Ever had the problem of trying to loosen the bolt that holds on the crankshaft damper pulley? The crank just turns over and you can't stop it. Try this:
Here's a trick that always worked for me. Pick a cylinder, any cylinder. Remove the spark plug and crank it over counterclockwise until that piston is starting on its way up on the compression stroke (just make sure both valves are closed). Fill that cylinder with good clean motor oil and put the spark plug back in. The piston can't compress the oil and it won't leak out since the valves are closed - the crank is now locked. It's called a hydraulic lock. Now loosen your bolt.
I have also heard of doing a similar thing only instead of using oil you stuff a length of nylon rope into the spark plug hole - a foot or so will do. You don't have to worry which stroke the piston is on. Make sure you leave a sufficient mount of rope sticking out so you can remove it later on. Rope is just about as incompressible as oil and is a lot easier to clean up afterwards.
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