Pilot Bearing Shopping Reminders
A pilot bearing is a component in your car's clutch system that is responsible for holding the input shaft securely and preventing its axial movement. This bearing turns when the clutch is disengaged, but it is at rest when the clutch is engaged (when everything in the system is spinning, like when you are at a stoplight). Your car's pilot bearing is manufactured to last the lifetime of your car, but because of poor driving habits, this bearing wears prematurely and causes hard shifting and delayed clutch response. So, if you want a renewed, fully performing clutch system, then it might be time for you to replace your worn pilot bearing.
Which is better: pilot bearing or roller bearing?
Auto manufacturers equip a car's clutch system with either a pilot bearing or a roller bearing (sometimes called a bushing). But which of the two is better? If you have the same taste as many drivers, opt for a pilot bearing because it lasts longer, especially when greased upon installation. Surely you do not want a bearing that sticks to the input shaft, so stay away from a roller bushing because it dries out after a few thousand miles. The problem with an ungreased roller bushing is that it enlarges the hole of the bushing itself and eats out parts of the shaft due to metal-to-metal friction. Thus, choose a pilot bearing that stays lubricated longer.
Which to choose: brass or bronze bearing?
Either of the two may be used for your car because each regulates friction very well. Before opening the package, make sure to test the bearing with a magnet; if the bearing sticks to the magnet, return it right away. What you need is a bearing that is independent of the input shaft, not one that is attracted to it. But do remember that any bearing must be greased well before integrating it to a machine's system. A well-lubed bearing will last for 100,000 miles if proper driving is observed.
What are other points to keep in mind?
Many auto manufacturers are shifting to the use of bearings with a rolling element around the circumference, which can be needles, balls, spheres, or cylinders. These types of bearings provide better rolling against the input shaft with very little resistance and sliding. Thus, they do not stick to the surface of the shaft even when dried out. Pilot bushings, on the contrary, have a flat inside surface and dry out quite fast; they are even difficult to remove during replacement.
Faster Pilot Bearing Removal
Do you hear an abnormal noise whenever you depress your clutch pedal? If your answer is affirmative, then it is likely that your clutch pilot bearing is worn, incorrectly fitted, or needs replacement. A problematic pilot bearing also causes clutch drag and results to hard shifting. You may also feel that your transmission input shaft continues to spin slowly after depressing the clutch pedal. All these are legitimate reasons for you to get to work and get greasy with your car's clutch.
Here are the tools you need and the steps you have to follow when removing an old pilot bearing and installing a new one.
Difficulty level: Easy
- New metal pilot bearing
- Metal pilot shaft
- Automotive grease
- Narrow chisel
Step 1: Ensure safety first. Make sure that the car rests on jack stands before working. If the engine is removed from underneath the car, place it on a workbench. Make sure that the car does not move while you work by putting wood blocks behind the rear wheels. Also, unfasten the negative battery cable and electrical wiring harness from the starter to prevent shock.
Step 2: Use the chisel and hammer to make a small groove on one side of the pilot bearing. Pry the bearing out of its sleeve in the flywheel.
Step 3: If the previous method does not work, get a metal pilot shaft with an outside diameter slightly smaller than the inside diameter of the pilot bearing. Fill the void inside the unyielding pilot bearing with automotive grease, then position the metal pilot shaft next to the opening of the bearing.
Step 4: Hammer the metal pilot shaft into the cavity of the pilot bearing. The force created will lube up the pilot bearing and push it out of its housing.
Step 5: Slide the pilot bearing out and replace it with the new one.