Copper Harbor, MI (Mountain Biking Trip - Fall 2016):
Updated: Jun 25, 2018
Fall of 2016 I took a trip up to Copper Harbor Michigan, which has amazing mountain biking, with two dogs and four people. The trip was amazing and another test run of the van with no interior done. If you are in the Midwest and into mountain biking I would really recommend making a few day trip there. I prefer to go in October, its cold, but no one is there and its such a cool little town.
We stayed in Fork Wilkerson State Park and I think we were the only people in the campsite.
I had found a Yakima bike rack on craigslist that fit four bikes and folded away so the rear doors could open without taking the bikes off that worked amazing on the van. I am not sure they make that model anymore though.
However this is when things started to go bad. Towards the end of the drive I had noticed a rattling in the front of the engine, similar to a bad pulley. With no tools I took a look the best I could at the front of the engine.
Here is a link to the video I took where you can hear the sound the balancer was making as it was failing/had failed.
I had no reception up there, but the diner at a local hotel had wifi and was very helpful. With help from people on this forum I was able to figure out it was my harmonic balancer. The outside weighted ring on the harmonic balancer had come loose and was spinning freely on the balancer. Ended up meeting a guy in their local brewery there and he gave me a phone number for a diesel mechanic shop about 30-50 miles away. So after our mountain biking we limped slowly to the shop.
I had to look up the shop, but it was called Bekkalas Diesel Repair (23862 Oneco Rd, Calumet, MI 49913 - (906) 337-5880). I would highly reccomed them if you are in the area. They were really nice and were able to get me in right away even though they were busy. Both the mechanic and I decided the best course of action was to remove the belt, remove the loose ring, and re-torque the harmonic balancer to make sure it could make the 500+ mile drive home and then just go for it.
You can see the ring they removed lying on the floor:
We made it the 500+ miles back in that condition with no issues at all, except vibration as you neared 70MPH, so we just kept it much slower and it seemed to be fine.
Here is my page about fixing the harmonic balancer.