T1N Harmonic Balancer Failure

Thanks to all the excellent photos on here, I have also realized this is where the noise if coming from on my van. ('04 2500 with 213,000 miles). It all started about 2 weeks ago, about 5 miles before I had an idler pully failed, leaving me stranded in DC.. I assumed, at the time, that the loud engine noise was from the pulley, that was about to fail, then did. Towed it about 30 miles to the stealership, and they replaced it without a problem. On pickup day, the noise continued, and the dealership told me "everything is normal" and that the sound was some sort of break-in noise that the idler pully needed to seat with a new serpentine belt. I cant belive they didnt see the harmonic balancer that had completely sheared off its inside ring, its very obvious when I lay under the van, and can spin it all the way around. Its almost like they want my cam shaft to throw a rod into the exterior of my block... and be forced to buy a new sprinter :clapping:

At this point, Ive driven this van about 400-500 miles with the sheared harmonic balancer. I dont know how much longer it will have before total implosion, but im about 200 miles from home right now. Tomorrow I have to convince the local-to-here stealership to replace the H.B. in a jiffy. It probably wont end up being a Mercedes part, since I need the van back to 100% ASAP! I'll have to buy the M.B. parts later, and watch the chinese version for failure, and try to catch it early.

Of note, I dont see a manufacture date on my H.B. but it certainly looks original to me.
 

soukhaseum

New member
I"m in the process of replacing my HB and have the radiator swung out of the way. Got all the parts I need and some (new HB, key, bolt, etc) from Europarts.sd. Now all I need is the crank lock tool to proceed. The Mercedes dealership repair guy told me I could get away with a universal tool to lock the HB in place instead of getting the tool you used, any suggestion on this? Also, would love to rent your tools if still available.

Thanks,

Sam

 
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Troubleboy

New member
My son is on his fourth harmonic balancer since last October on his 2006 3500 he bought last year. Between towing, replacements and subsequent other balancer related damage it has cost him thousands, including having to have the engine completely rebuilt.
 

ECU

Well-known member
Replaced once at 310000. Others have said to avoid knockoffs. Get oem.
 

220629

Well-known member
My son is on his fourth harmonic balancer since last October on his 2006 3500 he bought last year. Between towing, replacements and subsequent other balancer related damage it has cost him thousands, including having to have the engine completely rebuilt.
That is very unfortunate.

I expect that the 2006 would be a single belt unit.

Were the replacement harmonic balancers OEM or aftermarket? (Aftermarket HB's have some history of problems.)

Was the nut replaced or re-used?

Was there damage to the shaft mounting?

Do you know what style key was used?

vic
 

Troubleboy

New member
That is very unfortunate.


Were the replacement harmonic balancers OEM or aftermarket? (Aftermarket HB's have some history of problems.)

Was the nut replaced or re-used?

Was there damage to the shaft mounting?

Do you know what style key was used?
I can't say for sure, Vic, but I think the replacements have been a mix of OEM and aftermarket. My son plays in a band that tours the country, so parts end up being whatever is available wherever they break down. Unfortunately none of the band members are mechanically inclined, so I can't answer your other questions as info I've gotten has been vague. The good news is they met a Mercedes tech at one of their shows and he loves them. They call him whenever they have troubles and he ends up dealing with whoever is doing the repair. The last time they broke down he volunteered to drive Louisville Ky to pick it up from the shop and take it back home to GA to rebuild the engine himself on his own time. He charged them a flat $4000 for the rebuild, a little over $2000 saving from the Louisville shop's quote for swapping the engine for a salvage motor. Fixed their air and added a block heater while he was at it. He picked them up at the airport and took them out to eat when they flew down to pick it up. Great guy!
 

Merwins

New member
Well! lesson learned the hard way, my 2006 with 240,000 just let go of it's 2nd harmonic balancer, the 1st was at 235,000 and unbeknownst to me at the time I went to my local CARQUEST auto parts and ordered the replacement, now I know about the made in China junk, it lasted less than 6000 miles before coming apart while stopping at the mailbox at the bottom of our driveway after doing around 100 miles plus yesterday, talk about good timing! I made it home. I'm not happy about having to take it apart again but thank goodness the guys at Europartssd.com here in SD have all the needed parts in stock! I my opinion, in order to correctly torque the bolt you can't do it without removing the radiator, intercooler, etc... to gain easy access to the front of the balancer and bolt, neither the 3/4" drive monster torque wrench or breaker bar will fit between the radiator shroud and front of the pulley so it all comes apart...again.

My 2nd one came apart after only 5000 or so miles, Dorman made in China junk. I didn't know any better at the time, but don't get anything but the factory replacement. The original one lasted 230,000 plus and made the funny noise and took a while to figure it out, never separated, the replacement Dorman one made noise for about 30 seconds before coming apart and taking out the serpentine belt! Europartssd.com had all the factory parts in stock here in town! I know what I'm doing today! again!
 
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kkanuck

LUV my T1N
Curious as to how many folks here with this harmonic balancer failure has rumble strip issues or perhaps have performed the DARF mod?

I have read in the past that perhaps rumble strip vibrations emitted by the transmissions can lead to the balancer coming apart over time due to these vibrations that resonate through the entire chassis.
 

obie

'04 long & tall passenger
No need to remove radiator. Shroud, yes.
I believe mine was dry rotted. Only a little over 100k miles, but 11 years in the heat of the south.
 

gggGary

gggGary
Guess it's not really emphasized in this thread but there are 2 maybe 3? harmonic balancer failure modes;
The garden variety rubber separating failure discussed here, typically gives some warning vibration and noise. Often the smooth outer weight exits with little ancillary damage?
The Broken spokes failure. Is this closely related to rear air, or maybe high electrical loads? Now the belt and sharp broken part can do some hurt as loose parts thrash about.
Key/keyway failure, the rarest but most damaging failure, typically requiring crankshaft replacement.

That sound about right?
 

Midwestdrifter

Engineer In Residence
I would like to point out that keyway failure is almost always a secondary affect caused by a broken or under torqued pulley bolt.

Make sure you follow the tightening regime exactly! "Good and tight is good enough" is bad!
 
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keith

New member
My HB failed on my 2005 at about 90k, the rubber ring failed letting the outer ring freewheel and cut the transmission line. Lucky for me at the time I had the 100k warranty. Sucked being on the side of the road for hours and having to have it towed on a roll-off 100 miles. Yes these HB do come apart.-
 

gggGary

gggGary
OK you guys made me look. hmmm..............

Picture_20163323093348.jpg Picture_20163223093215.jpg

Picture_20163223093258.jpg

04 150K miles

no obvious broken rubber but lines where it meets the steel....
 

obie

'04 long & tall passenger
I replaced mine at about 115k, '04. It was making noise and rubber was beginning to separate. If it were me, I'd start getting all the parts ready and planning a weekend day. Hardest thing to get is going to be the flywheel tool. Not that it's hard, just everything else is easier. Local dealers had most in stock or next day.
 

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