Posted By RichC on December 6, 2019
One of the engine components known to fail prematurely on BMW diesels is the weighty harmonic balancers on the 6 cylinder crank shafts. Perhaps the park is designed with the vibration rubber material that degrades or perhaps it is just the constant hammering of the diesel engine that is hard on the original design? In any case, by the time the engine closes in on 200K .. you’re likely running on borrowed time. Personally I suspect that those who run these engines a little harder or chip-tune them to gain horsepower and torque need to give even more attention to this component.
I’m not particularly hard on my BMW X5 35d, but do have over 180,000 miles and want to replace before I’m dead in the water. Also, I wanted to replace the original designed dampener with a Fluidampr design … so since my friend Andrew Rodriguez was running a Black Friday sale at TuneMyEuro.com, I ordered a new Fluidampr Harmonic Balancer from him. Now to find the time to replace it (a fair amount of weekend work).
Comment: I’m sure I’m not alone in wondering the future of internal combustion engines in cars (and in particular diesel engines) as electrically driven cars start to take a bigger chunk of new car sales. It is still small, but after watching the Tesla Cybertruck presentation, even I can see the writing on the wall. Eventually the next generation will decide on an EV or some other “yet to be seen” technology. Thankfully I’ll still be driving ICE vehicles and doing my best to keep them going. Likely first to go will be diesel vehicles, but I suspect that even diesels will continue to be around for a long time – BMW Says Diesels Will Still Be Around For At Least 20 Years.
How long does a harmonic balancer last?
The crankshaft harmonic balancer is also known as the crank pulley damper. It is connected to the crankshaft on the engine and reduces vibrations that originate from your engine. In addition, it serves as a pulley for the drive belts. Without the crankshaft harmonic balancer, your vehicle would not run smoothly and it would have constant problems, including not starting. There are two elements of the crankshaft harmonic balancer. They include an energy and a mass dissipating element. Together, these work to balance out and get rid of the vibrations from the engine.
Each time the cylinders in the engine fire, torque is applied to the crankshaft. At certain speeds, the torque is in sync with the cylinders, which creates resonance. This resonance causes too much stress for the crankshaft. If this stress continues, the crankshaft will break and your vehicle will be inoperable. To balance the vibrations and resonance, the mass element resists the acceleration of the vibrations and the energy element absorbs them.
Over time, the crankshaft harmonic balancer can go bad from constant exposure to chemicals, the elements, or from old age. If this happens, the crankshaft may develop cracks and ultimately fail. As soon as you notice any of the symptoms that your crankshaft harmonic balancer is going bad, it is important to have a professional mechanic replace the damaged crankshaft harmonic balancer right away. Ignoring this problem will only make it worse and cause extensive repairs.
Since this part can wear over time, it is important that you recognize the symptoms so you can have your crankshaft harmonic balancer replaced before problems escalate.
Signs that your crankshaft harmonic balancer needs to be replaced include:
- The engine is loud and you feel vibrations coming from your engine
- The pulley belt may slip causing your vehicle to backfire or misfire
- The vehicle’s ignition timing will be off
- The vehicle will not start at all
It is important to have your balancer replaced as soon as you notice a problem, otherwise other parts of your car can become damaged and your vehicle will be inoperable