What Is a Spigot Bearing?

Couple with car trouble A faulty spigot bearing can cause expensive damage to the car\’s transmission. Image Credit: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

An improperly installed or badly damaged spigot bearing may be the cause of clutch problems and even transmission damage if not repaired. Some evidence of a faulty spigot bearing include squealing, grinding and "chirping" noises. A problem of this nature should be repaired as soon as possible to prevent more costly damage in the future.

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What is a Bearing?

A bearing is a part found in a variety of modern devices, from skateboards to bicycles to appliances and computers. A bearing consists of an inner ring, an outer ring and the rolling parts in between. The rolling parts, whether rollers or balls, allow for low-friction movement between the inner and outer rings and will bear weight as needed.

Spigot Bearing Defined

A spigot bearing, also called a pilot bearing, is a cylinder bearing that fits inside the crankshaft and supports the transmission input shaft. A small amount of grease on the transmission input shaft is used to optimize the bearing's operation and prevent damage to the input shaft.

Causes of Spigot Bearing Failure

Over time, your spigot bearing may wear down and fail just like any other part in your car. The most natural cause of spigot bearing failure is dirt build-up. Other causes include insufficient lubrication, corrosion and misalignment.

Removing the Spigot Bearing

Removing an old or damaged spigot bearing can be easily accomplished with a pilot bearing tool, but even without this specialized tool, most spigot bearings can still be removed. Use a grease gun to fill the cavity containing the spigot bearing with grease, then insert a 3/8-inch drive socket extension with no taper on the shaft. Pound the end of the drive socket extension with a hammer or sledge several times. Pull out the drive socket, fill the cavity with grease, then re-insert the drive socket extension and pound it again. As you pound the grease into the cavity, the grease will push the bearing out. Continue until the bearing is pounded out of the cavity, then clean out all grease from the shaft with a rag or towel.

Inserting a New Bearing

After removing an old bearing, inserting a new bearing should be easy. Use a deep socket to tap in the new bearing until it's flush with the edge of the shaft, then simply lubricate the input shaft with a little grease.