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Engine bearings options


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Hi all guys,

I'm starting to work on my engine and I have a quick question:

in your opinion it would be better to buy original Lotus engine bearings ( Vandervells i think...?) or the SJ alternatives are good items?

The price difference is very impressive so I'm thinking about these non.original Lotus bearings for the con-rods, main etc...

What do you think about?

My engine is in the process to be upgraded to the Stage one ( Lotusbits...), I have HC Mahle pistons grade B, bigger inlet/exhaust valves, new seats, springs and guides, the head and the manifold have been ported and polished, maybe i will fit an ultralight flywheel, the ignition will be the AB14 Constant Energy by Lucas maybe not a good idea to buy cheaper bearings?

Any other supplier?

Thanks for your advices.


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Give SJ a call, I'm sure he'll give you a straight answer, tell him you'll be buying the bearings off him so he'll make a sale no matter what he advises, ask him which he'd use in your situation. :thumbsup:


John W

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don't buy "hard/race" bearings like acl, I like the standard bearings because they are soft, if you have an oil problem you want your bearing to be fucked not your crank because it is a lot cheaper to buy new bearings........

check your bearing clearance with plastigauge because you do not want your clearance to be too big. don't know if lotus is selling more than one grade bearings. btw aftermarket bearing have the biggest clearance so they fit all crank's don't use them on a performance engine if you can find 0.01-0.015mm on your bearing clearance you end up with more oil pressure an thats what you want.

(on my little nissan turbo engine (1969 lotus/banks europa) I started with grade 5 (biggest clearance) , after the plastigauge I went back to grade 3 bearings.) so I ended up buying 2 sets but better safe than sorry on a crank

good luck

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  • 2 weeks later...

The original Lotus bearings were made by Vandervell and were made from their excellent VP2 bearing material - which is a heavy duty Lead/Copper (Tri-metal) material which has a high load bearing capacity and is very forgiving if metal to bearing contact occurs. Unfortunately the Vandervell bearing is no longer supplied by Lotus. I believe that all the bearings now supplied by UK specialists originate from ACL in Australia - the ACL bearing is an aluminium based bearing which does not have the high load bearing capacity of a Tri-metal bearing.

In my experience the ACL bearings are not fairing too well in race / rally / tuned engines. Regular strip downs of these competition engines allows the opportunity to see how well bearings are performing - what I was seeing prompted me to have Tri-metal engine bearings made again. These are a similar grade to the original Vandervell bearing and are also the cheapest!

I hope this may clear up any doubts about the current options and help with your decision.

Garry Kemp

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Hi Garry, thanks for your post.

I have already made my choice and I will contact you very soon about the bearings size required.

Maybe you remember that I have bought some parts from you in the past, biggest inlet/exhaust valves, piston rings and HC gudgeon pins for my engine.


Giorgio from Italy

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