King bearings vs. Clevite bearings: What’s the difference between these two bearings?

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King bearings have unique metal construction that provides a better load-carrying capacity of up to 17,000 psi. However, Clevite bearings have enhanced wear and seizure resistance to ensure longevity.

Meanwhile, lead-free construction on the Clevite bearings is another big factor that improves the performance level. However, with the Bull’s eye Tolerance technology, King has broadened his performance level to the highest peak.

Meanwhile, Clevite tri-metal bearings offer low friction and better fatigue resistance to get better performance. Also, it offers better conformability and embeddability.

Stay with us as we’ll break into the differences between the bearings from King and Clevite in this article.

King bearings vs. Clevite bearings

Comparison between King and Clevite bearings

It's hard to conclude when you have to choose between King and Clevite engine bearings. Both bearings offer high-end performance, low friction, wear resistance, load carrying, etc.

But which brand offers the best service in terms of streets or racing tracks is the question that remains in everyone's mind. Here's a comparison that might come in handy in solving the confusion.

King bearings 

Clevite bearings

A unique metal construction

Lead-free, aluminum silicone construction

Load capacity up to 17,000 psi

Load capacity up to 12,000 psi

Compatible with all crankshafts

Doesn’t support universal compatibility

Moderate seizure resistance

40% extra seizure resistance

Unique oil groove design

Doesn’t have any unique oil groove design

Manufactured with Bull’s eye tolerance technology

Manufactured with 100% bored inside diameter

About King Bearings

King bearings install

King bearings come with a better load capacity than regular engine bearings. The intermediate layer and the overlay construction provide enhanced longevity to the bearing.

Here're the specs offered by King Bearings at a glance –

  • A distinctive geometric design
  • An intermediate layer and overlay are available
  • Fatigue capacity is nearly 10,500 psi
  • Produced through bull’s eye tolerance technology
  • Offers less taper across the bearing face
  • Better oil supply reliability.

Compared to most other engine bearings, King offers bearings with a unique design. But they didn't resist innovating new designs as the bearings have a unique oil groove design as well.

Other than typical bearing construction, it uses the Bull’s eye Tolerance technology to get perfection in the construction. The construction has provided a 24% stronger overlay with 17% more fatigue resistance.

With the fatigue resisting shield, the bearing provides an improved load capacity. Moreover, the micro-etch surface preparation process strengthens the structural integrity.

King bearing materials

1. Aluminum based





2. Copper based











3. lead free






4. Surface treatment

  • Polymer Coating
  • Compressive Stress Surface (CSS) Treatment
  • pMax Black

5. Polymer bearing

  • Aftermarket Polymer
  • Racing Polymer
  • About Clevite Bearings

For high load carrying capacity with quality assurance, Clevite is another trustworthy brand for engine bearings. Moreover, these bearings are highly wear-resistant and durable for having an extra layer of coating.

Bit-metal and tri-metal, two different types of bearings are available from Clevite. However, people want to know what else the brand offers in their engine bearings.

  • Availability of both bi-metal and tri-metal bearings
  • Highest quality aluminum silicone construction
  • Manufactured with 100% bored inside diameter
  • Lead-free construction for durability
  • 60% higher load carrying capacity on tri-metal bearings
  • Features engineered coating
  • 10,000 to 12,000 psi load capacity
  • Copper-lead alloy for unmatched lubricity

One of the key specs of Clevite bearings is having both quality bi-metal and tri-metal options. The aluminum silicone constructed bearings come with a lead-free construction.

You can have a better wear resistance and seizure resistance on the bearing by having a lead-free construction. The minimum durability requirement here is 150,000 miles.

However, when it comes to the tri-metal bearings, the user is supposed to get twice the original durability.

King bearings with engine

Bi-metal vs. Tri-metal engine bearings

Tri-metal comes with comparatively a better wear resistance than bi-metal which makes it a better choice. However, it's necessary to know more differences between these two bearings before you get to a final decision.

Tri-metal bearing

Bi-metal bearing

Ideal for heavy-duty vehicles or racing tracks

Ideal for passenger and commercial vehicles 

Strong copper layer with minimized wear

Aluminum layer that makes it less wear-resistant

Babbitt layer for natural lubricity

Greater silicone layer for journal surfaces

The load capacity of 12,000 psi

The load capacity of 10,000 psi

Engineered alloy

Babbitt and lead-copper alloy

Are King engine bearings any good?

Yes, King engine bearings are good without any doubt as they come with a bull’s eye tolerance technology. With the performance simulation and analysis system, the manufacturer has upheld the quality.

Here are the reasons why King bearings are considered beneficial.

  • Increased load capacity with unique metal structure
  • Performance simulation and analysis system
  • Strong tri-metal structural integrity
  • Fatigue resisting shield provides a better load capacity
  • Compatibility with all crankshafts
  • Offer perfect clearance in every bearing set
  • An increased effective surface
  • More stable hydrodynamic lubrication regime
  • Greater bearing durability at high RPMs
  • Eliminates reduction of load surface area.

How good are Clevite engine bearings?

Until you get o know what is offered by engine bearings from Clevite, you can't get to the final decision regarding which one is better. These bearings are usable for racing purposes as well as a daily driver.

Meanwhile, what are the benefits that might let you choose Clevite bearings over King Bearings?

  • Provides excellent wear and seizure resistance
  • 100% lead-free construction
  • Optimum surface characteristics
  • Offers a consistent precision
  • Improved oil control and oil pressure with an umbrella groove
  • Reduced friction with increased bearing life
  • Improved resistance to fatigue.

How to select the right engine bearings?

Whether you are looking for new replacement engine bearings for racing purposes or as a daily driver decides, which type you should go for. Although it's a key deciding factor, it's not the ultimate factor.

Meanwhile, choosing between tri-metal and bi-metal bearings is a tiresome task as well when it's all about the performance. One should go for bearings, which can ensure reliable service on streets and racing tracks.

Therefore, it's better to choose engine bearings depending on the following criteria.

  • Day to day use or for racing purposes
  • Selecting between tri-metal and bi-metal bearings
  • Materials used on the bearings
  • The longevity from hundred to thousand miles
  • With lug or without lug design
  • Low clearance or high clearance bearings
  • Coating impacts longevity.

What’s the purpose of your car’s engine bearings?

The selection of engine bearings depends largely on the usage purpose. Either one will go on to drive the vehicle on the streets as a daily driver or get it on the racing tracks for competitions.

When it's for racing purposes, the bearings should have an extra layer of coating. It can enhance the shock absorbance and result in a relentless performance.

Which is better, tri-metal or bi-metal?

The purpose of the use is closely related to the selection between tri-metal and bi-metal bearings. Tri-metal bearings have one extra layer of coating that reduces the chances of wear and can carry heavy-duty loads.

On the other hand, bi-metal bearings are good for moderate usage that can minimize the amount of wear due to coming less coated.

Do you know the material used on the bearing?

Steel and aluminum are the two most common materials used on the bearings, whether it's from King or Clevite. However, tri-metal bearings can have an aluminum coating as well for better wear resistance.

How long the bearings will last?

The coating on the bearings and the amount of wear it goes through during its lifetime is a key factors deciding its longevity. Typically, bearings with two-layer of coating go through less wear resulting in a longer lifespan.

What should you go for, lug or without lug design?

The selection of lugged or lug-less bearing depends on the selection of brand new or an aftermarket engine. The aftermarket engine requires bearings with lugs for proper setup.

On the other hand, it’s an optional decision to have lug or not in the new engine as it comes perfectly set up from the word go.

What’s better, low or high clearance?

Low or high engine bearing clearance is related to the load holding capacity. However, the rule of thumb is that tight clearance is better the loose clearance.

Basically, tight clearance is referred to low clearance, and loose clearance is referred to high clearance.

Which engine bearing is better: King or Clevite?

Was the above discussion enough for you to decide whether it’s fair to select King or Clevite bearing for your vehicle? The decision basically depends more on the need of the vehicle than the user.

It's not all about the longevity or fatigue resistance of Clevite bearings to get better performance. High load-carrying capacity is key, which is up to 17,000 psi in King Bearings.

Therefore, before making the final decision make sure you know what the vehicle needs and which specs are going to improve the bearing and overall engine performance.

Last Updated on August 15, 2022 by sajjad

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