If the noise is chain related, it would most likely be from a bad (collapsed) tensioner causing chain slack, resulting in the tensioner arm clacking back and forth from camshaft cogging.
Minor complaint: Please use proper punctuation and capitalization in your posts. Not being a grammar Nazi - it just makes reading easier *and*, without it, the meaning of what you are trying to say can sometimes be unclear.
You say the “harmonic balancer seems to be jumping around a little”. If it just has a consistent wobble as you view it from above with engine idling, that can be normal. If the wobble is less than, say, 1/16”, then it’s probably OK. If wobble is more than 1/8”, then it may be tilted.
The outer ring of the pulley is press-fitted onto a thick rubber band around the hub of the pulley (that gives the pulley it’s “damping” properties) - the outer ring (grooved for the accessory belts) should stay fairly straight, but if it slips so that it has a tilt/wobble to it, it should be replaced. Usually if that happens (slips one time or gradually slips over time) it has a constant wobble while you’re watching it, but if it actually gets loose on the rubber band and starts moving around, you will see the amount of wobble change a lot. That’s worse than a constant wobble, and it could come apart (possibly doing damage).
But again, a minor wobble 1/16” or less is normal. Between 1/16 and 1/8” wobble is a grey area. I wouldn’t think the pulley would make noise unless it was really loose and changing its wobble.
But if you’re hearing what I would describe as a “clacking” noise, I would suspect a bad chain tensioner (again, the noise would be from the chain tensioner arm slapping back and forth from cam cogging at certain engine speeds) - that can eventually wreck things if the chain were to slip teeth.
If your water pump bearings are getting ready to go (trying to lock up, or pump shaft wobbling), I don’t know if it would make noise either from the pump itself or it’s effect on the chain.
'98 LXi - Later Concorde gages (black w/ chrome rings)/'99 LX - LHS gages (white) - HIR bulbs
Last edited by peva; 04-04-2019 at 03:12 AM.