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A harmonic balancer—the crank pulley damper—may sound like an integral part of a high-tech spaceship in a 1990s science fiction story. The average Joe may think that it’s a gadget for playing music. Actually, a harmonic balancer is a component of automobile engines.
The harmonic balancer bolsters the performance and longevity of your crankshaft. Usually made from metal and rubber, it’s a device connected to the front of an engine’s crankshaft.
In case you don’t know, the crankshaft is a rotating rod that converts the reciprocating motion of pistons into rotational motion.
To balance the resonance and vibrations, the energy element absorbs them and the mass element resists the acceleration of the pistons.
Over time, the balancer can malfunction, due to constant exposure to the elements and chemicals, which include nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide (CO). Old age can also make it go bad.
If you need to remove harmonic balancer from your auto’s engine, check out the comprehensive guide below.
You will first get to know this device, and in the 3rd section, you will learn how to remove a crank pulley damper.
The 2nd section covers the important signs of a malfunctioning balancer.
This small device reduces your engine’s vibrations. As the cylinders—the power unit of an automobile’s engine—fire, the balancer moves up and down. This generates torque that is transferred to the crankshaft.
The crankshaft, along with the dampener, is responsible for turning the wheels of your car. The forces acting on the rotating rod are tremendous. When a cylinder fires, a certain amount of force in pounds acts upon the crankshaft.
The applied force twists the rotating rod. And at specific frequencies, the shaft resonates. This makes the vibrations stronger than usual. When the engine’s vibrations become too much for the crankshaft, it will malfunction. Your engine may not start.
This is when the crank pulley damper comes in. This circular device, made of rubber and metal, is attached with bolts at the front of the crankshaft. It absorbs vibrations as the shaft rotates. Hence, the name “dampener,” the harmonic balancer prevents crankshaft failure.
Still, the rubber material deteriorates as time passes by. This is the reason why you’re getting rough vibrations when the rubbery device is going bad.
The serpentine belt of your auto may also get casted away. Replacing a bad dampener prevents maintenance and costly repairs. It’s cheaper than the crankshaft and the serpentine belt.
Without the dampener, your vehicle will need constant repairs. And it will not run smoothly. Your engine may not start as well. The dampener is composed of two elements: the mass and energy-dissipating element. Together, they get rid of and balance out vibrations.
When torque is applied on the crankshaft, it’s in sync with the engine’s cylinders. As such, resonance is created.
Other than engine vibrations, the generated sound also affects the dampener. If a malfunctioning harmonic balancer is installed, too much stress is applied to the crankshaft.
If this continues, your auto will not start due to a cracked crankshaft. As mentioned in the introduction, the elements absorb and resist the vibrations’ acceleration. Hence, the harmonic balancer is an integral part of your car’s engine.
As soon as you see the symptoms below, your car’s dampener is undeniably going bad. You can remove the device yourself by following the instructions in the succeeding section. You may also hire a professional mechanic to remove harmonic balancer.
If you ignore the signs, the rubber will deteriorate, and the crankshaft will be damaged continuously. When it breaks, you can’t use your auto. Before the problem escalates, remove the balancer and replace it.
Here are the signs that indicate you must replace your car’s dampener:
When you notice 2 out of the 10 signs above, check the rubber of the harmonic balancer. If it’s thinning out, then you must replace it with a new one.
Don’t worry. A crank pulley dampener isn’t expensive. Usually, it costs less than $15.
Before you start, prepare the following tools:
You can use fine sandpaper if you don’t have a carburetor cleaner. When you have the tools above, you can start removing the device.
1): Gently pull out the serpentine belt to gain access to the harmonic balancer.
2): Second, remove the bolt at the center with a wrench or pliers. The center bolt supports the dampener. It’s usually very tight.
3): Remove the equipped pulley.
4): Now, you must evenly install the balancer puller. Wind the bolts to a far distance so that they won’t be pulled out by the puller.
5): With an impact wrench, tighten the pulley. When you hear “pop,” the damper is beginning to be removed from the crankshaft.
6): When the harmonic balancer is removed, use a carburetor cleaner or sandpaper to clean the crankshaft. Always do this before installing a new dampener.
7): The installation kit is for installing the new device. At this step, never hammer the harmonic balancer into the engine. Next, heat the device to 160 degrees Celsius to expand it. This makes the installation process easy.
8): For this step, align the balancer woodruff with the use of the keyway on the crankshaft. Then, set the device into position. After that, start winding the installation kit in place.
9): Using 2 wrenches, tighten the kit properly. Then, apply sealer on the center bolt and begin installing. According to the manufacturer’s specification, tighten the remaining bolts.
You have just installed the new harmonic balancer. To finish, you have to reinstall the serpentine belt.
You now know that the harmonic balancer isn’t a gadget for music. Rather, it’s an important part of your auto’s engine. Installing and removing it is fairly easy. Just prepare the right tools, and ready your new device. To remove harmonic balancer, do follow the steps above, and everything will be fine.
Simon graduated with a Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Degree. He has over 20 years of servicing experience in both Japanese and German car dealerships. He now acts as a freelance mechanic's instructor for local schools.