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Discussion Starter #1
'07 G Caravan SXT 3.8L 165K
Dampener somehow spun itself off of the end of the crank! Has anyone ever experienced this? I'm 61 and have NEVER heard of this happening. That part has never been touched from the factory so it's not an issue of someone doing poor service work.
 

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It happens every now and then.

Replace it ASAP as it is an important part of the engine balancing system.

Bet you had some kind of engine vibration for some time.
 

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2013 Dodge Grand Caravan
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Seen it only a few times (not personally on a Caravan). It is a very rare occurrence on any vehicle.

I would recommend checked the threads in the crankshaft before trying to install a new bolt as it may have damaged them as the bolt was wobbling out. And definitely replace your front crank seal because it will have surely suffered some damage. If you have your old crank pulley, it's probably damaged and should be replaced. If you managed to save the bolt, probably best to bin that as well. It may have stretched allowing for wobble that eventually led to everything coming off.
 

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Whole thing, or just the outer ring? Inner and outer metal parts of the damper are joined by a ring of rubber. Rubber dries out, hardens, cracks, and outer ring breaks free. Not that uncommon on vehicles that use that type of damper. Replace the whole thing.
 

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If it was just the outer ring then the pulley itself is all you need to replace, but might as well do the front seal since it's likely due for a change anyway.
 
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How do I know if my crankshaft pulley is bad?
Welcome AndyShane66,

I suppose by inspection. Both static and dynamic.
For a few dollars and an hour or so you could proactively change the front crank seal.
Specialty tools are available to 'borrow' from auto stores such as AutoZone. they have a serpentine belt removal tool and IIRC I do not think you need a harmonic puller tool, but they have one too.

If it has been a while, consider a new serpentine belt and perhaps a belt pulley / tensioner kit too. While you are there...

Back to your question: I'd remove the passenger wheel and inner wheel well liner, exposing the harmonic balancer.**
Look at it, do you see excessive rubber protruding from the joint? (some protrusion visible is normal. (post a picture if you want opinions)
Grab it and determine if anything seems loose. I don't believe the standard man should be able to move anything by hand alone.
Dynamic: with the engine running from the driver seat, do you feel any excessive vibration? look at it, do you see any wobble? (you may observe what appears as wobble because of an illusion caused by color discontinuities) Look for run-out and you may carefully try holding a soft 'pointer' to view the gap both on the side and the face.
** make sure the vehicle is securely on jack stands and also have a secondary safety like the removed wheel up under the vehicle.

Again, welcome to the forum. let us know what you find and what you determine is required. More than likely you should be ok. The harmonic balancer delaminating is an anomaly.

cheers
 

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Discussion Starter #9
It happens every now and then.

Replace it ASAP as it is an important part of the engine balancing system.

Bet you had some kind of engine vibration for some time.
Had absolutely no vibration whatsoever or any other kind of indication that something was wrong until minutes before it happened. I was driving through a local subdivision at around 25mph when I heard what sounded like a belt squealing. The power steering began to get difficult and the battery warning light came on just shortly after. I pulled into the driveway and popped the hood to see if the belt had separated but it was still in place. I started engine again to check to see if the belt was turning, and it was not. Shut the engine down and looked under the hood again. Could see that the dampener was at a slight angle so I figured it must have separated......the outer from the inner. Pulled the wheel and plastic cover off and found that the bolt had backed out to about 4-5 threads remaining and the dampener was just barely on the end of the crank nub and bolt. I got a new dampener and it slides freely all the way up to the shoulder on the nub. So basically I either need to replace the crank or the engine, unless there's some other way I could manage to get a tight enough fit that it wouldn't spin on the shaft. Any ideas? I think I've gotten the shaft (not crank) on this one. Was a great running 1 owner vehicle and now seems like a worthless piece of scrap. The best labor total I've been able to get to r/r the engine is $1100. Replacing the crank would not be feasible because of the extra work involved.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Whole thing, or just the outer ring? Inner and outer metal parts of the damper are joined by a ring of rubber. Rubber dries out, hardens, cracks, and outer ring breaks free. Not that uncommon on vehicles that use that type of damper. Replace the whole thing.
whole thing
 

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So, a new bolt will not hold it in place?

If so, just add some shellac on the bolt threads and tighten it to specs.

I wouldn't use thread lock but it is ok if shellac is not available.

You can also spread some shellac on the crank shaft if you think pulley is kind of loose.

You might need to fix the threads if bolt doesn't go smoothly.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
So, a new bolt will not hold it in place?

If so, just add some shellac on the bolt threads and tighten it to specs.

I wouldn't use thread lock but it is ok if shellac is not available.

You can also spread some shellac on the crank shaft if you think pulley is kind of loose.

You might need to fix the threads if bolt doesn't go smoothly.
Bolt threads in smoothly. The dampener is supposed to be a pressed on fit and I can slide it on the crank nub easily by hand all the way up to the shoulder on the crank nub. Is the bolt designed to hold the dampener tightly against the crank that it wouldn't spin on the shaft? I don't think so.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Welcome AndyShane66,

I suppose by inspection. Both static and dynamic.
For a few dollars and an hour or so you could proactively change the front crank seal.
Specialty tools are available to 'borrow' from auto stores such as AutoZone. they have a serpentine belt removal tool and IIRC I do not think you need a harmonic puller tool, but they have one too.

If it has been a while, consider a new serpentine belt and perhaps a belt pulley / tensioner kit too. While you are there...

Back to your question: I'd remove the passenger wheel and inner wheel well liner, exposing the harmonic balancer.**
Look at it, do you see excessive rubber protruding from the joint? (some protrusion visible is normal. (post a picture if you want opinions)
Grab it and determine if anything seems loose. I don't believe the standard man should be able to move anything by hand alone.
Dynamic: with the engine running from the driver seat, do you feel any excessive vibration? look at it, do you see any wobble? (you may observe what appears as wobble because of an illusion caused by color discontinuities) Look for run-out and you may carefully try holding a soft 'pointer' to view the gap both on the side and the face.
** make sure the vehicle is securely on jack stands and also have a secondary safety like the removed wheel up under the vehicle.

Again, welcome to the forum. let us know what you find and what you determine is required. More than likely you should be ok. The harmonic balancer delaminating is an anomaly.

cheers
The balancer didn't delaminate. Poorly designed setup where there is no key/keyway incorporated into the mounting of balance onto the shaft.....just a press fit. SOMEHOW, that press fit became insufficient over time and the bolt stretching? which allowed the balancer to spin on the shaft, wearing it down enough where a new balance just slides all the way up to the shoulder on the crank by hand instead of having to be pressed on. Once again, a very poor design IMO. I have NEVER heard of this happening and neither have any of the guys I know that have decades of service backgrounds.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
It happens every now and then.

Replace it ASAP as it is an important part of the engine balancing system.

Bet you had some kind of engine vibration for some time.
Not to mention the fact that it's need to turn the accessories via the serpentine belt!
 

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How do I know if my crankshaft pulley is bad?
If you're talking about the rubber ring failure separation, I'd say visual inspection for severe cracking of the rubber ring and looking for wobble and/or "walking" in/out of the outer pulley ring when revving the motor. Unfortunately, most folks don't find out until it completely fails. On some cars, they find out when the outer ring walks in/out far enough to begin grinding on other things.

As for the friction fit failure, it seems like I recall seeing one other thread on here where somebody else had that issue; however, I don't remember what they did about it. Hate to say it, but I'd probably personally be looking at questionable ways to increase the friction of the fit... not to suggest that as a "proper" means to correct the issue.
 

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2009 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT 4.0
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IIRC, the 4.0 engine's balancer doesn't have a keyway either. When I changed the timing belt last year, I don't remember having to line up a keyway, but it's been almost a year and I could just be not remembering. :)
 

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I just checked rockauto.com, and the balancers sold there (Mopar and aftermarket) don't show a keyway. That's for the OP's engine and the 4.0 engine. I know GM's LS engines don't have a keyway either since the engines are neutral-balanced. For those that have added superchargers to their LS engines, it is recommended (mandatory) that a hole is drilled for a pin that fits between the balancer and the crank (called pinning the crank).
 
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