United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 2002 HQ Rulings > HQ 964844 - HQ 964941 > HQ 964886

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
HQ 964886

JANUARY 29, 2002

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 964886 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 8483.90.80

Port Director of Customs
40 S. Gay Street
Baltimore, MD 21202

RE: Vibration Dampers

Dear Port Director:

This is in reply to your memorandum, dated February 28, 2001 (AP-6-TO:TT DTH), forwarding a request for internal advice concerning the classification, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), of vibration dampers. Counsel representing Cumins Engine Company submitted this request to you on December 21, 2000, under the authority of Section 177.11(b)(2), Customs Regulations.

This request relates to a transaction currently pending in your office for which no ruling has been issued. The internal advice applicant acknowledges that importations of this merchandise have been made at the ports of Charleston and New Orleans, but it is unclear whether the entries have been liquidated. We note that while this internal advice request has not been processed through the Customs Information Exchange in New York under normal procedures, it has been reviewed and commented upon by the Director of the National Commodity Specialist Division, in a memorandum, dated April 12, 2001 (G 89350).


The merchandise at issue is a vibration damper, identified as part number 3161942. A submitted schematic depicts a round wheel, of steel, between approximately 275 and 375 mm in diameter. It has a recessed bore with a hole in the middle to accommodate the crankshaft of a diesel engine, and five drilled bolt holes. The vibration damper combines on one end with a spacer and washer, and
on the other end a grooved metal pulley wheel to form a pulley vibration damper. Used with diesel engines for automotive applications, power generation applications and with construction equipment, the function of the pulley is to transmit torque from the engine’s rotating crankshaft over a belt to power output systems, while the vibration damper absorbs torsional vibrations from the engine’s rotating crankshaft. This prevents premature belt wear and slippage, and insures proper contact with the accessories driven by the belt.

With concurrence from the appropriate National Import Specialist, your office proposes to classify the vibration dampers in heading 8483, HTSUS, as parts of pulleys. Counsel for the internal advice applicant maintains they are provided for as other parts of internal combustion engines, in heading 8409, HTSUS. Counsel notes there are no applicable section or chapter notes that would preclude the classification he proposes. However, the only argument supporting the heading 8409 classification is that Additional United States Rule of Interpretation 1(c), HTSUS, in part states that a provision for parts of an article covers products solely or principally used as a part of such articles. Counsel concludes that the specially drilled bolt holes, together with the diameter of the vibration dampers, is evidence of their sole (or principal) use with Cumins’ diesel engines. Counsel concedes the existence of several rulings on engine dampers, but maintains they are not dispositive because the vibration dampers at issue are materially different.

The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

Parts suitable for use solely or principally with the engines of heading 8407 or 8408:

8409.99 Other:

8409.99.99 Other

[F]lywheels and pulleys; parts thereof:


8483.90.80 Other


Whether the vibration damper at issue qualifies as “parts” of heading 8409.


Under General Rule of Interpretation (GRI) 1, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), goods are to be classified according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes, and provided the headings or notes do not require otherwise, according to GRIs 2 through 6.

Concerning the heading 8409 classification proposed by counsel, Section XVI, Note 2(b), HTSUS, states, among other things, that parts that are suitable for use solely or principally with a particular kind of machine are to be classified with the machines of that kind, or in heading 8409, as appropriate. In HQ 962669, dated September 22, 1999, we affirmed NY D86123, dated March 17, 1999, and held that a belt tensioner, consisting of a loaded spring mechanism and a vibration damper, was not classifiable in heading 8409, HTSUS, on the basis that the primary function it performed, i.e., maintaining proper tension on the drive belt, did not qualify the belt tensioner as an integral, constituent component part of an internal combustion engine. It was noted that internal combustion engines are discrete articles of commerce, complete and fully functional in and of themselves, and do not rely on belt tensioners for their operation. For the same reason, we find that by function and design, the vibration damper at issue does not perform any function in relation to an internal combustion engine that would qualify it as a part of that engine.

Concerning the heading 8483 classification, HQ 962924, dated December 16, 1999, classified pulley vibration dampers, a combined grooved pulley wheel, rubber ring and cast iron outer hub - the vibration damper - in heading 8483. The article’s primary function was found to be that of a pulley, i.e., to transmit rotary motion from the crankshaft to power automotive accessories driven by the belt. In addressing one of the claims raised, the ruling stated that for tariff purposes a “part” is an integral, constituent component of another article, necessary to the completion of the article with which it is used, and which enables that article to function in the manner for which it was designed. Under the facts presented in this case, the vibration damper fits over and bolts to the long hub on one end of the spacer while the pulley wheel bolts to the outer flange of the other end of the spacer. Each component is integral to the combination. In this configuration, it is apparent that the vibration damper component is essential to permit the pulley component to function in the manner for which it was designed.

By way of contrast, HQ 962924 noted that articles called harmonic balancers are similar in function to pulley vibration dampers except that they do not incorporate pulleys. The ruling did not address the classification of harmonic balancers. While the vibration damper in this case may be similar in function to a harmonic balancer, its
design suggests that, as imported, it is principally, if not solely used with pulley vibration dampers. As pulley vibration dampers are classifiable as pulleys, in heading 8483, in accordance with HQ 962924, it necessarily follows that the vibration damper in this case is classifiable as parts of pulleys.


Under the authority of GRI 1, and Section XVI, Note 2(b), HTSUS, the vibration damper designated part 3161942 is provided for in heading 8483. It is classifiable in subheading 8483.90.80, HTSUS.

You are to mail this decision to the internal advice applicant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. On that date the Office of Regulations and Rulings will take steps to make the decision available to Customs personnel, and to the public on the Customs Home Page on the World Wide Web at www.customs.gov, by means of the Freedom of Information Act, and other methods of public distribution.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: