I have the engine out of the car and I had to remove the harmonic balancer, I did not have the proper puller and for some reason I used a wooden piece and a rubber mallet to tap the balancer off the crankshaft. I was then able to pull it off by hand. I am now wondering if I have caused damage to internal components? (thrust bearings)

EDIT: Mercedes M103 engine from a 1991 w124 300E The balancer is held by a bolt (torqued to 400nm) and a woodruff key.

  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! What is the year/make/model/engine of the car in question? As you've stated it now, the answer is: You might have. ... Some harmonic balancers are slip fit with a keyway. Others are interference fit which requires a puller. If yours is just a slip fit, you most likely haven't caused it any damage, though this is not a method I would have ever used. Feb 18 '19 at 17:50
  • You would have to hit it pretty hard with a 4lb sledge hammer to do any damage. Normal tapping with a medium hammer is ok to remove the easy ones.
    – Moab
    Feb 18 '19 at 17:52
  • it was a 1lb rubber mallet with a piece of 2x4, I did not go crazy but it took some tapping until I was then able to remove by hand wiggling. The manual calls for a puller but to install it DOES NOT call for any special tools.
    – Tony
    Feb 18 '19 at 19:06

It is possible that you may have damaged the thrust faces/ bearings... That will largely depend on how hard you were hitting - it's the "shock" that can cause damage.

The only way to tell for sure is to inspect the bearings and faces.

A simple puller can be made with a thick bar and some suitable bolts, nuts and threaded rod.

  • The next step will be to check the axial play? or remove the bearings?
    – Tony
    Feb 18 '19 at 19:04

With my limited experience, since about 80% of the engines I take apart are farm diesel or VW diesel, I can say that the harmonic balancers I have dealt with are heavy like a flywheel and have a rubber liner to the core which attaches to the crankshaft. With those, i have seldom had to persuade them off with anything more than a 16oz hammer. I cannot recall ever damaging one.

I have seen damaged balancers, and they were damaged from the impact of a large mass hammer (5# ?).

If you cannot see or detect damage, I would doubt there is any.

If you want a more definitive answer, PLEASE include the make and model and engine of the vehicle.

  • I don't care about the balancer, it is going to be replaced. I do care about the internals as I did not plan a rebuild. it is a Mercedes M103 engine.
    – Tony
    Feb 18 '19 at 19:03
  • So your reference is then to the bearings and faces within the block, for the crankshaft? If that is the case, I will simply say that I have never seen those damaged from balancer removal, on the engines that I have worked with. I suppose it is possible, but I would not be betting on it.
    – mongo
    Feb 18 '19 at 19:10
  • The bearings and faces are my main concern - not anything else.
    – Tony
    Feb 18 '19 at 19:41

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