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If you aren't replacing the timing belt, then you don't have to remove the crank pulley. You can see the timing mark on the crank timing sprocket without removing the pulley.
If you are replacing the timing belt along with the water pump, you need to remove the pulley.
I hope this helps, let me know!
Yes, you can get the large steel cover off without removing the crank pulley. Once all the visible bolts(10mm head) are removed from the cover, you need to remove the bolts(10mm head) from in behind the crank pulley. If you turn the pulley you can access the bolts through the pulley opening. Once the bottom bolts are out, remove the small cover at the bottom and the large cover, it will slide out of there. I have done many of these and it is very easy to do.