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post #1 of 10 (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 10 (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
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1998 Rav4, Manual Transmission, 2WD, JDM engine with 85k miles in early 2019
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post #3 of 10 (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 10 (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.

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post #5 of 10 (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 10 (permalink) Old 04-13-2019, 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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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-21-2019, 05:57 PM
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Demoder recently posted a great video of changing the timing belt and related parts. See https://www.rav4world.com/forums/94-...ml#post2690655 . In this video demoder demonstrates how to remove a particularly stubborn crankshaft pulley bolt. An AC electric impact wrench rated at 450 ft-lbs would not get the bolt off. At one point in the video demoder has a neighbor come over to help in the problem-solving. The neighbor and she discuss what is going on. They point to one of the reasons the pulley bolt is sometimes so hard to free is the pulley bolt's washer. The washer has a lot of area, and it is highly compressed. When the pulley bolt is torqued to 80 ft-lbs, I figure the compressive force applied to the washer is on the order of 12,000 pounds. When trying to free the bolt, one is largely fighting the friction of the washer's area, with said washer compressed tightly against its mating surfaces. A few observations to support this:

-- Threads that are galled result in a bolt that is a battle to rotate for many revolutions. By contrast, the crankshaft pulley bolt always seems to come nearly hand-loose (or small ratchet-loose) after only a quarter revolution or so. This points to the threads in fact not galling.

-- When the bolt is super tight and so hard to remove, people (incuding myself) have reported a cracking sound and a little cloud of dust when the bolt finally frees. The threads never look beat up or otherwise disturbed.

-- Others I know have reported steel bolt heads galled to steel washers in the past.

-- Engine heat and vibration may cause the galling between the washer's mating surfaces to worsen with time. In my experience, it does seem like crankshaft pulley bolts left in place a long time are more likely to be a battle to remove. Of course, as demoder and her neighbor point out, the cause of a super hard to remove pulley bolt might also be that the previous technician overtorqued when re-installing the bolt, via say an impact wrench.

-- If the pulley bolt's threads were galled (seized) into place, then I think people would be reading of crankshaft pulley bolt heads snapping off. On old rusted suspensions on my Honda Civics, I have snapped off several large bolt heads. The suspension bolts' threads were corroded into place. But I do not think I have ever read of a crankshaft pulley bolt head shearing off. This is despite the massive torque that occasionally is needed to free the bolt.

-- Googling on "torque to overcome friction" yields numerous scientific-engineering web sites that report that about half the torque needed to free a bolt is dissipated in overcoming the friction between the bolt under-face and the surface to which the bolt underface mates. E.g. see Tightening using the Bolt Head or Nut
and https://www.thepwi.org/technical_hub...olt_technology

-- Whew, this was the subject of a big debate at a certain Honda Civic forum years ago. No one felt 100% sure of the explanation. Now I do. Good job, demoder.

-- What about that cracking sound and small could of dust that often accompany the freeing of a super tight pulley bolt, followed by the torque required to continue removing the bolt being way less? I am guessing this is the crystalline surface of the washer suddenly un-meshing with the underside of the bolt. It's the noise of a lot of friction? Or the compression of the washer is suddenly released, exactly like a very tight spring, and pushes free a bit of corrosion in the area?

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-24-2019, 12:46 AM
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I used a aftermarket balancer off Amazon with no problems. And it took a pipe wrench, pounded on smaller socket and starter bump to get my crank bolt out.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-24-2019, 02:21 AM Thread Starter
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Elle_Rav4 -- thanks for all that info! I'll look into a little more later...I might have to bust out my AISC Manual! haha

Here is briansmobile1 showing this exact phenomenon:


This is pretty much what we did -- but rather with propane (he's using a legit oxy-acetylene torch, while we used a Berzomatic with a propane cannister), and we did NOT get the washer nearly as hot as he had to get his. We only got ours up to about 375F, as I mentioned in the video. He said he got his to glow, which is much, much hotter.

I really like briansmobile1 -- he's got a great trick here!
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-24-2019, 11:03 AM
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Demoder, thank you for posting the great video and discussion by briansmobile1. At honda-tech.com, now I do see people talking about the pulley bolt washer being the problem. The Honda factory service manuals even specify applying a little engine oil to the washer when tightening, because the friction of the washer can throw off the torque actually being applied to tension the bolt.

Attached is the pie chart, that I found so helpful, showing roughly how torque is distributed over a bolt. The red area with the "T" on it is the amount of the applied torque that is actually available to un-tension the bolt's threads (when freeing the bolt). I also recently saw discussion of how the static coefficient of friction is higher than the dynamic coefficient of friction. So freeing a bolt will take more torque than tightening it.

The other day I saw a report that the "cracking" sound that many of us Civic owners would hear when freeing the pulley bolt was actually 'snap-back' of the socket and/or extensions used. Typically for a very tight pulley bolt, the end of the 1/2 inch drive extension rotates over 45 degrees (relative to the fixed bolt head end) before the bolt finally frees. Some folks call this "wind-up." It's a lot of energy stored in the 'springiness' of the steel tools when enormous forces are involved and they deflect rotationally. When the bolt instantaneously frees, the rotation of the socket and extensions "unwinds," making a loud cracking noise. So this one guy purported.

I have never used a torch on the pulley bolt. Instead, I have a five-foot fence post pipe I put over my 1.5 foot, 1/2-inch drive breaker bar. The first time I successfully freed my 1991 Civic's pulley bolt (in 2004) required this. When the bolt suddenly cracked free and the long pipe bounced back, I sustained a small bruise. Still, the bolt did free. I replaced timing belts about four more times on other Civics. Then I knew better how to proceed, and all went fine. I do think the torch method is safer. Hopefully an air impact wrench is not necessary with the torch method. Of note is that the tightening torque on the 1991-2005 Civics is in excess of 100 ft-lbs. Perhaps the Civics' torque is higher because of the direction of rotation of the engine relative to the halfshafts the engine is driving? Maybe Rav4.1 owners do not have as many problems with the pulley bolt because (1) the torque spec is lower et cetera and (2) a lot of us are using the bump-start method (not an option with the Civics, due to the engine orientation).

For those anticipating a rough time with the pulley bolt, and not having the greatest of torches, I wonder if taking the Rav4 for a drive, getting the engine up to normal operating temperature, preferably on a summer day, and immediately trying to free the pulley bolt might work. I reckon that maybe the temperature would be around 200 degrees F. Granted this is a lot less than the 375 degrees F you used in your video.

Thanks for the education.
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