Throwback Thursday: Engine Bearing Clearance Dos And Dont’s

Welcome once again to Thursday. It’s that time of the week when we open the Chevy Hardcore vault, take a step back in time, and locate an article that you guys might have either forgotten about, or might not even know exists. Whichever the case, we are certain that you will enjoy this editorial flashback.


I decided that this week, we should take a look back to 2016, and present an article that can help you help your engine live a long and happy life. The article we will visit is one that all gearheads can find chock full of valuable information – Clearing the Air On Bearing Clearances. 


Deciding what the proper clearance is between the bearings and the crankshaft and connecting rods can spark a real debate among those that know, and those that think something might work. So, this article gets the information from a couple of guys that know. For instance, in the original article, Mike Magda talks to Bill McKnight of Mahle Motorsports, John Himley of CNC Motorsports, and Lake Speed Jr. of Driven Racing Oil.


Deciding on a clearance is not something to take lightly, and as Lake explained, there is a formula that needs to be adhered. You’ll have to check out the original article to find out that formula. Bill also gets into oil weight and viscosity, and how it plays into selection of a proper clearance. Like we said, there is a lot of information you can use.


Running bearing clearances that are a little on the loose side has often been a preferred option for engine builders. Fifty years ago, “loose is fast” was a common belief. At the very least, this tactic extended the lives of racing engines—although we’re just now starting to really understand why. But, in more recent times, tighter is deemed better, and Mike finds out why.

Did you know that—in regard to crankshaft bearings, the material used to build the crankshaft, and even the engine block, have a direct correlation to bearing clearance? Lake and Bill explain how. Finally, the guys talk about how the environment in which the engine will be used plays a huge roll.

There is a lot more information in the original article, but you’ll have to check it out to get the whole story, so, take a look back at Clearing the Air On Bearing Clearances, and find out how to get the most out of your engine when talking about performance and longevity of the bearings.

About the author

Randy Bolig

Randy Bolig has been working on cars, and involved in the hobby ever since he bought his first car when he was only 14 years old. His passion got him noticed by many locals, and he began to help them with their own vehicles.
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