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Old 06-26-2009, 02:00 AM   #1
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Harmonic balancer replacement

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Old 06-26-2009, 05:51 AM   #2
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Re: Harmonic balancer replacement

As the rubber gets more and more worn down, it will eventually break down completely and cause problems for you, I'd replace it in the near future.
You can get a good OE style replacement from Summit in the $50-80 range, price goes up from there depending on what you want.

It's a good idea to change the seal at the same time, they are cheap enough to replace, and no you don't have to pull the timing cover off to change it.
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Old 06-26-2009, 02:38 PM   #3
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Re: Harmonic balancer replacement

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Old 06-26-2009, 03:09 PM   #4
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Re: Harmonic balancer replacement

Quote:
Originally Posted by joshwilson3 View Post
Are the ones at Autozone or Advance any good? Dorman and then Pioneer.

And do you have a pic of the seal? I've looked it up and see pics of different things.

I'm guessing what I need is the harmonic balancer, the puller, then installer, and the seal? I think I've read of people putting lub on the "key" part I guess you call it.

I'm wondering if this could be causing me an idle problem. For at least 5 years now. When the car is at idle, sometimes I get an engine vibration that is very brief. Almost like a miss every so often. When it does it, sometimes the RPM's go down a little then jump back up where it is supposed to be, but it is very fast. Less than a second. Today, I'm gonna go out, pull the belt and see if I can get any play. Then I'll put the belt back on, start it and see if the crank pulley wabbles any.

It almost sounds as if someone was choking the engine every so often, but for a split second. I never have been able to figure out what it was. Though, I don't have any problems driving around, just at idle. I have already replaced the plugs, cap, rotor, O2 sensor, and wires a couple of times. New fuel filter, air filter, cleaned the IAC again. I get no codes.
Dorman and Pioneer are two of the brands that Summit carries. Looking at Auto Zone's website, the prices are pretty comparable.

You've got your parts/tools right, but you'll also want to get a torque wrench and some medium strength loc-tite (blue color). You'll need to remove your pulley, then using the puller tool remove the balancer. You can use a screwdriver to pry the old seal out, but be careful here, too much force and you can cause damage to your timing cover.

I wouldn't recommend putting any type of lube on the crankshaft snout, maybe a little bit in the balancer slot where the woodruff key will align, but that's it. Balancers need a snug press fit in order to stay in place.

A lot of people believe the woodruff key is used to keep the balancer from spinning, that's not the case. The key is there for alignment purposes. I recently had an issue with a balancer that sheared a woodruff key.

What keeps the balancer tight are two things: The press fit between its inside diameter and the crank snout's outside diameter, and a properly torqued balancer retaining bolt (usually 65 ft-lbs for this bolt).

If the balancer is a lot more worn than the pictures show, then yes you could be getting a vibration issue, but I doubt it's worn to that point yet. I'd be looking at your motor mounts as well.

If you remove the belt, you shouldn't be feeling any play on the crank drive pulley caused by worn rubber on the balancer. Depending on how bad the rubber is again, you could feel play on the balancer's outer area against its inner area.

As far as your idle issue, you could have a bad plug wire again (I've had brand new defective wires), or you could have a small break in your ignition wire somewhere. How severe is the stumble when it happens? Is it barely noticeable, or do you definitely recognize it?

Here's a picture of the timing cover seal:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg SBC Timing cover seal.jpg (13.0 KB, 16 views)
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Old 06-26-2009, 03:44 PM   #5
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Re: Harmonic balancer replacement

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Old 06-26-2009, 03:58 PM   #6
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Re: Harmonic balancer replacement

To my knowledge which is always winging it... lol the rubber that is cracking off on your harmonic balancer is only meant to balance engine vibration but I see some oil in your pic. This is most likely the oil seal that is probably under 5 bucks at the part store. I actually just replaced my seal a few days ago. I bought the krapy harmonic balancer from pepboys. It pulls the balancer off just fine but does not have the proper bolt to put it back on! The original center bolt is to short to reach the threads safely to be able to just bolt it back on yourself. I had to go to home depot and buy a bolt that was maybe... 3/4th an inch longer, maybe a full inch I dont remember. As far as replacing the timing chain seal? I hope they were talking about the oil seal and nothing else behind it because then you would have to take your water pump off which could be worthless if the seal is fine.

Here is what I suggest for the most quick fix, something I wish I knew before hand a few days ago. Take that center bolt in the middle of the crankshaft pully out and bring it to the store with you. Buy the pully tool and ask for a bolt that is 3/4ths to an inch longer than the one you have. ( you will probably have to go to home depot for the bolt, get the strongest botl possible with a rating of 5 or if you can find the 8 more power to you. ) Also buy a seal puller tool, its 9 bucks and well worth it to safely pull your seal off and NOT bend your timing chain cover. They should be able to look the oil seal up for you, its pretty small and just slips over the end of the crank into the timing chain cover. If you can... find something that can set over that seal softly but firmly, something that has the shape of a donut. The seal will not just pop back on there easily. If you had something like a wooden donut to fit over the top, then lightly hammer the back of it.. you can get the seal on safely. Its actually recommended that you take the timing chain cover off then use a flat piece of wood to set over it then softly hammer it on but.. way to much bolt work for me.

As far as the broken up rubber in the balancer itself... wow 50 bucks for a replacement!! That's unreal! I think you would be able to find a whole harmonic balancer in great condition in a junk yard. I would certainly hunt the bone yard for good before I pay anymore than 25 dollars to repair my old part.

So as long as you have those parts you should be able to do this job in less than an hour. I think the most difficult part will be getting that tricky oil seal into the timing cover. I used a huge pry bar, wrench, and a hammer... dont ask.. it was creative and risky but it worked lol
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Old 06-26-2009, 04:39 PM   #7
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Re: Harmonic balancer replacement

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Old 06-26-2009, 05:15 PM   #8
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Re: Harmonic balancer replacement

There is such a tool as a seal puller. The reason I ended up with a screwdriver is because the crank snout can interfere with with a seal puller. That's the issue I ran in to while changing mine, on top of getting a good spot for leverage to use it in the engine bay. You can put your jackstands underneath the control arms. You also can re-use your original bolt, provided it's in good condition. The longer one that was mentioned was to draw the balancer in, but if you've got the install tool, you shouldn't need it.

While most junkyard parts can be quite useful, a balancer is one thing I would purchase new. On top of this, most junkyards aren't willing to part out complete engines, so you'd be rooting through piles of junk engines hoping to find one that's the right diameter and still in good condition.

The Auto Zone loan-a-tool *should* have what you need to install the balancer,
but check it over before you walk out of the store. The problem I've ran in to with those is that sometimes pieces are missing, or the bolts are stretched, bent, or stripped.
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Old 06-26-2009, 06:58 PM   #9
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Re: Harmonic balancer replacement

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Old 06-26-2009, 11:35 PM   #10
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Re: Harmonic balancer replacement

Quote:
Originally Posted by joshwilson3 View Post
Ok, I guess I'll try it then. I just didn't want to get stuck not being able to put it on cause I'd have to go find a bolt.

I'll pick up probably the Pioneer harmonic balancer, puller, intaller, thread lock, I've read to use the red stuff, seal, and seal puller. I don't know if Autozone will have a seal puller as it is not on their site, but I'll ask at the desk, and look in their tool section.
Hope it goes well for you, let us know how it turns out.
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Old 06-27-2009, 12:34 PM   #11
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Re: Harmonic balancer replacement

You can actually reinstall the "hb" without a special tool. You just need a longer bolt and the original thick washer that came off of the car. I'm not sure if its just me but my original bolt just wasnt long enough to reach the threads so I could reinstall the hb. Had to use that home depot bolt to help pull the hb back on, then I removed the home depot bolt and used the original once it was pushed on enough for the threads to reach. I'm not sure if you know yet but that hb is on there very tightly. There is no way that it will just slip back on easily lol even with a huge ratchet and bolt, its a very tight fit. I dont doubt you can do this yourself and save some cash but if you dont have the tools or it kinda cuts you short on transportation, a shop might be a good idea. Just know that you can save about 100 dollars by doing it yourself I think the other guy might be right, the puller may not work with the end of the crank sticking out of the hole lol. I forgot what I used... a wrench or something to pry it out. Just got to make sure your only prying the seal and not the timing chain cover itself. If you bend that thing.. your gonna have worst oil leaks. I'll see if I can get the bolt size today. I'm headed up to my garage to do some timing and carb tuning work.
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Old 06-27-2009, 12:38 PM   #12
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Re: Harmonic balancer replacement

I'm not sure if this is recommended but I put some rtv sealant around my seal simply cause I never really want to pull that hb off again lol. Using engine degreeaser on a blue shop towell to wipe the area clean helped, and yeah not to much rtv sealant cause I dont want chunks floating around. After running the car for 30 min I have no leaks so it seems cool.
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Old 06-29-2009, 02:48 AM   #13
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Re: Harmonic balancer replacement

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Old 06-29-2009, 03:14 PM   #14
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Re: Harmonic balancer replacement

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Old 06-30-2009, 07:21 AM   #15
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Re: Harmonic balancer replacement

lol wow I wouldn't go to that shop. Maybe he didn't understand what you were wanting done on the car OR your vette its so cramped that for some reason you cant even get a wrench in there without moving some other parts. This is on your 89 vette and not the bird right? Sorry about the late reply but the bolt is a Grade 5 7/16th and is 2' 3/4th long. You do want to fix that harmonic ballancer asap because with it damaged it will cause vibration. Check out this link for info. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harmonic_balancer

Keep in mind that Mechanics charge a standard rate by the hour. If they think they can do it in one hour or less, you will see 90 to 125. If they double that then it usually means the shop thinks its going to take two hours to complete the work. Really a good mechanic with all of the tools should be able to swap it out in under an hour. I've never done one before a week ago but once I had all the tools it took about 30 / 45 minutes. If thats their job and they cant beat my timing.. something is wrong lol.

I kinda overlooked the fact that you were talking about a vette and not the bird, that wasnt mis-typed was it? It seems that this is probably a standard gm part that was used on that model as well though the amount of room you have between the hb's bolts and radiator might be alot less than what is on the bird. If your confident with jacks, jack stands and turning wrenches I'm sure you can pull the hb off and put it back on just to look at the seal. Once you get that far your probably going to want to replace it yourself lol. I'd help but I'm a state away in ga. 150 total for labor and parts might not be a bad deal if you just dont want to mess with it and cant afford to be without your car. Make sure the mechanic agrees to the parts and labor first. Doubling up another hour could jack the price up to 250 for a job that could have been done by yourself for less than 40 bucks. I wonder if you do have the exact same hb in that car as a 3rd gen has on it's engine. If so there are probably 10 of them or more at the salvage yard for 10 or 20 bucks. The oil seal cant be more than five dollars, the pully is 20 and some kinda pry bar to get the seal out has got to be 5 to 9 dollars unless you have some tools already.
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Old 06-30-2009, 06:24 PM   #16
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Re: Harmonic balancer replacement

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Old 07-05-2009, 03:39 PM   #17
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Re: Harmonic balancer replacement

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Old 07-05-2009, 05:49 PM   #18
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Re: Harmonic balancer replacement

It was about the easiest thing to do on the car. There are only 4 bolts involved and you dont need to remove any other part as there is almost a foot of room down there to work with. Special tools that came in handy included.. a larger ratchet cause that hb is on there tight. Be sure to get the strongest bolt possible, if you breaking a cheap bolt in there would not be fun! Grade 5 seemed risky, grade 8 is perfect but hard to find. Only use the spare bolt to get close enough to sink the original in about half an inch, a good grip. I still think you should check the junk yards out for the part, could save a decent amount of cash. I really dont think there is any performance involved in this part so a stock one is fine.. unless you want something fancy looking and shiney. Oh and the seal is in there tight. It does press back in but its a pain. When you press one side of the ring shaped seal, the other pops back out. Maybe a flat wooden donut cut out would be handy to ease it in there. If you screw it up, its only 5 bucks I think so no big deal. I think a light bit of rtv sealent was a good idea too. I know I said it before, but I'm not sure if your supposed to use it but I dont see any harm really. As long as you dont use to much so none gets caught up in the oil flow. Really this is much easier than it sounds. LOL! To the dude who thinks he has to disconnect your ac. Lmao thats as good as the guy telling you that the thing could explode! omg funny.
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Old 07-06-2009, 02:47 PM   #19
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Re: Harmonic balancer replacement

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Old 07-09-2009, 04:01 PM   #20
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Re: Harmonic balancer replacement

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Old 07-16-2009, 11:52 PM   #21
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Re: Harmonic balancer replacement

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Old 07-17-2009, 01:34 PM   #22
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Re: Harmonic balancer replacement

I didnt use the tool for the reinstall. I just used a bolt and the original thick washer. If you put your belts back on the engine wont move on you as you tighten the pully back on. I didnt get all technical about how much torque to use when reapplying it, just kinda felt it out. Even without any bolts, as tight as that balancer is, I dont think it would be going anywhere any time soon. Yeah, I just put a bit of high temp rtv around the back side of the seal. I didnt use any thread lock as I'm sure a pry bar will pop that bolt lose no matter what. They seemed strong enough. I'm sure you can handle this one easily. Really the only pain was getting the seal in properly cause its a slippery one.
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Old 07-17-2009, 01:38 PM   #23
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Re: Harmonic balancer replacement

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Old 07-17-2009, 01:48 PM   #24
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Re: Harmonic balancer replacement

I just watched the vid, that install tool is awesome. Its always risky putting torque on bolts and the thought of snapping one sucks but I gave my trust to the grade 8 bolt. The tool looks like its worth it because with it you wont have moving threads pulling the hb back on. If you can find that tool, I'd use it. If your impatient and want to risk a drill and tap project then you might just wing it like me.
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Old 07-17-2009, 01:49 PM   #25
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Re: Harmonic balancer replacement

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Ok, you put the RTV on the back side, I was thinking it went around the outer edge.
Well the outer edge yes, the part that actually touches the timing chain cover, avoid getting any inside of the seal where you see the spring.
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Old 07-17-2009, 09:51 PM   #26
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Re: Harmonic balancer replacement

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Old 07-17-2009, 11:27 PM   #27
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Re: Harmonic balancer replacement

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Old 07-18-2009, 09:46 AM   #28
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Re: Harmonic balancer replacement

so you were turning the engine over, no big deal you just gotta lock it up somehow, several ways to do it,

1. vise grips on the flywheel, if its a stick put it in gear and have someone hold the breaks so you dont roll it off whatever its up on,

2. you may be able to just have someone hold the balancer while you pop it loose,

3. wrap a nylon ratchet strap around and over itself like an oil filter wrench so it is self tightening hook the loose end somewhere and it can hold the balancer from spinning, you can also do this with a second person to hold it and the serpentine belt seated on the pulley, you'll need to put at least one of the 3 smaller bolts back in tho

the absolute last resort but most likely thing the shop would do is to pop it loose with an impact, however this is a BAD idea


options 1-3 should get you going,

as for what to replace it with, i chose the summit pro street balancer because it was abotu $3 more that the autozone but it has 60 degrees worth of timing marked on it instead of just tdc, might come in handy sometime
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Old 07-18-2009, 02:51 PM   #29
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Re: Harmonic balancer replacement

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Old 07-18-2009, 03:19 PM   #30
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Re: Harmonic balancer replacement

automatic, pull the flywheel, dust/inspection cover, and clamp a visegrip on the flywheel on the oil filter side of the engine up against the bottom of the block and loosen your balancer bolt, when you reinstall if it turns on you before you hit torque spec do the vise grip thing again only this time on the other side so that i t pushes the pliers against the block or starter
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Old 07-18-2009, 04:28 PM   #31
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Re: Harmonic balancer replacement

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Old 07-19-2009, 05:26 AM   #32
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Re: Harmonic balancer replacement

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