The pilot bearing sits in a hole at the end of the engine’s crankshaft. Pilot bearings have three different designs:
- roller bearing,
- needle bearing, and
- bronze bushing, which is actually more of bronze sleeve than a bearing.
The main purpose of the pilot bearing is to provide a low-friction support for the end of the transmission’s input shaft.
The pilot bearing does not require routine maintenance, but should be replaced when clutch replacement becomes necessary. In some cases, pilot bearings can wear excessively when transmission-mounting bolts loosen. When this happens, the transmission’s input shaft moves around excessively and puts abnormal strain on the pilot bearing. If you suspect a problem with the pilot bearing or clutch, have it looked at immediately by a qualified technician. Putting it off will only make the problem worse.