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Harmonic Balancer Replacement

Discussion in '3rd Gen 4Runners (1996-2002)' started by PIG20, Apr 9, 2021.

  1. Apr 9, 2021 at 6:24 AM
    #1
    PIG20

    PIG20 [OP] New Member

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    Hey All,
    New to the forums here and was hoping someone could answer a question for me. I have a 1998 SR5 which I just recently took full ownership of. I've had the truck in my possession since August and have done quite a bit of updated maintenance to it.

    Just a quick rundown, new LBJ's, new radiator, all fluids, entire brake overhaul, tie rod ends, spark plugs, wires, etc..etc.

    That being said, I had all of that finished by September and was able to drive the truck for most of the winter without any issues. She drives and sounds great. Which I would expect it to with only 132,000 miles.

    While driving it during the winter, I noticed that I would hear some squealing coming from the belts during startup. The belts looked fairly new so I figured it might just be a tensioner. No problem.

    However, when I looked down at the belts while the truck was running, I noticed that the harmonic balancer was a bit too wobbly for my liking. So while I'm hoping it's not crankshaft play, I'm going to lean on the balancer bushings being worn. And in need of a replacement. There is no engine knock, misfires, or any other issues that should coincide with crankshaft play.

    So, finally, my actual question. Do I need to worry about the timing when removing the balancer? It just had a timing belt/pulley/water pump done at 100,000 miles. So I'm not trying to do a timing job here. However, do I need to hold the timing in place when removing the balancer? Or does it not matter if I'm just removing the balancer and nothing else?

    I've read that the belt is driven off a bottom belt gear that is keyed to the crankshaft itself. So pulling the balancer on it's own shouldn't affect the timing in any way.

    Just wanted to confirm with someone here before I go ripping it off without taking extra precautions. All the videos I've seen are people removing them while doing timing jobs.

    I appreciate any responses! Thanks!
     
  2. Apr 9, 2021 at 6:58 PM
    #2
    negusm

    negusm New Member

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    2002 4Runner SR5 4WD
    Correct. The timing belt has ribs on it and marks that will line up with the marks on the cams and the crank. As long as you have the crankshaft pulley on right, which is keyed, and all the marks lined up...you can't have it "out of time".

    Now, "being out of time" is a distributor advance/retard deal requiring a timing gun to set. That went away with computer control. Now you just need to make sure the crank and cams are in lockstep which is what the timing belt is for. It's literally impossible to screw up if you have the marks lined up for the pulleys and timing belt.

    Edit: REMEMBER which direction the crank position gear thingy goes on the crank. It is ever so slightly bent in one direction. Mark the outside facing front with a marker.
     
    PIG20 [OP] likes this.
  3. Apr 10, 2021 at 6:15 AM
    #3
    PIG20

    PIG20 [OP] New Member

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    Appreciate it! Yeah, everything is currently in time and no codes are being thrown. The engine sounds just fine. My only objective here is to get down to the harmonic balancer and figure out if it's an issue with the balancer, torque issue, and if it's already damaged the shaft and woodruff key.

    And obviously, crossing my fingers that it isn't a larger issue with any sort of play in the crank. Which I don't think it is due to the engine running fine and not misfiring. However, it could just be the start. Hoping it's just a pulley issue and that's it.

    I guess I'll know more soon! Thanks again!
     

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