An igus igubal spherical bearing has been used as a direct replacement for a steel bearing in an aftermarket automotive quickshift gear lever fitted to a modified MG Midget.
A customer of igus owns an MG Midget that the previous owner modified with a 1.4-litre K series engine from a Rover 214, a five-speed Ford Sierra gearbox and various chassis upgrades. Together with the gearbox, an aftermarket quickshift gear lever had been fitted to improve the gearchange. Unfortunately, after about 10 years' use, the spherical bearing at the base of the quickshift had worn, resulting in an annoying rattle and a less precise gearchange.
The current owner, aware of igus engineered polymer plain bearings, thought that an igubal spherical bearing would an economical, lightweight, wear-resistant and maintenance-free alternative that might also have the advantage of damping some of the vibration that is inevitably transmitted from gearbox to gear lever.
Sure enough, browsing the igus website revealed an igubal EGLM-20 bearing with the exact same dimensions as the steel item it was replacing (20mm bore, 35mm OD, 16mm inner race width, 12mm outer race width). As the application imposes only very low loads, the load capacity of the bearing was not an issue (in fact the polymer bearing has a static radial load rating of 9000N). Furthermore, the self-lubricating igus polymer material will not degrade should it inadvertently become contaminated with grease or oil from the car.
Removing the quick-shift and dismantling it to remove the steel bearing was very straightforward, after which the components were cleaned, the housing treated to a fresh coat of paint and, as a workshop manual might state, refitting is a reversal of the removal procedure.
With the igus bearing installed, the owner reports that the gearchange is smoother, the rattle has been eliminated, the bearing will never need relubricating and, although only a minor point for a roadgoing car, the igus bearing saves approximately 44g in weight (16g compared with 60g for the original steel item).
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