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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-04-2019, 11:34 PM Thread Starter
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OEM Harmonic Balancer or Aftermarket?

I'm doing the timing belt on my sister's '98. (This time I'm recording it, too, so hopefully I'll have a full video of the job to post on youtube later. I'm doing the front seals, oil pump gasket, water pump, etc,)

Does anyone have any experience with a good aftermarket harmonic balancer, or should I just bite the bullet and go OEM?

I have no service history on the vehicle, but it appears to be the original balancer (it is a Toyota part).
The harmonic balancer is cracked on the backside, by the power steering belt guide, and some pieces are missing on the guide rim. I have no idea what the cause could be: a pure guess is that the last mechanic dropped it, but perhaps something from the road fly up and smacked it.

Anyway, I am going to replace it: the OEM Toyota part, 13408-74031, is over $200, and the aftermarket solutions are much cheaper. However, I have heard of bad stories about aftermarket balancers -- particularly that quality problem of the rubber/dampener part dislocating very, very early. But, that is just what I heard -- I have no experience with aftermarket balancers.

Anyone have any thoughts on this? Thanks for any help! Does anyone happen to know who makes the OE Toyota balancers?
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-05-2019, 11:16 AM
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I recommend an OEM used harmonic balancer purchased from an online salvage yard. I would stick with OEM because IIRC you already have an excellent homemade tool that will fit spot-on. I think ordinarily, this part lasts the life of the vehicle and then some. I would wager the most common cause of failure is someone not using the correct pulley holding tool. I naively tried to remove the harmonic balancer with an inadequate tool on one of my Honda Civics around 2005. I broke part of the belt guide off. Folks on the net own up to similar breakage while not using the right tool. I bought a used OEM harmonic balancer from an online salvage yard, at a great price. It was working great for the next five years, when I sold the Civic.

I went looking for dimensions on the 1998 OEM Rav4 harmonic balancer not long ago, to help make my own tool. The aftermarket harmonic balancers often had different setups (dimensions et cetera) for their respective removal tools.

As you may have seen, eBay shows some used OEM harmonic balancers that supposedly fit your Rav4. But they do not look like the one installed on my 1998 Rav4.

car-part.com shows a number of auto salvage yards that claim to have the 1998 harmonic balancer for $30 and up. See attachment from a search today. Some of the salvage yard sites linked even offer live chat, right from car-part.com. Typically one can call the yards listed and the guys/gals will double check that what they have fits your description. You have the old one, so you can review dimensions with the salvage yard staffer. Alternatively this aftermarket site may show the correct dimensions for all but the bolt hole locations: https://www.autopartskart.com/toyota...-balancer.html
Attached Files
File Type: pdf 2019.4.4HarBalSearchResults.pdf (257.1 KB, 1 views)

1998 Rav4, Manual Transmission, 2WD, JDM engine with 85k miles in early 2019
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-05-2019, 02:09 PM Thread Starter
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Elle_Rav4, thanks so much!

Yes, you remember well, haha -- I do have a nice little pulley holder tool....but, boy, I met my match with the crank bolt on this one! It was on there so tight that it bent my tool, and snapped the bolts! It almost broken a 1/2" extension!

Long story short, I had to bring out the big guns, and even then I couldn't get the crank bolt off -- not even with a 450 ft-lbs impact wrench. I ended up having to use a propane torch...what a pain! But it is off. I have to replace the crank bolt, too, because it was so tight that it started rounding off a bit with all the work on it from the impact tools.

You're exactly right with the hole placement on the OE balancer-- this is what I was thinking, too. I checked my local yards online, and there is only one 3SFE at the moment. I think I'm going to hit that yard up today and see if I can pull those parts.

Thanks again!
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-05-2019, 05:07 PM
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demoder, I hope the yard has the harmonic balancer.

I think I have recommended to around six people already that, in advance, they either purchase or construct all the tools you (demoder) suggest in the rav4.1world timing belt DIY thread. Gosh knows it cost me a lot of time and energy making or buying the tools on the fly.

Here's my tedious amateur's chatter on these pulley bolt situations: Some folks apply upwards of 500 ft-lbs of torque to break these pulley bolts free. Of course the pulley bolt is not actually tensioned to this amount: If one torques a 14mm bolt (like the typical pulley bolt) to 500 ft-lbs, the shear stress (tau = T c / J yada) in it would be around 182,000 psi. The shear strength of grade 10.9 is only around 75,000 psi. Grade 12.9 is stronger at around 88,000 psi, but this still would not prevent a failure by shear. So if the pulley bolts are not actually tensioned to say 500 ft-lbs, why is it often so difficult to free them? Years ago some Civic folks and I speculated that these crankshaft pulley bolts are heat cycled. They are also a fine thread. The bolts never seem to be noticeably corroded, as in rusted in place. We speculated a bit of galling, and maybe just a touch of corrosion, were going on. We figured this often caused the need for massive amounts of torque to free them. So was our guess.

One thing I learned is that it seems better to apply impulses of force, either with an impact gun or manually when putting the, say, five-foot pipe over one's 1/2-inch drive, 1.5 foot long breaker bar. The vibrations of the impulse help break free the galling (or sometimes, a bit of rust)?

As for the 8mm x 1.25 bolts the Rav4.1 pulley holder tools require: Demoder posted in the timing belt DIY thread that she used metric Grade 10.9 bolts. Which of course is wise and what the experienced DIY folks elsewhere use. This past year in my sophomoric design efforts, I demonstrated several times that two 8mm metric Grade 8.8 bolts failed (several times) not from shear stress but from bending stress. As in sigma = M c / I yada. Grade 8.8 has a yield strength of around 120,000 psi. When re-installing the pulley bolt and torquing to the required 80 ft-lbs., on my tool (which is similar to to demoder's), each of the two bolts will see around 147,000 psi of bending stress. Grade 10.9 is good up to about 151,000 psi. Using Grade 10.9 bolts, and for tightening the pulley bolt to 80 ft-lbs., the tool should work.

For removing the pulley bolt, either a heftier tool is recommended, or one has to use the bump-start method. Demoder does have a heftier pulley holding tool than mine, but it appears it has its limits when we are talking about upwards of 450 ft-lbs of torque ultimately being applied to the tool. By my calculations, this 450 ft-lbs of torque subjects each 8mm bolt to around 900,000 psi of stress on my (less hefty) tool. Crash.

I confess I may end up buying some Grade 12.9, 8mmx1.25 bolts from the net for my homemade pulley holder tool. eBay seems to have them for around $1 each. Still, my tool is only for re-installing and torquing the pulley bolt in place.

1998 Rav4, Manual Transmission, 2WD, JDM engine with 85k miles in early 2019
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 12:34 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Elle_Rav4 -- I struck out at that junkyards. I went by Advance Auto on my way home, and checked out out the Dorman aftermarket pulley. My tool fit -- same hole spacing and same bolt size and pitch, so I am going to go with that pulley because it is $160 less than the OE and comes with a lifetime warranty. Hopefully it is a good one!

As for the bolts -- I upgraded to 12.9 grade cap screws, like these:

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Everbilt...-100338007-_-N

What an improvement, I should have used those from the get-go. And also the cap screw design is easier to fasten, since the bolt holes are so close to the flange center.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old Today, 04:20 AM Thread Starter
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Update: I bought and installed an aftermarket pulley, the Dorman 594-139.

I read through reviews before I bought it, and they are a bit mixed: the main complaint was that it was a tight fit onto the crankshaft. It is a tight fit, but it does fit (at least mine did). At first I thought it was some interference with the Woodruff key, but I checked and it was not. It is just a VERY close fit.

But, a fit. Overall, the particular pulley I received was satisfactory, and the bolt locations and size/pitch are the same as the OEM pulley, which is nice. The timing mark lined up, too, and the pulley tracks looked great. Started up the engine, and there was no crazy vibration, noise, or off-track on the belts, so I am satisfied. The part has a lifetime warranty, too.

I'll be posting up a full step-by-step video for the timing belt job (with the front seals, water pump, oil pump gasket, pulleys, etc) within the next few days, and I'll post back with a link.
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