A clever invention, it’s called a harmonic balancer repair sleeve, or “seal saver,” and not only is the device a fast, easy, and inexpensive means to rehabilitate a worn-out harmonic balancer, the installation process only takes a few minutes once the harmonic balancer has been removed from the engine. We sourced our Fel-Pro Harmonic Balancer Repair Sleeve from Summit Racing, and as usual, were stunned by how fast our online order arrived.
There are some harmonic balancers so scarce and obsolete—such as the unit installed on our early, pre-crank-bolt 283—that a replacement part can’t be found. The reason for such a nifty product to exist is after time the Neoprene timing cover seal wears a deep groove into the steel snout of the harmonic balancer. This allows oil to leak from the timing cover and if the oil leak is left neglected, road dirt and grime attracts to oil-covered areas and sticks. The worse the leak, the thicker the sludge formed by combining dirt and oil we call it “mudge,” becomes.
A cooling problem can grow from built-up mudge as well. Oil blown by the radiator fan can cause the alternator/generator belt to slip and decrease water pump efficiency plus clog radiator cooling fins.
The repaired harmonic balancer goes to a 220hp 283 original to a 1966 Chevelle Malibu two-door hardtop a friend and I share custody of. After a good dousing of VHT Chevrolet Orange spray paint, we’ll drop the stock Mouse motor back in and return the ’66 to the mean streets of OC. Oh yeah!