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Bent main shaft, chipped gears and other nastiness...
 

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I'm not sure if you received this................. so, here it is again.

"Absolutely needs a pilot bearing in the crank. It supports and centers the input shaft and counters minor shaft run-out since it would be unsupported on the motor end. That spinning clutch disc would probably destroy itself when the pressure plate released it. (among other things!)"

Needs one for sure! Good luck.
 

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You do need it. Oddly enough, I have seen Getrag transmissions that don't require a crank needle bearing and don't eat gears. Must be some voodoo going on there.
 

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If the input shaft is short enough and stiff enough you don't need a pilot bearing. The Audi/VW transverse gearboxes don't have a pilot bearing, but the input shaft is very short from the clutch splines to the first support bearing, something like 3 inches. The longitudinal transmissions have over a foot from the clutch splines to the first main shaft bearing.
 
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