Reasons for Crankshaft Thrust Bearing Failures

One of the leading problems vehicle owners face with their engine is crankshaft thrust failure. This can be a contentious predicament when this occurs, particularly if the failure happens in a recently rebuilt engine. Some vehicle owners may be quick to lay the blame on an engine builder or possibly a failed internal engine part. However, in most instances thrust failure is not linked to the engine at all. For starters, it is essential to determine what the purpose of a crankshaft thrust bearing was created to do. Generally, the thrust limits the endplay. By eliminating the majority of the forward and backward movement, close tolerances can be preserved within the total rotating assembly. Particularly at high revolutions, this is very essential to maintain the lifespan of the engine.

Though it may be possible that a newly rebuilt engine could have a misaligned main cap and associated bearing, the much more likely cause is a bad torque converter. The torque converter naturally pushes up against the crankshaft. Under normal circumstances the amount of forward torque converter force is limited. However, when transmission oil is higher than normal working temperatures, the internal pressure in the torque converter drastically increases. As a consequence of the increase in pressure, more forward pressure is applied. This is by far the primary source of bearing failures in vehicles running automatic transmissions.

Whenever it fails in a stick shift vehicle, in most cases the problem is either the result of incorrect throw out bearing adjustment or poor driving practices. Any time drivers ride the clutch, this applies extra forward force on the crankshaft and may trigger the bearing to become damaged.

Misaligned components that are placed on the front of the engine may also cause the. However, this typically only occurs in high performance cars which have belt driven blowers or other components which are designed to improve horsepower.

By looking at a crankshaft, that has a failed thrust bearing, either the front or rear thrust surface area will probably be severely damaged. When the rear thrust is damaged, the harm was most likely a consequence of the torque converter. When the crankshaft damage is at the front thrust bearing surface, then an improperly adjusted accessory is probably to blame.

In the engine building business, damaged crankshaft thrust bearings are quite prevalent. Even though many vehicle owners may fault the engine for the failure, in most cases either excessive transmission oil operating temperatures are to blame or improper driving habits in cases of vehicles that have a manual transmission. Crankshaft thrust bearing failure in most instances may be averted simply by better driving habits or the addition of a transmission oil cooler in automatic transmission automobiles.

24 thoughts on “Reasons for Crankshaft Thrust Bearing Failures

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