If you do any significant performance upgrades to your engine you’re going to have to look at upgrading the engine’s harmonic balancer. The problem with a stock balancer is that it’s made with a tuned elastomer to match the stock engine, and once you change that stock condition–once you have hot rodded the engine–you have changed that harmonic and need to look at a broad range damper to bring the engine back into balance.
It was this very subject that we discussed with Brian LeBaron from Fluidampr at the 2014 Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Show. “It’s one of the key components that helps protect the engine, so you have two choices when you begin building up an engine. You can go with a performance elastomer or you can go with a viscous damper. A viscous damper is more durable and offers better protection to the engine, and you can keep making further performance upgrades because with a viscous coupler you don’t have to worry about whether the durometer specs on the rubber in the elastomer damper is right for your engine in its modified state.”
LeBaron says that engine modifications that add significant power should include a new damper, telling us that once modifications go beyond simple bolt-on parts like cold air intake, or exhaust modifications, a new damper should be the next upgrade. “A damper upgrade should be one of the fundamental building blocks of any engine build program. As soon as you move beyond that air kit, exhaust, and tuner, the damper should be the next thing you look at.”
While Fluidampr is primarily known for their work with domestic V8 muscle cars and racing engines, they’re also making products for the popular and growing high performance detail market, and the continually strong import performance scene.
As soon as you move beyond that air kit, exhaust, and tuner, the damper should be the next thing you look at. -Brian LeBaron, Fluidampr
A stock damper isn’t designed to meet the stresses of a high RPM, high performance, or racing environment. We’ve seen more than a few stock, or stock replacement type dampers fail on the race track after hard abuse. LeBaron says Fluidampr has its customers covered here as well telling us, “All Fluidampr products are SFI 18.1 spec, so it doesn’t degrade at higher RPM. In order to meet that spec, they have to withstand 12,000 RPM for an hour.”
With high standards for safety, and parts for virtually any popular performance application, Fluidampr should be on the parts list for any heavily modified project car, or engine build. For information on any of the Fluidampr products go to its website.