How to replace camshaft bearings

Written by natasha parks
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How to replace camshaft bearings
Replacing worn camshaft bearings increases the performance and efficiency of your vehicle's engine. (bearing kit image by DianaStrizhigotskaya from

Replace your car's camshaft bearings if you are making significant, build-type changes to the engine or if you are experiencing shaking and vibration from the camshaft itself. Camshafts are crucial to engine functionality and performance because they control the intake and exhaust valves located inside the cylinder head, as noted by Bright Hub. Clean and oil all the related components to further maximise your vehicle's efficiency and to reduce its failure rate.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Scrubbing pad
  • Screwdriver
  • Camshaft bearing tool
  • Replacement cam bearings
  • Dry cloth
  • Torque wrench
  • Toothbrush
  • Soapy water
  • Lubricating oil
  • Quick-drying solvent

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  1. 1

    Clean the block and engine components surrounding the camshaft. Remove dirt and dust using a scrubbing pad. Wipe loose dirt, oil and debris off the engine with a dry cloth, as these particles reduce the oil clearance and deform the camshaft bearings.

  2. 2

    Remove the old, worn camshaft bearings using a camshaft bearing tool, such as the one described by Lisle Corporation. Select the appropriate expanding driver, correctly align it on the expander assembly and put the nylon cone over the driving bar. Make sure you select the correct driver washer. Screw the expander assembly into the driving bar.

  3. 3

    Clean the replacement camshaft bearings using a toothbrush and warm, soapy water. Dry the bearings with a cloth. Ensure the cooling and oil passages are completely dry before continuing.

  4. 4

    Apply a thin coat of lubricating oil to all the components to protect them from rust.

  5. 5

    Tighten the crankshaft caps before inserting the new bearings, using a torque wrench. Check the exact level of tightening required in your vehicle by referring to the manufacturer's instructions or the owner's handbook. Clean the bore surfaces using a quick-dry solvent. Check that the leading edge of each bearing bore has a slight chamfer to help with installation.

  6. 6

    Begin installation of the camshaft bearings from the rear to the front of the block. Align the block oil hole with the bearing oil hole. The special camshaft tool will help you perform this accurately.

  7. 7

    Allow sufficient clearance between the camshaft and the bearing. Babbit bearings need less clearance than other bearings, while aluminium bearings need more. A minimum clearance of 0.002 inches is suitable in ordinary engines, whereas a 0.003- or 0.004-inch clearance is expected in high-performance cars.

Tips and warnings

  • If you do not replace faulty, worn camshaft bearings, you may experience worsening engine trouble, bearing failure and car breakdown, according to Engine Mechanics.

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