If you own a car, you might know about the crankshaft and its role in turning the wheels of your vehicle. It converts the power of the engine into rotational motion that runs your car.
Each time the forces act on the crankshaft as the cylinders of an engine fire, the twisting in the crankshaft results in vibration that resonate with it. As a result of various frequencies, vibrations in the crankshaft can become worse often ending up in the failure of the crankshaft. This might cause you huge sums of your car repair.
This is when a harmonic balancer comes into play. It is a primary element of any engine. But what does it exactly do? If you own a car, you will surely need a harmonic balancer. In this post, we’ll tell you all the essential details about the harmonic balancer. So, keep on reading!
What is Harmonic Balancer?
A harmonic balancer is a forepart attachment that is connected to the crankshaft of an engine decreases the vibrations and is mostly viewed as a damper. It’s a rubber sandwich, as the central part is made up of rubber and the outside layers are built of metal. The harmonic balancer usually takes the image of a pulley, yet its functionalities are very different.
Did You Know?
‘Harmonic balancer in a car helps absorb vibrations of the engine while keeping it at a safe level.’
The harmonic balancer is a combination of two hubs, split up by a rubber liner. Original balance factors including power output, engine size, and spinning assembly weight are among the contemplation used to control the appropriate proportion of the harmonic balance assembly.
Engine upgrades are mostly required when shifting to a different balance, mainly if any modifications to the crankshaft have been done. If you are interested to learn more about this car part.
How Does Harmonic Balancer Work in Car?
The crankshaft transforms the up-and-down movement of the piston’s mechanism into a spinning motion which causes a lot of fluctuation. Still, the harmonic balancer acts as a resilient absorber that averts you from feeling the force applied by the pistons onto the crankshaft. The harmonic balancer is made up of two critical components: an ‘Energy-Dissipater’ and an ‘Inertia Mass’.
- Energy-Dissipater- This energy-dissolving element consumes the mechanical vibrations.
- Inertia Mass- The inertia mass prevents the shifting of the crank.
Common Types of Harmonic Balancers
Automobile manufacturers use different designs for their harmonic balancers; however, these three are the most common types which are widely available in the market.
In this type, a rubber substantial attaches the crankshaft middle, and the weight or inertia ring controls excess vibration. Such kinds of harmonic balancers are used to stock applications, but few aftermarket companies provide tuned elastomer which is specifically tuned to advance high-performance applications.
For example, ATI uses numerous rubber rings and a particular kind of rubber to tune their harmonic balancer for specific applications. By using multiple types of materials and ring diameters, the company is ready to create dampers for definite ranges of rpm where vibration is the lowest. Elastomer harmonic balancer tends to be inexpensive. Nonetheless, the point of the detectors is limited to the movement of the bounded rubber before shearing.
Fluid/viscous harmonic balancer technology consolidates a thick liquid, generally, silicone between an outer housing and inertia ring. Just as vibration causes the inertia ring and outer housing to rotate back and forth out of the point with each other, this causes a shearing activity to establish within the fluid.
This shearing activity converts the vibration into heat and depletes it through the outer housing. The viscous harmonic balancer can be more expensive than the elastomer counterparts, but they generally handle vibration over a broader RPM (Revolution Per Minute) area.
As the fluid is not secured to the balancer like in elastomer design, it is limitless in its ability to move and can be even more potent as RPMs boost.
Friction Style Harmonic Balancer
A friction harmonic balancer operates a set of clutch discs to regulate vibration. By changing the style and size of the internal clutch discs, with the spring-loaded pressure of these particular discs, manufacturers can completely tune these harmonic balancers to an rpm range. These discs are not secured to the damper; besides, the movement of the inertia rings is less limited than adjusted elastomer-style balancers.
Best Harmonic Balancers for your Car: Reviews
If you want to ensure that the parts of harmonic balancers fit your car perfectly, you can enter your model trim level and search Amazon Garage. Below mentioned some of the best-reviewed harmonic balancers for your car in 2023.
One of the best balancers in the market is a 594-236 engine harmonic balancer manufactured by Dorman. This is a direct replacement harmonic balancer with a stress-resistant rubber bond to ingest engine vibration properly. It has a ductile steel construction that gives excellent tensile and great strength for greater durability.
- It is cost-effective and has a durable construction.
- It’s an ideal replacement as it exactly matches the function for an accurate replacement.
- It has a durable construction, and it’s a cost-effective solution as well.
- It’s for selected mercury or Ford models and doesn’t come with a new bolt.
- It only goes on the shaft one way.
This Dorman 594-010 harmonic balancer is a game-changer for your car engine. The sleek and durable Dorman harmonic balancer features a stress resistance rubber bond, which stands the damaging effect of ozone, regular wear, tear, and heat. The adaptable steel construction grants better tensile and impacted durability, maintaining the efficiency of fuel or safeguarding the engine.
- Comes with an easy-installation harmonic balancer puller (594-999).
- Ensures direct replacement for an appropriate fit.
- It comes with a protective sleeve over the cone which prevents damage where applicable.
- Limited warranty
This durable and sleek Dorman 594-311 Serpentine Harmonic Balancer has a tough-resistant rubber that comes with a protector against harmful effects like salt, ozone, heat, and usual tear and tear. This Dorman harmonic balancer underwent proper dimensional checks of assembly and critical elements to ensure the strength and integrity of parts.
- Ships with protective sleepover cones which prevent damage.
- It replaces direct to ensure proper fit.
- Easy installation as it comes with Dorman’s Harmonic balancer puller
- It humidifies the engine and power the alternator power steering pump and compressor.
- It signals the CPK sensor for engine operation.
This great direct replacement 594-298 engine harmonic balancer by Dorman properly absorbs the engine vibration with a stress-resistant rubber bond. Steel Ductile construction provides excellent impact and tensile strength for greater durability.
- Matches the function and fit of the original harmonic balancer.
- Features a rubber vibration damper bonded between steel ductile components.
- Cost-effective solution and original equipment.
- It is undergone dimensional verification, functional testing, and material validation to ensure performance.
- It has no lifetime warranty.
- It is for selected Acura/Honda models.
Another best harmonic balancer for your car is 594-024S Harmonic Balancer, manufactured by Dorman. This harmonic balancer underwent detailed dimensional checks of the full assembly and important components to assure the strength of the parts.
- It’s a direct replacement which makes it the right fit.
- Quite easy to install with Dorman harmonic balancer puller
- It’s a cost-effective solution for your engine.
- No warranty
Another best harmonic balancer is the Dorman harmonic balancer which safeguards the engine and maintains the fuel efficiency of your car for several years. This balancer has dimensional checks of the full assembly and vital components to ensure the strength of the engine parts.
- Direct replacement of the real harmonic balancer.
- Functional testing was performed, dimensional verified and material validated.
- Its Benchmarked with Original equipment performance to meet quality standards.
- Easy installation due to Dorman harmonic balancer puller (594-999)
- It ensures the fitness of the balancer in the engine.
- Limited to Chevrolet, Isuzu, and GMC.
Things to Consider Before Buying Harmonic Balancer for Car
Are you tired of your old malfunctioning harmonic balancer? Do you want to toss it into the bin? If you're going to change it with something more functional and improved harmonic balancer, make sure that the restoration can thoroughly dampen vibration while supporting your car’s crankshaft.
- New Versus Used Harmonic Balancer
It’s best to buy a new harmonic balancer than to take a risk on an old/used one. A used harmonic balancer can be cost-effective; however, there is no guarantee for how long time it will last. Sooner you will know it, you might have to buy a new one or pay further for the pricey repair of the crankshaft that did not fulfill the needs of dampening action.
- For Daily Routine/Racing
If you are considering buying a harmonic balancer for racing or daily driving, you may get a harmonic balancer that’s mainly for street use or racing purpose. Make sure to find the one that suits your car’s nature.
- Choose Harmonic Balancer According To Vehicle
A right harmonic balancer should match the OE (Original Equipment) specifications. You can also have an upgrade without spending more. It would be best if you make sure that even if it's a new or aftermarket upgrade or used, the balancer system must fit your car system perfectly. You can consult with other users or the car’s manual to be sure.
Indications of Bad Harmonic Balancer
- Excessive Vibration in the Engine
Do you feel like your car is vibrating more than average? It is because the outer rubber layer of your balancer is ready for replacement. It is warped from the heat or broken due to the immediate changing of temperatures.
- Poor Performance of Engine
If the engine of your car is performing poorly, it’s high time that you change the harmonic balancer with the new one.
- Drive Belt Noise
Who likes noisy drive belts? No one, right? The wrong harmonic balancer also upsets the drive belt. If you hear it slipping or squealing, your harmonic balancer may need to be replaced.
- Uneven Idling of the Engine
If your vehicle is rigged with electronic ignition, in that case, a broken harmonic balancer might affect it to idle poorly, as the machine in your car will notice something wrong and make try to compensate for it. Though, in its mechanism of paying, it might misconstrue over and overbuild upon the nature of the damage.
- Messed Up Timing Marks
Many harmonic balancers built on a circle piece of rubber are wrapped in between circle metal pieces. To confirm that these three are appropriately adjusted, they are depicted with timing marks by the manufacturer.
You can notice these marks aren’t fixed; it happens because the pieces slide from each other. By the way, you can find more symptoms of a bad harmonic balancer in our other blog post that covers this topic only.
FAQs about Harmonic Balancer for Car
How do I choose a harmonic balancer for my car?
For choosing the harmonic balancer, one must know the type of car and the engine. For harmonic balancer criteria, the longer the stroke and the larger diameter and mass, the greater the torque. The right mass and diameter can help find the right balancer for your car.
What is the difference between a Harmonic balancer and a damper?
An alliance fit that assures the engine moves in perfect step with the crankshaft is called a “harmonic balancer” while dampers like a (torsional damper, crankshaft damper, and vibration dampers) are the same as a harmonic balancer. Nevertheless, it comes with a difference in counterweight to external balance which is a rotating assembly in a damper.
What are the symptoms of a bad harmonic balancer?
The symptoms of a bad harmonic balancer are noticeable balancer vibration, frequent unusual noises, engine vibration, and visible damage or wear. The bad balancer can wear the belt and engine accessories.
How long does a harmonic balancer last?
For particular engines, sometimes harmonic balancers last forever or maybe like for the life of an engine. Many engines may only last 40,000 miles or less than ten years. So, it’s dependable on the machine and harmonic balancer as well.
Are the Crankshaft pulley and harmonic balancer the same thing?
The harmonic balancer is a part of an engine. It comes with a crankshaft pulley (used as mass also) to the crankshaft with an isolator of rubber in between.
Spinning impulses, created by the firing of the cylinders, are consumed by the rubber and returned to the circle rotating crankshaft out of the point with pulses, softening the spinning vibrational inherent to the systems. The consistent action on the rubber finally causes the breakdown, and the rubber deteriorates cause disorder in the pulley.
All in all, the harmonic balancer is an integral part of any combustion engine. It’s used in keeping the vibration at a safer level for both the vehicle and the user itself. Keeping a regular check on unusual vibrations, irregular engine drifting, noisy drive belts and not aligned timing marks is crucial.
Therefore, before purchasing a balancer consider your vehicle year, manufacturing type, and model to assuring that you wouldn’t have to deal with the difficulties of returning or waiting for the product to be shipped once more. Make sure to find the right match for your car to avoid unnecessary hassles.