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Harmonic Balancer confusion?

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Old 09-13-2018, 06:00 PM
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LSKevin117
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Default Harmonic Balancer confusion?

Hi guys, previous lurker here! To make a long story short, I'm new to the Corvette family. I'm on my second C5 Corvette now in only 3 weeks time. I bought a 1999 coupe a few weeks ago and was rear ended by an F150 that simply let off of the brakes and rolled into me at 5mph the day after buying it. Shockingly, insurance totalled it, but they gave me way more than I paid for it so I was actually pretty happy about it. Just last week, I found a good deal on a 2001 coupe in Dark Bowling Green Metallic. 94K miles, 100% stock from wheels, to exhaust, to radio. It's in way better shape than the 1999 was, and I knew many of the best changes for the c5 took place in 01, so I couldn't pass it up. The catch however, was that the harmonic balancer needs to be replaced, so sadly, I haven't been able to really drive it since I got it. I ordered all of the parts I believe I need to swap it out. I've watched many videos, and read many write ups on the subject. I believe I am about ready to do this. However, I have a few questions before I start. I've searched as much as I can, but can't find solid answers to all of them.

Firstly, I will be using the ARP damper bolt, not the stock torque to yield bolt. There seems to be some confusion on whether or not to use thread locker when using this particular bolt. I know you aren't supposed to with the OEM style bolts, so what about the ARP? If so, what kind or color?

Secondly, I've seen some mention that you need to orientate the new damper in a certain position or something? That you are supposed to line up some of the weights that are placed into the holes drilled into the balancer the same way that the stock one was? Is this necessary? This doesn't exactly make sense to me, I was under the assumption that the drilled holes and weights added are to simply balance the damper, sort of like how a wheel and tire are balanced, and that it wouldn't matter how you orientate the new damper. I thought I would go ahead and try to line the new one up as close to how the stock one came off just in case, couldn't hurt right? But then I noticed something a bit odd about my new balancer that came in today. Which brings me to my next question.

My new damper, a Powerbond OEM style replacement (PB1117N), only has 4 holes drilled into it, and no weights added (see picture). All 4 holes are extremely close together. These dampers are supposed to come balanced already correct? Instead of adding weights, did this particular one just come off of the line so close to being perfectly balanced that all they had to do was remove a little bit of material by drilling? Or am I supposed to have it balanced?
​​​​​​




I will also be replacing the front seal while I'm at it. Some say you need to pull to timing cover in order to push it out. However, I've had to replace the front seal on my old Silverado SS with an LQ9. If I recall correctly, I was able to just take a flathead screwdriver and gently pry the old seal out, then press the new one in, and never removed the timing cover. I would imagine the LS1 and LQ9 are going to be identical when it comes to this, so would this work? Or is there an easier or better way to do this step?

Lastly, a have a friend who bought a 2000 coupe from someone who had just replaced the balancer on it. The guy he bought it from sold it pretty cheap because after finishing the balancer project, the car has been plagued with some "active handling warming up" issue. Every time he starts the car this message appears after driving for 30 seconds or so, after about 10 minutes of driving, another message will come up saying "service vehicle soon" followed by, "service active handling" and I believe a few other messages related to it. The previous owner said it had something to do with the steering rack not going on exactly the way it came off, and that the steering position sensor is now out of calibration or something? But from all of the videos I've seen, it looks like the steering rack can only go on one way? People recommend tying down the steering wheel to make sure it doesn't move, which I will do, but there appears to be a bolt that you can only get to if the wheel is turned. So what is the best way to go about this? And how can I remove and reinstall the rack without being plagued with this active handling issue?

I believe those are all of the questions I have. I apologise if some of them have already been asked and answered, I know it seems to annoy many people when that is the case. I tried my best to search for answers on this forum and elsewhere but as I said before, I couldn't really find definitive answers anywhere.

Thanks in advance! And any extra advice or tips on this project will also be greatly appreciated!

- Kevin
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Old 09-14-2018, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by LSKevin117 View Post
Hi guys, previous lurker here! To make a long story short, I'm new to the Corvette family. I'm on my second C5 Corvette now in only 3 weeks time. I bought a 1999 coupe a few weeks ago and was rear ended by an F150 that simply let off of the brakes and rolled into me at 5mph the day after buying it. Shockingly, insurance totalled it, but they gave me way more than I paid for it so I was actually pretty happy about it. Just last week, I found a good deal on a 2001 coupe in Dark Bowling Green Metallic. 94K miles, 100% stock from wheels, to exhaust, to radio. It's in way better shape than the 1999 was, and I knew many of the best changes for the c5 took place in 01, so I couldn't pass it up. The catch however, was that the harmonic balancer needs to be replaced, so sadly, I haven't been able to really drive it since I got it. I ordered all of the parts I believe I need to swap it out. I've watched many videos, and read many write ups on the subject. I believe I am about ready to do this. However, I have a few questions before I start. I've searched as much as I can, but can't find solid answers to all of them.

Firstly, I will be using the ARP damper bolt, not the stock torque to yield bolt. There seems to be some confusion on whether or not to use thread locker when using this particular bolt. I know you aren't supposed to with the OEM style bolts, so what about the ARP? If so, what kind or color?
Threadlocker is ONLY for situations where a bolt is expected to back out. These don't back out, not even close. But, you will make it impossible for the next guy to remove if you put that crap in there. Do not make the very common mistake of thinking threadlocker is for helping a bolt hold better. It does not. It keeps it from turning.

No, do not even think of putting that on there.
Secondly, I've seen some mention that you need to orientate the new damper in a certain position or something? That you are supposed to line up some of the weights that are placed into the holes drilled into the balancer the same way that the stock one was? Is this necessary? This doesn't exactly make sense to me, I was under the assumption that the drilled holes and weights added are to simply balance the damper, sort of like how a wheel and tire are balanced, and that it wouldn't matter how you orientate the new damper. I thought I would go ahead and try to line the new one up as close to how the stock one came off just in case, couldn't hurt right? But then I noticed something a bit odd about my new balancer that came in today. Which brings me to my next question.
This one I'll leave for someone else. I put on a new balancer on my car and I didn't orient it any particular way. If you want to line up drilled holes in this one where the drilled holes are in the one you're removing, by all means that can't hurt.

My new damper, a Powerbond OEM style replacement (PB1117N), only has 4 holes drilled into it, and no weights added (see picture). All 4 holes are extremely close together. These dampers are supposed to come balanced already correct? Instead of adding weights, did this particular one just come off of the line so close to being perfectly balanced that all they had to do was remove a little bit of material by drilling? Or am I supposed to have it balanced?

​​​​​​No, you absolutely don't get it balanced. That's done.

I will also be replacing the front seal while I'm at it. Some say you need to pull to timing cover in order to push it out. However, I've had to replace the front seal on my old Silverado SS with an LQ9. If I recall correctly, I was able to just take a flathead screwdriver and gently pry the old seal out, then press the new one in, and never removed the timing cover. I would imagine the LS1 and LQ9 are going to be identical when it comes to this, so would this work? Or is there an easier or better way to do this step?
Do this one just like you did in the past. Do not remove that front cover or you'll have leaks. You'll also have to re-align it if you remove bolts so just let sleeping dogs lie.
Lastly, a have a friend who bought a 2000 coupe from someone who had just replaced the balancer on it. The guy he bought it from sold it pretty cheap because after finishing the balancer project, the car has been plagued with some "active handling warming up" issue. Every time he starts the car this message appears after driving for 30 seconds or so, after about 10 minutes of driving, another message will come up saying "service vehicle soon" followed by, "service active handling" and I believe a few other messages related to it. The previous owner said it had something to do with the steering rack not going on exactly the way it came off, and that the steering position sensor is now out of calibration or something? But from all of the videos I've seen, it looks like the steering rack can only go on one way? People recommend tying down the steering wheel to make sure it doesn't move, which I will do, but there appears to be a bolt that you can only get to if the wheel is turned. So what is the best way to go about this? And how can I remove and reinstall the rack without being plagued with this active handling issue?
Tie up the steering column with a bungee cord so it never rotates. That's what should have been done. This isn't rocket science but that is an important step. If the sensor is rotated one rev, that's not good and yes it'll cause all the issues he's got. Someone here will probably mention a way to remove the bolts in the steering column shaft and rotate the wheel to the proper position, assuming the sensor isn't destroyed. It does seem a very stupid arrangement to me, but it's what it is.
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Old 09-14-2018, 09:01 AM
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The most telling part about your buddies 2000 is, if the previous owner knew it was that, why didn't he remove the bolts in the steering shaft and rotate it correctly? It takes like 3 minutes if that's all it is...
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Old 09-14-2018, 11:15 AM
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Just from expirience, my ARP bolt did back out after about 8k miles. So I then pinned the crank and so far no issues.
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Old 09-14-2018, 11:45 AM
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for what it's worth the LS engines are externally balanced, by the damper and flywheel/clutch !!!!
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Old 09-14-2018, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Pounder View Post
for what it's worth the LS engines are externally balanced, by the damper and flywheel/clutch !!!!
So the indexing is important?
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Old 09-14-2018, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by K-Spaz View Post
So the indexing is important?

YES !!! especially on the Flywheel/Clutch setup !!!!!
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Old 09-14-2018, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Pounder View Post
for what it's worth the LS engines are externally balanced, by the damper and flywheel/clutch !!!!
The cars with A4 trans. Don't have weights in the damper.. I just looked at my old one and there are none
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Old 09-14-2018, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Smoken1 View Post
The cars with A4 trans. Don't have weights in the damper.. I just looked at my old one and there are none

are there drilled holes ????
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Old 09-14-2018, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Pounder View Post
YES !!! especially on the Flywheel/Clutch setup !!!!!
I installed a powerbond iirc, into my car which was a automatic at the time. Later, I swapped the motor and put in another, underdrive this time. Changed the trans to M6, new rear, etc. I don't recall doing anything specific, nor was there any identifying marks on the HB that I recall. I sorta remember asking at the time and there was so much conjecture as to the proper procedure, I made my best guess and stuck it on. Worked fine for years so I don't know what to say. Not doubting you for a minute though. I just wish there was some consistent instruction on installing the things.
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Old 09-14-2018, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Pounder View Post
are there drilled holes ????
Yea, lots of them
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Old 09-14-2018, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Smoken1 View Post
Yea, lots of them
then it's balanced !!!!
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Old 09-14-2018, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by K-Spaz View Post
I installed a powerbond iirc, into my car which was a automatic at the time. Later, I swapped the motor and put in another, underdrive this time. Changed the trans to M6, new rear, etc. I don't recall doing anything specific, nor was there any identifying marks on the HB that I recall. I sorta remember asking at the time and there was so much conjecture as to the proper procedure, I made my best guess and stuck it on. Worked fine for years so I don't know what to say. Not doubting you for a minute though. I just wish there was some consistent instruction on installing the things.

there have been many horror stories on here with major vibration after a clutch/flywheel install !!!!!!! (when not properly indexed)
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Old 09-14-2018, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Pounder View Post
for what it's worth the LS engines are externally balanced, by the damper and flywheel/clutch !!!!
If it mattered, there would be a key on the crank and balancer as there was on previous generation SBC's. If you have an externally balanced engine you do not design it so that the balancer can be installed in any orientation.
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Old 09-14-2018, 02:52 PM
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The balancers are drilled to balance the balancer. Not the engine that is 18 years old that it's going in to. Sheesh.
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Old 09-14-2018, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by FreeC5inAZ View Post
If it mattered, there would be a key on the crank and balancer as there was on previous generation SBC's. If you have an externally balanced engine you do not design it so that the balancer can be installed in any orientation.

if you say so !!!!!
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Old 09-14-2018, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Robrote View Post
The balancers are drilled to balance the balancer. Not the engine that is 18 years old that it's going in to. Sheesh.
from the GM manual !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! "Note position of crankshaft balancer before
removal. Mark or scribe end of balancer and crankshaft for installation reference. Remove
crankshaft balancer."
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Old 09-14-2018, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Pounder View Post
if you say so !!!!!
So please share with us how to index a new balancer? Your "scribe the balancer before removal" won't work if you are installing a new one.

Go ahead, we'll wait.
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Old 09-14-2018, 03:55 PM
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Thanks for all of the information guys, I'm still a bit lost on the "indexing" part. Some of you are saying it doesn't matter how the new one goes on, some are saying there have been horror storys due to not orientating it correctly.

I know the service manual says to mark the position of the balancer for removal, but is this for replacing the balancer or simply removing it or reinstalling the same one? (My service manual is stuck in shipping somewhere on the east coast due to the hurricane). Secondly, due the the fact that my new balancer has only 4 holes all on one side, and the stock one has about 15 drilled all the way around, I don't know how I could possibly line it up anyways?

I guess I'll just slap her in there and hope it doesn't fly apart! I know when I reinstalled my harmonic balancer on my Silverado SS after changing the front seal that I didn't pay any attention to how it went back on, and it didn't have any problems for the next 30k miles that I had it.
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Old 09-14-2018, 04:17 PM
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You will be fine.. My ATI balancer has no holes either
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