The equations of motion, with four degrees of freedom, taking into consideration the flexibility, damping and cross coupling of the fluid film bearings are derived for a cracked Jeffcott rotor supported on fluid film bearings. Dimensionless equations are developed for dynamic radial load, dynamic pressure developed in the fluid film bearings and coefficient of dissipation considering the journal vibrations in two harmonics; bearing fluid film stiffness and damping coefficients. These are applied to a cracked Jeffcott rotor supported on different types of bearings, i. e., cylindrical journal bearings, offset cylindrical bearings, tilting pad journal bearings and three-lobe bearings. Based on the allowable dynamic pressure developed in the fluid bearings, the severity of cracked shaft and allowable crack depths are estimated in this study. Measurement of dynamic pressure and dissipation for monitoring the crack growth is suggested. However, 2x vibration is the best indicator of cracks in the shafts. © 1995 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.