Key Failure - Harmonic Balancer Failure

OCBrad

New member
This is the beginning of my post from:

http://www.topix.com/forum/autos/dodge-sprinter/T4UB7OTIUEGTRODFA

as I joined in after many others posted similarly. No need to re-state what exists there, but if you are aware of or have experienced the same failure, please chime in. I am currently collecting all the info I can.

So starts the other post:

KEY FAILURE - HARMONIC BALANCER FAILURE
I have an '05 140" Passenger with an AUX AC. It just turned 110k mi. and threw it's HB while on a roadtrip. Luckily we were less than 100 mi. away when it let loose. The keyway is damaged and the pulley looks like the key disintegrated and welded to the inside of the flange.$7k+ in estimated repairs (they estimate 24 hours of labor @$130/hr)

I wish I had seen this thread before the 100k mi. mark. It sounds preventable if you catch it before the key gives way. Chrysler knows this is occurring and a warning to all pre '07 owners could prevent such catastrophe if the part is maintained. The crank that they replace it with has the updated keyway which admits their was an engineering problem with the original.

My MB mechanic informed me that all E-class diesels share the same engine as the sprinter [correction: all 210 body types have the same crank and HB] and were recalled by MB for the very same reason of key failure. I have not received the notice from him yet, but I will post as soon as I validate. I can't get on Star tek, so I will have to wait for his e-mail.

This appears to be a gross design failure, but because most chuck the HB after 100k they are not acting upon the problem. Interestingly, my service manager at Huntington Beach Dodge told me that the HB is not part of the drivetrain anyway, because it is not an internally lubricated part. Therefor would not be covered by the drivetrain warranty anyway. Funny how it can be the sole reason for destroying a perfectly functioning crank that is an integral member of said drivetrain.
 

TimJuhl

Member
What years / equipment configurations are most prone to this problem?

Perhaps Dr. A can chime in with recommendations as to how to avoid a catastrophic failure ie., a.) symptoms of impending failure b.) preemptive action that should be taken to avoid failure, etc.

I hope those who have had this problem have some success getting satisfaction from Dodge... perhaps the group can succeed where individuals have failed.

Tim
 

Altered Sprinter

Happy Little Vegemite
Hi OCBrad welcome to the forum
I swear there was a recall and I posted it somewhere in late 2006 or 07 But I just can't locate it, and I admit I may have confused this with another recall that was as similar on the Aus side of Chrysler, I will peruse it during the days course.
Basically the original key way worked lose and was redesigned for a two way key lock.
it originated in Australia as the remedy was to dump the rear aux aircon and retro fit an Aus design that was roof mounted I have seen a few that ripped out the refrigeration unit from the radiator frame due to continuous vibration.
There are many older threads referring to the same subject buried in archives.
Installation of serpentine belts and perfect alignment of the pulleys as to torque specs and including running true are critical of the operation, it does not take much for a belt to get damaged thus the wear begins and the balance of the pulley's could be potentially effected. your investigations refer to the US recall on Mercedes sedans as to the original service bulletin Maybe I was confused with this one .
MB proper replaces as per recalls unfortunate Chrysler USA has different ideas including warranties, which are so outdated by Mercedes standards.
There are many members who will help you .Enjoy the forum.
Richard
beltrouting.jpg


H B P Recall.jpg


Harmonic balancer problems.jpg
 

OCBrad

New member
Sweet!
Thanks Richard. I've spoken with a few attorneys as to liability in seeking assistance/compensation for the repair. If I had taken it in under 100k for my vibrating problem and appropriately had them try to fix it (we thought the shaking that occurs 1t 18-2100 rpm between first and second was a trans related deal, which was actually a precursor to failure of the HB) we would have a possible lemon/extension of warranty issue. However, the shudder did not continue and we drove on and maintained our appropriate maintenance schedule. We may have a case with known liability if I am able to present articles like the Startek that show an awareness to the defective part.

Any and all information that I can produce will help those that have been affected and hopefully keep others from being affected.

A $300 part failing causing a perfectly running engine $6-$10k in damages is not a position I'd wish on anybody.
 

Altered Sprinter

Happy Little Vegemite
Just had a thought that may be of help.
The lemon law is not going to help as such but it would be advisable for an attorney to look at class action as to [Care of Duty... ask the silk to read up on it. as it's a powerful medium to peruse class action, as placing the onus on others, to prove otherwise.
You need to produce full Chrysler documentation of service records, Find out if the dealer ship had taken a full training schedule to the Mercedes Sprinters for both Mechanics and technicians , also what equipment did they have to diagnose engines, and electronics, MB star DB111 or just Chrysler equipment that does not recognize the full data codes, also was the mechanic certified?
What you have experienced is not a rare odd one off occurrence it's one of many in the N/American sector and the main faults appeared on the RV units or it appeared to show those were the most effected in the 2500 class Sprinters.

DCX Chrysler knew about this and I was sure a service bulletin was sent to the dealerships, Dodge and freightliner franchises, and this is where a silk may be able to place the onus of responsibility on the dealership as to not undertaking proper training schedules. for the maintenance of sprinters. As to Care and Duty to perform the said schedules as to the charge rates they charge.

If you look at the yahoo forums its shows the same on topix and on the dodge forums stateside some of the HB blew the moment they were out the door, many under 5 to ten thousand miles etc.
It's worth looking into.
Be warned if you carried over the internal limit of the carrying capacity or exceed the tow limits, then Chrysler can state as a counter claim of defense, the warranty is null and thus voided.In doing so the reversal of the onus of responsibility as to the proper care and duty of your sprinter, being placed directly back onto you. Having an engine rebuilt should be a set charge for a short block or full block, it's no use patching up the bottom end and putting back the original head and acc/s, if you do this dump the van and buy a new one.Personally I'd not trust a rebuild by a Chrysler mechanic as to the specialized tools and equipment levels required to undertake the said repairs.

The above comment is not intended as a negative but Chrysler and the dealerships in general never took the sprinters as a serious contender for the N/American market.
Please PM Andy for extra advice as this member is a private fully certified MB engine repairer, Andy is the only one I'd trust for advise. Andy Abittenbinder abittenbinder

Richard
 

talkinghorse43

Active member
This is the beginning of my post from:

http://www.topix.com/forum/autos/dodge-sprinter/T4UB7OTIUEGTRODFA

as I joined in after many others posted similarly. No need to re-state what exists there, but if you are aware of or have experienced the same failure, please chime in. I am currently collecting all the info I can.

So starts the other post:

KEY FAILURE - HARMONIC BALANCER FAILURE
I have an '05 140" Passenger with an AUX AC. It just turned 110k mi. and threw it's HB while on a roadtrip. Luckily we were less than 100 mi. away when it let loose. The keyway is damaged and the pulley looks like the key disintegrated and welded to the inside of the flange.$7k+ in estimated repairs (they estimate 24 hours of labor @$130/hr)

I wish I had seen this thread before the 100k mi. mark. It sounds preventable if you catch it before the key gives way. Chrysler knows this is occurring and a warning to all pre '07 owners could prevent such catastrophe if the part is maintained. The crank that they replace it with has the updated keyway which admits their was an engineering problem with the original.

My MB mechanic informed me that all E-class diesels share the same engine as the sprinter [correction: all 210 body types have the same crank and HB] and were recalled by MB for the very same reason of key failure. I have not received the notice from him yet, but I will post as soon as I validate. I can't get on Star tek, so I will have to wait for his e-mail.

This appears to be a gross design failure, but because most chuck the HB after 100k they are not acting upon the problem. Interestingly, my service manager at Huntington Beach Dodge told me that the HB is not part of the drivetrain anyway, because it is not an internally lubricated part. Therefor would not be covered by the drivetrain warranty anyway. Funny how it can be the sole reason for destroying a perfectly functioning crank that is an integral member of said drivetrain.
I wonder if this failure is in any way related to the "bang" others have reported when engaging the rear A/C unit (in separate compressor systems)? Seems to me any play in the keyway (crank or HB) could lead to shock loading on the key and eventual failure. Once the key fails, there's nothing to prevent the HB from rotating in relation to the crank and unscrewing the securing bolt.
 

qiskid

qiskid
Hey guys here's another story, I also wish I would have found this thread a couple of weeks ago, it would have saved me a couple of thousand bucks too.


Below is my time line of my 2004 Dodge Sprinter 3500 Harmonic balancer damage...... First of all I will say that I carry a generator atop of a small platform that I have built to go in the class 3 hitch on the rear of the van, I use this van and generator to run my business with on a daily basis, right now I am completely down. I will also say that I grew up in a service station, have been around cars my entire life and own 8 vehicles today, I have also never heard of a Harmonic Balancer falling off a automobile
• Jan, 5 2009, 7:00 am headed to Traverse City MI from Haslett MI (approx. 3 hr. drive)
• Approx. 1 hr. into the trip, just south of St.Louis MI I hear a loud noise under the hood.
• I look out the driver window to see something round about the size of a hubcap traveling down the road right next to me.
• I immediately pull over and go back to try to find it, I saw it veered off into the median.
• I found it... it was my Harmonic Balancer. The hub had completely broke from the balancer without any warning whatesoever.
• When I got back to the van I looked to see if the belt was ok. It was.
• As I got back in my van I noticed the "batt" light on, obviously the power steering, fan, alternator and water pump were all down as well.
• I drove to St. Louis but had to stop a couple of times along the way so the van would not overheat. Knowing the batt. would drain I also made sure to not use the fan, radio or headlights.
• After a couple of stops I made it to a service station and asked if they could weld? They said no but 8 miles away was a welding shop.
• So now I travel to the welding shop, stopping every couple of min along the way until my van would not start any longer.
• Lucky for me where it would not start there was a auto store down the street a block
• I walked there and purchased a battery charger ($52.00) and 25' extension cord. ($20.00)
• I put the battery charger under the hood (12 amp trickle charger) ran the cord thru the window and out the back of the van to my generator on the back, cranked up the generator and after only a couple of minutes I had battery again so I could continue my journey.
• When I got to the weld shop (Baxters Welding) Chuck (about 70 years old) could not believe my story, he as well as I had never heard of a harmonic balancer falling apart like this.
• He was kind enough to lend me wrenches big enough to remove the hub.
• Before welding it I took before and after pictures of the hub and balancer.
• He then welded both sides of the hub back onto the balancer and did a fine job, although I knew it would not be balanced I thought it would get me to my service call.
• Put it all back together, but could not torque the 27MM bolt too much, apparently you need a special jig to tighten it. There was also no locktite available. I did, however, use a heavy duty strap wrench to hold the balancer while I tightened it.
• After 2 hours of fixing I gave him $100 and was on my way again, it is now about 11:00 am.
• I drove another hour north to Houghton Lake and pulled in to fill up with diesel.
• Just before I shut down the van I heard yet another noise..... I shut the van off and then noticed the balancer is now sitting on the ground, the bolt and washer were sitting right next to it and the keyway was sheered off. Lucky for me it did not either time damage the radiator or any transmission lines when it came off.
• I knew this was not going to be a quick fix like the first time. I filled up and traveled to the nearest service station once again.
• I really needed to get to Traverse City that day to work for a customer that had been waiting now for almost 2 weeks for me to get there.
• I decided to call Hoekstra in Grand Rapids, this is where I purchased the van from.
• After talking to a parts and service guy I decided to just order the parts and have them shipped next day air to me in Houghton Lake. I was also surprised that they would have a "harmonic balancer" on the shelf... this told me that it was an apparent problem in the past.
• They asked for the last 9 digits of the VIN so I gave it to them and no other questions were asked.
• I received the parts the next day (Jan 6, ) at approx 12:45, being a rural area the UPS next day air was not guaranteed by a certain time.
• Once the parts arrived I proceeded to put a bunch of grease on the 1/2 moon key and packed the slot in the crank with grease as well, also put a nice film around the hub of the balancer so it would seal properly. The crank had absolutely no damage to it, the keyway was clean with no burs.
• As I slid the balancer on the crank I hear a ting noise................ the key had now fallen in the block behind the seal...
• My heart stopped, keep in mind this was all done laying in a parking lot on a blanket in about 20 degree weather.
• My first thought was to just have it towed home at this point, I will have to say in 27 years of driving I have never had to have a vehichle towed home.
• My next move was to break apart a earth magnet that I had a bunch of in my van, I used a small piece, JB Welded it to a 3MM allen wrench, put it in the crack where the 1/2 moon key had dropped, hoping that maybe it was lodged on the timing chain...
• After a few tries, as I pulled the allen wrench out I noticed now the magnet is gone.... Once again my heart stopped, knowing the key would drop to the bottom of the pan (hopefully) the magnet however... who knows where that would go..
• Ok now it's time to call in a wrecker to get me home.. It is now about 3PM.
• Two different towing companies quoted me about $450. I asked the guy (Steve) that owned the station where I was at who to use.. he said "give it to Phil, they are good guys" so I called Phil back, 45 min later the truck arrived, we got loaded and were on our way home.
• After about 10 min on the road the Driver (also Steve) called his boss and said this... "hey this thing is really heavy, I can only do about 60, it's gonna use up more fuel also..... no I aint doin any negotiating, I'll drop him off on the side of the road."
• He hung up the phone and looked at me and said "this is gonna be expensive for you... about $650" I said "well Phil quoted me $450.00 $3.50 per mile and a $45 hookup fee". He said "well he must of made a mistake then cause now it's more. I think he got the mileage wrong and this was a bigger van than he thought."
• NOPE I said he knew exactly what van it was because I described it in detail then I proceeded to fire up my laptop that has an air card to connect to the Internet with. "Google said the miles were about 123, so that would be $430.00 plus the $45 hookup, I'll pay you guys $500.00 and not a penny more or else you can drop me off right here." He agreed and we kept going.
• It was like it was all choreographed or something, are these guys shysters, once they get you on the hook what are most people going to do?? Just pay it? Not me!! I had already had enough of this trip and have not even got to Traverse City, which is where I needed to get to.
• Got home and unloaded at about 7:30, I also was able to fish out the magnet, it was right on the face of the crank when I got home.
• On Wednesday (Jan 7) I decided I was going to drop the oil pan and find the key so I could get my van going. I called the dealer (Hoekstra) once again to order another key in case I could not find the other one, this time the guy asked me what type of key I had because they make two different ones. I said "here is the VIN", he said that really does not matter, for some reason it always gives the same part number even though it may not be the right part", this is apparently how I got the wrong Key in the first place.
• I was not getting a good feeling about this now. If I had gotten the correct part in the first place I would have never even tried to replace it in a parking lot on the ground because you have to remove the timing chain plate (the front of the motor) and then the correct key is very long and goes under the timing gear as well as the harmonic balancer.
• Also I had talked to a technician and told him the whole story. He also never told me about the Key issue, although he had heard of at least 6 other vans with this same issue.
• The dealer said the only way they can try to get it warranted is to have the vehicle on their floor.. Two quotes later both about $350 to get it to Grand Rapids now... I decided to just rent a flatbed trailer and do it myself. ($60 plus time and fuel)

UPDATE ON THE DEALER AS OF 1/17/09... THEY HAVE AGREED TO PAY 1/2 OF THE LABOR ($500 EA.) TO REPLACE THE HB. THE CRANK LOOKS FINE, THE KEYWAY IS NOT CHEWED UP AT ALL AND HOPEFULLY NEXT WEEK I CAN PUT THIS ALL TO REST. I WAS ALSO TOLD THAT EVEN IF IT WERE UNDER 100K THAT WOULD NOT MATTER BECAUSE THAT PART IS ONLY WARRANTIED FOR 36K MILES.. I'M LIKE YOUR KIDDING ME, IS THIS NOT PART OF THE DRIVETRAIN??? WHAT A JOKE.. PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CONTACT ME ON ANY ISSUE I HAVE SPOKE ABOUT HERE, IT WOULD BE NICE TO GET SOMETHING FOR ALL OF OUR PAIN AND SUFFERING.. PAUL
I ALSO HAVE PICTURES OF MY HB.. THE HUB STAYED ON THE CRANK AND ALL THE FINS JUST BROKE OFF, IT WAS ACTUALLY A PERFECT FIT TO HAVE IT WELDED BACK TOGETHER, TO BAD IT JUST WOULD NOT LAST TO GET ME HOME.
 

Attachments

Altered Sprinter

Happy Little Vegemite
qiskid:That's the best owner story yet. Hey it could have been worse,:censored: Lost the whole motor.
After your story I will go out of my way to find the Recall service bulletin that was sent to the dealers as to changing over to the revised two way key lock.
It was sent late 2006 or 07..But to be honest I can not for the love of me, remember if it was a national recall or a pending recall?
However as the 5-inline is the same engine as on the Mercedes sedan that had the same issue, one would think that DCX would have recalled them as it was not uncommon.
Great photo too , it tells the story in detail, thanks for your comment.I'm sure many of the members will appreciate it to.
Richard
 

Altered Sprinter

Happy Little Vegemite
Question to US Members:
Is there a maintenance reference! As to the main 50 thou service schedules for re-tensioning of the Balancers on the engine?
Richard
 

sikwan

06 Tin Can
Moving this to the T1N Talk Section...

When I purchased the SCS Frigette A/C, it came with a Harmonic Balancer with a double pulley. Since I had already ordered the accessory mount, thinking that I could add OBA in addition to the rear A/C, I didn't have to install the Harmonic Balance that came with the SCS kit.

Here is a picture of the Harmonic Balancer from the kit.
IMGP0017.JPG
You can't see the double pulley (believe me it's there), but the spokes are certainly much thicker than what Qiskid has pictured in his post.

I should snap a picture of what I have mounted on the engine and another picture where the pulleys are.
 

sikwan

06 Tin Can
However as the 5-inline is the same engine as on the Mercedes sedan that had the same issue, one would think that DCX would have recalled them as it was not uncommon.
I'm guessing the Mercedes sedan doesn't have the same stresses that the Sprinter sees; extra compressor (worse) or alternator.
 

sikwan

06 Tin Can
Thanks Paul for the detailed story.

• On Wednesday (Jan 7) I decided I was going to drop the oil pan and find the key so I could get my van going. I called the dealer (Hoekstra) once again to order another key in case I could not find the other one, this time the guy asked me what type of key I had because they make two different ones. I said "here is the VIN", he said that really does not matter, for some reason it always gives the same part number even though it may not be the right part", this is apparently how I got the wrong Key in the first place.
.
How different are the two keys? Length or size differences?
 

Altered Sprinter

Happy Little Vegemite
SEEK AS YOU HAVE THE BALANCER..What is the designated MB Number on the front of the pulley?
W1-905 Sprinter recall I still cannot find it however at the front of the engines crankshaft there is a number,[ one may have to turn the ignition key a few times to find it, don't do it!Whilst engine is running.] the ones effected were MB A112 035 00 00 and MB A112 035 06 00.
JD sent me a file but it's corrupted so I'm waiting on his return from a trip, to arrange for an Adobe pdf.email sent.
I'd say speculating there will be a few numbers that show up from members as to model year change of the Tins, the V6 engine has superior center balancers shafts less vibration being a single bank of pistons. of which the balance of the 5-inline has had extensive talks about this on another thread way's back.
Richard.
 

e117063

New member
I had a similar problem with my balancer. It sheared the 0.05" inch key and leaned against the radiator. I opened the hood and found it. I simply reinstalled it without a key and drove another 100 miles. It came off again and I was forced to tow it home.

I ordered both keys form the dealer because without pictures I couldn't tell him which I had. I also ordered a new balancer. The engine originally had the long, thin key that goes back to the timing gear. My crank also had some burrs so I decided to rig this the best way I could.

I used a small file to remove burrs and slowed enlarge the keyway to accept the large standard woodruff key. I was extremely careful to not push the key back inside the engine! I filled the balancer full of red loctite and the new bolt I purchased. So far so good.
 

e117063

New member
My van's engine did have an aux a/c. I purchased a used engine and had removed the aux compressor as I don't use them. The engine had 50k miles when I purchased it and I had put another 40k miles without the aux a/c before my problem occurred.

I had read many speculated the extra torque from the aux a/c was the culprit. If that is the case with mine the damage occurred during it's first 50k miles.
 

Altered Sprinter

Happy Little Vegemite
OK the reason I could not find the recall was because I was looking to far into 2006 sorry
Now I can locate the Gov one to see if it actually became a mandate , for an actual recall .
It appears it did...
Thanking JD Jon:cheers: for sending what I was looking for in part thereof, so enclosed two PDF copy's of the information regrading the said [balances along with schematics.] PS I have only arrived home and have not even read it all myself Again thanking our valued member Jon:clapping: The question is where did I post the recall in the forum..G'rrr must be getting just too old/
Richard
UPDATE: apologies for the MB numbers I should have quoted Chrysler numbers.
View attachment 09-006-06-NewCrankShaftAndCenterBoltDesign.pdf
View attachment 09-003-06-NewCrankShaftReplacementPolicy-and-MainBearingPartNumberInformation.pdf
HB1.jpg

HB2.jpg
 
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qiskid

qiskid
I have read in other posts that Fedex has known about this problem for their fleet and someone has made them a special HB. The post says that when you replace your HB, ask your dealer for the heavy duty "Fedex" HB.. I asked my dealer and he had not idea what I was talking about.. I truly believe that they all know about it and have been told that under no circumstance let anyone know that they know about he issue, this as we all know would open a massive can of worms. If just one would talks that's all you would think we would need.... I am not thru with the dealer yet, I have attached that MB recall letter as well as the two service bulletins and sent it to my dealer and am curious to see what he has to say.. I will be talking to my dealer again tomorrow and will be sure to let you all know how it goes...
 
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TimJuhl

Member
Remember that if you aren't happy with the info you're getting from the dealer you are entitled to talk to the area rep for dodge. In addition, you might try to find out who does the service on the fed ex sprinters in your area and see what they can tell you.

Perhaps Doktor A. knows something about this and can chime in.

Tim

BTW - in anticipation of taking my Sprinter to the dealer for a brake fluid flush tomorrow I dug out the door to the pole barn and took the beast for a little drive to warm it up. It has been sitting for a couple of weeks and the temp was 14°F yet the Sprinter started right up :) So far, so good.
 

Altered Sprinter

Happy Little Vegemite
As I still can not locate the original recall notice![If there was one, as to thinking of something similar]....Remember the dealerships are the acting agents, so approach them with Kid Gloves be precise in your conversation, and polite. They have feelings too! that is the guy behind the counter may not know anything, no use getting up his nose. Please be cagey as to where the documents are sourced from, or we could potentially end up in trouble too, as to some documents are not meant to be public.
Thanks Richard
 

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