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Carrier Bearing Replacement Cost

Know what price you should pay to get your vehicle fixed.

The average cost for a Carrier Bearing Replacement is between $121 and $575. Labor costs are estimated between $88 and $389 while parts are priced between $33 and $186. Estimate does not include taxes and fees.
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What is a Driveshaft Support Bearing?

Some vehicles use a two piece drive shaft, which connects the transmission to the differential. The purpose of the driveshaft is to transfer power from the transmission to the differential, allowing the rear wheels to be driven. Where the two pieces connect, there must be something securing the driveshaft to the chassis of the vehicle, and that part is called the driveshaft support bearing, carrier bearing.

How does the Driveshaft Support Bearing work?

The carrier bearing, a.k.a. driveshaft support bearing, literally carries the weight of the drive shaft, and prevents the two-part drive shaft from flexing and spinning wildly when power is driving the shaft. This is how: the bearing is pressed onto the driveshaft where the two halves meet, and the outside of the bearing is contained in a rubberized vibration reducing material. Finally, that entire assembly is bolted to the bottom of the vehicle, preventing the drive shaft from moving, but allowing it to rotate freely with the inner race of the bearing.

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What are the symptoms of a bad Driveshaft Support Bearing?

Vibrations, noises, and rapid banging are all common when the carrier bearing fails, and the type of alert provided to the driver depends on the type of failure. If the vibration damping material which separates the bearing from the housing wears down, there will likely be a driveline vibration felt throughout the vehicle until the vehicle is stopped, and a clunk may develop as the rubberized damper breaks down further. If the damper is completely worn out or the housing breaks, there will be loud banging against the floor of the vehicle, and this will be enough to make the driver pull over to check for the cause or even disable the vehicle. Lastly, a howling or grinding noise that seems to correlate to vehicle speed may be heard, and this noise will increase with severity and change pitch over time. This would indicate the bearing portion of the assembly has failed.

Can I drive with a bad Driveshaft Support Bearing?

A worn carrier bearing facing any of the mentioned symptoms must be replaced right away. In many cases, the vehicle can be driven to a repair facility, however, if the drive shaft is moving too freely there is a great chance of causing further damage through driving or towing with the wheels on the ground.

How often do Driveshaft Support Bearings need replacement?

Carrier bearings tend to last into the early 100,000 mile range. They are subject to the abuse of the engine and transmission, every bump in the road, and jerking motions of acceleration and braking in stop-and-go traffic. Modern bearings are tough, but will generally fail at some point. Most often, the vibration dampening material which encases the bearing and sits in the carrier bearing housing is the point of failure. Even if a vehicle were driven only a few miles per year, dry rot would eventually wear on the carrier bearing vibration damper, causing play in the two-piece driveshaft.

How are Driveshaft Support Bearing issues diagnosed?

When diagnosing a noise or vibration has led to the carrier bearing, the technician will test for free-play in the drive shaft by pressing on the driveshaft by hand or with a pry bar. The vibration dampening material will be checked during this process to identify cracks that are not visible while in the neutral position. If excess movement is noted, the carrier bearing will be replaced. If the noise is a grinding or howling noise, and there is no excess play in the driveshaft, the technician will listen to the carrier bearing while manually turning the driveshaft. If damage to the bearing is detected by vibration while turning the drive shaft, grinding or popping while turning the driveshaft, or a rough, gritty noise heard through a stethoscope, the driveshaft support bearing will be replaced.

How are Driveshaft Support Bearings replaced?

For most driveshaft support bearings, also known as carrier bearings, replacement requires releasing the driveshaft from the rear differential pinion shaft yoke, followed by pulling the spines of the driveshaft from the slip-yoke that connects the two halves of the driveshaft. Then, driveshaft support bearing will be removed from the frame of the vehicle, and the splines for the second portion of the driveshaft will be pulled from the transmission output shaft by sliding the slip-yoke off of the splines on the transmission output shaft. This portion of the driveshaft will be taken to a hydraulic press, have a bearing puller adapter installed, and the driveshaft will be pressed out of the old carrier bearing. The mating surface on the driveshaft will be cleaned and measured to ensure the proper carrier bearing is ordered. Once arrived, the new carrier bearing will be pressed on, fully seated, and inspected for damage resulting from installation. Afterwards, the driveshafts will be reattached to their counterpart, and reconnected to the transmission output shaft and differential pinion shaft yoke. Of course, the new carrier bearing will be fastened to the undercarriage of the vehicle prior to installing the rear half of the driveshaft.

RepairPal Recommendations for Driveshaft Support Bearing issues

We recommend using new fasteners when removing the driveshaft carrier bearing, especially if heat was used to remove the fasteners. Also, if the differential pinion seal is leaking, this is a good time to address that leak, as well as replacing the seal for the transmission or transfer case output shaft.

What to look out for when dealing with Driveshaft Support Bearing issues

When purchasing the new carrier bearing, it is important to measure the driveshaft before and after cleaning rust and corrosive deposits from the mating surface for the bearing. This will allow you to purchase the correct size of bearing, as there are often multiple sizes for each model year, depending on which options and grade of drive-train the vehicle has installed from the factory. Lastly, the universal joints should be inspected, lubed, and/or replaced during this service. Some vehicles will not have serviceable carrier bearings or universal joints. In these cases, the driveshaft must be replaced as an assembly when repair is necessary, or a specialty shop may be able to assist in the repair.

Can I replace the Driveshaft Support Bearing myself?

Removing the drive shaft and carrier bearing assembly is often not too difficult for the DIYer to handle, but removing the bearing from the drive shaft, and pressing the new bearing on requires a hydraulic press, which most typically do not have. When tackling this job at home, make sure there is a way to bring the driveshaft to a machine shop or auto garage to have the drive shaft and carrier bearings pressed apart, and back together. Also, a torque wrench will be necessary to retighten the fasteners connecting the drive shaft to the differential.

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