Fixing the Massive Oil Leak – Step 1, Pulling the Honda Rebel’s Flywheel

This flywheel won't budge.

After reading about the kind of problem that I was having with my Honda Rebel (massive oil leak on the left side), and that it’s apparently a rite of passage, I ordered what I believed to be the correct oil seal, and eventually got to work on it. Getting the side cover off, and then the bolt off (which was incredibly hard) were the two steps before removing the flywheel, which isn’t supposed to be that hard of a job.


The first problem was trying to get the flywheel to keep from turning. I conveniently didn’t have a strap wrench, which is the go-to item for the job, it seems. So I rigged one up. Well, when that didn’t work, I tried more options. I did just about everything I could think of to get the flywheel to stay still, except putting the bike in gear and sitting on the brakes, which could damage my transmission. The past few nights I’ve really been fighting with the bike, because it shouldn’t be stuck, it’s not the hardest of jobs to do:

From ShenValleyFlyFish on the Honda Rebel Forums: You draw the bolt down tight then strike the head straight on like a nail with a hammer to shock the flywheel free. You then tighten up the bolt again. In most instances the flywheel will almost literally fall free. If not and the bolt gets tight re-shock

So I keep trying to do it the right way. But, here’s what happened instead:

So then we were left with the other option that the same person mentioned on the forum. At this point it was obvious that something strange was going on.

ShenValleyFlyfish then said: Get your hands on the hottest torch you can. Get a new jack bolt and slather it down with never seize. The trick here is to work quickly. If you wish you can pack wet rags around your magnets. Take the torch and blow heat into the center hole against the end of the crank shaft till the tips of the threads just start to glow a bit. Spin in that jack bolt till tight as fast as you can. If you have an air impact now is the time to use it. If the air impact keeps spinning do it like the vid and keep jacking till it pops free. If you are using a simple ratchet run it as tight as you can as quickly as you can. Give it a good pop with a heavier hammer like a 2# hand sledge or drill hammer, throw the ratchet back on and twist it tight grab your cheater and turn as fast as you can. If you feel like it pour some H2o on the flywheel when it comes off. If you work quickly enough you will not likely have enough heat transfer from the center to damage the magnets. If you do I bet the cost of a replacement flywheel will be less than what you will run up in shop fees.


Now it’s time to put the torch on it and see if that will break the red threadlocker or jb weld, or whatever else is holding it on.


Some pictures when we were trying to get the nut off:


So, even though I thought I would just give up on the project, I eventually ended up getting the flywheel off.

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