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Harmonic Balancer Replacement

A harmonic balancer is not a musical instrument, it’s a very important engine component. It’s connected to the crankshaft, and is almost always found at the front of the engine.

Its primary job is to reduce vibrations in your engine and ensure smooth running. However, as it runs off of the crankshaft it’s usually used as a pulley to run the belts that power vital components such as: power steering, radiator fans, air conditioning and alternators.

What is a harmonic balancer?

A harmonic balancer is a pulley or wheel that is connected directly to the crankshaft. While an engine is running, pistons traveling up and down spin the crankshaft. These revolutions are sent through the gearbox and make the wheels turn. As the crankshaft rotates, this can create vibrations.

The harmonic balancer creates a counterweight for these vibrations and dampens them due to its rubber compound. Factor in the vital components it runs and you’ve got a really important engine part on your hands.

Why do you need a harmonic balancer?

As the harmonic balancer effectively balances the engine while it is running, when it's faulty you may get nasty vibrations which can not only damage the engine but also engine mounts and other fixing.

Accompanying this is the fact that it runs vital components as mentioned and if the pulley is damaged then you may damage some of the motors running off of the connected belts.

What symptoms mean you need a new harmonic balancer?

  • You start to notice a vibration coming from the engine
  • A warning light appears on the dash and is diagnosed as excessive vibration
  • The balancer itself is separate from the engine block
  • The belts connected to it are out of alignment or wobble when the motor is running
  • The balancer is loose and can be pulled off of the engine
  • Rarely, you may experience total engine failure

How to install a harmonic balancer

  • All connected belts are loosened and disconnected, usually done by releasing the tensioner
  • The centre bolt which connects the balancer to the crankshaft is undone and removed
  • A wedge or pulley can be used to disconnect the balancer from the engine block, being careful not to damage any surrounding components
  • The mounting surface is cleaned and the new balancer is fitted and centre bolt refitted
  • All connecting belts are aligned and fitted and the tensioner is refitted and tightened
  • The engine is started and checked to ensure everything is as smooth as it should be 

How much does a harmonic balancer usually cost?

A harmonic balancer replacement can be as low as $150 to over $550. It depends on how hard it is to access the balancer as labour is the highest cost in the replacement. Part costs vary, European models especially have a higher part replacement cost.

How often do I need to replace my harmonic balancer?

You really only need to replace a harmonic balancer when an issue arises or when your mechanic believes it is not suitable for use any longer.

Is a broken harmonic balancer unsafe?

Without a doubt! If your harmonic balancer is broken, not only does it lead to a rough ride, it can also seriously damage your engine and other components.


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