Mechanics

JEEP CHEROKEE HARMONIC BALANCER PROBLEM

1996 Jeep Cherokee • 238,000 miles

Been told that my 1996 Jeep Cherokee, 4.0L 6cyl 4WD AutoTran needs a new lower pulley (harmonic balancer) as the belt
came off and will not stay installed. I have been told that it the front pulley (HB) is relatively easy to change. While being 70 and retired, I
have had a little bit of experience in auto repair etc my question is about how long will it take to exchange?
I have what appears to be all the tools required to the job, even the puller. What I don't know specifically is the time it should
take me, assuming no real issues present themselves, and which other parts or components, if any, have to be removed to
complete the job etc.
Also, a friend said that I should replace the front seal as well, is that the customary and usual protocol
when changing out the harmonic balancer/pulley?

Thank you,
G Jordan
Avatar
Gljordan
February 27, 2013.




I pulled one off in a salvage yard for my '88 Grand Caravan 3.0L in less than an hour, and that included not having the right tools to prevent the crank shaft from turning. Yours will be easier if you have the truck on ramps so you can squeeze underneath. Getting the center bolt loose is easier with an air impact wrench, otherwise leave the serpentine belt on so you have something to jamb it with until you get that bolt off.

The reason for replacing the seal is you'll be 95 percent done with that procedure just by removing the harmonic balancer. It's silly to be so close and ignore it. On the other hand, mine wasn't leaking so I let it go, and the problem with mine was the bolt came loose and the unit wobbled out around the middle. It didn't hurt the hardened crankshaft snout, and surprisingly it didn't hurt the seal. That was about three years ago, and it's still not leaking.

No one will fault you for not replacing the seal if it's not leaking now. You could deform the new one just as easily, and still end up with a leak.

Caradiodoc
Feb 27, 2013.
Hi, thank you!

I wonder if you could tell me your experience as far as the "total" time it took
to remove the old and replace it with the new, putting the serpentine belt
back on etc. THANK YOU!

Tiny
Gljordan
Feb 27, 2013.
My vibration damper removed itself. The center bolt came loose, then the unit fell off. I noticed it when I lost power steering. I spent about an hour total at the salvage yard. First I found a van with the right front wheel already removed. It took just a couple of minutes to unbolt the plastic splash shield, then just a few more minutes to remove the bolt and damper. I didn't need a puller, just a couple of pry bars.

Reinstalling it took longer because I was too lazy to remove the wheel and had to work around it. You will have the radiator shroud in the way so it will be easier from underneath.

I didn't remove the serpentine belt. I can hook two wrenches together to make the lever to tug on the spring-loaded tensioner, then I hook them on the strap that holds the air conditioning tubes to the right strut tower. The creates enough slack in the belt to allow the damper to be removed and installed. Then I just lined up the belt in the grooves and removed the wrenches.
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Caradiodoc
Feb 28, 2013.

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