three dimensional drawing of a roller rocker arm complete with bearing

What Are Roller Rocker Arms?

Rocker arms are an important mechanism in an internal combustion engine. Unlike other rocker arms, a roller rocker arm is equipped with bearings at the point of contact, which offers several benefits.

In this article, we’ll discuss the function of a rocker arm, and why rocker arm bearings are essential.

A Brief Overview of Rocker Arms

There are two main categories of rocker arms: roller arms and non-roller rocker arms.

In general, both roller and non-roller rocker arms are components in both private and industrial vehicles. Rocker arms in private vehicles are usually made from steel for durability and affordability. Some private vehicles with high-revving engines, such as those found in high-end sports cars, have rocker arms made out of aluminum. Industrial vehicles usually have cast-iron or carbon steel rocker arms.

How Rocker Arms Work With Other Valvetrain Components

Rocker Arms

Rocker arms are usually found in overhead valve engines with pushrods. The pushrods are themselves connected to the camshaft. One end of a rocker arm is connected to the pushrod, while the other end is connected to the stem of an engine intake or exhaust valve.

The process starts with the camshaft thrusting the pushrod up. The pushrod then presses one end of the rocker arm upwards, which makes the arm spin. The spin causes the other end of the rocker arm to press down on the valve, which makes it open up.

What Are Roller Rockers?: A Special Type of Rocker Arm

As we stated in the introduction, a roller rocker is a type of rocker arm that incorporates a bearing. A roller rocker can be shaft-mounted or stud-mounted, just like a non-roller rocker arm. Roller rockers can also be made from all the materials that non-roller rocker arms are made out of, including stainless steel, investment-cast steel, and aluminum. This variety of potential materials allows roller rockers to be used in any application that a non-roller rocker could handle.

Rocker Arm Bearing
Pictured: 3D drawing of a rocker arm bearing

The Importance of Rocker Arm Bearings

Although bearings are small components, they make a world of difference. Firstly, an engine with a roller rocker will be noticeably quieter. Secondly, bearings are designed to reduce friction, which will prevent wear and damage over time. Lastly, bearings can enhance an engine’s overall performance.

Are You Designing Your Own Rocker Arm?

If you are designing your own rocker arm, you will need custom bearings. While you could attempt to design these bearings yourself, it is best to leave this complex job to a manufacturer that specializes in custom bearings. This will ensure that your rocker arm design is as effective as possible.

Talk to an Expert Today

Universal Bearings have been in business since 1959. Starting out as a loose needle roller supplier, we’ve become an industry-leading manufacturer and supplier of custom needle bearings, including rocker arm bearings. We proudly hold ISO-14001, ISO-9001, and IATF-16949 certifications. 

If you’re designing a rocker arm, contact us today to request a custom rocker arm bearing quote. We can’t wait to earn your trust!