• Dampens torsional vibrations
• Extends the crankshaft's service life
• Comes with installation instructions
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Most people only look at the brand when they purchase something. It's just how it is; sometimes, the flashy commercials and the brand-dropping of your neighbor are just enough to persuade you into reaching for that brand's products. The same situation is true for harmonic balancers. Car owners often forget the product's fit, finish, durability, and performance when they are inside the shop. To give you second-thoughts every time you are about to put a harmonic balancer in your cart, we compared two of the leading brands. Replacement and Dorman balancers are well-received and well-recommended in car forums so we decided to see their performances firsthand.
Looking at the warranty is a good way to start the comparison; Replacement harmonic balancers are under a one-year, unlimited mileage warranty, while Dorman balancers are under a lifetime, limited warranty. By the label alone, Dorman balancers win this round because car owners can get a replacement for as long as they follow the recommended use of the harmonic balancer.
Although both Replacement and Dorman balancers are made of steel, the latter takes this round as well. Dorman balancers undergo ductile steel construction which improve tensile and resistance to impact. They also have stress-resistant rubber bonds that are great against salt and ozone, which Replacement balancers lack.
Both brands are OE replacement parts so a perfect fit relies on you getting the right part for your car. A slight difference between the brands is that some Dorman balancers can be installed in more than one car model or year variation. Meanwhile, Replacement focused on manufacturing balancers that are specially manufactured for a single car model. However, this doesn't give Replacement much of an edge over Dorman. We looked at the Dorman balancers and found that the balancers are replacement parts that follow the part number. Hence, its fit is not based on the car model but on the stock part number of the balancer.
WINNER: Replacement and Dorman
Even though Dorman balancers can cost twice as much as Replacement balancers, their quality and durability are enough for us to name it as the "better brand". Rather than simply aiming to replace the stock parts, Dorman balancers were made to improve the performance of the part by using special rubber and steel. The warranty is also a huge plus for Dorman in this battle.
Yes, the harmonic balancer is not a thingamajig installed in one musical instrument; and yes, it can wear out. The harmonic balancer, the circular device made of rubber and metal on your crankshaft assembly, can go bad because of the vibrations of the engine. If you have a faulty balancer, you are likely experiencing rough engine vibrations or the parts on the crankshaft assembly are getting thrown all over. It is best to avoid driving with a damaged harmonic balancer so we listed four easy steps to help you install it.
Harmonic balancer puller
How the harmonic balancer is placed on the engine differs across car models and even year variations. We recommend that you consult your owner's manual or take a look at some car forums to get the general idea for your car model. However, the process of installing the balancer shouldn't gear away too much from the basic process we narrated here.
To be able to reach the harmonic balancer, you first need to get the serpentine belt out of the way. To get it out, you need to loosen the tensioner (aka automatic tensioner, surf belt tensioner); there should be a lug that bolts the belt in which you need to remove.
You should now be able to access the mounting bolt of the harmonic balancers. You just need the basic ratchet set to remove the bolt. With that out, all you need to do is pull the balancer out; and we mean literally. With the harmonic balancer puller, taking the part out should be a breeze.
If you have a re-installation tool, then this task should be easy. The tool can thread into the crank snout and has a separate bearing which forces the balancer into the assembly. If you only have a removal tool (the puller), you need to place the balancer on the crank snout and pull it down carefully. It is best to have five or more revolutions into the bolt before placing the crank bolt.
Make sure that key and keyhole are aligned properly; keep twisting the balancer until the crankshaft's key sits perfectly on the circular cutout in the center of the balancer.
Connected to the front of your car engine's crankshaft, the harmonic balancer or vibration damper is engineered to help reduce auto vibration. The Dorman and Replacement brand both claim to offer the most superior vibration reduction compared to other brands. You see, it is important to keep the balancer in top shape to avoid it being cracked or misplaced. If you find it difficult to decide which harmonic balancer is best suited for your vehicle, then check out this easy-read guide to come up with an informed decision.
While steel is generally stronger, harder, and lighter than the common iron, the alloy type nodular iron by Dorman is engineered to match the steel type Replacement's durability and tensile strength. So, the battle between a nodular iron harmonic balancer and a steel type Replacement brand results to a draw. You see, nodular iron types provide better shock absorption, but a steel type has better impact property.
WINNER: Dorman and Replacement
Equipped with a stress-resistant rubber bond, the Dorman harmonic balancer is able to endure the effects of heat better than the Replacement brand. In addition, this type provides stronger resistance to salt contamination and wearing and tearing. Though the Replacement harmonic balancer meets or exceeds the stock's resilience, Dorman offers more specific resistances to unwanted elements.
When it comes to pricing, both brands come neck-and-neck as they average around 30-100USD. You see, it is a win-win situation for the budget-conscious consumer. Not only that, both brands also boast of OE specifications for easier fitting to your auto.
WINNER: Dorman and Replacement
So far both brands fare as equal competitors in the harmonic balancer category. However, the Dorman harmonic balancer has a significant advantage with its lifetime limited warranty compared to the Replacement balancers that offer only a one-year, unlimited-mileage warranty.
When it comes to performance, both brands come close to a tie. But, the winning harmonic balancer goes to Dorman for it provides a wider range of defense against a broad range of harmful elements.