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Aussie Dodge

1925 Dodge Engine Bearings

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Hi Guys, Just wondering if anybody can help with information regarding rebabbiting engine bearings. I have found it very difficult to find a vintage engine reconditioner who has knowledge of how the engine bearings in my 1925 Dodge should be constructed. The current main and big end bearings have an "X" shaped oil grove cut into the bearing surface for both the top and bottom bearing shell and this grove appears to be cut through the bearing material and down to the base metal brass shell. I have spoken to a few machinists, some say the oil groves are unnecessary, some have suggested that you only require the "x" groves on the top shell and others have suggested that you only require a single circle grove which runs around top and bottom shell, similar to what you would find in a modern engine. I am concerned that maybe a circle grove similar to what is currently used in a modern engine may not work properly as the old Dodge engine is not oil pressure fed like modern engines. Can anybody help with information and/or experience with rebabbiting engine bearings in an early dodge and if you have any recommendations on how the bearings should be constructed. Any suggestions on a workshop who could carry this work would also be greatly appreciated. Regards - Aussie Dodge.

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It might be an idea to PM oldcar , hopefully he may able to help you find somebody who is able to rebabbiting your engine bearing;( he lives in Victoria) .If it was my engine I would put the X on both surfaces.; as for the circle grove, assuming you mean it becomes a circle when both part are put together, may be fine for a high pressure oil system, but not for the splash and hope ,Dodge engine. The subject of cutting of spiral or x droves on the inside of bronze bearing, is a source of great irritation to me. Modern machine shops appear to have no idea how this should be done , they seem only able to machine a circular or straight line grove. How should it be done?

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Your Dodge Brothers babbitt NEEDS the X cut in them. You can google Model A Ford babbitt bearings too, they also needed the X cut. A few horror stories exist with new rebuilds without the X, owner had to re-do the engine after a failure in a few short weeks. Don't be misled by aftermarket configurations and modern shell inserts which are of a different material to boot. Go to; jandm-machine.com. Or call John at 508-460-0733. Those guys are the very best in the antique & classic car engine rebuilding. They've also done some very unique marine engine rebuilding. I think you'd get a kick out of their website.

Edited by Pete K. (see edit history)

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Peter K you are right ,these splash bearing must have the " x" groves in them to allow the oil film to form around the bearing and there must also be a trough cut away on the edges of the bearing where the shims hold the shells in . These troughs extend to with in 1/8 inch of the out side of the shell, there purpose is to act as a sediment trap and oil spreader. Because these bearings have a wide shim spacer they do not form a full circle around the crank pin and need this to maintain the oil film.Bob

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These bearings are machined in a lathe made for engine bearings only, the carriage holds the rod and has an attachment that slides it back and forth as the cutter rotates around the inside of the bearing cutting the groves. regards Bob

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I think your best bet would be to send the rods out to the lathe. I couldn't imagine the shipping fees on one of those lathes, or lathe attachments. Sorry I only know you and Ray across the pond. There are many old car machine shops here in the States that can cut the proper grooves in Babbitt. I once saw a set of rods that the owner(?) hand cut the grooves and it was not pretty. Thanks "robert b" for chiming in on this too.

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Yes I do know where one of these lathes can be found, it is in my machine shop. Over the next two weeks it will machine bearings for a English Riley engine ,a Dodge Brothers Standard Six , a big end bearing for a stationary engine and if the days are long enough may be my own 128 engine. Bob

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A big thank you to all who have posted replies to date, your knowledge and willingness to help is terrific. This forum is outstanding in bringing people together with like interests to share experiences and knowledge. Thank you all Again - Aussie Dodge

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Hi Robert b, Thank you for your reply. As per my original post I looking for somebody preferably here in Australia who may be interested in rebabbiting the bearing in my 1925 Dodge. If you can help in this regard could you please drop me an email at ted.lambert@bigpond.com Regards Aussie Dodge

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Hi Aussie Dodge, I had a bad experience with my bearings, had a vintage motor expert do the job with the single grove big end and mains, the big ends did not last long and the mains were real tight, you definitley need the x or you will have trouble, I replaced my big ends with a set of used bearings and bought a dremmel and did my own x on the mains so I have a grove and a x , as mentioned by Robert schamfer the bearing edges and make sure the 3 groves on the sides are there if not use small round file do it yourself. Some experts should never be allowed to touch these old motors. My engine runs great even cruisers at 40-45 mph for more than 30min no over heating. This is the place to ask these questions because most of us have been there. regards Brian

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Hi Aussie Dodge Have you checced with the DB Club of Aust or contact Cled Davies Someone will put you on the right track Ranch Engineering Did mine about 20 years ago They are a west aussie firm in Osbourne Park Hope you have some luck Ron

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Why do you need a lathe to cut a few X's in some bearings?

I've done a lot of babbitting, including a rod bearing on my '25 Dodge, and never heard of such a thing.

I've always used a tool and die grinder with a 1/4" end mill.....just the corners, mind you, for cutting oil grooves.

By the way, I'm in the X'd on the bottom, because of the purely splash system, and nothing in the top half camp.

The idea of breaking up the cohesive oil film in the top half of a rod bearing, where the REAL pressure is, just goes against me........:confused:

Edited by cahartley (see edit history)

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Gundog 99 the machine in question is manufactured by a Norwegian company called Arris (not certain on spelling, been some time since I looked at it ) .It is a horizontal lathe with two spindle cutters at each end, the con rod is held on the movable bed between these spindles and con move in both directions to cut the bearing. This machine dates from around the 1930's from what I can find about it.I will take some pics and try to post them over the next few days. Bob

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Hi Guys, Just wondering if anybody can help with information regarding rebabbiting engine bearings. I have found it very difficult to find a vintage engine reconditioner who has knowledge of how the engine bearings in my 1925 Dodge should be constructed. The current main and big end bearings have an "X" shaped oil grove cut into the bearing surface for both the top and bottom bearing shell and this grove appears to be cut through the bearing material and down to the base metal brass shell. I have spoken to a few machinists, some say the oil groves are unnecessary, some have suggested that you only require the "x" groves on the top shell and others have suggested that you only require a single circle grove which runs around top and bottom shell, similar to what you would find in a modern engine. I am concerned that maybe a circle grove similar to what is currently used in a modern engine may not work properly as the old Dodge engine is not oil pressure fed like modern engines. Can anybody help with information and/or experience with rebabbiting engine bearings in an early dodge and if you have any recommendations on how the bearings should be constructed. Any suggestions on a workshop who could carry this work would also be greatly appreciated. Regards - Aussie Dodge.

Any oil grooves that are Original should always be put back in the same way. Oil grooves that go clear to the backing of the shell, whether they are made of bronze or steel backing is the way it should be.

It is done that way to get the deepest grooves, to hold the most oil.

Main bearing shells, have to be align bored to match a new ground crank . You just can't cut a shell on a shell machine, and expect it to fit, because it won't.

Circle grooves have no place at all in a splash bearing. What happens is if say you have a 2 inch wide bearing, only about a inch in the middle of the bearing gets all the oil it needs, so, if it does not flow to the out side for the last 1/2 inch on either side, the starved crank will heat up more and swell, and open up the bearing to get what it wants, and then the bearing now has more clearance then it needs on the whole bearing.

In one of the posts, it said something about a bearing not being a 1/2 circle. I am not sure what was ment by that, but the block insert is always a half circle, and the cap is always a half circle when assembled, whether the half circle in the cap is a full half circle with out shims, or what gone is made up with the Factory shim thickness it had.

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What I was stating was that each half of the bearing that goes into the each half or the rod is separated by a steel spacer and brass shims of a thickness of 0.125 on each side. These shims do not allow each shell half to touch each other and form a circle as in a modern bearing .These steel spacers when clamped hold the brass shells under crush in the rod. regards Bob

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Gundog 99 the machine in question is manufactured by a Norwegian company called Arris (not certain on spelling, been some time since I looked at it ) .It is a horizontal lathe with two spindle cutters at each end, the con rod is held on the movable bed between these spindles and con move in both directions to cut the bearing. This machine dates from around the 1930's from what I can find about it.I will take some pics and try to post them over the next few days. Bob

This is the machine that I use to do the bearings in . Its history is unknown , some one may be able to tell me more about it ,I am only going of what I told 30 years ago when I got the machine. Bob

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Interesting to know as one day I'll have to do this when I eventually rebuild mine. I've done a blue apron job as I haven't got much income and my Dodge Buckboard was stolen in 2015 and after 18 months, somebody put it up for sale on a facebook page and luckily a mate took a screenshot and sent it to me, which I took to the local police, and the next day they phoned me to tell me they had my car! Phew. Only problem is whoever stole it must have thrashed the daylights out of it and when I started it up there was a horrible knocking. When I removed the sump I found the babbit from no. 3 & 4 cylinder all in the oil pan, stuck to the sides and bottom. Fortunately I have another old engine in reasonably good condition, a block with crank,  pistons valves and bearings, so I swapped over the 3 & 4 bearings. First I ground the ridges off the crank with a emery and a bootlace and CRC, starting with 400 grade using every grade of a hundred up until 3000, at which time it was smooth as silk. There was a bit of up and down play, and it always had a bit ever since I bought it and it's never been a big problem in the 20 yrs I've had it, but I used a dyn-afile and filed the shims down between the caps. The first one I took a bit too much and when I tightened it I it was hard to turn, that was about .060", so I ended up taking .040" off each shim and it got rid of the up& down movement, basically as explained in the "book of information" and so far it's been running great, I haven't taken it on a long trip yet, but it's running sweet with no knocks or issues! Touch wood. These old engines are fairly forgiving as long as there's oil pressure and water in the radiator!

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