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Single-Pulley ZX Harmonic Balancer Options

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Hey guys,


You may know that I am building a ZX motor for my 240z with a euro SU carburetor configuration, but I am stumbling over the harmonic balancer I should use here. I've read about thirty threads on this topic, from the 5 or 6 forums that I follow, and none of them is actually comparing the options against each other.


I only need one pulley, so I had initially intended to go with a standard 240z balancer, and if I could find one from Europe with just one pulley, even better. However, I've read in a lot of places that the factory balancers are prone to failure. I don't plan to hang out in the high revs all day long, but I'll definitely be getting into them periodically and I don't want my balancer flying apart.


I also read somewhere that the timing marks from my '83 ZXT engine aren't in the same location as 240z timing marks, so I have to use something meant to go on a ZX.


So now to my actual question: has anyone done a comparison of the various option for balancers?


Snooping around the internet yields three basic options: a factory balancer, the Powerforce balancer on MSA, or the $350-$500 options like ATI, BHJ, and Kameari.


I can't imagine that a street car should be running a $500 balancer, so I guess what I want to know first is are the two Powerforce balancers high quality (like Motorsport claims they are) or do they fly apart all the time like I've seen people on some forums claim?


Right now I'm leaning toward one of these, but if they are crap, or if there's a brand out there with something sub-$150, I'd love to know before I buy something.


To add some clarity to the discussion and perhaps help some other people with this, here are the options for a street application I have identified so far:


OEM by price

  • '82-83 280ZX Turbo Factory Crankshaft Pulley ($259.87 @ Motorsport!)
  • '75-83 280Z/ZX Factory Crankshaft Pulley (Double Pulley, $219.00 @ Z Car Depot)
  • '73-74 240Z Factory Harmonic Balancer, US-Spec ($274.95 @ Motorsport!)
  • 240Z  Factory Harmonic Balancer, Rest-of-World (NLA)
  • Nismo L-Series Harmonic Damper (NLA)


Street Aftermarket by price

  • Professional Products PowerForce Harmonic Dampers, 70-83 Z/ZX (Single Pulley, $105.95 @ Motorsport!)
  • PowerBond Premium OEM Replacement Harmonic Balancers (Double Pulley, $183.97 @ Summit Racing)
  • Powerforce SFI-Spec Racing Damper, 70-83 Z/ZX (Single Pulley, $199.95 @ Motorsport!) - Note that I have read threads about these being too small and not fitting, but this is 10-12 year old information and may have been rectified by now.
  • Pioneer Balancers DA-41(Double Pulley, $249.97 @ Summit Racing)
  • ATI Super Damper Sport Compact Harmonic Balancers ($359.97 @ Summit Racing)
  • BHJ Dynamics Street Performance Special L-Series Datsun Harmonic Damper ($497.00 @ BHJ)


Racing Aftermarket by price (for posterity)

  • Kameari L-Type Super Racing Damper Pulley ($382.40 @ RHD)
  • BHJ Dynamics Race Special L-Series Datsun Harmonic Damper ($497.00 @ BHJ)
  • Kameari L-Type Super Racing Damper Pulley Full Kit ($637... @ RHD)


I have also read that the Nissan Quest, Maxima, Laurel, and Cendric pulleys/ballancers will work, but I don't know if they require modification, nor if the timing marks are the same.


Another wrinkle is the 280ZXs that came with factory installed AC had the timing indicator on the passenger side (light) rather than the driver side (left). I'm not sure if that means the balancer is different, or if it means timing was maintained by aligning gear teeth differently.

Edited by matthewabate

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These at big motors, the displacement is deceptive.  BIIIG LONG HEAVY crank shaft, + stock rods and pistons are incredibly heavy by modern standards.  Yes you absolutely should run the best balancer you can afford.  I don't know personally, but every Z engine guy I've ever talked to said not to run a L24 balancer on a L28 and if you think about that it does make a lot of sense.  Now that a good condition USED balancer cost between $100 and $200, NEW original $250-$300, and VERY good after market unit around $500. For me and my Z, that will never be judged for the amount of factory overspray on the balancer, we run the BHJ.  Go talk to the guys at the track and see what they are running.  That is what I did.

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I have been daily driving an L28 for more than 10 years. I had it rebuilt when I got it and within a year the old (original) harmonic balancer separated. I only need 1 pulley for the alternator and water pump as well and went with the OEM 3 pulley. I am glad I did. The engine internals are stock, it passes smog easily and I abuse it to no end. 


That BHJ product looks great and you can option a trigger wheel for megasquirt. It looks like a good choice.


Edited by whyfeel

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