Rod Bearings: Finding the Right Set for Your Ride
Rod bearings, in general, reduce friction between the crankshaft and the piston. Friction is the number one enemy of moving metal components, so you need to have the right rod bearings installed to prevent damage. In addition to their friction-reducing quality, rod bearings also support the engine crankshaft. Finding the right rod bearings for your vehicle is important to ensure smooth engine operation. They come in different types and sizes, so you have to carefully choose which set will best fit your vehicle.
Types of rod bearings
This is the most common type of rod bearing and has a large, flat surface that is perpendicular to the side beams. Although the I-beam is lightweight, it provides high compressive and tensile strength that is particularly useful for performance builds and stock applications. Aside from this, it can also handle high revolutions per minute (RPM) tension and large horsepower loads. If you want high bearing strength minus the weight, the I-beam is highly recommended.
- Oval beam
For increased rigidity and strength, oval beams are used. They're a notch higher than the basic bearings, so you'll get improved performance minus the bending and failure that's common in I-beams. Oval beams can cut replacement costs in half because of their durability.
Superior compressive power and light weight are the qualities that differentiate the H-beam from the other two types. It is recommended for applications generating increased torque and power of up to 6,000 RPM.
Finding the right rod bearing size
Rod bearings and ball joints are marked with identical numbers. Some ball joints are even color-coded to match the numbers on a rod bearing. If you can't find any numbers, consult your owner's manual first for further information. You may use these identification numbers when purchasing new rod bearings. If there's no identification system to match the ball joints and bearings, measure the size of the rod bearing hole with a tape measure instead.
Reducing Friction: Replacing Your Rod Bearings
Rod bearings play a critical role in reducing the friction between moving metal components, particularly the crankshaft and the piston. These bearings also support the engine crankshaft to ensure smooth movement and operation. Worn-out bearings need to be replaced as soon as possible to prevent damage on the metal parts. You also need to replace the rod bearings if you're doing engine rebuild.
Difficulty level: Difficult
Tools that you'll need:
- Socket set and rachet
- Small hammer or rubber mallet
- C-clip pliers
- Lint-free rag
Step 1: Detach the connecting rods from the crankshaft and pistons. Remove the two rod bolts holding the rod and end cap to the crank using a socket and ratchet. These two bolts are located at the larger end.
Step 2: Using a pair of C-clip pliers, remove the C-clips securing the wrist pin. This will unfasten the rod from the piston.
Step 3: Lightly tap the old bearings using a small hammer or rubber mallet to loosen them. Tap on the top edge and not on the sides. This will release the bearings so that you can easily slide them out of the rod.
Step 4: Use a degreaser to clean the rod's surface. Make sure it is thoroughly free of dirt before installing the new bearings.
Step 5: Carefully slide one bearing into the rod's larger end. Fit another bearing into the end cap. Check if the notches on the bearing and the rod are opposite of each other. Ensure the bearings are fitted snugly.
Step 6: Gently tap out the small, round bearing on the smaller end of the rod using a socket. Fit in a new bearing and tap it into place. Be careful not to damage the surface.
Step 7: Reinstall the rods and tighten its bolts according to factory specifications.
Once you've completed the replacement process, run the engine and check for noises. Do a test drive to ensure the rod bearings are installed correctly.