This paper presents a metallurgical failure analysis on failed material AISI 1020 bush used in industrial roller chains. This failure analysis study is carried out using the methodologies of metallographic analysis, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analysis, chemical composition analysis and hardness analysis. In the inner diameter of the failed bush, numerous cracks originated and grew toward the outer diameter. The geometry of crack and surface fractures suggest failure is due to fatigue of impact. A quasicleavage significant feature occurred at the fracture surface very close to the crack initiation point. Simulation and experimental performance results of failed material (AISI 1020) and the proposed material (SAE 8620) are compared. The proposed material SAE 8620 has 233% higher crushing strength, 300% higher fatigue life cycles and 16.67% higher wear resistance compared to failed material AISI 1020. The conclusion presented is that alloy elements (chromium, nickel and molybdenum) in proposed SAE 8620 material significantly increase the performance of bush. Additionally, a roller chain with the proposed material SAE 8620 bush can be used for heavy shock load applications like mining drill rigs, balers, rotavators, construction loaders and combine harvesters. © 2020, ASM International.