(written about 2002)
All of the original bearings that came in Triumph cars from
the late 50s onward were made by Vandervell. In some cases these
bearings were lined with "babbit" material. The main bearings
in all TR-2 through TR-4 models were Babbit. This material has
very good embeddebility, is quite soft and tolerant of minor
misalignment. It is not capable of carrying very high loads.
The rod bearings that came in all TR-2 through TR-6s were lined
with Vandervell"s famous VP-2 material. This is a tri -metal lining
consisting of sintered copper on a steel shell with a lead- indium
alloy layer on top of that and finally a tin plated layer on top.
These bearings have good imbeddebility, very high load carrying
capacity, and are somewhat tolerant of misalignment and momentary
losses of oil pressure. These are great bearings! They are rated
for carrying loads of up to 10,500 psi.
Glacier bearings are two layer bearings that consist of an aluminum
bearing alloy on top of a steel back. If all conditions are perfect
they work very well. They do NOT have good embeddebility, are
quite hard and are very unforgiving. If anything goes wrong with
the oiling system, or there is any misalignment, they will instantly
fail and wipe out the crank journal. Their load carrying capacity
is about 6,500 psi.
Clevite makes a trimetal bearing that is cast copper-lead and
can withstand loads of 12,000 psi.
When AP Engineering who owned Glacier bought Vandervell around
10 of 12 years ago, they started discontinuing the VP-2 bearing
wherever they had a Glacier substitute. They did this because
the Glacier bearings ( the aluminum type) are much cheaper to
They only continued production of the VP-2 bearings when they
were producing them for a car manufacturer as an original equipment
supplier and the car manufacturer insisted on the VP-2 material.
The Vandervell Bearings are definitely far superior to the Glaciers.
I will only use Glacier as a last resort when I have no other
choice. I recently asked Vandervell if they would produce a run
of bearings for me on a special order basis. They said that they
would, but required a minimum order of 400 sets of bearing at
an approximate cost of $30.00 per set. And all of the bearings
had to be the same size! I checked with Moss Motors and The Roadster
Factory and neither of them were interested in going in with me
on the order. I looked around further and was able to get some
trimetal rod bearings in .010 undersize only to fit TR-2 through
TR-4s. They are made by ACL and are rated at 8,500psi.
They are not as good as Vandervell bearings but are better than
When I spoke to the "powers that be" at Moss, Their reaction
to me was that they could sell all the Glaciers they could get
their hands on and that there was no demand for the better quality
bearings. The only way we are going to get good quality parts
out of these companies is constantly badger them and to spread
the word through groups like this when the parts are not up to
Regards, Greg Solow
The Engine Room
Santa Cruz, Ca.
I don't really want to be the one to start the annual rant on
engine bearings, and maybe this has already been answered, but
here goes anyway.
I've used the aluminum bearings from Moss for several years,
identified on the box as COUNTY and have not had any problems
whatsoever with them. However, King advertises heavily, and a
couple of the suppliers advertise that they are the finest and
they are tri-metal.
I found a source for King bearings and decided to try them.
Printed right on the box it said they were tri-metal. I installed
In the process I found that the King bearings and the Moss-supplied
bearings had nearly identical stampings on the back. Both said
C438 STD and then two letters, which were different on the old
and new bearings.
I could not detect a difference in appearance, but must admit
that I noticed all this so late in the game that I didn't take
a file to one of the new ones to see if it really was tri metal.
With identical stamping on the back, it doesn't seem likely,
You might want to do a Google search and read some of the documents
lead in bearings. I suspect in a few years this will be less
issue. Copper-Tin bearings should be as good and perhaps better
copper/tin/lead. The challenge is that they are more difficult
Tin/Aluminum were the first response to the requirement that
manufactured after 2003 have less lead. The more restrictive
seems to happen in 2010.
I suspect it's more of a volume issue--manufacturers would prefer
things in a standardized way, and lead in manufacturing processes
to worker liability anyway. The bearings will probably get better
time goes on. For now, I'm glad for my stash.
I asked the vendor why my King bearings said "County" on
them. Their explanation was that County is the largest customer
of King, so they stamp all the bearings with that name, but that
the last two letters of the stamping indicates tri metal rather
A little I can add to this. Bearings supplied
under the County brand name
are also made by King. The tri-metal bearings are
described simply as "heavy
duty" in the County listings.
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