I got a new pilot bearing from napa but it slips in without having to drive it in place. I can put it in and take it out with my fingers. Is that normal?
Could be the crank hole is a tad bit distorted/oversized if the previous bearing seized on the input shaft and spun around for a bit. Could be an aftermarket part problems and the sizing is not factory correct, just a bit off - Chinese stuff.
I would want it to have some resistance going in as the input shaft on the trans will go into the center hole and be supported and spin in it. I don't want the bushing to spin inside the crank hole. There is an interference fit and it should take a few wacks to get it in and seated.
I had one bearing that was oversized and was supposed to be correct - but no way it was going to fit. So I rigged up the bearing centered on a drill motor and sanded it down to fit. Worked fine.
You could try another local sourced bushing just to see if they use a different supplier which may give you a slightly larger OD on the bearing or ask your parts guy to pull a couple other bushings and do some measuring if they will let you.
If me, I'd make it work. My thinking is that I want to shim the outside of the bushing with something thin to take up the play and give me a tight snug fit. Th first thing that comes to mind is aluminum foil. LOL I'd wrap a slice of it completely around the outer edge. Leave a little overhang on the back side so that when you insert the bearing, it will go in rather than catch if it were even with the edge. Front side won't matter as you can rip the excess off.
If that seemed to do the trick, I might pull the bearing out again, get another strip of the foil to fit, and use a very light thin coat of JB Weld to go around the bushing and place the foil over that and re-insert - unless I was happy with my initial fit and it took a bit of strength to pull the bearing back out.
There is a lot of play in the bearing on the input shaft on the trans, so the bushing does not have to be 100% perfectly aligned as you would with the later transmissions like the Tremec TKO line of transmissions where alignment of the bellhousing and pilot bushing are a must.
Just my thoughts on this and it may or may not work, but I would eventually come up with a fix that would tighten up the fit of the bushing.
Just make sure you do not damage/squash the center hole that the input shaft goes into when pressing/hammering the bushing into place.