Needing Some Harmonic Balance in Life


2018 Mini Cooper Countryman S with John Cooper Works

Had the Cooper towed in for service on Thursday. Got a loaner from the dealer, a brand-new 4-door Countryman S hardtop with the John Cooper Works: a 200-hp, turbo-charged engine, heavy-duty suspension, upgraded exhaust, a great media package and sound system, and loaded to the gills with other options. Makes me want to lease one maybe next year.

Later that afternoon, the service advisor called and said she had good news and bad news. The good news was the CV joint and right axle was just about done and should be ready for pickup on Friday morning early.

The bad news was the harmonic balancer had broken apart and needed replacement. I said, “How the heck did that happen?” My stereo system was working fine when I brought the car in. The adviser didn’t quite know what it was, but said it had to do with crankshaft.

“How much more will that cost?” She must have sensed the agitation in my voice.

“Well, let’s see; the part plus labor comes to $710.75. The cost for the CV joint and axle is $587.25, which totals $1,298.00. I can take off 10% for you, which, with the sales tax, comes to $1,256.26,” she said. “I have the part in stock, so your car can still be ready tomorrow morning.”

“Holy Toledo! OK, go for it, but I’d still like to know what that harmonic balancer is and how it broke. Please let me know that when I pick it up.”


Harmonic Balancer (Dampener)

So much for getting away with a service bill that’s under a grand for once.

Doing a little research on the Internet, I found the mystery part is a vibration dampener and looks like a pulley that attaches to the outer end of the crankshaft (the bottom pulley), saving wear and tear by countering the crank’s torsional and resonance vibrations in the engine.

Funny how that has nothing to do with the CV joint and axle repair. Last month, the car had the serpentine belt replaced, which wraps around all the engine’s pulleys. Seems mighty suspicious to me.

After getting up at the crack of dawn on Friday, which in itself is quite a chore for me, I called the dealer at around 8:30 to make sure the car was ready. It wasn’t. The advisor claimed they were having trouble getting what was left of the old part off, but it should be repaired by noon.

“I’ll call you when it’s done,” she said.

Ever get that sinking feeling that more bad news was on the way? So, I played around on Twitter and Social Media for a while, seeing what trouble I could get into, enjoying being up so early. It doesn’t happen very often.

These old, retired lazybones like to stay up late and sleep in until at least 10 a.m., at which time the service advisor called to tell me my beloved Mini was ready to be picked up.

While chatting with the lady and paying the bill at the repair shop, I told her about my researching the Net with regards to the harmonic balancer, and asked how she thought the dampener self-destructed.

“There’s an abundance of rust on what’s left of the part,” she said. “Do you want to see it?”

“No, that’s OK. I’ll take your word for it.”


Cooper’s Mileage as of July 9, 2018.

That made a lot of sense to me. After all, the car’s going on fifteen years old and getting up there in mileage.

A lot of corrosion is lurking about, especially on the exhaust system, for which I’m afraid replacement thereof is going to be my next service bill for a grand.

Leasing a new Mini is beginning to make a lot of sense.

Thanks for allowing me this rant, and for your continued support.

About Mike Slickster

As an early retiree with an honorary doctorate degree from the proverbial "School of Hard Knocks," this upcoming author with a lot of free time on his hands utilizes his expansive repertoire for humorous yet tragic, wildly creative writing that contains years of imaginative fantasy, pure nonsense, classic slapstick, extreme happiness and searing heartbreak; gathered by a wealth of personal experiences throughout his thrilling—sometimes mundane or unusually horrid—free-spirited, rock-'n'-roller-coaster ride around our beloved Planet Earth. Mike Slickster's illustrious quest continues, living now in Act Three of his present incarnation, quite a bit on the cutting edge of profundity and philosophical merriment as seen through his colorful characters, most notably evident in the amusing Thirty Days Across the Big Pond series, all of which can be found at
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