Is There Any Way To Diagnose A Bad Balancer?

Discussion in 'Fox 5.0 Mustang Tech' started by Gearbanger 101, Nov 16, 2013.

  1. Having some vibration issues with my 331 and have a feeling that it's the balancer causing me the grief.

    I have a fairly noticeable vibration and light miss at idle. I initially dismissed it as the rough idle characteristics of my camshaft, and I do have poly engine and trans mounts, but it's just not running as smoothly as I think it should. As I get into the throttle (in neutral) the vibration seems to worsen. To the point where I can really feel it in the shifter by 4,000RPM. If I get on it under load out on the highway, it'll shake my shifter to the point it's rattling against the shift stops. I've changed clutches, driveshaft (switched to an aluminum unit), adjusted my pinion angle and it doesn't seem to make a difference.

    The engine only has about 3,000km on it and the rotating assembly was balanced to 28 oz. by CHP. I've got one of their non SFI aproved Pro/Race balancers and their billet steel SFI approved flywheel.

    You don't often hear of new flywheels going bad.....but balancers on the other hand seem a little more common. I knew I was taking a chance with the Chinese built balancer in the first place, but it still seems to be built of a far higher quality that the stock cast ford units. The timing marks seem to be in accordance with my timing light. I don't see any cracks, or leaks on the balancer. I can't however think of any other way to definitively test it?

    I plan on calling up CHP to bend their ear on the subject a little and enquire about the possibility of an exchange, but considering the trouble I had during my initial dealings, I'm not feeling overly optimistic. If I can't get any warranty satisfaction from CHP, I'm looking into a replacement balancer at a reasonable price. I see the Pioneer Automotive brand thrown out there a lot and wondering on everyone's thoughts on them? Are they a decent replacement balancer, or am I going to end up scratching my head again? And if not the Pioneer, then what? I'd like to stay with an elastomer style balancer, that won't break the bank. Ford was able to keep these engines balanced for 20-years with a junk cast unit, so there's no reason I should need some high dollar race unit to do the same?
  2. Chucking it up in a lathe and using a dial indicator will tell you what's going on at a given RPM. That's the only way I can think to test it correctly.

    I got a pioneer sfi balancer looks like a excellent piece. I would buy another in a heart beat.
  3. I would think the indicator would only tell you if the balancer is out of round....and not so much out of balance, no?

    I'm starting to think it was never right? I wish I knew how much shake you'd get installing a 50oz balancer on a 28oz rotating assembly. It almost makes me wonder if they sent me the right balancer right off the hop? I didn't think to check....and quite frankly, wouldn't have known how to in the first place. I just bolted it on. :shrug:

    The shake isn't absolutely horrible....but it doesn't run nearly as smooth as I think it should. Most certainly not as smooth as the 302 it replaced.
  4. Checking it for both a radial and axial measurement should work? :scratch: Is there any wobble to it?

    Sounds like you might be on to something. Maybe you can find a part number on it to insure it is a 28 oz unit. I would say replace but for 200 bucks I'd totally make sure. What transmission?

  5. You could send it to me and I could mount it to the dynamic balance machine that I have at work.

    Would probably be cheaper just to remove and replace it though. heh
  6. Running a T5.

    Just found out I've got a bad head gasket too (air bubbles in the coolant reservoir.....FML :bang: ) I guess that explains the rough idle.
  7. No matter how you look at it bad luck is still luck, so in a way you are lucky, right?
    I would replace that head gasket and go from there. It is possible that you have the wrong balancer but who knows for sure? Has it always had this vibration?
  8.'s never really run that smooth. I had an issue a while back with some serious neutral vibration with the stock engine. Never did find out 100% what was causing it. Used to shake the shifter in neutral. Thought it might have been the clutch, but it was new. Then found one of the old dowel pins missing from the flywheel and though that could be what was throwing it out of balance.

    Fast forward to this summer. New engine, new rotating assembly, new clutch, new flywheel and new balancer. It's never been "silky smooth". I wasn't expecting it to run like a Dyson vacuum cleaner, but with the 28oz balance, I did think it would run smoother than a 50oz balance late model 302. No dice....I still felt some internal engine vibration that increased with RPM. To be fair, I have poly mounts (engine and trans) as well as a Steeda TriAx an increase in vibration was expected. But the fact that it gets worse with RPM has me believing something might be amiss?

    Depending on how the weather holds up, I may tackle the head gasket swap this spring. Winter is soon here. We got flurries today and the last thing I want to do is catch myself working under hood in an unheated garage in zero degree weather.

    I may pull the balancer and give it a good visual going over. The Ford "Pro/Race" balancers are supposed to all be the same, with interchangeable external weights. So I may remove the balancer just to see which one is on there.

    I'm also wondering if reclocking the flywheel would make any difference? I don't recall it mattering, but I can't help but wonder if the flywheel weight should be clocked 180-degree's of the harmonic damper weight for smoothest operation? The damper can only go on one possible way, but the flywheel can be bolted on at 6-different locations? Curious if it would make a difference?
  9. iirc, one flywheel bolt isnt on the same bolt circle angle as the others, making it the "key" for how the flywheel/flexplate bolts on.

    are you using the same trans with both motors? i know something in my t5 (i think its in the shifter, i can make it be somewhat quiet by holding the lever against the gate) rattles and shakes like a mofo, especially over about 3k in 5th, and about 4-5k in 4th, and worse with throttle. only started doing this in the last year or so, and i know its about done anyway (synchros dieing, cant powershift, etc). may be a similar issue.
    MikeH686 likes this.
  10. Correct, flywheel can only be installed one way. Most shifter vibrations I've seen were input/output shaft related. Specially if its noticed more in 3,4 and 5 gears.
  11. Double checking the weight on the balancer is a great idea, It can't hurt and is not that much trouble to go through to be certian. As others have stated the flywheel will only go on one way so no worries there. We are sure that it too is also 28 oz imbalance? Garage, you have a garage..... NO excuse get your butt to home depot to get a torpedo heater and get crackalackin!
  12. Where to start.

    Yes, same trans for both. I did assume I was getting some vibration from the trans itself initially, as it did get a little gear noise in the upper ranges (3rd & 4th), so I bought a basic bearing rebuild kit (sans the synchro's) through Astro Performance and had it installed last season. Didn't seem to make a difference really. Coincidentally, they're also the guys that made up the King Cobra clutch kit I bought through CJ Pony parts as well.

    I might look around for another T5 or better at the Columbus swap meet at the end of this month, but I hate the idea of picking up another used I could just end up with the same problem I'm having now. The unit shifts smooth and the synchros seem to be fine for the most part. The will fuss a little if I try shifting too quickly on cold start up until the fluid has had a chance to warm up a little and circulate.....but let's be honest....I've never known anyone who's owned a T5 that hasn't had that problem.

    I couldn't recall the detail about on of the flywheel bolts being off set of the rest, but if you guys say so, I suppose I must have put it on correctly. Musta got lucky the first try. ;)

    And yeah, I have a garage, but like I isn't heated and I'm not feeling the cold right now. It's about -6C here right now (about 20F) and I just spent the better part of the last month doing some wire hiding and have all but burnt out on it for the time being. Especially now knowing I'm going to be in for a set of head gaskets too (looks like I've got a bad one). Gotta get motivated. It's almost snowmobile season now I'm getting my head into Mach Z mode. Thankfully, I do have a heated garage to work on it. :D
  13. i think this is my problem, every time ive mated the thing with the motor its been a royal pita to get fully seated, but i think im going to pull it this spring, and rebuild the stock aod sitting in the shed, might even make it faster too (i suck at shifting fast :() on the other hand, this could very easily be the pos aftermarket shifter on it, bought it used and the return spring on the 1-2 side was so weak it wouldnt even try to center back up on its own for third, and it almost constantly missed or ground that gear unless you really focused (hard to do at the track).

    back on topic, see if theres a part number on the balancer, assuming its not one of those replaceable-weight ones, that should give you what ounce balance it is.
  14. Well....I got impulsive tonight and bought a Romac 0241SA/28 balancer for it. So...I've either made the right move and bought a better balancer, or made a dumb move and now own two perfectly good 28 oz balancers. :D
  15. Gearbanger, I run the same balancer on my 331. I also had the flywheel, but had issues with it. I returned it and bought a billet PRW, no issues with it.

    I can't say too much for CHP customer service, but they do offer competitive prices.

  16. Kilometers.....
  17. Had which balancer? The Pro/Race, or the Romac? The PRW is actually the flywheel I have. Funny story about that....

    Basically, I called them up to order my kit. Told them that I was coming across the border on a particular date, to a particular place and that the kit HAD to be there by then. They told me that my order wouldn't be a problem and that it would only take two to three weeks to get the kit together......I gave them six!
    Three weeks after I placed my order, I called to make sure things were on track and spoke to their CSR rep (Frank). This was how the conversation took place.

    Me - Hey Frank, just checking to make sure everything was still on schedule and that my kit would be ready and waiting for me when I arrived.
    Frank - Yep....everything is just about ready. All we're waiting on are the pistons that should be cut later this afternoon, then we'll give it the final balance and will send it out.
    Me - *thinking to myself* Awesome can't wait.

    About 5-days before it was due to be on location, I called them a final time to make sure the package was en-route.

    Me - Hey Frank, just me again. Don't mean to be a pest, but I just wanted to ensure that we were still a go. I'm trying to co-ordinate with you again to make sure my package was sent out for the date in question.
    Frank - Yep....everything is just about ready. All we're waiting on are the pistons that should be cut later this afternoon, then we'll give it the final balance and will send it out."
    Me - *thinking* (Um....That's exactly what he had told me 2-weeks prior when I called?) Frank, you do remember that this package has to be on location by Friday, right?
    Frank - *long silence with papers shuffling* Oh, right I see that right here on the order form. Well....the flywheel you ordered that came with the kit isn't in stock right now, but we can have it here by Wednesday.
    Me - Oh---Kay....but if you ship it by Wednesday, will it make it to my location by Friday?"
    Frank - *silence*.... "No, it won't, but we can upgrade you to one of our billet flywheels for another $90 and send that out today. *long pause*....actually, looking at the date, I'm not even sure that if we send it out today that it will get there on time because of the holiday? If we send it express shipping though, it'll for sure make it on'll only cost you an additional $175. Or, we could wait for the flywheel you ordered to come in...but that would be overnight shipping and it will cost you $275. :eek:
    Me - Wait....what!?! :scratch: "I gave you guys 6-weeks to put together a kit that you ensured me would only take 2-3. I called you after three weeks (ample time according to you to start from scratch if need be) to see how it was progressing and you assured me it would be done that day. Now, with less that a week left before it has to be on location, you're telling me the kit still isn't done and you don't have the parts there to complete it and that you can't ensure that it will even get there on time using the original method of shipping I pre-paid for....and that I'm now supposed to foot the bill for your mistake?!?"
    Frank - *more silence*....yeah, we're really sorry about that. I'm not sure what happened. How about I offer you a really sweet deal on your next rotating assembly?
    Me - WTF!?! How about you foot the bill for the additional shipping and eat the price difference between the flywheels. :mad:
    Frank - No, we can't do that. But maybe I can split the shipping with you, let me talk to my manager. *puts me on hold, comes back*. Yeah, I can take $50 off of the order.
    Me - Great, so now it's only going to cost me $215 more than I agreed to pay to get it here with the better flywheel...or $225 to get the kit with the original flywheel, but the faster shipping?
    Frank - Yeah, but you're still getting a really good deal on the kit. You're getting free balancing after all.
    Me - The main reason I bought your kit now was because you offered the special on free balancing for that month. You're not offering me any better deal that you'd offer anyone else!"
    Frank - Yeah man. Sorry, that's all I can do. We can send it to you next week to your address in Canada.
    Me - That's no good. This kit will cost me another $500 in brokerage fee's, taxes and shipping by the time it get's across the border. That's why I specifically ordered it for this date in the first place. Because I knew I would be State side then. Let me talk to your manager. I'd like to see what they have to say about it.
    Frank - Yeah, again I'm really sorry about that. I already talked to my manager on your behalf and $50 off is the best we can do?
    Me - Alright then. I understand. Your hands are tied....but then so are mine. Cancel my order.
    - What?!? But I already gave the guys the go ahead to start the balancing?
    Me - I thought you said the pistons weren't even cut yet?
    Frank - Look....I think you're making a mistake cancelling this order. This is a really good deal
    Me - Sorry man, but not for an additional almost $250 it isn't. Tell you what. I'll spring for the extra $90 for the better flywheel, but you'll have to eat the shipping costs.
    Frank - Sorry man, I can't do that.
    Me - OK Frank. Thanks for you time. Maybe next time I come State side I'll re-order the kit if you're willing to give me the free balancing again.

    Frank is noticeably agitated as we end the conversation. About 20-minutues later, I think to myself "I'd better call back to make sure they aren't changing me any sort of cancellation fee on my credit card". This time when the phone rings, a woman answers. I tell her who I am and why I'm calling and she's says...."Ah, you're the guy that just cancelled his order....yeah, Frank isn't happy with you." I explain to her that I'm not all that pleased with Frank right now and proceed to tell her the story.

    She checks the paperwork and says "Well.....I wasn't aware of any of this. Frank didn't inform me that you placed this order almost a month and a half ago? Well Brian, I'm Franks boss and let me assure you that if you still want it, that this package will be on location, on time and on our dime, with no extra charge to you.....and that's including the upgraded flywheel".

    I was pleasantly floored. (I guess ol Frank didn't speak to his manager on my behalf after all. Or if he did...he was only telling her half the story. Probably to cover his mistake?) She then apologized for the hassle I went through and ended the call. True to her word, the package was there waiting for me on the Friday, as she promised.

    So yeah....I had my ups and downs with CHP, but in the end they came through. :nice:

    Indeed. That would be the Metric System. It's what the rest of the world is usuing while you guys in the States are still stuck under a rock. :D

  18. What kills me is that I hear these kinds of stories about this company all too frequently. It was enough to keep me from even thinking about trying to do business with them. Ole' Frank must still be working there. o_O
  19. Off topic but are y'all's drag strips 1/4 kilometers?
  20. Yeah, I guess :poo: does happen. It just seems that it always happens to me. In the end though, his boss did make it right....and to be fair, most of the reviews I'd heard involving them were positive. So if I had to do it iver again, I probably would. D.S.S. Racing on the other I've heard some iffy reviews regarding them!

    Of course. What, you're telling me you've never run the ole .201km, or the .402km? What's your 18.288m time? :shrug:
    90lxwhite likes this.