how to correct crankshaft end play

Correcting crankshaft end play, also known as thrust clearance, is an essential part of engine rebuilding and maintenance. Excessive end play can lead to engine damage and reduced performance. Here’s how you can correct crankshaft end play:

Tools and Materials You’ll Need:

  • Engine repair manual (specific to your vehicle)
  • Engine stand (optional but helpful)
  • Torque wrench
  • Dial indicator and magnetic base
  • Appropriate sockets and wrenches
  • Plastigage or feeler gauges
  • Pry bar or large screwdriver
  • New thrust bearings (if necessary)


  1. Safety First:
    • Ensure that the engine is properly supported and secured, either on an engine stand or in the vehicle if necessary. Safety goggles and gloves are also recommended.
  2. Refer to Repair Manual:
    • Consult your vehicle’s repair manual for specific information regarding crankshaft end play, including the manufacturer’s recommended limits.
  3. Remove Components:
    • Depending on the vehicle and engine, you may need to remove the oil pan, front timing cover, and timing chain or belt to access the crankshaft and bearings.
  4. Check Current End Play:
    • Using a dial indicator and magnetic base, measure the current crankshaft end play. Position the dial indicator’s plunger against the end of the crankshaft and zero the dial indicator.
  5. Inspect Thrust Bearings:
    • Examine the thrust bearings for signs of wear, damage, or scoring. If the bearings are worn or damaged, they need to be replaced.
  6. Remove the Crankshaft:
    • Depending on your engine, you may need to remove the crankshaft from the engine block. This can be a complex process, and it’s essential to follow the repair manual’s instructions carefully.
  7. Measure Bearing Thickness:
    • Measure the thickness of the thrust bearings using plastigage or feeler gauges. Compare the measured thickness to the specifications in the repair manual. If the bearings are out of spec, replace them.
  8. Adjust End Play:
    • To adjust the crankshaft end play, you may need to install thicker or thinner thrust bearings, depending on your measurements. This can be a trial-and-error process to achieve the correct end play within the manufacturer’s recommended range.
  9. Reassemble:
    • Once the end play is within the specified range, reassemble the engine components, making sure to torque bolts and fasteners to the manufacturer’s specifications.
  10. Recheck End Play:
    • After reassembly, recheck the crankshaft end play using the dial indicator to ensure it falls within the recommended limits.
  11. Complete Reassembly:
    • Finish reassembling all engine components, including the oil pan, front timing cover, and timing chain or belt.
  12. Test Run:
    • Start the engine and run it to check for any unusual noises or issues. Monitor oil pressure and engine temperature during this test run.
  13. Final Inspection:
    • After the test run, recheck the end play one more time to ensure it remains within the specified range.
  14. Dispose of Old Bearings:
    • Dispose of the old thrust bearings properly and in accordance with local environmental regulations.

Remember that correcting crankshaft end play is a precision task, and it’s crucial to follow the manufacturer’s specifications and repair manual instructions. If you’re not experienced with engine rebuilding, it’s advisable to seek assistance from a qualified mechanic or engine builder to ensure the work is done correctly and safely.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button