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How to Replace the Harmonic Balancer on a 1989 Pontiac Bonneville

The harmonic balancer in your 1989 Pontiac Bonneville attaches to the front end of the crankshaft. While the pistons exert a great turning force, the harmonic balancer keeps the crankshaft from vibrating and possibly breaking; thus, replacing a bad harmonic balancer will help you restore the engine's mechanical performance and avoid costly repairs on your 1989 Bonneville. Since the balancer sits on the outside, at the front of the engine, you can install a replacement part at home without having to remove other engine components.

Tools Used: Wrench, Breaker bar or box-end wrench, Lug wrench, Floor jack, 2 jack stands, Ratchet, Socket set, Assistant's help, Special tool J 37096, Short ratchet extension, Special tool J 38197

Replace Harmonic Balancer

Removing the Harmonic Balancer

Park your car on level ground.

Detach the black (negative) battery cable, using a wrench.

Rotate or lift the belt tensioner pulley, using a breaker bar (on pulleys with a square hole) or a box-end wrench on the pulley center bolt, depending on your particular car model. Slip the belt off one of the accessory pulleys, and slowly let the tensioner pulley spring back to its original position.

Loosen the lug nuts on the front passenger's side wheel with a lug wrench and jack up both front wheels, using a floor jack. Support the vehicle with two jack stands and remove the front passenger's side wheel only.

Unfasten and remove the front-right engine splash shield, using a ratchet and socket.

Take off the flywheel cover, located between the rear of the engine and the transmission, with a ratchet and socket.

Slip the serpentine belt off the harmonic balancer. Ask an assistant to hold the flywheel in place with special tool number J 37096 and a ratchet as you unfasten the harmonic balancer center bolt with a ratchet, short ratchet extension and socket.

Pull the harmonic balancer with special tool J 38197. Remove the balancer and the small key (this is a small metal piece that fits in the crankshaft's and harmonic balancer's grooves to lock the balancer in place).

Installing the New Harmonic Balancer

Place the key in the crankshaft groove. Position the harmonic balancer in the crankshaft, aligning the balancer groove with the key; push the balancer in place onto the crankshaft.

Install the harmonic balancer washer and bolt finger-tight. Ask your assistant to hold the flywheel in place with special tool number J 37096 and the ratchet. Tighten the harmonic balancer bolt to 220 foot-pounds (297 Nm), if the eighth digit in your car's vehicle identification number (VIN) is 3 or C. Tighten the bolt to 110 foot-pounds, if the VIN's eighth digit is either an L, 1 or K, and then rotate the bolt another 76 degrees. Use a torque wrench, short ratchet extension and socket (See the Tip box at the bottom for more information).

Install the flywheel cover, using the ratchet and socket, and position the serpentine belt around the harmonic balancer pulley grooves.

Replace the front-right engine splash shield, using the ratchet and socket.

Mount the front passenger's side wheel/tire assembly and thread the lug nuts snugly. Lower your Bonneville to the ground and finish tightening the lug nuts with the lug wrench.

Rotate or lift the belt tensioner pulley using the breaker bar (if your pulley has a square hole) or a box-end wrench on the pulley center bolt, depending on your particular car model. Slip the belt on the accessory pulley, and slowly let the tensioner pulley spring back to its original position.

Attach the black (negative) battery cable, using the wrench.

Tips & Warnings

You can find the vehicle identification number (VIN) for your 1989 Pontiac Bonneville listed in your car title or registration card. Also, the VIN plate is attached to the driver's side of the dashboard, on the lower left-hand corner of the windshield.

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