The importance of the harmonic balancer cannot be underestimated just because its task is fairly simple: dampening the vibration produced by the engine as it operates. Mind you, without the harmonic balancer, vibrations can rattle engine components, especially the crankshaft, and eventually cause them to break down.
So if you think your ride's balancer or vibration damper has seen better days, you have to replace it as soon as possible to avoid more serious and expensive engine repairs in the future. Here are the steps on how to replace a defective vibration damper:
What you'll need:
- Socket wrench
- Penetrating oil
- Deep-set socket
- Harmonic balancer puller kit
Preparing the vehicle
Step 1: Make sure the vehicle is parked on a solid, level ground. Once the engine has completely cooled down, open the hood and apply penetrating oil into the balancer's center mounting bolt. This is usually situated near the front lower section of your engine block. Let the oil penetrate into the bolt for a few hours.
Slackening and removing the belt
Step 2: The tension of the belt surrounding the lower pulley of the engine needs to be slackened off. The number of the belt you have to deal with depends on the number of accessories powered by the engine. Since each of these accessories is held into the engine by bolts, you have to loosen these bolts using a wrench and push each accessory toward the engine. This will slacken the belt's tension.
Step 3: Carefully pull the belt out of the harmonic balancer pulley. The pulley's setup is one groove per belt. So if you need to remove several belts, take out one belt from one groove of the pulley at a time.
Removing the lower pulley
Step 4: Using a wrench, unbolt each of the retaining bolts that secure the pulley onto the face of the balancer. Detach the pulley from the balancer and take it out.
Uninstalling the harmonic balancer
Step 5: It's now time to remove the harmonic balancer's retaining bolt and washer that you've oiled a few hours ago. To loosen this single retaining bolt and washer, attach into it a deep-set socket that's connected to a socket wrench, and then turn the bolt clockwise. Be careful not to lose the washer when removing the bolt.
Step 6: Detach the harmonic balancer from the crankshaft. Get the puller and attach it to the balancer with the bolts included in the puller kit. The puller has slots where you can slide the bolts into and all the way to the hole where the pulley's retaining bolt sits.
Step 7: Place the puller onto the face of the balancer in such a way that the puller's claws are facing the balancer. Lower every claw, making sure it clutches the back portion of the balancer.
Installing the harmonic balancer
Step 8: Get your replacement balancer and place it onto the end of your crankshaft. Slide the single retaining bolt and washer into its place at the center of balancer, all the way through the crank. Use the deep-set socket and socket wrench to tighten the bolt so it firmly secures the balancer to the crankshaft.
Re-installing the pulley and drive belts
Step 9: Re-install the lower pulley into its original position, which is against the balancer. Put back the pulley's retaining bolts and tighten them using a wrench.
Step 10: Slide one belt over each groove of the pulley at a time, and then pull every accessory away from the engine. This is necessary in placing tension on the belt. Once each belt has gained tension, tighten the retaining bolts.