Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Noisy harmonic balancer

My '92 Ford Tempo’s balancer has been making noise at idle; worse when in gear. I replaced the tensioner pulley and belt. It has a 2.3 (4cyl), with 45,000 original miles. My mechanic said it can’t be replaced without pulling the engine. Is it safe to drive, especially long distance.

The harmonic balancer cant be replaced w/o pulling the engine? Not sure if this is true but it is HIGHLY SUSPECT.

On my Saab 900’s engines the harmonic balancer had a rubber portion encased in steel…this rubber would shrink over time and the steel would squeak or slip on this rubber…sounding like a loose belt. Perhaps you have the same type of balancer on this engine…so I have hear of this before…what I havent heard of is pulling the engine to get to it…and I HIGHLY DOUBT its harder to replace than on a Saab…The engine in the Saab is BACKWARDS…and the balancer is literally up against the firewall at your feet if you were in the car.

Anyone else hear of this engine removal for a Ford balancer job? Not me…

They cant pull it by unbolting the engine mounts and jacking the engine up or letting it fall? I cant picture this…

Horse puckey. The balancer on this engine can be replaced with only undoing the right motor mount and right sway bar bracket. These cars are getting kind of rare to work on, but I did a balancer on a '93 Tempo just before Christmas. it only pays right at 2 hours. Can’t R&R an engine in that time. Don’t recall the construction of these balancers so I can’t really say it’s safe to drive. If the belt comes off, the engine could overheat and be damaged beyond repair pretty fast especially driving on the highway.

The harmonic balancer can be replaced without removing the engine.

Measure the relative distance from the center of the balancer to the inner fender. Transfer that measurement to the wheel well. With a 1" hole saw cut thru the wheel well and thru the inner fender. Now you can remove the crankshaft bolt to replace the harmonic balancer.


When you say to loosen the right motor mount, is that when facing the engine from outside. Are you trying to drop the engine enough to get at the balancer for removal? This balancer is composed of three parts (I’m told). Would I need a special puller to do it myself. I’m not afraid to do it myself if possible. It was 20 below here in northern Mn this morning, but once the weather warms up, I’d like to fix it. Any other advice would be welcome. Thanks.

The harmonic balancer can be replaced without pulling the engine, but you won’t find the procedure for doing it anywhere. All service information says to remove engine. And that is the proper way to do it.

Having said that, if you remove the mount at the passenger fender, loosen all the other mounts, remove the stabilizer bar mounting brackets, and then carefully lower the motor/trans assy just until it looks like hoses and wires are going to brake. Then you should be able to access it.

Don’t drive the car until this is fixed.

well i just did this procedure on my daughters 93 tempo with a 2.3 late last year and i did not remove the engine but you will need to put a jack under the engine remove mounts lower jack and engine to access the bolt and have an assistant up above prying like hell to be able to remove it or at least it would be easier with an assistant i had to manage on my own and no you do not need a puller it will come right off. i personally would not cut a hole in the inner fender but its your baby not mine.

Left and right have to do with the car, not where you’re standing. The right side is normally the passenger side if you have a left drive car. remove RF wheel. Undo the mount, remove the three bracket bolts that the right side of the sway bar attaches to. Do this to allow compressor to come down far enough. I don’t believe you need a puller for this one. It’s going to be very close, but using a pry bar you should be able to get the engine down enough to R&R balancer. The balancer might come off in three pieces, but the one that goes back on is one piece.