What is a Harmonic Balancer Puller and What Does it Do?
When replacing a car’s harmonic balancer, it’s necessary to use the harmonic balancer puller. Here is more about the puller, how to use it, and price.
The harmonic balancer puller makes changing your car’s harmonic balancer effortless. It’s also a straightforward device that needs no special skill to use. But if you’re hearing about this harmonic balancer tool for the first time, do not worry. I will walk you through its basics including what it is, how to use it, and how much it goes for on the market today.
What is a Harmonic Balancer Puller?
The harmonic balancer removal tool or puller is a nifty device used to remove the harmonic balancer. It’s essentially a type of puller like many others used in automotive applications, but specialized for the pressed-on type of harmonic balancer.
The harmonic balancer, also known as a crankshaft damper, is the part mounts to the front of an engine’s crankshaft. It helps dampen crankshaft vibrations. Without it, the crankshaft would vibrate too much and get damaged. That would lead to engine problems that cost a lot of money to correct.
The harmonic damper is normally made of two parts- a metal exterior to mount it and a rubber interior to dampen vibrations- and mounted to the crank using as single bolt.
Over time, the harmonic balancer can become loose or the rubber part deteriorates. The part is not serviceable, so you must replace it as a unit. This is where you need the harmonic balancer puller tool.
What does a harmonic balancer puller do?
The harmonic balancer puller or balancer removal tool does what its name implies- it helps you pull the balancer off the engine using minimal effort. It also helps you remove the balancer safely without damaging the crank and other components.
Here is how it works:
A typical balancer puller tool is a device with a center opening through which to insert the forcing screw or bolt and adapter. On the sides maybe slotted yokes for the bolts that will go into the balancer, or jaws to hold the balancer to pull it out.
By rotating the central bolt, the puller causes the balancer to slide off the mounting shaft. The bolts or jaws ensure even pressure around the balancer during removal. This helps prevent crankshaft damage, in addition to making the process much easier.
Types of harmonic Balancer Puller Tools
Harmonic balancer tools come in various styles, mostly differing in design and size. The most common types of balancer removal tools include the duck’s foot, circular, and three-jaw puller. These names are based on the puller shapes and how they hold onto the balancer during removal.
A duck’s foot type, for example, is a yorked device with a slot in each arm to accommodate different bolts and a central opening for the forcing screw. It also has one size curved and the other flat. The flat side faces the balancer during removal.
The circular balancer puller tool is essentially a round flange with slots to insert puller bolts. This puller works like the yoked version of the tool. The 3-jaw version, on the other hand, is a large harmonic balancer puller that uses jaws to hold balancer and a central rod to pull it out.
Harmonic Balancer Puller Kit
The puller body cannot remove the harmonic balancer all by itself. It requires bolts or adapters and, depending on the type of puller, a few other pieces. Usually, you’ll find it on the auto tools market as a kit or set. A harmonic balancer puller set contains many pieces (bolts and rods) of different sizes.
These are supposed to fit different car makes and models, allowing you to use the kit to service different cars. A typical balancer puller set consists of these pieces: a bearing-centered puller flange, an assortment of bolts of different sizes, and a center screw, rod, or adapter.
Harmonic Balancer Puller and Installer
Replacing a vehicle’s harmonic balancer requires taking out the old part and installing a new one to take its place. The process is simply the opposite of removal. However, some kits will also include a harmonic balancer install tool.
The installer is usually a flat device that you mount to the balancer during installation to allow you push it down. Just like the puller, the harmonic balancer installation tool helps you mount the part safely and easily.
Universal Harmonic Balancer Puller
A universal harmonic balancer puller allows you to service many different cars. It usually includes a puller body that can fit a wide range of vehicles and many supporting pieces (bolts and adapters) to fit different balancer configurations. If you own several different cars, the puller kit can prove useful.
How to Use a Harmonic Balancer Puller
Pullers are pretty easy to use. Nevertheless, you should receive the harmonic balancer puller instructions from the manufacturer if you buy one. If you do not have the user’s manual, we will walk you through the process to use it. This should help you ensure a smooth process.
Note: Before you get started, make sure your car is cool. If the engine is hot (has been running for more than 10 minutes), let it sit to cool down for about 15 minutes before starting the job.
Here, now, is how to remove a harmonic balancer with a puller.
Step 1: Remove the Necessary Parts
- Release tensioners to remove belts that connect the balancer puller to the accessories.
- The belts to remove will depend on your type of car.
Step 2: Remove the Harmonic Balancer Bolt
- Using a breaker bar, remove the harmonic balancer retaining bolt.
- Do not remove or loosen the balancer’s washer.
Step 3: Attach Harmonic Balancer Puller
- Identify the main body of the harmonic balancer puller tool.
- Thread the large bolt through the center of the puller body together with the adapter.
- Choose the right size of the puller bolts based on your car’s engine configuration.
- Attach the puller onto the harmonic balancer.
- Insert the bolts through the puller slots and tighten them in the balancer openings.
- Be sure to thread the bolts to the correct and same depth.
Step 4: Remove Harmonic Balancer
- Find the correct socket size and use it to crank the puller central bolt.
- Rotate the bolt until the balancer slides off the crankshaft.
- Hold the balancer with one hand to prevent it from falling.
Step 5: Install Replacement Harmonic Balancer
- Use the harmonic balancer installer set to mount the new balancer.
- The process to install new balancer is the opposite of removal.
- Make sure that everything is tight and reinstall the components you had taken off.
Pulling Harmonic Balancer without Puller
If you’re servicing the harmonic balancer for the first time, you may not know if you need a puller. But you do or the process could take you longer than necessary. Using the harmonic balancer puller and installer also means a simpler and safer job.
Pulling the balancer without a puller would require some serious pulling power. You could also end up damaging nearby components, especially if you tried to remove the balancer by prying it with normal tools.
Since the balancer is a specialty puller tool, many mechanics will have one in their garage. DIY car owners, too, who want to make replacing the harmonic balancer a breeze. As you can see, the harmonic balancer puller is a useful tool to own.
How much is a Harmonic Balancer Puller
A harmonic balancer puller kit typically costs between $40 and $150. The price mostly depends on the type of puller, brand, and other factors such as brand reputation. Higher priced kits will offer you greater usability. More importantly, it will likely be composed of sturdy pieces made from high quality alloy steel.
You can purchase your harmonic balancer puller online on manufacturer websites or you can get it from authorized resellers. The tool is also available at physical auto parts stores. When buying online, be sure to select a puller that suits your type of vehicle or model.
Choose a harmonic balancer puller for Chrysler if you own a Chrysler, for example or a Ford harmonic lancer puller if you own a Ford car or truck. These will come with bolts to match the size of openings on the balancer and jaws or yokes that correspond to its size.
A harmonic balancer puller ensures easy removal and installation of most harmonic balancers and drive pulleys which are press-fitted onto the crank-shaft. If this is going to be your first time working on a car, we highly recommend having one of these before starting the job. Even if you think you’re never going to work on an engine again, there’s always the possibility that you may need it to remove a pulley from the engine.