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I understand how the clutch system works in a manual transmission, but I'm struggling to get a proper image of what the pilot bearing does into my head. Does the input shaft always rest inside it, whether the clutch is engaged or disengaged? If so, does the inner part spin to allow for the input shaft and flywheel to rotate at different speeds?

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"Does the input shaft always rest inside it, whether the clutch is engaged or disengaged?"

Yes

All it does is support the end of the transmission input shaft.

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    It also keeps the transmission input shaft aligned with the centerline of the crankshaft. Aug 11 '20 at 20:49
  • Ah right. So when the clutch engages/disengages, it's moving forward/back a bit along the input shaft, which sits fixed inside the pilot bearing. Aug 11 '20 at 22:04
  • @user3621637 - The friction disk does, yes. It doesn't move much, but there's some play there so the disk can disengage from both the flywheel and the pressure plate ... this allows the transmission to disengage from the engine. Aug 13 '20 at 0:54
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Yes, it allows the flywheel to run at engine speed while the clutch disengages. It keeps the transmission and engine crankshaft matched/aligned.

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