Mitsubishi Pajero V6 – crankshaft pulley issues

Here at Autofix we have recieved a number of questions relating to the crankshaft pulley bolt working it’s way loose on a number of V6 Pajero’s and I though it worthwhile to add my two cents into the subject. This seems to be a very common problem and due to the damage that can be done to crankshaft, owners contemplating changing the timing belt themselves need to be aware of this issue.

Nine out of ten times when this has happened a timing belt change has not long been done which leads you to think that the crankshaft pulley bolt may not have been tightened adequately which is more than likely the case, however I know of a few occasions where the bolt has worked it’s way out during normal use.

I think this highlights the need for regular checks of the crankshaft pulley bolt torque, perhaps every six months or so would be a good idea. Although checking the bolt torque without the right tools is not a simple job, a replacement crankshaft is definately more involved and more expensive!

So how do we go about tightening or checking the crankshaft pulley bolt torque? The Mitsubishi workshop manual lists a special tool used for preventing the engine from turning and if you have a look at the picture I think anyone with reasonable fabricating skills could knock one of these up and I believe this to be the easiest method for doing this job. There are a couple of other ways to do this and I will cover these when I have access to a Pajero so I can include pics with the articles.


NOTE: The torque value required for the bolt is listed in the workshop manual as 177-186Nm. Before removing the pulley bolt please be sure that you either have or have access to a Torque Wrench that can be adjusted that high. If you have completely removed the bolt be sure to use Locktight on the thread before refitting.

I’ve got my hands on a ’99 model Challenger that has the 3.0 24 Valve engine and have made up a copy of the Mitsubishi tool that I think could be adapted to all models of the Mitsubishi V6. Check it out here.

34 thoughts on “Mitsubishi Pajero V6 – crankshaft pulley issues

  1. Hi, Am thinking of refitting the crank shaft pully as its gone loose.
    Will need the right tools so how can I get my hands on any of these tools?
    Are they expensive?
    Which way is it to be rotated off then back on?

  2. Hi Joe,
    The bolt that secures the crankshaft pulley should be tightened to a torque of 180 Newton Metres ( 133 Foot/Pounds ) to avoid the bolt coming loose during normal operation.

  3. hi,my pully bolt came loose while on a long trip thankfully it was on my way home,unfortunatly on ckecking it later i found that the key was distroyed,do you know where i can get a replacement,brian

  4. Brian,
    I believe you will only find a replacement crankshaft key at a Mitsubishi dealership. Not an expensive item from memory.


  5. hi cgaig if your about,the key on the crank has snaped of and a piece is left inside the timeming sprocket,any ideas as to how i can get it out,i presume this key serves both the sprocket and the pully.

  6. That’s not a good situation Brian. You are right in thinking that the key serves both the timing belt sprocket and crankshaft pulley and given that I think the timing belt and sprocket will have to come off to retrieve what is left of the key.

    Is there any part of the key left protruding from the sprocket?


  7. hi craig,have actually done the motor now,,it might be worth you mentioning to outhers that if the pully comes loos that this is the sort of prob that can result and if they are not machanicly minded will cost a pretty penny,my machanic mate helped me at a much reduced rate,with the pully and his help it still cost over two hundred,i wouldnt want to pay full rate,the tool you mentioned is a great idea it works perfect,thank you for your imput,vrey gratefull,brian.

  8. It is good to hear that you got it all sorted Brian. You’re dead right about the cost involved in such a repair if you’re not mechanically minded and had to pay full rates, a lot of money to repair what I consider to be a design fault in the first place.

    The area of the balancer that is in contact with the crankshaft is way too small for the mass of the balancer and where the belts run is too far forward from the snout of the crankshaft which puts an unnecessary amount of pressure on the retaining bolt leading to bolt failures or the internal thread of the crankshaft wearing resulting in the bolt loosening. In my opinion at least!

    Anyway, good to hear you got it sorted and I’m glad the tool worked well for you.


  9. Hi all,

    I’m hoping that someone may be able to help me get an idea of what is going on with my Pajero. I got an old ’96 Pajero about 2 months ago. Had a hose from the manifold go and had this replaced along wth a couple of heater hoses that are fitted behind the engine. A day later their was water pouring out underneath, after $1,200.00+ bucks it turned out to be the plenum chamber gasket ( they also replaced the water pump, inlet manifold gaskets and o-ring seals). They re-fitted the timing belt and manifold. My wife picked up the car it and it was running like a dog with no power and making a hell of a noise with a knocking from the engine compartment. Left it with the mechanics and they didn’t look at it so I don’t know their thoughts, and I don’t trust them (as I think I’ve been taken for a ride). My concern is that with the way it is running, it seems like a head gasket, but I don’t want to face that reality. Just wondering, if the tinming belt was done, is it possible that it is the balancer that is making it mistime and leave it with no power? Can this also cause a knock from the engine.

    I’m a complete novice with these cars, and just want to get an idea before taking it to someone to try and get sorted.

    Thanks heaps for the site and being able to ask what may be dumb questions.



  10. Hi Craig,

    Thanks for your response, gave me peace of mind that this was probably more of timing issue than something more terminal.

    Ended up getting the car and taking it to a mate of mine to have a quick look at for a second opinion (Oddly enough, when I picked up the car, I didn’t see the owner, some guy gave me the keys without asking who I was, I didn’t get a call asking why I had picked it up, or even to confirm that it was me who picked it up, anybody could have driven away in it.). The guy I took it to said that the injectors were not seated properly, causing it to run so badly. I’m now off to the original mechanic to leave it agin and get him to fix it for nothing, seeing as how it was running perfectly before taking it to him. If he plays ball, all well and good, if he doesn’t then I guess it’s off to the dept of fair trade for compensation for the cost it will take to get it running again.

    Awyway, had to vent that as this is driving me crazy. Thanks for your thoughts from the other day, really appreciate it. Very thankful for guys like you who run these forums and take time out to help out those of us less knowledgable in these matters.



  11. hi all , new to this and not long had my 92 petrol pajero , all was great for the first few weeks til it decided to give me some trouble, the pulley that the fan is attached to ( not really mechanicly minded lol ) is that a major job to fix as i started it up yesterday and it is wobbling like crazy .. help?? lol , any comments would be a great help thanks shaneo

  12. Could be worse. I had the same bolt sheer off and drop into the bash plate below. It took me 10 days and god knows how many broken drill bits to get the shaft out. In the end i had to retap a 14mm x 1.25thread into the shaft then put heaps of locktight on the thread. The problem i could find was the key vibrates and allows the harmonic balance to chop out the key then bang off the head comes.
    Do yourselves a favour and YES check the tension of the crankshaft bolt.

  13. I have had two balancers come loose on my 1999 Challenger, also the previos owner had at least 1 come loose as my first was an aftermarket one. Is going in for cam seals next month so will be drilling a second roll pin hole in the balancer and cog to secure the balancer I hope this will stop any movement so the bolt wont come loose. A very poor design by mitsubishi on such a lovely 4×4.

  14. My 93 has followed the same faith.
    It started the other day with a terrible sound and lose of power steering,i only have it 3weeks and the garage warranty has gone as i had done 1000kms+,extended warranty won’t pay more than $1000,not happy,was loving my Pajero before this and had thought i had got a good one :(.
    The garage reckons $1500 on labour plus the $1200 for crank repair,it’s crazy,from perfect to shit in 2 seconds.
    Will check on if the belt was done.
    I lost the A/C belt a week before this happenned,not sure if that has anything to do with it.

  15. Hello,
    my Pajero 1996, V6 3.5ltr makes irregular knocking noises which seem to come from the timingbelt cover and which you can hear more after starting the engine in the idle. We changed the timingbelt, the waterpump and the other belts on our own 2tkms before. Do you think it could be the crankshaft pulley bolt who is working it’s way loose after driving 2000kms? What does this typical noise sound like?
    And would you recommend to stop driving the car? I actually just thought to drive to another mechanic for a second opinion…
    I would be really happy to get any response!!
    Thank you, Simone

  16. Hi Simone,
    It is certainly a possibility that the harmonic balancer bolt has come loose and it’s causing the knocking noise, however it has been my experience that the driver has been completely unaware of the problem (i.e. no obvious noises) until the engine looses a fanbelt or the balancer itself.

    I think a second opinion would be a wise choice, just for peace of mind.


  17. True that,mine was perfect one minute no symptoms and on the turn of the key only 10 mins from been running as good as ever all hell broke loose down there.
    Got mine repaired,luckily extended warranty coughed up,cost $1600 all in and i got the timing belt/water pump done at the same time.

  18. howdy,
    help needed i’m replacing the waterpump with the aid of your article (thanks) and service/repair manual i have just removed the crankshaft sprocket and i have chipped the lip twice on the sprocket does this need to be replaced now? aso there was only 3/4 of the woodruff key left what dammage would this have caused and should i be concerned the sprocket itself was still sercure in place with what was remaining of the key, thanks in advance

  19. Hi guys,

    I’m out in the Caribbean and trustworth mechanics are few and far between plus work on any vehicle costs a fortune.

    I purchased a 98 Pajero 4 months ago and its been in the shop once every month since then. The last couple of repairs were related and similar to Bas001’s problem back in 2010. The key on the crank snapped along with elongating the key hole in the pulley. In the first instance, one month ago, I replaced the pulley with the elongated hole along with the key. When I got back the Pajero it ideled like a tractor with lots of engine block movement and fluctuating revs.

    One month later, I had the same problem, and was told I had to replace the timing sprocket. This was done and it works like an old dog struggling to go up hills. My mechanic said it was a result of the sprocket being slightly off in size and therefore the timing is slightly off. Could this be true? Does this make sense to you? Could this be the cause of it being sluggish and can this cause bigger problems later on? Also, why would this problem reoccur so soon after fixing the same thing….could there be a bigger problem causing the same parts to fail over and over?

    The alternator belt aslo squeaks when I start it since the work has been done and he says that there is a bolt missing that should have allowed him to adjust the pulleys to tighten the belt…what problems could this cause?

    Please advise

  20. on my 1991 model pajaro deisle turbo i have my timing marks all lined up on all pulleis but on the crankshafft the inner pulley is right but on the outer pulley the timing mark is 180 degrees out am i suppose to rotate the crankshaft to get the outer timing pulley mark into the 10 o`clock position before putting the crank camshaft injector pump belt on or can i go off the mark of the inner crank pulley and if so why is the outer pulley timing mark 180 degrees in the wrong position

    i would highley appreciate any help or advise on this subject thanks

  21. i forgot to say that i was changing the timing belts as they snapped and bent valves in the head everything has been fixed but this outer timing mark on the crankshaft pulley has got me concerned as it is 180 degrees from where i belive it is suppose to be from the timing belt diagrams

    again i highley appreciate any assistance

    my email is

  22. Hi Gary,
    My initial thoughts are that the outer ring of the crankshaft pulley (harmonic balancer) may have moved around on the inner which is quite common and can obviously cause a large variance between the inner (crank gear to housing) and outer (crank pulley to timing cover) timing marks.

    Are you able to take a photo of the harmonic balancer and email it to me? In particular I am interested in seeing where the timing mark lines up compared to where the key slot is in the balancer. I can compare it to some images I have here to be %100 certain.

  23. Hi I hope someone can help I have a 1990 pajero petrol and I have a few issues 1st is that on pull off there is no power what so ever is this normal? It has had a major service on it in February, also just recently it has started to jump and pull when the accelerator is all the way down? It doesn’t lose and power just jumping. And Finlay every time it goes through water it cuts out, just the smallest it bit it just cuts out for awhile then its ok. It has got a new battery alternator also fuel and air filters have been changed. If anyone has some advice be helpful. Thanks

  24. Hi Guys I have a 98 3.5 ltr pajero and as I was driving the other day I lost power steering also bad front rattle when starts.
    Could this have something to do with my brakes as they are in dire need of replacing or could it be the harmonic balance ???/ don’t know much about cars so any help would be great.

  25. how can I take the harmonic balancer of a 1996 mitsubishi v6 engine , Ive got the crankshaft bolt off but have no I dea how to get the harmonic balancer off

  26. I’m learning to do my Mitsubishi pajero v6 engine 1989 model. I just need a tool for the job, were can I get one from

  27. Hi all
    Just had my balancer bolt come loose
    Have purchased anew replacement bolt and discovered that Mitsubishi have updated with a shorter but more thread bolt to stop them coming undone.
    It’s a 2000 nm 3.5 l v6
    No damage done except locator pin fell out ($2)
    Updated bolt
    New belt ($70)
    Lotsa sweat and swearing

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