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Within each engine are a variety of components designed to support moving parts and allow the engine to work efficiently. Cam bearings have an important job to play in ensuring reliable operation of the camshaft.



What Are Cam Bearings?

A vehicle’s camshaft works in close synchronicity with the crankshaft to provide power to drive the vehicle. While the crankshaft directly operates the pistons, the camshaft is responHsible for opening and closing the valves to provide the right mixture for explosive compression.

The camshaft is a cylindrical shaft that opens and close the valves. To host the camshaft and allow rotation, cam bearings are installed into “bearing bores” and specifically designed so that they are adequately lubricated during operation.

How Do Cam Bearings Work?

The primary job of the cam bearing is to support the camshaft and allow it to rotate so it will activate push rods and rocker arms to open and close valves. The bearings are designed to put up with dynamic forces that are produced as the cams rotate and as the valves open and close. They must be properly aligned and carefully lubricated in order for them to function correctly, or damage can be caused to the camshaft and other internal components.

How Are Cam Bearings Made?

Older vehicles may feature a product made from tin and lead and known as a “babbitt” lining. This was chosen for its consistency and its ability to cope with variable degrees of lubrication. These days, however, the primary component is typically aluminum alloy, which is stronger and more durable, although in high-performance engines, bearings are installed that are Teflon-coated for even greater performance.

Cam bearings are manufactured as a complete unit and are typically replaced during any engine renovation. However, they must be very carefully installed and configured to ensure that the lubrication holes are aligned. A cam bearing installer is needed to get the job done properly.

How do Cam Bearings Fail?

  • Starved of oil
  • Overloaded
  • Misaligned

What Are the Symptoms of Failure?

  • Bearing seizure

What Are the Consequences of Failure?

  • Considerable internal damage to the engine

Cam bearings come in a variety of assorted shapes, sizes and materials according to their intended use. Much care should be taken when refitting these bearings, especially in older engines that may have been subject to material change.

If you have questions or concerns about Cam Bearings or any of your vehicle’s components, come into your local Pep Boyswhere we can answer any question, help you find any part, or perform any vehicle service you might need.