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How to Replace a Harmonic Balancer in Quick and Easy Steps

Take out the wheels from your car

Take out the wheels from your car

Your car engine’s harmonic balancer actually helps your crankshaft to last longer as you’ve ever imagined. This simple piece of equipment rolls out to minimize vibration, wiggling, and counter the resonance and torsional vibrations coming from the crankshaft.

Also called as crankshaft damper, harmonic damper, vibration damper, or torsional damper, the harmonic balancer must endure the force exerted by the crankshaft. One of the most hardworking parts of your car’s engine, the crankshaft turns the engine’s power into rotational motion that turns the wheels of your car.

The harmonic balancer is supposed to be the first to wear out before the crankshaft does. The crankshaft is more expensive and more elaborate to replace, it is only proper that you know how to remove a harmonic balancer to keep it running smoothly. This article will show you how it is done easily and quickly.


What is a harmonic balancer?

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A harmonic balancer is a circular device made from metal and rubber. It is bolted at the front end of the crankshaft that aids in absorbing the vibrations. This device is also used as an accessory drive belts that keeps other essential systems of the engine running (like the alternator, air conditioning, water pump, and other devices driven by the crankshaft).

In other words, the harmonic balancer keeps the crankshaft from failure. But, as other parts of your engine, the balancer also suffers major setbacks. The first to give in is the rubber as it absorbs more of the vibrations giving up by the crankshaft, then it would be the metal that will bore signs of fatigue.

If the rubber wears out, the metal is sure to be next to wear. If this system fails, even the serpentine belt may be lodged out of its track, rendering other car accessories to fail. That is why it is necessary to check the harmonic balancer occasionally during your routine maintenance or if needed.

What are the common symptoms of a failing harmonic balancer?

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Here are some of the warning signs that your damper is failing:

    • Unusual engine vibration.
    • Lopsided timing marks.
    • Separated harmonic damper
    • Unusual sound.
    • Loose or worn out serpentine belt.

If you experienced two or three of these signs, better not to ignore them and bring your car to a reliable mechanic or the one you trusted the most, asap. Or you can do it yourself if you want to gain knowledge and discover more the parts of your car.

Tools you will need in replacing a harmonic balancer

    • A new set of harmonic balancer
    • Safety goggles
    • Safety gloves
    • Flashlight
    • Socket and ratchet
    • 14” Wrenches
    • Gas oven
    • Grease
    • Impact wrench
    • Sealer
    • Pulley puller
    • Harmonic balancer installer
    • Serpentine belt replacement

Here’s what to do in replacing a worn out harmonic balancer


Some car requires the dismantling of the fender or front bumper, and in some cases, even the radiator to gain access to the harmonic balancer. Check out your manual if this is the case in your car.

Wear the proper safety gears, like goggles and gloves, and other personal protective equipment (PPE) before you do this activity. Use your flashlight to the dark areas of your workplace. Disconnect also the battery from its terminals (to avoid electrical shock while you work on your car) and make sure the engine is turned off and the parking brake is set.

1

Once you gain access to the harmonic balancer, use your flashlight to inspect the balance for any sign of wear.

2

​Disconnect the drive belt from the crankshaft pulley. In some instances, the crankshaft pulley is part of the balancer.

3

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​Remove the balancer’s mounting bolt (at the center of the balancer) by using your socket and ratchet.

4

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​To remove the balancer, use a pulley puller. Mount the bolts of the puller far enough so that the bolts will not be pulled out by the puller’s movement. The dampener is press fitted and it can’t be pulled out without the aid of a puller.

5

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​Using an impact wrench, tighten the puller until you hear a popping sound. This indicates that the balance is slowly coming out of the crankshaft’s shaft.

6

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​Once the balancer is removed, you can now replace it with a new one.

7

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​You have to use a harmonic balancer installation tool to re-install the new damper. Don’t try to hit the balancer with a hammer when re-installing, damage may result.

8

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​To expand the new harmonic balancer, warm it at about 150F (65.50C) inside an oven (not a microwave) for easy installation. Put a small amount of grease to the sealing surface.

9

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​By aligning the new harmonic balancer’s wood-ruff key-way to the crankshaft’s own keyway, the connection will be as tight as possible.

10

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​When you have set the damper into place and the woodruff key is aligned, you could now wind the installation tool placed at the right spot.

11

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​Slowly tighten the harmonic balancer installation tool until it is tight enough.

12

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​Removed the tool after the damper is tightly inplaced. Put some sealer to the center bolt and install it.

13

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​Tighten the center bolts to the manufacturer’s specified torque. Most manufacturers’ advice is between 150 to 200 ft-lbs of torque on harmonic balancers.

14

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​Once the balancer is installed properly, install a new serpentine belt as much as possible.

15

​Once everything is in place, you can now test the new harmonic balancer by turning on the engine (after you reconnect its battery). The sound should be smooth and quiet.


Here are some unsolicited advices

  • For a durable and ever reliable harmonic balancer, check these out from Amazon if these fit your engine: the Dorman 594-236 Harmonic Balancer or the Dorman 594-148 Harmonic Balancer. These two are currently the leading harmonic balancers out in the market.

While for great tools that you want in your arsenal, you want to try the O TC 6667 Harmonic Damper Puller, this one comes with a 3/8-inch drive for use with a ratchet, while it has also a 3/4-inch drive for wrench or socket use.

For a more specific tool, you probably want to own the harmonic balancer installer kit, known as the OTC 6505 Master Balancer Installer, this one comes with 11 adapters and widely used by veteran mechanics across the US. All products are available on Amazon which could be ordered with free shipping. What a great relief, really!

Conclusion

Did you enjoy this tutorial? Some car owners have never imagined the importance of the harmonic balancer in an engine. While it plays second fiddle to the crankshaft, the harmonic damper really performs a great job easing out the burden on the crankshaft. To make the crankshaft more relaxed and less intense in the effects of the dissipation brought about by torsional and resonance vibrations.

Keeping you informed on how to replace a harmonic balancer will probably make you realized the value of this hardworking part of your engine. And reading this article will broaden your reach for more reliable spare parts that you did not perceive to be more economical and reliable. Just like what other dealers have to offer.

Please send us your comments about this article and share it if you are convinced of its contents. Reading this article can make your loved ones and friends safer on the road.

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