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When To Upgrade Your Harmonic Balancer

The harmonic damper protects from destructive crankshaft torsional vibration that occurs naturally from internal combustion and improves overall efficiency.  Properly controlling torsional vibration increases torque and horsepower, improves main bearing life and valve train operation, plus reduces the risk of crank failure.

 

When To Upgrade Your Harmonic Balancer

 


The majority of passenger car and light trucks come equipped with an elastomer style harmonic balancer.  These low-cost, rubber-based OEM harmonic balancers are tuned from the factory to protect only a narrow band of the worst harmonics and are intended for stock conditions.  Performance upgrades that increase torque such as an air kit, exhaust, tuner and injectors or carburetor will increasingly accelerate elastomer harmonic balancer failure.  Performance upgrades that change the composition of the rotating assembly such as, pistons, rods and flexplate/clutch or flywheel/torque converter will cause the OEM damper to be out-of-tune to provide optimum protection.


The harmonic balancer is a fundamental building block of engine performance.  An upgrade should be done in conjunction with your basic air kit, exhaust, and tuner setup for optimum long term performance.  If you have already performed this set up without upgrading, then the stock harmonic balancer is working harder to compensate for the added torque.  Routinely inspect the rubber layer of the stock harmonic balancer for signs of cracked, bulging or missing rubber.  These signs indicate that an elastomer harmonic balancer is deteriorating and may not be properly protecting your engine.  Elastomer harmonic balancer age, exposure to the elements, oils and solvents, and excessive towing/hauling will also accelerate the breakdown of the rubber layer.


signs of harmonic balancer wear 
Cracked, bulging and missing rubber are early warning signs that your stock elastomer style harmonic balancer needs to be upgraded to a viscous damper.

 

Beyond a basic performance set up, a broad band viscous damper upgrade, such as a Fluidampr performance damper is a requirement and needs to be installed with any rotating assembly changes.  The reason is that different pistons, rods, crank, flywheel/torque converter or flexplate/clutch will potentially shift the damaging harmonics out-of-range of where the stock tuned elastomer harmonic balancer is designed to protect.  By design, a viscous damper provides long lasting protection across a broad range of harmonics and is the most cost effective approach.  Only a professional torsional vibration analysis based on your specific parts combination will determine the durometer needed for other aftermarket o-ring based performance dampers, then rountine o-ring replacement is required.

 

 

Where To Buy Fluidampr Performance Dampers

 


Fluidampr performance dampers are sold through quality performance service shops and parts retailers.  Click here to find one near you.  If you have questions or need assistance, Fluidampr technical support is available 8:00am – 4:30pm EST, Monday through Friday at (716) 592-1000 or email here.

 

Fluidampr cut-a-way

Inside a Fluidampr performance damper.