How to Replace Rod Bearings With The Engine Still In The Car

how to replace rod bearings with engine in car

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Most people will recommend pulling the engine if the rod bearings are bad, but this how-to assumes that you want to do it with your engine still in place. While not recommended, you can still do it if that is your prerogative. The biggest reason you will want to pull the engine is that when rod bearings wear out, the crankshaft isn’t too far behind if not already requiring replacement. Consider how much work it is to pull the engine and how comparatively easy removing a few bolts on some components is.

This article will go over how you know when your rod bearings need replacement, how to replace rod bearings with the engine still in place, and why it is not recommended.

How Do You Know When Rod Bearings Need Replacement?

You will need to figure out how bad your bearings are. Knocking or tapping sounds coming from the engine is a good indication that you have an issue with your rod bearings. The engine will also run poorly.

The oil pressure may also be low, but this is generally not how people know their rod bearings are bad; it’s more a side effect than its cause.

A more common symptom of bad rod bearings is an oil leak. If your car’s engine has a lot of miles, it could be challenging to identify precisely where the oil is leaking from if you don’t know what part it is coming out of. This is another reason why it’s suggested to pull the engine when rod bearings are replaced.

Remember: rod bearings are a vital component of the engine. And they need to be working correctly for your engine to run. If your rod bearings are bad, it is recommended that the crankshaft also needs replacement, so pulling the engine and replacing them both makes sense instead of one or the other on its own.

If the rod bearings go bad in your car, you will risk damaging your crankshaft, piston rods, and cylinder. You will also risk safety issues with your car if you continue to drive it with all the telltale signs. If rod bearings wear out, they can cause severe damage to not only your car’s performance but also its safety.

One of the most common symptoms is a ticking noise that sounds like marbles in your engine. If you suspect rod bearings are bad, get your car checked at a mechanic’s shop to determine what needs replacement and how much it will cost.

If rod bearings go out on your vehicle, they can cause severe damage to performance and safety.

If you suspect your rod bearings are bad, get it checked at a mechanic shop or follow the steps in this article to determine what needs replacement and how deep you need to dig in your pockets. Safety is not something to mess around with, especially if your family rides along with you.

How to Replace Rod Bearings with the Engine Still in the Car

Assuming that you want to go ahead and replace your rod bearings with the engine in place (again, we don’t recommend this!), here is how:

Step 1: Remove dipstick and disconnect battery – This is always a good idea when performing significant repairs. It helps prevent any accidents from occurring, and it makes sure that you have no power going to your system while the work is being performed on it.

Step 2: Remove mount bolts on both sides of the engine – This is how you will access the rod bearings. There are two bolts on either side of your engine mounts to the frame, and they need to be removed before you get under your car.

Step 3: Jack and put jack stands under the car – You will need plenty of clearance to remove your oil pan and drop the bearings out of the bottom.

Step 4: If you have Y pipes, you will need to cut them in a place to give you access – You will need to adjust your engine to get the bearings out. This means you may have to cut the pipes and reinstall them if they are simply not accommodating the movement.

Step 5: Drain the oil – You will be removing the oil pan; make sure it is drained first!

Step 6: Remove the oil pan – This is where you will get access to the rod bearings.

Step 7: Replace Bearings – You may need to adjust the engine position to get them out.

Step 8: Put it all back together! – Don’t forget your engine mount bolts and to put oil back in!

Why Is It Recommended to Pull the Engine to Replace Rod Bearings?

If you are on a tight budget, it may make sense to try replacing your rod bearings with the engine in place. However, there is some serious risk involved that you can avoid by pulling the engine first (remember: we DON’T recommend doing it with the engine in place).

Firstly, if one set of rod bearings goes out, then usually so does another since they share the stress and go at about the same rate.

Secondly, if your rod bearings are worn out, it is more than likely that your crankshaft is also worn out, as they tend to wear at the same rate. Pulling the engine first allows you to replace both of these parts at once, which is much cheaper than replacing them one by one.

Lastly, if you are trying to save time and money on this repair, it makes sense to pull the engine because your car will not run with a bad crankshaft or rod bearings in place.

E92 M3 Rod Bearing Replacement - What It Takes Start to Finish

Final Thoughts

Replacing rod bearings with the engine in place is not recommended. There are many risks to consider when pulling this off and having a tight budget. Then it may make sense to try replacing just the bearings while the engine is still in place unless you know for sure that your crankshaft is also bad, in which case you need to pull the engine.

  • Founder of Mechanical Caveman, Beau is an unrepentant tool enthusiast and, sporting deadlift-callused hands and an incongruous beer belly, all-around macho guy. When he doesn’t know re tools, he consults with his handyman and car-repairman buds to give you well-reasoned and cutting-edge info.

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