This paper describes the experimental verification of a nonlinear Jeffcott rotor model with a preloaded snubber ring. The nonlinearity, in the form of a discontinuous stiffness, is caused by the radial clearance between rotor and the snubber ring. The rotor is placed eccentrically within the snubber ring and the eccentricity can be varied. For purpose of clarity the mathematical model of the rotor system with the preloaded snubber ring developed in Pavlovskaia et al. [Nonlinear dynamics of a Jeffcott rotor with a preloaded snubber ring, Journal of Sound and Vibration 276 (2004) 361-379] is presented briefly. Theoretical results obtained from analytical approximate solutions and numerical simulations of the model are verified by the experimental study. A detailed description of the experimental rig and the data acquisition system developed are presented, along with the experimental procedures used to investigate the dynamic al responses of the system. The results concentrate on the dynamic responses caused by interactions between the whirling rotor and the massless snubber ring, which has much higher support stiffness than the rotor. Bifurcation diagrams, Poincare maps and phase plane diagrams are used to compare the results obtained from the experiment and the theory. Good correlation between the experimental and theoretical results is found. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.