Remember to change the pilot bearing

September 1, 2017 | By Staff


I enjoyed your transmission rebuild for Clive Bartlett (February). Everything was right on the money except for one thing, when he said it has been “popping” out of second gear. I bought a ’57 Willys that had the same problem and I rebuilt it and the transfer case. I talked to a friend and he said that with that many miles it would be a good idea to change out the pilot bearing also. I had no idea that without the pilot bearing to hold the transmission shaft, the wobble would throw the transmission out and also cause the transmission to come out of gear.


Your friend is right. Changing out the pilot bearing or bushing is a sensible thing to do while you have the transmission out. It is also important to check the clutch and flywheel for wear and cracking.

To remove the pilot bearing you merely fill it with grease and then firmly tap an old pilot shaft or clutch alignment tool into it using a brass hammer. The grease will force the old bearing out. Tap in the new one using a socket of the same diameter and the aforementioned hammer, and then put a gob of wheel bearing grease in to accommodate the transmission input shaft.