What does a harmonic balancer do?

Harmonic Balancer Puller and Installation

So you want to replace your harmonic balancer, huh? There's good news and bad news. First, the good news: Installing a new balancer is a relatively easy task. And now the bad news: Getting the old one off the crankshaft is not. It could involve taking apart some of your car's body parts, like the front fender or bumper and probably even the radiator.

First, you'll probably need to go out and buy a tool you might not have -- a harmonic balancer puller. That's a specialized tool that's used to safely remove harmonic balancers without damaging your vehicle, and it also works on things like gear pulleys and steering wheels. Search around to find the right puller for your needs. They're usually around $25 or so.

Every engine is different, so if you want to change the harmonic balancer on your car, you'll need to search around various car forums and Web sites to see how it's done on your specific model. Generally, you'll want to remove the belt from the crankshaft pulley and then take the harmonic balancer mounting bolt off with a socket and ratchet. From there, you'll use the puller tool you just bought to take the balancer itself off the crankshaft [source: Auto MD].

As far as reinstalling the new harmonic balancer goes, it's pretty much the same steps in reverse. Just be sure to compare the old part and the new part to make sure the bolt hole locations are the same. And don't forget to pay close attention to the proper torque settings, too. If you can start your engine and the vibrations don't jar your tooth fillings loose, you've done the job correctly.