Jump to content

C5 Harmonic Damper - What I Learned


Recommended Posts


FINALLY --- Finished the project list; harmonic damper replacement, power-steering rack rebuild, new power-steering pump, new alternator, SKF racing hubs, oil change, brake flush & bleed, front-brakes & rotors replacement. Follow this advice using your own best judgement. Double-Check torque values listed here. Perform all work at your own risk. There are quality shops which can do this for you if you are at all overwhelmed. 


Here's what I learned or read which was good advice; 


1) Disconnect the battery.


2A) You'll have to jack the car up about as high as you can safely do so. You can't use the K-Member on the front to support the vehicle, but you can for the rear of the vehicle. 

2B) Take photographs - you are not taking that much apart, but considering it may take  3 - 4 weeks + shipping times to get parts, you'll forget where things go.

2C) Clean up as you go. Buy plenty brake clean, a good size oil pan, flare wrenches, have crows feet handy, and those thick blue paper-towels. 


3) There are lots of bolts, many of different sizes / lengths. A trick is to place within little plastic baggies and labeling the baggies + markings on the bolts & where they go really helped.


4) Pull the alternator to gain improved access to the high & low pressure connections on the steering rack gear. It takes another 5 minutes, gives you easier access, and it makes the Power Steering bracket that much lighter to remove (if replacing the PS pump). There are very small steel hoses (looks like a brake line) about mid-body on the steering rack - there is no need to remove these.




5A) To replace the balancer, you have to remove the steering rack. To do that, you must lower the K-Member. Some folks state to lower the driver side, some the passenger side - lower the entire K-member evenly until there is about a single thread left showing on each of the four bolts. 

5B) Remove the sway bar. The more you have out of the way, the less frustrated you will be working around a bunch of stuff. Tighten the brackets to 48lb-ft and the end-links are 53lb-ft during re-installation. 

5C) When you are at the point to disconnect the steering shaft ---- lock the steering wheel from turning. If it rotates during the disconnect process you can break the little spring, the SRS air bag can deploy, and positioning sensors could be impacted. You'll have to pry the clamp apart to get it off the steering gear shaft. I used a thick, flat blade screw driver between the upper clamp and the steering gear shaft. Just a little movement is all you need and it slides off.

5D) You'll have to pull the tie-rod ends. Harbor Freight  has a ball joint separator for doing just this. It's about $20 and is actually of fairly good quality. Don't pickle fork it otherwise you may damage the rubber boot. 

5E) The passenger side steering rack bushing is a PITA to remove. A small pry-bar placed in between the rack and the K-member and steady straight up pressure to remove. A little manual wiggling will also help. Don't apply too much lateral pressure as the tabs holding rack are fairly thin and can break. Once that happens - you get to buy a new K-Member and all the work that goes with it. 

5F) The steering rack pulls easiest from the driver side. Some people state passenger side - this is flat wrong.  There are some brake lines on the driver side which will need to be gently moved up or back to so the steering gear shaft can pass by.


6) If you are replacing the Power-Steering pump, the High Pressure hose connection on the back side is accessible when you pull the bracket off of the front of block and towards you. It is also accessible from underneath using a crows foot, but be prepared when you pull that hose, expect a good amount of fluid to splash on your face so wear goggles or safety glasses when removing it from underneath.


7A) Get yourself a big breaker bar to remove the balancer bolt. I wouldn't use a torch on anything, just a long breaker bar. I did it with a 1/2" socket breaker bar that was about 18" long, but i advise longer to make it easier. This is the reason to jack the car up as high as you can safely do so.

7B) O'Reilly & AutoZone will rent you a Chrysler Harmonic Balancer puller. Its a compact 3-jaw puller, with two small diameter rods to remove the stock balancer. There are only two rods in their kits, and both are too short for the crank snout. You need a 7.2" rod. The rental kits have about a 5" rod. Don't jimmy it using a 3" extension as mentioned in other forums. You'll probably screw something up. I have the right Lisle 3-jaw kit you can use. But you break it or bend it - YOU BUY IT.




8 Now is the time to replace the front seal. Buy quality! Every book I've ever read, nearly every forum and the manual states NOT TO lubricate the inner seal of the front main seal nor the hub of the balancer. With explanation points. The reason being is these new seals are Teflon impregnated, and applying oil to the hub of the balancer or the inner seal prohibits that Teflon coating from properly adhering to the hub face which assists greatly creating that vital seal.


9) When installing that seal, lightly lubricate ONLY the OUTER DIAMETER of the seal (SA Books on building LS engines advise this is ok) and it will push on with your thumbs. I took a short 2x4 and drilled a 2" diameter hole through the middle to aid in making sure it was being installed with even pressure. A light rapping on the wood piece with a small rubber mallet ensured it was seated properly. 




10) Use an LS-Engine Harmonic Balancer install tool. Its $47 from Summit and the low cost will save you $1000's of dollars if you wreck the threads using the balancer bolt as an install tool. There are horror stories of people stripping the threads of the crank snout using the stock or aftermarket bolts as the installing tool <---- DO NOT DO THIS!  You can make this on the cheap, but you get what you pay for most times. I have the installer tool available for use, but you break it, jack up the bearing, or jimmy the threads - YOU BUY IT.  


---- I purchased an ATI and the hub is a little longer than the stock, so it will hang off the end of the snout about 1/8" more than stock once its fully seated. Don't panic. Make as careful as you can sure the pulleys all line up. 

---- ARP crank bolt is your friend. It uses a 1-1/16".


11) When torquing the balancer bolt - you SHALL use the ARP lubricant, its $2.99 from Summit and is cheap insurance to assure the torque you apply is about darn near right, provided your torque wrench is correct. 235lb-ft for ARP.  Stock GM bolt is a torque to yield bolt requiring - 37lb-ft then rotate 140 degrees. Most don't have a nice SNAP-ON angle toque wrench, but an alternative is a degree wheel. 


12) Installing the passenger side steering rack bushing, which was a PITA to remove, is a PITA to re-install. Cleaning up the aluminum brackets on the K-Member and applying liberal amounts of a water-based lubricant (use your imagination) to the bushing and all aluminum components assisted greatly in sliding it right in.... These bolts are 74lb-ft. Don't forget to raise the K-Member and tighten these bolts to 81lb-ft. 


13) Tightening the steel hoses to the rack is just reverse of what you pulled off, they only go on one way. There are little rubber O-Rings on the ends of the lines, make sure they are in good condition and re-lube them with new PS fluid prior to inserting. The steering shaft bolt torque is 25lbs-ft - add blue Locktite. GM recommends new. 


14) If you are installing a new PS pump, I installed and torqued the pump to the bracket (18lbs-ft) with the two captured bolts already in proper placement before installing the bracket to the cylinder head. The PS curved bracket bolts are different lengths. The captured bolts are different types - one with a hog nose and one normal and they go in specific holes on the cylinder head. See tip #3. Then I tightened the high-pressure hose to the pump and then installed the bracket <---- This is a PITA too. Be patient. The bolts are 37lbs-ft. Crows-feet are your friend,  but make sure you use the equation to account for the torque multiplication value when using crows-feet (Google it). 


15) Before you install the serpentine belt for the accessory drive, don't forget about the one which powers your A/C clutch. Check the belts for wear & tear. Replace as necessary. I use Gates. Seem to be good quality. 


16) Turn-One website has a good PS pump & rack air bleeding process as well as some other information. 


17) Most likely you'll need an alignment. 


I have a separate thread on how to replace the hubs (its for the rear, but there are less steps when doing the front). 

The alternator replacement is straight forward, but always disconnect the batter when unplugging or plugging in connections. 

Brake rotors & pads are much like a C6 to which there is post on this forum about that too. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Saving this great write up to my notes so when my HB finally gives up the ghost I know where to turn. Thanks again  for the great write up and photos, even with all this info I'm sure I can screw something up.....:yesnod

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...