crankshaft harmonic balancer

Crankshaft Harmonic Balancer Symptoms & Replacement Cost

In Engine by Magnus Sellén6 Comments

The crankshaft harmonic balancer is linked to the engine’s crankshaft. The crankshaft shakes violently when it receives energy from the bulging pistons.

The harmonic balancer acts as a mediator between the pistons and the crankshaft by making sure the transfer of energy is less violent. At very high speeds, violent shaking can disrupt the engine’s mechanism and reduce its life.

The harmonic balancer is made up of top quality rubber and metal. The combination ensures the energy is properly absorbed and the balancer stays young for a long time.

Signs of a Bad Crankshaft Harmonic Balancer

harmonic balancer symptoms

As the crankshaft harmonizer fails, a number of troubling signs arise that are usually easy to spot. These potential issues can alert you, so you can schedule an appointment with the mechanic as soon as possible and get the issue solved before it becomes more serious.

1. Increased Engine Vibration

When the crankshaft balancer loses its harmonic functions, the issue it is supposed to control comes out in full force. You will feel this with the violent shaking of your engine, especially at very high speeds. This is possible if the rubber in the crankshaft harmonizer wears out after constantly getting a lot of abuse.

As the problem worsens, the engine shaking will become even more violent, eventually causing the engine to explode.

2. Disrupted Timing Marks

The crankshaft harmonic balancer is usually found in the front of the crankshaft pulley and is attached to the crankshaft. If the crankshaft wears out unequally, or the layers of rubber and metal slip or dampen, the timing marks will be throw off balance. This effect will make timing the engine an impossible task for you or your mechanic while using a timing light.

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3. Detached Harmonic Balancer

The destruction of the various layers of rubber and metal can ultimately cause the crankshaft harmonic balance to slip from its position. This is very dangerous and if it happens, firstly your engine timing will be affected which will immediately cause the timing belt and other related belts to come off. Ultimately, your car will stop moving and a number of other mechanical problems will arise.

Therefore, it is advisable to always take your car to the mechanic every few months for a general inspection. This practice should be regularly followed if your car is more than 10 years old. When the issue is in its early stages, there are more chances that your mechanic will let you off after a few repairs. However, if you are lazy with repairs and general maintenance, be ready to present some serious money for replacements.

4. Loud Noise from the Engine Bay

A worn-out crankshaft harmonic balancer will also cause a lot of noise in your engine. You will feel this noise once you start to accelerate your car to higher speeds. If this noise is too loud, it is better to not drive the car and call a mechanic.

However, loud noise can be caused by a lot of other failing components, so take the advice and services of a mechanic before your car problems worsen.

Testing & Repairing the Crankshaft Harmonic Balancer

The crankshaft and its harmonic balancer are under the protection of the engine block and its many nuts and bolts. In order to reach them, you need to open up the engine almost halfway, before you or your mechanic can even attempt a repair. This commitment is worth it if you are absolutely sure the crankshaft harmonic balancer is at fault and not some other engine component.

Rubber Ring Going Bad

When the crankshaft harmonic balancer fails, the direct effects are felt by the rubber ring between the inner hub and the outer ring. The condition of this ring can deteriorate due to a number of factors such as heat, cold, dirt and debris among which is also the timing of the harmonic balancer. You will also see cracks on the balancer hub or the outer ring if the pressure from the harmonic balancer is too much.

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Check Belts

The crankshaft harmonic balancer is connected to a timing belt. So, to check the harmonic balancer’s failure, you need to first take a look at the various belts of your engine. These belts will either have oil leakage in them, which will cause them to slip and make annoying squealing noises, or they will be damaged.

Listen for Irregular Beats

The crankshaft harmonic balancer will disrupt the engine’s ‘heartbeats’. To notice a change in the idling noise, you have to listen very closely. This exercise is a bit easier if you have a car with electronic ignition.

Repairing the Harmonic Balancer

The harmonic balancer is a component that is completely crafted from scratch. You have no control over its wear and tear or over its repairs. Especially, because the rubber used in its construction is of extremely good quality and it cannot be repaired or replaced individually.

Your only option is to think about going for a replacement, as that is the only way you will get a fully-fledged new harmonic balancer.

Crankshaft Harmonic Balancer Replacement Cost

The harmonic balancer is usually not very expensive, but given its importance, it can be pretty exorbitantly priced in some regions. Since this component is solely crafted, it is not like you can replace half of it now and the other half later. You have to make the complete replacement at one time, no matter the cost.

Normally, a crankshaft harmonic balancer costs $100 – $400. The more exotic or rare your vehicle is, the more you are expected to pay in the higher range. Furthermore, the cost depends on the brand of vehicle you drive. The harmonic balancer for a Mercedes or BMW will naturally cost a lot of bucks, whereas a locally assembled vehicle’s parts will not cost you much.

Moreover, the cost of the part is compounded by the labor cost you need to pay. The crankshaft harmonic balancer replacement will require you to pay $100 – $250 in labor costs, obviously depending on the work.

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6 thoughts on “ Crankshaft Harmonic Balancer Symptoms & Replacement Cost ”

Comments
  1. I got a new Mercedes C200 model and within 3 weeks the engine light appears when driving and a rattling sound with a slow down of engine. What is the problem coming from? Tq

  2. Hello, I have a 1998 Pontiac Bonneville SE 3.8. I recently replaced the crankshaft position sensor in it a put the harmonic balancer back on.. Now my engine shakes violenty.. There were not indications the balancer was bad. Anything else I can do?

  3. 1988 reatta 3.8 getting a loud clanking which seams to be noticeable more while idling. A mech looked at it said it was harmonic balancer how can i be sure.

  4. Hi I have a 02 buick rendezvous cxl 3.4l v6. My serpentine belt broke the other day so I ordered one online and recieved it yesterday and my husband put it on & started the car and I went to drive it and the belt came off so he put it back on and I was getting my kids ready to take them to the store and I was pulling out of my drive way and my car started overheating when I put it from reverse to drive and my battery light started flashing & my steering wheel locked up on me so I immediately just drove it right back into my driveway and my husband was looking underneath the hood and he noticed that my harmonic balancer wasnt in line with everything else like it looks like it was separating so that would be the cause of my belt slipping off? I ordered a harmonic balancer online and it will be here on the 2nd so not to much longer but when he replaces that will everything be fine? I never had any major issues with it this is the first time the belt broke and I never kept trying to drive it since I realized it was still messed up after putting the new belt on so I’m hoping changing the harmonic balancer will fix the issue because we dont have alot of money to keep putting parts on it. Please let me know your thoughts this is are only vehicle that gets us out of town for are kids doctors appointments and we really need this vehicle to last until tax time. Thank you for reading this please let me know your thoughts.

    1. I have an 2003 Buick Century w/surprisingly LOW mileage that’s been a wonderfully reliable car. Recently, I took it to have a cpl new tires put on, have them rotated, balanced, get an oil change, and have my serpentine belt replaced. Nearly the exact same thing happened to us as what played out on your end. The belt came off, car overheated, steering wheel locked.. the whole nine. We called the mechanic who came out to put the belt back on, then followed us back to the shop. It was then diagnosed as the harmonic balancer. 😱 NOO! My car is17 y/o, so it was time for something like that to wear out, but It was a fairly costly replacement. Worth it, too, bc it fixed the prob. Belts are now staying on, car is not vibrating itself & us to pieces… just happy it wasn’t beyond repair. 🙏🏻

  5. Yea same happen me harmonic balancer fixed the belt breaking on my vehicle

  6. Due to very high demand and a high amount of comments, you might have trouble getting your comment answered by me. If you want to get fast answers from a certified automotive technician you should ask your questions here: Ask A Mechanic

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