The rod bearing was toast, yes. The rod bearings on the crank end (yes, ball bearings) were toast. The cageless needle bearings at the piston end of the rod were fine. I reported that the engine had been disassembled and the bottom of the rod was where the issue was, and I guess I'm a little confused why you would say the jury is still out and that you think the problem originated at the top end of the rod.UHHH, "rod bearing was toast, needle bearings were fine". If memory serves, the only needle bearings in a 582 are on the ROD, big end, and little end. The crank rides on big ol BALL bearings bro. What say yee jury?