Harmonic Balancer Information


2005 3500 158
I personally have no issue reusing the washer if its in good condition. The bolt must be replaced though.

The flywheel lock is MB specific, don't attempt without one. I don't know of any store that loans one.
I just replaced my HB and bought the kit from Europarts SD it didn't come with a new washer either? The old one looked fine just a little rusty, how important is a new washer in your opinion?
Couple thoughts on this topic:

First, thanks to the people who put in a lot of work to make this forum a valuable resource. It saved me abut $600 this week. I would not have been able to replace my harmonic balancer without the help of this forum.

Second, I also would not have been able to do this job without a quarter inch drive E10 deep socket. People make a big deal out of the tools needed to remove and re-torque the bolt on the crankshaft, but getting the bolts in and out to put the fly wheel locking key in would not have been possible without this rather specialty socket I got to replace my door hinges. I got a cheap set of quarter inch drive E sockets from harbor freight and they've held up.

Third, speaking of Harbor Freight, I was able to do this job by myself with their Icon 36" 3/4" drive breaker bar and Pittsburgh 3/4" drive torque wrench. Getting the bolt out and back in were the easiest parts of the job.

Fourth, the Florida Van Man crew has been able to get enough clearance to do the job from underneath without removing anything by driving the front end up on blocks on a sloped driveway. I tried something similar but was not able to create enough space. I had to remove the fan and the fan shroud and do the work from the top. That was by far the hardest part, and I broke two flat head screw drivers jammed against the water pump bolts. Amazon sells some not crazy expensive wrenches that are supposed to fit on those bolts. I might consider that if you are going to do this as that was by far the most unpleasant part of this.

Fifth, the second hardest part was finagling the flywheel lock in. I have no advice other than it will go at some point, you just have to keep trying. The $20 I got off amazon with free two day shipping worked great, ymmv.


Well-known member
Some recent information for seal installation thanks to Lindenengineering Dennis. :thumbup:

First oil seals have multiple applications , hence that seal will fit other vehicles.
The protector sleeve presence is commonplace on that type of wiper edge seal.
It forms two functions.
a) it keeps the seal lip round and not deform in storage.
b) Should the seal be installed on shaft or boss where the shaft has a step on it, the protector expands the lip enough not to get torn/ruptures by pushing it over a sharp machine edge.
This is a common skilled mechanic activity to ensuring you don't tear the seal during installation.

Sometimes we place ring of masking or duct tape on the sharp edge to protect the a seal lip then peel it off after seal placement when there is no expander sleeve supplied with the seal . Its basically what the good mechanics have been doing for decades.

In the case of this crank pulley there is no risk because the seal simply fits into the timing case and the smooth pulley stub will expand the lip without injury.
If there is a concern its to ensure the seal is dead square and properly place in the timing case
More techniques required !


New member
Hey guys, I'm having trouble removing the ring from the HB. The ring is completely loose, but I can't get it to pass in between where is at and the fan / coolant pump.
Do you have any tips of how to get it off? Thank you


2006 T1n 118 Sprinter
The balancer is the whole piece. When the ring is loose, you should replace the whole part.


New member
I know but the OP and other sources suggest to remove the ring stat to be able to take it to a shop/home, and then replace the HB.

If the ring loosens and makes noise, then removal of the failed ring allows full operation until repairs can be effected.


If you are on the road and discovered the loose ring, the ring can be removed to allow driving many hundreds of miles without issue. REMOVE THE RING. Pressing on with a loose ring has danger of further damage. Removing the ring gets you home.


2006 T1N 3500 Long & Tall
I know but the OP and other sources suggest removing the ring stat to be able to take it to a shop/home, and then replace the HB.
What the ring does (I may be wrong, so don't quote me on this one)

Hmmm, Here are some things to keep in mind when making that decision to drive the T1N without the ring. From my understanding, the Harmonic Balancer is designed to stop damaging Frequencies from hurting your crankshaft. (Hints both the underlined words related to music/vibrations) If the crankshaft breaks I have been told the job is so expensive to fix it's better just to replace the engine with a used one. Is it a good idea to replace a known engine with an unknown engine? idk. Regardless it shows that damage will be expensive to repair.

Is the crankshaft permanently weakened from driving it without the ring? Does it matter?

I have heard of people driving their t1n for a decent amount of kms without the ring... I also heard of someone's crankshaft that didn't make it... My thought is even if you're able to drive the T1N for 1000 miles without the crankshaft going boom, Wouldn't the crankshaft be forever weakened from driving it without the ring? I guess only a t1n specialty shop could make a guess if crankshafts are breaking later from people driving without rings... I wager it would be a hard thing to correlate.

Does driving gentle, slow or low RPMs prevent damage?

I have also heard the advice to drive the van very gently keeping your RPMs down to "limp" it home or to the shop. Where did this advice come from? Is it just someone who with fear tried to gently bring the vehicle to the shop and didn't actually know how the HB does its job? When I was a boy I liked the spinner toys. When the spinners were slow and about to die they shook like crazy. Perhaps low rpm is when the crankshaft shakes the most and the heavy metal ring helps it keep its momentum... idk.

Perhaps using AAA/CAA/AMA/BCA towing plan is better than driving?
A Tow truck plan:
- It gives "free tows
- Saves wasting time going all the way to the shop and back
- Don't have to figure out a way to get back (Ride, uber, public transport and so on)
- It's a good idea to have when your van is almost 20 years old. I suggest checking if one of the plans has a free one long tow a year plan.
- Double check the tow truck plan will tow your dually/European van. (A RV/campervan sometimes has special privileges as well)

Hope that helps you/others keep their T1N alive.


BTW: I'm just a DIYer t1n owner. I own no shop and am not a mechanic. Many on this forum are way wiser in the T1N than I. 220629 (Vic) is one of those who are much wiser than me on the T1Ns.
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Engineer In Residence
The damper reduces the magnitude of torsional strain on the crank, as well as bending strain. Every steel component has what is called the fatigue limit. If a cyclic load is kept under this limit, then no amount of cycles will cause fatigue cracking. The damper is required at certain crank speeds, to keep these strain below the limit. We are talking thousands or millions of cycles. Running the engine for short periods without the damper will add fatigue cycles, but unless the engine goes to 500k or more miles, its not likely to have any impact on crank life. In fact as long as the damper is in place, the fatigue cycle count won't increment, so it may be a non issue.

There is also the risk of crank resonance, which can occur at specific speeds, but not all engines suffer from this. If the engine vibration increases dramatically, then you need to change RPM if operating without a damper.
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2006 T1N 3500 Long & Tall
A side question

I came to this page trying to figure out if there were any reports on the Febi Harmonic Balancer had a shorter lifespan than the Coretco. Has anyone heard anything bad about the Febi failing prematurely early?

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