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Sleeve bearings or not sleeve bearings

I’ve always commonly recognized the term “sleeve bearings” to describe the split bearing used on cranks and rods, and assumed it was common. However, another regular of knowledge and experience commented on another thread that he’d never heard the term. That got me to wondering, is this a common term in the automotive world? Is it regional? Or is it perhaps one that I unintentionally carried with me from my many years in engineering in the manufacturing industry?

It doesn’t really matter, it’s only a semantic, but I am curious. What say you all, is it common (or not) where you are?

The technical name, I think, is bearing inserts. But I call them shells, as in “throw those bearing shells in there and torque the caps to 55.” And i believe shell is the proper vernacular around here, as that’s what many of us say.

When I hear sleeve associated with engine work I think of a cylinder liner.

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Yeah, when I hear ‘sleeve’ I think of it as a verb, not an adjective, as in ‘bore out and put in a liner’. I call these bearings plain bearings, split bearings, or shell bearings.

For years I have called bearing halves ‘inserts’ and circular bearings such as camshaft bearings and electric motor bearings ‘sleeves’ but understand what others mean when they use any reasonable descriptive term. If a parts house demands that their term for a bearing must be used in order for them to get the part a shop wants the shop will likely hang up and call the next number on their speed dial.


Interesting. When I hear the term “shell” I think of things that prowl the bottom of the sea. Lobsters, crabs, oysters, clams, scallops… yum! All my favorite foods! I guess that comes from living in a coastal state most of my life.

I learned when I was in England that there are a great many different nomenclatures used for a whole lot of things. And it’s all good.

Sleeve bearings are one-piece and used in engines and transmissions (although not for crankshafts or connecting rods).Picture 1


I knew some know-it-all would attack the phrase.
Clearly someone who’s never been out of his own neighborhood.

Fortunately, most of us have traveled enough to realize that terminology can vary… and because something has one meaning doesn’t mean it doesn’t have others.

We used to call the solid roller bearings in our rotary compressors sleeve bearings, too.

I’d bet that the term has been used for a great many things. Language is a wondrous thing.

It certainly is. Add in the wide number of languages in the world, and it’s even more amazing.

Is it ‘soda’ or ‘pop’?

To whom do you refer?

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Well, there’s only one person here who stated exactly what it really meant without room for other definitions. If the shoe fits…

I eagerly await your link to a reference calling a crankshaft bearing a “sleeve bearing.” I’m always willing to learn.


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Than learn acceptance.

Do you mean then learn acceptance?

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Soda Pop, to me, sleeve bearing always meant to me a solid sleeve commonly of brass, the 2 part were split bearing, but I am so frikkin old, why they should be called a bearing in the first place I do not know, because a bearing to me is at least balls in a race.

That would be incorrect English. “Then” refers to sequences or events separated by time.
Example: I started the car then I drove away. I primed the car then I painted it.

What I probably should have said is “than learn to open your mind to new things”.

Perhaps it’s an age thing? Perhaps “split sleeve bearing” or other derivations of same have become obsolete?

It’s an interesting thought. Perhaps there are more terms from the days of carbureted engines and ball joints with zerk fittings that will disappear for lack of use when those of us long-in-the-tooth are no longer here?

I have an 826-page hard-bound reference book entitled "The Constitution of the United States of America and Selected Writings of The Founding Fathers. It’s all in “Old English”. The entire book is populated with terms, words, and spelling no longer used. Yet they were commonplace in the 1700s. Perhaps I’ve lived long enough to be actually seeing language evolution in the automotive world. As a matter of fact, I’d bet that we commonly use terms that didn’t exist when I was a young man 1/2 century ago. And I wouldn’t be surprised to find old words and phrases the meaning s of which have changed. “Tune up” comes to mind. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Well Fastenal is a Minnesota company and made sense to me so maybe it is a regional thing but at least they define what they are talking about.