A thrust bearing is an axle located inside an engine that rotates on its axis when force is applied on it. The bearing works to reduce friction by absorbing the large amount of thrust that is produced on the engine shaft that it supports. This ensures that the engine runs smoothly and quietly. Having a thrust bearing that works properly is important for the health of the engine. If it becomes necessary for you to replace a thrust bearing in your vehicle, it will require several hours of your time as a number of engine parts will need to be moved out of the way before you can access the bearing.
Remove the intake manifold. Most manifolds will be held in place by 16 bolts and you will need to remove all of them. Put the manifold aside.
Remove the radiator. Remove the bolts holding the radiator in place and pull it out. You may have to remove the fan first. Do not unhook the hose. Otherwise you will need to drain it first by placing a pan under it and opening the drain plug at the bottom of it.
Remove the alternator. Unplug the battery then follow the positive battery cable to the alternator. Loosen the alternator's tension bolt with a torque wrench, until the alternator can be turned. Remove the alternator fan then remove the tension bolt completely as well as the mounting bolt. Lift the alternator out.
Remove the water pump. It will be visible and accessible after removing the parts mentioned in the previous steps and will be attached to the front of the engine block. Use a socket wrench to remove the bolt holding it in place and lift it out. Do not disconnect the hose.
Remove the air condition compressor. Unplug the electrical connections. Remove the mounting bolts and lift the air condition compressor out.
Remove the power steering pump. Remove the bolts holding the pump in place and pull it out. Leave the hose attached otherwise you will have to drain the power steering fluid from the reservoir.
Remove the camshaft. Remove the bolts that hold it in place. There will usually be two or three. Loosen the valve rockers then remove the push rods and lifters by prying them off with a flat head screwdriver. Line up the push rods together with the corresponding lifter in the order they were in before you removed them. You will need to put them back in the exact slot they were in later. Carefully pull the camshaft out of the engine.
Remove the thrust bearing. At the back of the engine you will see the thrust bearing retainer plate held in place by two or three bolts. Remove these bolts and pull the thrust bearing out.