An often overlooked source of fatigue — not to mention equipment damage — that’s relatively easily mitigated with routine preventive maintenance is a stressed crankshaft damper, reports Brian LeBarron of Springville, N.Y.-based viscous damper manufacturer Vibratech TVD. LeBarron, with colleagues, took the time recently to spell out the issues in a report for customers he shared with me.
We’ve had reports on the damper periodically here, notably from both Pittsburgh Power’s Bruce Mallinson and Kevin Rutherford, when the latter was still authoring our monthly Dollars and Sense feature in the magazine. Mallinson and Rutherford both advise replacing the damper after your rig has passed 500,000 miles. Rutherford noted associated mechanical problems that can result if you don’t “run the range of broken alternator brackets, broken air-conditioning brackets, clutch and driveline problems and even loose or faulty electrical connections.”
Replacement could cost anywhere from $700-$1,000, noted Rutherford.
While both Rutherford and LeBarron note there isn’t a really easy way to inspect a damper for problems, LeBarron’s piece offered some helpful illustrations of some of the problems, noting that the damper’s control of engine vibrations means prolonged crankshaft life, reduced wear on accessory components, improved valve timing and an overall contribution to better fuel economy.