Pulley puller is a term used to describe a category of tools used to install or remove various mechanical pulleys and similar pressed-on or pressed-in mechanical parts. Although most commonly associated with the removal and installation of automotive pulleys, bearings, and gears, pulley puller tools are used in a variety of industrial and consumer applications. Typically, pullers are designed to grab and hold round parts that otherwise have no clear grab or leverage points. Differing in size, construction, and operation, most pulley pullers rely on stabilized, carefully applied counter pressure to prevent damage to components or surrounding machinery during the removal or installation of pulleys, bearings, sprockets, or gears.
The need for a pulley puller is most often dictated by the lack of strength required to remove or install a part. Many original equipment pulleys, gears, sprockets, and bearings are pressed into place at the factory when a particular machine or machine component is manufactured. Removing such parts by hand is often impossible. As such, a pulley puller compensates for the difference between the strength of hydraulic manufacturing equipment and the strength of a human repair professional. Pullers allow repair personnel to remove or install a replacement part previously assembled by powerful equipment, without the need to have additional heavy manufacturing equipment available.
Types of pulley pullers include manual jaw pullers, harmonic pullers, hydraulic pullers, pneumatic pullers, and numerous other pulley puller designs for specific machinery and other applications. For automotive applications, pullers are often designed to remove or install only a specific part, such as power steering pumps, wheel bearings, or harmonic balancers. In such cases, removal or installation of a particular part requires a tool customized to fit into a confined space with limited points of leverage.
Universal pulley puller tools are available, but the universal designation primarily references various automotive makers or machine manufacturers, rather than the ability to use the tool on a variety of pulleys, bearings, or other parts. Alternatively, a jaw style pulley puller set is the most universally adaptable manual pulling tool, offering graduated sizes to accommodate a host of possible uses. Such generic pulley puller tools allow repair professionals to have more universally applicable tools to use in a variety of environments, on a variety of industrial machines or automotive components.
While the automotive repair industry may be the most common user of pulley puller tools, other industries require similar tools for the maintenance and repair of heavy equipment. To illustrate the wide and varied use of such tools, shipyards use hydraulic pulley puller tools to maintain and repair gears, bearings, and pulleys used in commercial ships. Manufacturing facilities, such as steel and paper mills, use pulley pullers to maintain and repair process and assembly equipment.