Engine bearing failure & how to avoid it

There are multiple bearings that function as part of an internal combustion engine in order to ensure its operation. When one or more of these bearings fail, catastrophic interruptions in engine performance can be experienced, leading to crankshaft repairs and other engine repairs. This Eagleharm Engineering blog article unpacks the types of bearings found in an engine, reasons why these bearings fail, and how to avoid engine bearing failure:

Types of engine bearings

There are three major bearings that can be found in all internal combustion engines. Each of these plays a vitally important role in ensuring that your engine keeps ticking over without problems. These are:

Main bearings

Most internal combustion engines will have main bearings fitted to each main housing of the engine block. Main bearings consist of two parts – an upper part with an oil groove, and a lower part with holes to feed oil into the crankshaft, which is often hardened to carry the crankshaft load, called a “sputter bearing”.

Connecting rod bearings

These bearings are mounted in the big end of the connecting rod. Considered rod bearings, these engine bearings enable rotating motion of the crankpin within the connecting rod.

Camshaft bearings

These engine bearings are critical to the proper functioning of an engine, as they support the camshaft and allow for its rotation.

Why do engine bearings fail?

There are so many reasons why engine bearings fail and need replacement or refurbishment. One major cause is a result of careless assembly or faulty machining. Installation errors are also common causes of engine bearings becoming faulty, like when an engine bearing is positioned incorrectly, or when a con rod or main bearing cap is installed in the incorrect position.
When bearings aren’t placed in the exact correct positions, there will be insufficient lubrication and this will ultimately lead to engine failure.

How to avoid damaged engine bearings

  1. Always maintain your engine’s oil levels at the manufacturer’s recommended level, and be sure to check for faulty bearing seals as these often allow for oil to escape which leads to premature wear.
  2. Prevent bearing alignment issues by having your engine assembled by a professional, who will ensure that the manufacturer specified tolerances and clearances are adhered to and the new bearings are installed correctly.

Expert engine repairs & refurbishment in Durban

Eagleharm Engineering is ideally located in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. We have over 50 years of engine refurbishing and engine repair experience, working on some of the biggest engines you’ll find anywhere. We have invested in our engine repairing equipment, enabling us to work on any engine – regardless of which vehicle it was taken out of. For engine bearing failure assessments and repairs, please contact the Eagleharm Engineering team here.