pump rotor along with it in a more detailed sense. The rotor creates suction that pulls oil from the reservoir. Besides that, opening and closing of the control valve make adequate hydraulic pressure to run steering smoothly. 

What Tool Is Needed To Remove And Install A Power Steering Pump Pulley? 

The most effective tool you need to remove and install a power steering pulley is the pulley removal toolset. You can find several size pulley shaft bolts, two-part clamps, nuts, and so on in the toolset. The only other tool you will need is a ratchet wrench to tighten or loosen the bolt. 

In general, there are two ways you can remove a power steering pump pulley. The first one is by force with hammers and wrenches and the Second one is to use the right removing toolset. If you aren’t a professional mechanic go for the 2nd  method as it’s a much easier and safer way to remove the power steering pulley. 

How Far To Press On The Power Steering Pulley? 

When installing a new pulley, you need to make sure you have placed it correctly. A very common question is how far you should press on the power steering pulley. In a few words, your pulley needs to align with the flushed driveshaft or the hub perfectly. 

For example, let’s say you have installed your pulley to the hub, it looks nice and snug. But you have noticed that the hub is still inside the pulley shaft. This is not the correct way. Press the

pulley as long as you can see the hub protruding through the pulley shaft. Otherwise, the belt won’t align correctly. 

Should The Power Steering Pulley Have Play? 

This is totally normal for most cases where power pulley steering has a little play. The amount of vibration power steering pump goes through at times some of the nuts can loosen up a bit, hence the play. As long as the play is around 1mm you are safe for the most part, if not, do a thorough checking. 

In a general sense, your pulley should not have any play in the first place. If you have bolted the pump correctly there should not be any play whatsoever. But it doesn’t mean it won’t lose in the future. One way to prevent that is to put some thread-lock on the bolts so it won’t become loose. 

What Causes Power Steering Pulley Wobble? 

There are a number of reasons that can cause your power steering pulley to wobble. Some of them are:

  • Damaged pulley 
  • Uneven pulley installation 
  • Lose pump fittings 
  • Faulty idler tensioner 
  • Bad harmonic balancer 
  • Wore out belt 

Any of these can cause a wobbling in your power steering pulley that will make noises and hamper overall pulley operation. In most cases, the wobble happens when you mess the pulley during installation. Try to use the right tools when removing or installing a new pulley. 

How To Remove A Broken Power Steering Pulley? 

The power steering pulley can break at any time whether it’s due to an accident or simply at the end of the life span. It’s even common to break the lips of the steering pulley that prevents you from completely removing it. Or you have a faulty tensioner or balancer that wears your pulley in time. 

In any case, if you end up with damaged or broken pulleys that need changing, here are some easy steps to follow:

  1. Disconnect battery
  2. Remove covers 
  3. Disconnect fluid line 
  4. Pulley removal 
  5. New Pulley Installation 
  6. Test new pulley 
  7. Refill fluid 
  8. Reconnect essential parts 

Step 1 – Disconnect battery: Before making any changes and repair of your car, It’s a good practice to disconnect the battery first. That way you won’t short circuit any electrical components. 

Step 2 – Remove covers: In order to get into the Power steering pulley, you may need to remove covers or engine covers. It’s different in cars depending on the Brand and model. This is to access the power steering pulley and the belts. 

Step 3 – Remove belts: Once you have access to the pulley, gently remove the belt. You don’t want to damage the belt during the removal process. 

Step 4 – Disconnect fluid line: If you have ample headroom for pulley removing operation, you don’t need this step. But if the internal parts are in the way, you might have to remove the whole pump. For that, you need to disconnect the fluid lines and drain all the fluid. 

Step 5 – Pulley removal: Now comes the important part- removing the Pulley. Don’t try to force-pull the pulley with general tools. There is a special toolset for that. Check out our Power steering pump pulley puller reviews for in-depth information on the tools. If the lip of the pulley is broken, try welding a large nut on the pulley. 

Step 6 – New Pulley Installation: Use the toolset to place the new pulley on the shaft and slowly tighten the nut to press it in place. Make sure you see the beginning of the shaft from the outside. 

Step 7 – Reconnect essential parts: Once you have replaced the pulley, it’s time to replace it bank on the engine fittings. Remember to place thread-lock on nuts and bolts so they don’t lose easily. Then reattach the belts carefully. 

Step 8 – Refill fluid: Now that you have done the hard part, let’s refill the reservoir with the proper or recommended fluid. Check if there is any leakage in the channels. 

Step 9 – Test new pulley: When done, connect batteries and start the engine. Pull up some rev and see how everything is holding up. If it looks ok, take her out for a spin to the performance. 

That’s how you replace a broken power steering pulley with a removal toolset.

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Frederick James is an expert mechanic with years of experience under his belt. He excels in diagnosing, troubleshooting, repairing, and modifying everything related to automobiles including but not limited to cars and pickup trucks. Read more...

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