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02 Deville harmonic balancer~damper vibrations

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20,000 miles ago I had my '02 Y-vin Northstar engine Time-Serted, copper sprayed the heads, rebuilt and reinstalled. New TCC solenoid, torque convertor... Aside from a few initial problems (loose wire connections...) it has run fantastic, with one exception. Since day one there's been a slight vibration. I've had several mechanics look at it, drive it, scan it and tell me it's not the transmission, it's not the engine... But they can feel it too. I changed plugs, wires, coils, CV's, tires... Still there- and random, at some speeds it feels like a clogged fuel filter (changed it) at other speeds it drives like a dream.

Yesterday a mechanic told me about an offset harmonic balancer in an older Honda he had fixed. We looked under my hood with a flashlight and it seemed obvious, the thing is out of alignment and it would explain the symptoms.

Has anyone here ever dealt with this?

He said some vehicles have a damper with the harmonic balancer and in some they're the same thing. I'm looking on line and can't find much about this. Does anyone know what the '02 has, without my pulling it apart? I know it's connected to my crank and I'd rather hand this off to a shop than risk stripping a bolt or worse? Any advice would be appreciated, I'm dying to resolve this.

Thanks for reading, please tell me what you can

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I haven't heard of a Northstar balancer pulley going bad but I suppose it is possible. It would be a good idea to get a dial indicator on it to see if it is actually wobbling vs. an illusion that it is wobbling so you don't wind up replacing a good part. The balancer pulley is expensive if it is even still available. You will need to lock the flywheel in orger to remove the bolt and then use a three-jaw puller to remove the pulley. There is a torque-angle spec for the bolt that must be followed upon reassembly or you will not have oil pressure.

'93 Fleetwood Brougham
'05 Deville
'04 Deville
2013 Silverado Z71

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"I haven't heard of a Northstar balancer pulley going bad but I suppose it is possible."

I'm thinking maybe it wasn't installed properly during the rebuild or was damaged while reinstalling the motor? I don't know. But it is definitely wabbeling, under different engine load the balancer can be seen to spin like a top or flutter enough to make the engine tremble. That would explain why it happens intermittently at different speeds and with no codes. ?

The garage just called and said they'll have a new balancer in on Monday, $209 plus 1.4 hours labor = $336 with tax. If it cures this it's worth every penny to me. I asked them to use a dial indicator first as you suggested and they said no problem.

I will post back next Tuesday or ASAP with the results.

And thank you.

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As for a SES lamp. There has to be code written in the PCM software to detect problems to be in federal emissions compliance. The PCM is not going to detect every possible problem a engine can have. A missing plug or coil? Sure. A balancer falling apart? No.

FYI...there can be different harmonic balancers depending on a engine/ trans set up. An example would be a Chevy small block with a automatic trans will use a different balancer then one with a manual trans.

Short article about balancers..


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Logan thanks for the input and the article on balances.

I believe what my issue has been is the "torsional damper" (same thing basically) and it will be replaced today. I feel confident this is the sole remaining issue but can't really be sure till the thing is out to inspect.

The article you linked describes my mysterious issue pretty accurately and it seems rare on Cadillac Northstars. Gonna pray there hasn't been any damage to my crank..

I'll post back and let you know how it works out.


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