View Full Version : Nifty Way to Tighten Harmonic Balancer?


Heckler
12-26-2008, 08:34 PM
Is there a trick to tightening a harmonic balancer (without the motor turning over)?

Wedge someting against the flywheel.....?

Motor is brand new, in the car, etc. I thought maybe once I put the spark plugs in there would be enough pressure to hold it, but no dice.

Anyone?

Thanks!

Ben

silent rick
12-26-2008, 08:59 PM
what about a piece of flat stock bolted to two of the pulley holes and extending far enough to hold with one hand or wedge against the frame?

Docco
12-26-2008, 09:03 PM
The only way to tighten the harmonic balancer bolt properly is to lock the motor up somehow and tighten it with a torque wrench to the correct tension. Which means usually wedging the flywheel some way.
Or you could just use a impact wrench (rattle gun) and tighten it up really tight if you want the easy way out. And use a thread locker like Loktite on the bolt as a safety measure.

eugene vik
12-26-2008, 09:05 PM
put a flywheel turning wrench on the flexplate and run the handle against one of the mounting pegs on the engine stand

put 2 junk bolts in crank flange and jam a super huge screwdriver between them to keep engine from turning DISCLAIMER[:eek: this will bend bolts so use some throwawAys]

David Chandler
12-26-2008, 09:08 PM
I had that problem once. I ended up nailing a couple of scrap pieces of 2x8 together, and cutting a V in the top. I then put this on a jack and cranked it up against the balancer. The V shaped wood locked things enough to tighten the bolt with no problem once I put enough pressure on it.

draggin'GTO
12-26-2008, 09:08 PM
Find a smart way to lock the flywheel to keep it from moving, then torque the balancer bolt to factory specs.

You didn't mention what car, engine or flywheel type (flexplate?) so it's hard to give you any more specific advice.

Use some blue Loctite on the bolt after you clean the threads on it and inside the tapped hole on the end of the crank.

sstang06
12-26-2008, 09:15 PM
I used a rubber strap wrench on a late model mustang that didn't have holes in the balancer. Place the strap wrench around the balancer with part of an aluminum jack handle or steel tube over the handle extending down to the garage floor the to lock the balancer in place. It broke, but after the torque wrench clicked. Using two bolts with a pry bar if the balancer uses a bolt on pulley as stated by eugene vik has worked for me also.

Goztrider
12-26-2008, 09:17 PM
I know you're probably not supposed to do it this way, but I've pretty much always used a hammer and a block of wood to drive it onto the end of the crank. I was taught this way by my father, and neither of us have ever had any problems or failures as a result.

Jalopy Joker
12-26-2008, 09:23 PM
eugene vik is on the right track . Check any true auto parts store or even Sears for the flywheel wrench. It might seem goofy to buy tools for possibly one time jobs, but likely you will need to this again. Hopefully you can get someone to help you while doing this project. Basic stuff, but a couple more hands do help.

tubman
12-26-2008, 09:25 PM
Old snowmobilers trick. Find a cylinder thats near BOTTOM dead center and feed as much cotton rope as you can through the spark plug hole. Turn the motor over until the piston won't go up any more, and there you have it.:) To anyone who thinks this puts too much pressure on the piston, rod, bearings, and crank; just think about the pressure when the cylinder fires.:eek: When you're done, back the cylinder off and pull the rope out. There are some who say "Don't use nylon rope, it may leave some hard fibers that will cause wear!". I don't see how that could be, but why take the chance?

Goztrider
12-26-2008, 10:51 PM
... this puts too much pressure on the piston, rod, bearings, and crank...

Could this cause problems with the valves though? I've seen a dirt dauber (mud wasp) nest bend a valve - just slightly enough to not seal properly - while only turning the flywheel to tighten the torque converter bolts. And this was done only using a screwdriver/prybar to rotate the flywheel a few teeth at a time.

I understand the concept of the valves being closed when this trick is tried, but they might open at some point during this action, right?

Docco
12-26-2008, 11:54 PM
Could this cause problems with the valves though? I've seen a dirt dauber (mud wasp) nest bend a valve - just slightly enough to not seal properly - while only turning the flywheel to tighten the torque converter bolts. And this was done only using a screwdriver/prybar to rotate the flywheel a few teeth at a time.

I understand the concept of the valves being closed when this trick is tried, but they might open at some point during this action, right?

Its the worst idea ever, valves are soooo easy to bend even with light pressure, theres too many better ways to stop an engine turning than to bother trying this.

oldsman71
12-27-2008, 12:05 AM
if its scb with auto flex plate clamp a pair of visegrips on the flexplate and let it push against the trans bellhousing and then torque the bolt to spec.

Evil Wicked Mean & Nasty
12-27-2008, 12:15 AM
A buddy with a pry bar holding the ring gear on the fly wheel against the bottom of the block. If the engine is in the car I've even used a floor jack and a piece of squar scrap metal when buddies are hard to find.

29nash
12-27-2008, 12:17 AM
Impact wrench. Mine has an air flow adjustment and I can adjust it pretty close to a any torque value between 40 and 150 Ft Pounds with a given air pressure in the compresser. As with wheel lug nuts, a couple of test shots and a feel with wrench gets it very close.
Use intermittent shot. Practice it on a bolt in a vise. Pull the trigger, count 2. Adjust. Repeat until you establish a trend. I use the same type of air adjustment valve on air drill, etc, is very dependable to stay on speed setting.

Use the same on removing big nut from alternators/generators. You can hold the pulley in your hand and the inertia of the impact wrench spins the nut right off. It doesnt move a motor at all with the little torque a dampner bolt takes.

1oldtimer
12-27-2008, 12:42 AM
use the balancer tool and a flywheel tool.

Tony
12-27-2008, 12:49 AM
Over the years i've done a few of what's been mentioned....
At some point i bought the tool designed to install them.
Pretty much a threaded rod, with an insert that's threads into the crank hole. Then a bearing slides over the rod, with a nut following it.
Tighten the nut sandwiching the bearing against the balancer (while holding the rod at the end so it dosn't turn) and it presses the balancer on without the motor turning over..
It's VERY simple although i may not have explained it all that great.
AND, it works GREAT.
It's designed just for this, and should be used if at all possible....

Mine's a Snap On..but, the're are many out there much cheaper that will get the job done..

Here's a link to one similar to what i have..
http://www.toolfetch.com/p-cal388.shtml


EDIT: 1oldtimer beat me to it...guess i shoulda just posted a pic instead of trying to explain :D:D

61bone
12-27-2008, 08:57 AM
I made a spanner wrench that fits in the pulley holes in the balancer. Brother has it right now so no pics, but if you know what a spanner is you get the drift of how it works..

squirrel
12-27-2008, 09:07 AM
Seems we have several good answers to two different questions....the one he didn't ask (how do I install the damper?) and the one he did ask (how do I tighten the bolt that holds the damper on?).

I've used several of these methods, usually if the engine is on a stand I'll have three short bolts in the back of the crank, and use a prybar to hold two of them to keep it from turning. If it's in the car, the buddy underneath with the prybar on the flywheel teeth works best (keeps me away from the dangerous stuff), or I'll put short bolts in the damper and hold it with the prybar. I prefer to torque them, but I agree that someone who's experienced with his impact wrench can get it close enough.

Those automatic transmissions that have the bellhousing all the way around, like the Mopars and Fords, make it difficult to get to the ring gear teeth once the engine is in the car. Might be able to go thru the starter hole.

flatford39
12-27-2008, 09:30 AM
Don't forget the LocTite. I did once & will never forget again. Had it torqued to spec but I was missing a bracket on the alternator adjusting arm (SBC) & it eventually worked it free. nothing like towing a car trailer at 65 loaded & that thing flys off when you are 100 miles from home.

1950ChevySuburban
12-27-2008, 11:17 AM
I use an impact gun, and let the engine turn a little while it installs. That way the seal lip rolls into place nicely.

1950ChevySuburban
12-27-2008, 11:18 AM
Also, where possible, I leave the front cover bolts loose so the seal/cover unit floats and self-centers around the balancer shaft. You'd be surprised how much off-center some of those covers can be!

Heckler
12-27-2008, 11:22 AM
Thanks everybody!