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1934 Buick Loose Engine Torsion Balancer

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Posted (edited)

There was a noise coming from the front of the engine on my ’34 Buick Series 50.  I used a stethoscope and found it most loud at the lower front of the engine at low idle.  If I accelerated the engine above idle the noise would disappear.  The car has insert rods and mains and that doesn’t seem to be the issue; no rod noise at acceleration. 


I took of the pan and started investigating to try to identify the problem.  I noticed that the torsion balancer seems to be loose.  I can wiggle it fore and aft and it makes a clicking sound.  The outer shell of the balancer seems to be slightly loose from the inner section.


There are two halves to the balancer according to the manual.  The manual says, under ‘Removal of Balancer;’  “If necessary to remove the balancer from the crankshaft remove the cotter pins, castellated nuts and plain washers, after which the two retaining bolts may be removed with a socket wrench.  The balancer halves will then drop free from the crankshaft as it is rotated.  Care should be taken when replacing the balancer that the washers are properly replaced, nuts drawn down tightly and new cotters installed.”


I have not removed the balancer yet.  I did remove the cotter pins, nuts and washers and tried to tighten the two bolts to see if that would solve the problem….it didn’t.  I used 60 ft lbs of torque on the  3/8” bolts but to no avail.


The manual says, “If a vibration or rattle is observed while the engine is being warmed up during cold weather a lighter oil should be used.  I’m using 10W30 motor oil, so that’s not the problem.  The manual goes on to say; “to identify the rattle or vibration as being caused by the balancer not functioning properly, proceed as follows…. See the attachments.....  Basically, it says to replace the balancer with a new one if it’s bad.  Good luck with that…..


Has anyone had this problem with their early Buick?  If so, what was your solution?


Thank you for your help in advance,  Nevadavic



Edited by Nevadavic (see edit history)
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You want to take a close look at the flat spring pieces held into each half of the torque balancer.  If springs are broken or have been improperly installed,  or the bolts holding the springs in place are loose, you can have a vibration problem.  I am only  familiar with the 32 -50 series engines and there may be design changes.  The 32 manual has instructions for changing spring packs to change the harmonics of the balancer.  


I'll take photos of the pages in my manual and attach them tomorrow.


Bob Engle

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Thanks Robert for your help ...and your comment JFranklin.


On closer inspection, it seems the clamps are a little loose as seen in the attachment above.  It looks like once the two halves are removed the two bolts will be available to tighten.  Anyway, I hope so!



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