Bearings

Types of bearings in vehicles

What are the most common bearings in our vehicles? These are certainly rolling bearings, which make use of the so-called ?fluent friction?. The subgroup of such bearings is the most common group of ball bearings in vehicles; there are many variations of these: standard single- or double-line, single- or double-line angular and longitudinal.

Almost equally popular are conical bearings, which can also be found in several versions (e.g. single line, double line with a shared ring). In addition, you can see needle and sometimes cylindrical bearings (however, the latter ones are relatively rare because they carry complex loads).

Where are bearings?

Definitely in the engine. First of all, by the main shaft, where there are usually plain bearings, but in the past there were also needle, conical or cylindrical bearings. The second place where you can find them is the camshaft, where the most common type of bearings is that of plain bearings. Systems with rollers are an exception, as they form quite an unusual construction, using needle bearings and sometimes ordinary ball bearings. Such structures are composite and these bearings are usually non-replaceable. One can also expect to find bearings in connecting rods. Most often, their type depends on type of engine; for four-stroke engines are used plain bearings, for two-stroke ones – needle bearings with an unusual symmetry axis.

Another place to look for bearings is the gearbox and the transmission system. First of all, the clutch shaft – double line and double line angular ball bearings. We can also note bearing of the clutch shaft in the crankshaft – needle or plain bearing. The most common bearing is that of the clutch thrust, which is usually a hybrid of longitudinal and angular bearing. Gearboxes are also bearings for individual gears.

In the drive system, the described components are used in the differential mechanism (tapered roller bearings). Drive axles, depending on how modern design of rolling bearings is, are rolling bearings for older or plain bearings for newer vehicles. Additional components can be distinguished for the rear axle. There are tapered or modified needle bearings on the input shaft. In drive joints, you can find plain or needle bearings, which largely depends on size of drive.

But that’s not the all – in our vehicles there are other systems. Some designs use liftarm bearing, which is usually a lightweight tapered roller bearing. Sometimes plain bearing is replaced with ball bearing. However, usually this does not make any difference for the user as they are enclosed in housing and practically not replaced separately. There is dozen or so of bearings in the steering system, starting with bearing in the steering column, ending with single line ball or needle bearing in the steering gear.

Let?s not forget about the cooling, fuel, electric or air conditioning systems. The most well-known and often problem-causing, are the alternator bearings. There are at least two bearings and they are usually of ball, single line type. In the starter you can find plain bearings, in the fuel pump there is ball bearing with a non-standardized design, whereas in the air conditioning system – single or double line ball bearings of the air conditioner. It is also like that with the water pump, with ball or ball-cylindrical bearing, often with seals. Last but not least, in the cooling system there is ball or needle bearing for the fan.