Compact, Sealed Throttle Valve Bearings Improve Safety and Fuel Efficiency of Dakar Rally Vehicles

Vehicles competing in the forthcoming Dakar Rally 2010 will be equipped with specially sealed, compact throttle valve needle roller bearings manufactured by The Schaeffler Group.

These bearings are designed to protect the engine and withstand the pressure peaks that originate from the fuel combustion chamber. The specially sealed needle roller bearing is a key component in modern turbocharged engines, playing a vital role in exhaust gas recirculation, helping to improve engine efficiency and reduce fuel consumption.

These high precision throttle valve bearings are airtight in the event of both excess pressure and vacuum conditions. The seal on both sides of the bearing offers extreme resistance to high operating temperatures. Corrosion-resistant materials also ensure that the bearing is resistant to fuel, mineral oil, grease and acidic 'blow-by' condensate. Due to their integrated seals, the bearings can operate in temperatures from -40 deg C up to 150 deg C without any additional sealing.

Motorsport is often a breeding ground for the development of engine components, which are then adapted for more general use in automotive passenger cars. Following the first Dakar Rally in 1980, Volkswagen and Audi engineers developed the legendary Quattro drive, adapted from the Iltis, a German all-terrain military vehicle (better known as the European Polecat) which competed successfully in the Dakar Rally.

1980 also marked a very successful time for Schaeffler, as its engineers developed the first throttle valve bearing, a solution that prevented the fine Saharan dust particles from causing throttle valves to jam, causing the engine to seize. The solution was a specially sealed needle roller bearing with a compact design that has now long been considered a standard component in automotive manufacturing. This solution not only prevented defects on Dakar Rally vehicle engines, but also paved the way forward in terms of vehicle safety and fuel savings.

Today, the risk of a throttle valve jamming whilst it is open is a thing of the past. But it wasn't until low friction bearing supports were developed for the throttle valve shaft that idle engine speed could be reduced in a controlled manner. While idle speed often exceeded 1,000 rpm until the early 1980s, speeds today are as low as 600 crankshaft rotations per minute, resulting in significant fuel savings. These small but critical engine components have also enabled the implementation of electronic 'by-wire' throttle valve controls.

To date, Schaeffler has produced more than 450 million throttle valve bearings in various sizes, each of these 100% inspected for reliability of sealing prior to delivery.

For more information on Schaeffler's range of needle roller bearings for throttle valves, please visit or telephone the marketing department on 0121 313 5870.

The Schaeffler Group is among the innovation leaders in Germany with around 1,250 patent applications annually. With its brands INA, LuK and FAG, it is a renowned supplier to the automotive industry as well as a leading manufacturer of rolling bearings worldwide. Around 66,000 employees generated sales of approximately 8.9 billion euros in 2008. The automotive industry represents around 60 per cent of Schaeffler sales.

The Schaeffler Group is a renowned development partner to the industry with system expertise for the entire drive train. Precision products for engines, transmissions and chassis applications ensure reduced energy consumption and lower emissions as well as increased driving comfort and safety. In addition to classic manual transmissions and automatic transmissions, the Transmission Systems Business Division offers automated manual transmissions, dual-clutch transmissions and CVTs. The range of transmissions for the future is rounded off by applications for alternative drive concepts such as hybrid drives. Schaeffler Automotive Aftermarket supplies distributors and independent workshops with replacement parts and services.

Dean Palmer


SilverBullet PR Ltd

Tel: 01780 753 000

Mobile: 07703 023 771


Schaeffler (UK) Ltd,

Forge Lane


Sutton Coldfield

West Midlands B76 1AP

Tel: 0121 351 3833

Fax: 0121 351 7686


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