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Article

Fitting Sleeve Bearings

  • August 2020
  • Number of views: 168
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Chuck Yung
EASA Senior Technical Support Specialist

When sleeve bearings are rebabbitted or replaced, an important step during assembly is to check the contact between the sleeve bearing and the journal which rides in it. The use of self-aligning sleeve bearings (also called spherical or ball fit) renders this step almost unnecessary. Still, cylindrical sleeve bearings should be inspected to make sure the contact area is sufficient.   

Sleeve bearings, also known as babbitt bearings, plain bearings or white metal bearings, have been in use for over 150 years. For a detailed explanation of sleeve bearing design and operation, request the EASA 2007 Convention paper, “Sleeve Bearing Repair Tips,” or see Mechanical Repair Fundamentals of Electric Motors, 2nd Edition.  

This article is specific to checking and correcting the wear pattern when installing a new sleeve bearing in an electric motor. Fitting a sleeve bearing is not difficult; it just requires some basic knowledge. An interesting bit of history: the toolkit provided with the old Model A Ford automobile included a babbitt knife for scraping crankshaft bearings. Imagine dismantling your engine alongside the road to remove and fit the babbitt bearings.

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