When the clutch is disengaged, the crankshaft and the input shaft of the gearbox rotate at different speeds. The pilot bearing allows this difference to happen. In case you hear a whistle or strange noise when you press the clutch pedal, it is a sign that your pilot bearing needs to be changed as soon as possible. This article educates you more about the pilot bearing, how to remove the pilot bearing, and how to use a pilot bearing removal tool. You will also learn the symptoms of a bad pilot bearing/bushing and how to solve it.
Symptoms of a Bad Pilot Bearing
Like other components of a car, the symptoms may vary based on the situation car make and the model of the vehicle. In most situations, however, the symptoms are the same.
Noise: The very common symptom that everybody may notice while having a bad pilot bearing is the high whining sound produced when the clutch pedal is fully disengaged. The rattling or grinding noise intensity depends on the damage extent of the pilot bearing. In some cases, the noise will not be coming from the pilot bearing but could be due to bad transmission or the whole clutch kit. This needs professional diagnostic skills to differentiate between them.
Unusual Clutch Pedal Feeling: Another very easy symptom is a change in the clutch pedal feel. The status of the pilot bearing determines if the clutch feeling is stiff or soft. When a bad pilot bearing gets to an advanced stage, it increases the stiffness of the clutch pedal noticeably. The more the pilot bearing wears out, the harder it will be to press down the clutch pedal. In a late-stage, it will be impossible to press the clutch pedal to disengage the gearbox.
It Is Harder to Change Gear: The function of the clutch kit is to fully disengage the gearbox out of the engine. Therefore if any of its parts become defective, it makes it harder for the clutch kit to do the job completely and efficiently. It starts getting difficult for you to change gears, hear grinding sounds while putting the stick on the gears or the stick pops up while driving and gets itself on the neutral position. If you get to see any of these signs, you need to get the clutch kit checked especially the pilot bearing.
Vibration: Another obvious indication of a bad pilot bearing is that the driver senses vibration in the clutch pedal while changing gears. When the pilot bearing is in good condition the clutch depress goes smoothly and steadily. However, when you start to feel a vibration on the clutch pedal, it is an indicator of a worn-out bearing.
These vibrations come when changing gears and depressing the clutch pedal. The two happen since the pilot bearing is unable to line up with the pressure plate on the transmission.
How to Remove Pilot Bearing Step By Step Guide
Now let us learn how to remove pilot bushing/bearing, how to use a pilot bearing puller, and how to remove pilot bearings. Pilot bearings are located at the end of the engine’s crankshaft. The bearing enables the input shaft to cease spinning so that the shifts can happen in a smooth, steady way. Once you diagnose the fault, we need to remove the pilot bearing to replace it. You, therefore, need first to remove the whole transmission out of the car along with the clutch kit.
First, you need to have a pilot-bearing puller to do the job in a clean, professional way. We suggest this tool: OTC (7318) Pilot Bearing Puller. This tool makes the process of removing the bearing much easier and less messy.
Insert the pilot bearing removal tool with the jam fully backed off into the pilot bearing. Turn the tools handle clockwise to spread the tool hands outward. This way, the body of the tool will rest against the flywheel, which will support the pulling process.
Use a wrench in tightening the jam nut while pulling the pilot bearing outward. When you hear a “POP” sound, it is a sign that the pilot bearing is starting to get out of its place. At this point, it becomes easier to squeeze the nut. Continue doing this until you remove the bearing fully.
After removing the bearing, inspect it and also examine the end of the crankshaft. Use a clean cloth to wipe the end of the crankshaft where the new bearing will be installed. Try to make it clean as possible to ease the installation of the new bearing.
Get the new bearing and compare it with the old one. Ensure that the two have the same dimensions and diameter inside and outside.
To install the new bearing easily, put it in the freezer for 30 minutes for it to shrink. This will make it easy to install. Gently put it at the end of the crankshaft. Using a hammer make taps on the bearing to fit it into the place. Do this carefully to avoid damaging the new pilot bearing.
Watch this video to know more about the process:
After understanding all the symptoms of a bad pilot bearing and its purpose, you can be able to tell when the bearings are faulty. If you notice any of these symptoms, visit an expert mechanic to check, diagnose, and fix the problem. This is not a DIYer job since it involves disassembling the transmission and the clutch kit out of the car. The process requires an advanced level of experience and the use of special tools.