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-   -   93 D21 4x4 Head Gasket Advice (

jp2code 03-29-2021 01:28 PM


Originally Posted by LugNut1990 (Post 547278)
Never put a two/three-toed puller on an harmonic balancer (HB), nor use that strap technique. Easily can damage or destroy the HB which normally has a thin rubber layer that absorbs impulses.

BTW, that thin, rubber layer does come apart.

Hoseman1958 03-29-2021 05:35 PM


Originally Posted by alabama_lowlife (Post 547293)
Several of your questions can be answered by looking at the pictures in this thread. The bolts that thread into the harmonic balancer are M6x1.0

Dang! Thank you A! I have watched many videos on this, but wrote down all the steps from this one to serve as a road map.

I don't feel like an idiot when I say I did not see the timing marks on the harmonic balancer and marked it with paint at the point directly on the timing cover pin. Nonetheless, the location of the key hole on the cam sprocket corresponds to the picture in the manual....and the rotor is pointing to the cylinder 1. Today I was going to remove harmonic balancer, distrubutor, oil pump, and front timing cover.

When I crawled under the truck, I double checked for the timing marks on the balancer and I saw them at @ 8:00 position. I put the crank bolt back on and turned until the first mark lines up with the cover pin....which your pics tell me is about 20 degrees before top dead center. Now the keyhole on the cam sprocket is pointing due north. If I move over to the TDC mark, the keyhole on cam sprocket will end up being at 1:00.

The entire right chain guide is "missing" and presumed to be in the oil pan. Is it possible that the chain has skipped a link or two?

I am waiting on the parts, and when they get here, I have a neighbor with lots of experience who will help me.....but even he has seemed confused about how to ensure we are at TDC on the compression stroke on cylinder #1.

Regarding the oil pan. Wish I hadn't read about the amount of trouble I would have if I need to remove the oil pan completely (this is 4x4.) I'm not going to be able to do it in these circumstances and am going to have to hope for the best. Any chance that the plastic chain guide parts have melted and worked their way through the system?

This pictorial that you provided though gives me great confidence about putting everything back together once we are through. Thank you so much for taking the time to provide the thread link! One other harmonic balancer does not have the screw holes so....I bought the 3 jaw puller set from Harbor Freight and will use the "tap method" I have seen described to try and remove the puller.

One final thing....I am trying to do all the grunt work in advance so that my neighbor can can show up and help with the "experience stuff." If I line up the timing marks on the harmonic balancer with the timing cover shown in your pics, will I be safe in moving forward with next steps to remove timing chain cover if keyhole on camshaft and rotor direction are only "roughly correct?"

alabama_lowlife 03-29-2021 09:12 PM

The location of the cam sprocket keyway is a secondary concern.

I say that because basically, the ONLY concern is that the piston in the #1 cylinder is at top dead center on the compression stroke. Top dead center is when the piston is at the top of its travel and is just about to start dropping back down. With the #1 spark plug removed you can use a wooden dowel, screwdriver, or similar object to feel the piston as it rises to the top and then drops back to the bottom. Be sure not to scratch the piston or cylinder wall and don’t allow the object to become wedged into the hole by the piston.

Now that we know how to find TDC we have to make sure it’s on the compression stroke and not the exhaust stroke. If you cover the spark plug hole with your thumb you will feel pressure building as the piston rises to TDC on the compression stroke. If you’re on the exhaust stroke you will not feel pressure building as the piston rises to TDC.

So, you’ve got the piston to TDC. You are pretty sure it’s the compression stroke because you could feel the pressure building. Now we look at the distributor rotor and confirm that it’s pointing to the #1 spark plug wire on the distributor cap. We look at all 3 valves on the #1 cylinder to confirm they are closed. We look at the keyway on the cam and see if it is at about 12 o’clock. It doesn’t have to be spot on, just in the ballpark because we already KNOW the piston is right.

Now you take everything off and install the new chain. Align the bright chain link with the dimple on the crank sprocket first, because the crank sprocket is always right. Then align the cam sprocket dimple with the second bright link. If anything needs to move, the cam moves, never the crank. The crank is always right.

alabama_lowlife 03-29-2021 09:18 PM

There were 2-3 sets of plastic guides in the oil pan on my 4wd HB before I decided I should drop the pan. They fall way down to the bottom, they’re not going to get sucked up into the pickup screen. On a 2wd, yeah, drop that pan and clean everything up. On a 4wd...shit, there are not many things I dislike more that dropping the front differential and oil pan on a 4wd HB. I’ve got a pretty decent little shop at my house too, but to hell with that lol

Hoseman1958 03-30-2021 07:03 PM


Originally Posted by VOTS95 (Post 547188)
I'm not familiar with getting the 4 cylinder to TDC. Use the FSM, our Stickeys, Google, Youtube, etc. and make sure you have this correct.

I've always used the three jaw puller when removing the crank pulley. Like JP says, take your time, maybe squirt some PB Blaster in behind the pulley before you begin.


So I bought the Harbor Freight 3 puller set.....very similar to what VOTS95 shows in his pic earlier in the thread. The drive bolt for the 6" version is way too long. The only way it might work is if I pull the radiator. I have the same type of front pulley with the six 10M or whatever bolts surrounding the crank bolt that he shows in one of his pics. Should I just remove two opposing bolts and try to use the other style puller (which I have.....also the Harbor Freight version?)

VOTS95 03-30-2021 08:13 PM


Originally Posted by Hoseman1958 (Post 547341)
So I bought the Harbor Freight 3 puller set.....very similar to what VOTS95 shows in his pic earlier in the thread. Should I just remove two opposing bolts and try to use the other style puller (which I have.....also the Harbor Freight version?)

I have both type of pullers as well, I prefer the three-jaw. Both types should work but if you can remove the pulley without removing the radiator, do that it's less work. However it doesn't take much to remove the radiator.

In the pictures below, the pulley on the left (VG30E) is bolted together. It won't come apart if your use a 2/3-jaw puller on it. You would need to shear off all six bolts to get it to separate.

The pulley on the right (VG33E) is pressed together and can come apart under the right circumstances. I used a three jaw puller on this one and it came right off.


XoXSciFiGuy 03-31-2021 11:49 AM

Most of the time, the pulley will come off using a short piece of wood and a good heavy hammer. Just tap one side, then the other. Rinse and repeat. A bunch of times. Tap-tap-tap this side. Tap-tap-tap the other. Patience works here. Don't get crazy with the hammer. You are breaking it loose, not pounding it loose. When you break the grip, it usually comes off easily. I have never had to use a puller. Remove radiator first for best results.

Hoseman1958 04-01-2021 05:57 PM

Alright. I just made a big mistake. I forgot that put the crank bolt back in when I realized that I hadn't aligned the crank pulley with the TDC mark. .....I removed the radiator and forgot to take the crank bolt back out when I used a 3 jaw puller to try and remove the harmonic balancer. I cracked a piece off of the middle pulley on the balancer before I realized my mistake. I have checked the internet and the local parts if I buy a new balancer at Rock Auto, the price is $100 plus shipping.

Went ahead and removed the distributor, oil pump and all the timing cover bolts that I think I can see.

It looks like the water intake and water pump need to come off too. I replaced water pump and thermostat about 4 years ago (roughly 4000 miles ago.) Should I remove those parts and replace with new while I am doing this? Once I think I have clearance to remove the timing cover....where is the seam where I can put a flat screwdriver in or something to pry off the cover.

I was trying to be so careful and made a careless mistake....but I'm committed now and will take my time to try and do it right. Any additional advice about getting the timing cover off would be helpful.....and thank ya'll so much for taking the time to help me get this far!

jp2code 04-01-2021 06:12 PM

If you have the part number, search Amazon and eBay. Sometimes their prices are better.

I want to say that I paid about $60 for mine, shipped.

Hoseman1958 04-01-2021 06:31 PM

Thanks JP. Just ordered the part for $69 shipped.

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