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Harmonic Balancer - The red-headed step child of engine components?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Zumo, Mar 22, 2010.

  1. Zumo
    Joined: Aug 30, 2004
    Posts: 1,389


    I need a new one, the rubber in my old one is cracked. How much concern should I used when getting a new one? The engine is a 76 4-bolt sbc with edelbrock card and intake. The engine will be for cruising. Should I just get an OEM replacement?

  2. Depends on what you want to spend. You don't need any of the Fluidampr, TCI Rattlers, etc. For your purposes I'd look at Pioneer, Dorman, or good ol' GM, which should all be available locally for under $100, probably well under, unless the local stores are pricey. I would measure the diameter of your existing damper before you go, as there are several...and you never know what's been swapped on/off your engine.

    You didn't mention the engine size...I'm assuming with a 4-bolt block it's either a 350 or 400. They use different balancers, as the 350 is internally balanced & the 400 is externally balanced. Some aftermarket balancers will work on either, by adding or removing a weight...some dampers are only either one type, or the other.

    Compare the old & new balancers to verify that the pulley bolt holes & the keyway & timing mark are the same. And...puh-leeze--don't beat the new one in place with a hammer...AutoZone will rent you the removal & installation tools...:)
  3. pincher
    Joined: Sep 12, 2007
    Posts: 378

    from Saginaw

    They all come from CHINA.
  4. mj40's
    Joined: Dec 11, 2008
    Posts: 3,300


  5. Yep, I ended up renting one and just kept it. That was actual advice from an employee there. Seems like it was $21 or something to rent and twice as much to purchase, lol.
  6. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,555

    from Garner, NC

    Really? And you're gonna brag about it on the net? Wow...
  7. And that is how things get fucked up for the rest of us
  8. Last time I "rented" from AutoZone, the local policy was that you actually bought the tool, and just brought it back, or not, as you pleased. They encouraged you to bring it back, though. Apparently each store/franchise group of stores sets their own policy...some rent for a nominal fee w/deposit, some sell the tool, etc.

    At any rate, back to the OP- beating the balancer in place with a hammer can have some bad side effects- galling the crank snout; cracking the inner hub, or, worse, the outer ring; or tearing the elastomer material between hub & ring. In extreme cases it is possible to damage a thrust bearing.

    A number of years ago, a good friend of mine was severely burned when the outer ring of a damper separated at idle, & severed fuel lines carrying methanol...which sprayed down the back of his fire suit. He had just removed his helmet & head sock & gotten down off the tractor, leaving it idling. I tend to be paranoid about damper safety. ;)
  9. walker
    Joined: Dec 29, 2008
    Posts: 217


    Spend the money for a fluid damper or one of those. The ones with the rubber (new GM included) will deteriorate and the outer ring will spin within a year or so.
  10. JeffB2
    Joined: Dec 18, 2006
    Posts: 8,779

    from Phoenix,AZ

  11. Zumo
    Joined: Aug 30, 2004
    Posts: 1,389


    Thanks guys and I own a puller set.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2010
  12. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 19,742

    from Michigan

    For normal cruising, I'd get a stock one from the junkyard... Bring your old one with ya so you could compare it with the replacement.

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