7 symptoms of a bad harmonic balancer

A bad harmonic balancer may be caused by different factors that cause it to wear and not function properly. This article will take a look at the top signs of a bad harmonic balancer. However, let's get acquainted with what a harmonic balancer does in a car's internal combustion engine before we go into the signs.

What does a harmonic balancer do?

what is Harmonic balancer or harmonic damper

A harmonic balancer has the principal purpose of absorbing the vibrations applied to the crankshaft of your engine. In simpler words, a harmonic balancer protects your engine from harmonic vibrations.

These vibrations have the power to cripple your engine and bring it to a halt. However, the harmonic balancer prevents this from happening. We have a well-written article that answers the question, what is a harmonic balancer? We explained its function in detail with images and videos easy to comprehend.

A harmonic balancer's role in a vehicle's engine should never be downplayed, as a bad harmonic damper can easily be your nightmare as a driver.

What happens when you have a bad harmonic balancer?

Bad Harmonic damper

When you have a bad balancer, this means your balancer will be unable to dampen crankshaft vibrations and will inadvertently lead to engine failure. A bad harmonic damper can damage the engine-driven accessories and belts. The bad harmonic damper can also get torn apart and damage multiple under hood components of your engine.

Without stressing this further, you must replace a bad harmonic balancer with immediate effect. The cost of repair most times can be as good as getting a new engine. Nonetheless, how can drivers avoid it if they do not know the sign to look out for a bad balancer? Well, this is why we wrote this article. Educating drivers and young drivers, especially to note these vital signs, prompt them of an impending or existing problem with their balancer.

Harmonic Balancer

We always advise that you replace a bad harmonic damper. Below are some products you could use.

7 Top signs of a bad harmonic balancer (and how to fix it- 2021)

Without much ado, let us look at the top signs you will notice when you have a bad harmonic damper and how to fix it immediately.

Rough, vibrating engine

This symptom is one of the first signs you will notice from a bad balancer. A good harmonic balancer will typically reduce the vibration of your engine. However, if the vibration increases, it is indicative that the harmonic balancer is bad. It would be best if you replaced your balancer with immediate effect. If you ignore the rough vibrations, in a matter of time, you will be left with a fully dislodge crankshaft harmonic balancer, and this is very dangerous.

An annoyingly loud engine

Annoying sound

When your harmonic balancer begins to wear, get loose, or fall apart, you will notice an increase in the noise coming out of your engine. This noise is often louder than the usual sound it produces. As a good driver, it is paramount that you always listen to your engine's sound and note the variations when it occurs.

The noisy sound from your engine means your harmonic balance is terrible. This sound is often an adverse effect of the wear that has taken place.

Often, when you have a bad balancer that has become noisy, you will also notice that it has dislodged itself from its original position. The damage will not spare your engine's timing as well, and it will detach most of your engine belts from their position. The final destination is this car will be brought to a halt, and repairing it will be an uphill task as the bill will be on the high side because of the hidden damage caused in the process.

Timing marks

Out of place timing marks can be a reliable sign of a bad harmonic balancer. These signs can barely go unnoticed, and you should rest assured that only a bad balancer can create these marks. A majority of the harmonic balancer we find today have straightforward designs. They are two metal plates that have a rubber layer compressed within, looking like a burger. The rubber component does the main job of absorbing the vibration from your car's engine.

Timing marks

If the rubber layer wears, you will see these out-of-place timing marks emerge along with the pulley. When the rubber layers are functioning correctly, you will see these marks at the pulley's front. However, if there is a malfunction of these layers, you will see the marks move and appear misaligned.

Crack on the rubber insulator of a bad harmonic balancer

bad rubber in harmonic balancer

Always look out for cracks or destruction signs on your rubber insulator. This insulator sits between the inner hub and the outer ring. Any visible sign of a crack or destruction means you have a bad harmonic balancer who needs to replace it quickly.

Rubber rings and outer rings effect

failed harmonic balancer

When your rubber rings begin to wear, this means you have a bad balancer in your hands. We are confident this is the case because your rubber rings will only ear when your harmonic balancer begins to fail. You can find these rubber rings between the inner hub and the outer ring.

Effects on your rubber rings are easy to spot. Also, know that your rubber rings can be affected by factors such as mud, cold, heat, and dirt. On the other hand, the outer rings are close to the rubber rings' position. Therefore, it is only logical that you inspect both of them together. To do this, you should remove the fan belt and try moving the ring in and out. If you can easily do this, it means you have a bad harmonic damper.

Wobbling effect of a bad harmonic balancer

wobbling effect

If your harmonic balancer wobbles, then it means your balancer is bad. This exercise is a straightforward approach to know the state of your harmonic balancer. All you have to do is watch the movement of your balancer. If it wobbles at all, then it isn't good.

Pulse checking

This symptom might be unfamiliar with most drivers, but your engine does have a pulse. This pulse is similar to that of a human. You can read the car's pulse by the sound the vehicle makes when functioning properly or idling.

If your engine's idling sound defers from what you may be used to, this could be a symptom of a bad balancer. It is easier to detect this in the vehicle with electronic ignition.

Key Takeaways!

  • A harmonic balancer protects your engine from harmonic vibrations by absorbing them.
  • The balancer's components are metal and rubber, having a burger or sandwich orientation. The rubber component does the absorbing of the vibration.
  • A bad balancer can be very dangerous, and drivers must look out for signs to avoid their engine's total breakdown. The cost of repair is often high.
  • It would be best to immediately replace a bad balancer to avoid further damage to the engine.
  • Some signs to look out for in a bad harmonic balancer include wobbling effect, noisy engine, rough vibration, out-of-bound timing marks, pulse checking, etc.

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