Thank you Doug, that helps a tremendously. (yes I was referring to the harmonic balancer - didn't realize they were the same - I'm definately NOT a mechanic; I just like to try new things myself) Any tips on locking the flywheel during installation of the new one? Is it safe to remove a spark plug and insert something into the cylinder? Or should I ask (and trust) the recommendation of Auto Zone?
They make a flywheel locking tool, but I've never borrowed one, so I'm not sure how readily available they are at the parts stores. But I've seen them in shop manuals, so they appear to be fairly common.
I used a wooden dowel (or broom handle, can't recall which) and cut some teeth in the end of it to line up with the flywheel teeth using a hobby saw. I remove the plastic cover from below the flywheel, and have someone hold the dowel while I'm torquing on the other end of the motor to loosen/tighten the balancer bolt.
Here's a genuine holder, 12 bucks at Summit: http://www.summitracing.com/parts/li...FQGTaQodG1ADzA
One other thought comes to mind. Most folks, me included, use the bolt to pull the balancer back onto the crankshaft end. But the stock bolt isn't long enough to begin with. So you need to pick up a couple longer bolts to use during assembly. I can't recall the details, nor are the bolts handy, but it seems like I got one that was an inch longer, and another a 1/2 inch longer, to pull the balancer on. I used the longest one to get it started, then switched to the middle, then finally finished with the original.
The alternative to all that is a "special tool" (code words for very expensive) that pushes the balancer on. A couple bolts from a good hardware store (that carries metric, hardened bolts) are only a few bucks and avoid a major headache.
My stash of such special bolts are in a box with all the other sorta-special tools I've collected, such as ball joint separators, wiper arm pullers, tie rod pullers, smoke shifters, and all the other stuff you only need a few times, but can't live without