An Explanation on Camshaft Bearings

Camshaft bearings are among the most underappreciated parts of an engine. Their purpose is to support the camshaft in the engine and allow for its rotation, preventing detrimental friction from causing serious damage to the heart of your aircraft. An engine features between one and seven bearings on each camshaft, this number varying depending on engine type. Generally speaking, there are three configurations of camshafts: overhead valve design, overhead camshaft with rocker arms, and overhead with direct camshaft operation. The configuration affects where the bearing is applied and the load it bears.

Historically, camshaft bearings have been made from babbitt, a lead-based material. It is now used far less frequently, as babbitt doesn't perform well under the extreme temperatures that modern engines operate at. Bearings are now primarily constructed with aluminum alloy, a material that is both lighter and more strong. The drawback of this is that aluminum is less forgiving than babbitt, meaning it needs to be monitored more closely and maintained more meticulously. Dirt and other debris can also be more harmful to an aluminum bearing than a babbitt, and proper alignment during installation is imperative to prevent premature wear and tear on the bearing.

There are three primary causes of problems in your camshaft bearings: uneven bearing support, improper installation, and excessive wear. Uneven bearing support is caused by improper installation. If a bearing is installed poorly, there can be too much clearance, allowing the camshaft to flex and become distorted under pressure. This distortion subsequently causes improper support and lack of lubrication, causing wear on your bearings. Improper installation, incorrect bearing size, and high operating temperatures are all factors that can cause excessive wear on bearings. Wear adds to lubrication problems, eventually leading to complete bearing failure.

At ASAP Fasteners, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all the camshaft bearings for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries. We’re always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7-365. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at or call us at 1-714-705-4780.


January 6, 2021

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