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Harmonic balancer failure

Discussion in 'Under the Hood' started by 2000StreetRod, January 24, 2010.

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    1. 2000StreetRod

      2000StreetRod Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      Recently some Sport Trac members have reported experiencing harmonic balancer failures that have resulted in repairs ranging from minor to moderate repair costs. In one case the repair was limited to replacement of the failed balancer and reinstallation of the serpentine belt. In another case the balancer, crankshaft position sensor and serpentine belt had to be replaced in addition to a towing bill due to being stranded on the highway.

      The harmonic balancer failure has not been limited to Sport Tracs. It has also occurred on 1st generation Explorers.

      I have not read anything in Ford's documentation about the expected life of the harmonic balancer nor the warning signs of its impending failure. I suspect that the serpentine belt slipping off track may be an indicator.

      I think it would be helpful to members if those who have experienced a harmonic balancer failure would share their experience with emphasis on the age and mileage of the engine and any warning symptoms realized in retrospect. Did you notice that the belt tensioner was moving in and out due to the balancer rotating off center? Was there a sound coming from the area of the balancer due to it rubbing against the crankshaft position sensor? Please post any photos you may have of a failed or damaged balancer.

      Thank you in advance for sharing!
       
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    3. 2000StreetRod

      2000StreetRod Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      One type of failure

      Below is a photo I found in a thread after doing a search. It shows the balancer inner and outer parts have separated and the outer part has slipped toward the rear. Apparently the serpentine belt had come off and the owner had reinstalled the belt to run on the inner section of the balancer not noticing the grooved section had slipped to the rear.
      HarmBalancer.jpg
      As soon as it quits raining I'm going to see if my inner and outer sections are still aligned. Below is a photo Aldive posted in the thread showing his still good stock balancer before it was replaced with an underdrive damper.
      GoodDamper.jpg
       
      Last edited: February 2, 2010
    4. petetheengineer

      petetheengineer New Member

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      you may be able to inspect for play in the rubber by using a spanner on the bottom. I have seen a few where the rubber had perished and cracked and possibly may have led to this sort of failure if left on the vehicle.
       
    5. cdvorcek

      cdvorcek New Member

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    6. cdvorcek

      cdvorcek New Member

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      I have a 2005 Sport Trac that experienced a harmonic balancer failure. Your pictures are right on target. The first thing that happened is the balancer burnt a hole through the Air Conditioner manifold hose. I believe this to be a design flaw. The AC manifold hose should never have been installed in such close proximity to the crankshaft pulley. Secondly, the crankshaft pulley slid back farenough to eat the crankshaft sensor. Cost for a new crankshaft pulley/harmonic balancer, new crankshaft sensor, new AC manifold hose, new serpentine belt, evac and re-charge of the AC system was $980.00. The only saving grace is that it did not totally separate. That could have possibly taken the rediator and AC condensor as well.
       
    7. stang354

      stang354 New Member

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      I know its an old thread but my balancer looks just like the one above! It look like the belt is suppose to be riding on the rubber because perfect ribs are worn on it! Thanks for this thread! New balancer is on the way.

      Only symptom was a belt squeak that just started yesterday. God only knows how long this has been like this. I noticed that one of the ribs on the original belt had seperated from the rest of the belt in a 12 inch section. This led to more inspection and noticing tiny pieces of rubber stuck to the frame and surrounding hoses. Now that I see the picture of the main pulley walking off of the rubber I see that its not suppose to look that way lol! My 04 XLT 4.0 has 82K on it.
       
    8. 2000StreetRod

      2000StreetRod Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      balancer retaining bolt

      The balancer retaining bolt is a torque-to-yield bolt on the SOHC V6 and should not be reused. I don't know about the other engines.
       
      Last edited: May 9, 2011
    9. stang354

      stang354 New Member

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      Hmm..anyone have a part number of the bolt?
       
    10. stang354

      stang354 New Member

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      Got the bolt..now before I go at it, is it revrese thread or standard?
       
    11. 2000StreetRod

      2000StreetRod Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      loosens counter-clockwise

      The balancer retaining bolt loosens counter-clockwise. Here's a link to a thread I just finished on pulling it off a SOHC V6:
      Under timing cover inspection
       
    12. ranger7ltr

      ranger7ltr Elite Explorer

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      TTY balancer bolts...

      To clarify the harmonic balancer bolt on ALL Ford 4.0 liter v6 engines is torque-to-yield and should be replaced when removed...

      The 5.0 lter V8 Ford engine does not use a torque to yield bolt for the harmonic balancer...
       
    13. ibjammin

      ibjammin New Member

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      City, State:
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      Harmonic Balancer on 2010

      I bought a New Sport Trac in March 2010, and immediately started having problems.

      400 mi had the front right rotor turned.
      500 mi had the drive shaft replaced. (vibrations)
      550 mi had the front right tire replaced (vibrations)
      Last week at 5,300 mi had the harmonic balancer replaced...started making a squealing sound upon starting.

      Scouring the WEB I see that there is quite a large problem with the harmonic balancer. Ford seems not to want to admit that there is a problem, but I have the local Maintenance manager admitting on hidden camera that it is a known (large) problem, and that the new part may have the same problem as the old part!

      Thinking of trying to start a class action suit against Ford.
      I am a disabled Vet with three life threatening illnesses and I need a dependable vehicle to transport me to, and from the VA hospital numerous times per year...I did not get dependable from Ford.

      ibjammin
       
    14. nhmercracer

      nhmercracer New Member

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      Copied from another thread to document.

       
    15. nhmercracer

      nhmercracer New Member

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      2000's reply to my post.

       
    16. nhmercracer

      nhmercracer New Member

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      A better picture of the replacement.

       
    17. ahodges

      ahodges Elite Explorer

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      I have a 96 4.0 OHV and also had to replace the harmonic balancer. My truck had 122,000 miles on it at this point. My symptoms were that the tensioner was oscillating as if one of the pulleys had a wobble to it.. I inspected the balancer and the rubber was dry rotted. I went to the dealer to order a new one and the replacement was the balancer you see above.

      When you use the new design balancer, the crank shaft position sensor also has to be replaced due to the redesigned exciter ring.

      Once I replaced it the tensioner pulley stopped oscillating.

      I believe that the harmonic balancer is the same for all of the 4.0 explorer engines since they all use the same block and stroke..

      By the way.. Don't pay the $198.00 for that balancer.. If nothing else you can get it through a vendor on here for only 10% above cost and that comes out to somewhere around $120..
       
    18. nhmercracer

      nhmercracer New Member

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      I could not wait as I needed the vehicle running asap. I reused the original CPS with no issues. The truck has been running daily for almost a week.
       
    19. ahodges

      ahodges Elite Explorer

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      Hmmm.. well then the dealer's computer lies when they say you need a new and improved CPS.. oh well..
       
    20. nhmercracer

      nhmercracer New Member

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      My Ex is a 2005, perhaps it is a different (or newer) unit than the one originally installed on your Ex?
       
    21. ahodges

      ahodges Elite Explorer

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      That is very possible seeing how there is a 9 year difference.. Im not too concerned about it. I still have the old one as a back up maybe, ya never know! lol
       
    22. rodtech

      rodtech New Member

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      balancer problem

      I am replacing the harmonic balancer on a 2004 4.0 v6. do i have to set it to tdc before pulling the balancer and if so why?
       
    23. rodtech

      rodtech New Member

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      do i set the engine to tdc on #1 before i pull the harmonic balancer?
       
    24. ranger7ltr

      ranger7ltr Elite Explorer

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      Nope...

      The balancer has a slot to index into a keyway in the crank snout so it doesn't matter where the balancer is when you pull it off...

      But you should check with the dealership to find out if the balncer bolt is torque to yield or not...On the earlier 4 liter engines the bolt was to be replaced each time it is tightened and then removed...The bolt stretches as it is torqued and you cannot reuse it safely...
       
    25. Weekend Mechanic

      Weekend Mechanic New Member

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      Thanks to zjrog

      I just went through this entire process on my 2005 4.0 explorer and thanks to zjrog experiences, I went a different route to remove and re-torque the harmonic balancer bolt. At the local ACE, I bought a piece of 3 inch by 1/8 th thick by 3 foot long flat stock and drilled an 1.5 inch hole near the end and two 3/8 holes 2.5 inches apart spaced evenly about the large hole. I bought M8-1.5 by 400 mm bolts, used some nuts and washers as spacers and secured the flat stock to the end of the old balancer using the puller holes. This gave me a long lever that came out of the hood of the car and I just put my breaker bar with a slight extension through the hole in the flat stock and it came off easy. I repeated the procedure with the new balancer and the flat stock actually was stopped by the battery and then torqued to yield the new bolt. Worked fine. I left the radiator in because it is interlocked with the supplemental cooler and condensor coil so an impact gun was not an option and I opted out of removing the starter because I was on my own with no one to hold the flywheel lock. I also could not use a hammer to re-install so I used the suggestion of a reverse puller to draw it back in with the tight space. I could not find running thread for M12 - 1.5 without special order and very expensive so I cut the head off the old balancer bolt, had an extension welded on of 3/8" USS running thread (total length 9 inches) and used the puller yoke in reverse.
      Thanks to zjrog for sharing his painful experience!! It really helped me from going down a bad road.

      PS, the more I talked to people, I believe that Ford has a real design problem with the old balancer design. I bought Ford replacement parts because the new Ford design appears much different and stronger verses buying the aftermarket for $100.00 less - grief just not worth it.
       
    26. wailim1972

      wailim1972 New Member

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      Hi, looks really good StreetRod. I am located in Ireland with the only 3rd Gen Explorer here (As far as I know) and I have the chirping/Squealing. I only have the truck a couple of weeks and want to do this.

      Looking at the picture of the crankshaft & chain pulley after you've removed the balancer leads me to believe that the 3 components are keyed together. I don't have a manual yet but I can see a key there!

      Obviously with the pulley bolt removed, if the chain pulley came away from the block for some reason then that would allow the crankshaft and/or camshafts to move out of step but so long as the chain pulley stays in place this is not a risk right? (apart from what you say about the desing being prone to slippage moving counter clockwise)
       

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