AN EXPERIMENTAL APPARATUS has been built that allows direct measurement of the oil film thickness in a bearing that is subjected to dynamic loads and shaft speeds representative of those occurring in automotive engine connecting rod, big-end bearings. Dynamic motion of the shaft, relative to the bearing, is measured as a function of shaft rotational angle, using non-contact, eddy-current probes. A computer based data acquisition system is used to measure, record, and analyze the journal position in the bearing.The test bearing is 63.5 mm in diameter by 25.4 mm long, and is loaded using a servo-hydraulic actuator rated at 98.3 kN. The journal has an operating speed of 500 to 3800 rpm. The actuator is controlled by a computer-generated waveform that can duplicate load profiles developed by various engines operating at a wide range of conditions.Measurements taken with the shaft statically loaded show excellent agreement with results calculated using short bearing theory. Preliminary measurements taken with dynamic loads illustrate the dramatic effects inertia has on the journal orbit in connecting rod, big-end bearings.