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Babbitt Bearing, Recognizing bad Ones, Before you use


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This post shows things to look fore when you buy New Babbitt bearings for your Vintage car, truck, tractor, ect. I will post as many pictures as I can to show what to look for.

These are Marmon Rods new Lead Babbitt, and lasted about a 100 miles, here is why.

 

Picture 1. Showing a rod that was colder then the Babbitt poured into it. The Babbitt that was gone was easy to get out. The chunk left, held a little better.

              2. Shows the seam where the Babbitt touches the steel, there should have not been a seam there.

               3. Shows gap, or space between Babbitt, and cap, there should be none. That was that way when they pulled it out of the jig, it should have been done over.

               4. These are the pieces I pulled out of the first Rod. See all the holes, and voids, ect., this is the back of the bearing, this is also why Babbitt fails, and gives Babbitt a bad name.

              5.& 6 shows  rods with Babbitt removed. You can see that the rod was tinned, and I am sure it looked Tinned, but nothing sticks to dirt. They were not clean. It looked like he tried to clean it with a wire brush, that won't work.

              7. & 8. Shows two clean caps, and the 4 poured caps., before all are cleaned.

             9. 10. 11. & 12. show how the flanges, and the part lines should look with out gaps, or voids, of any kind, or they will fail. The no 3. picture with the gap under the flange, what normally happens is the flange comes off, and then takes the rest of the Rod. Even if the gap is very small, it just isn't stuck.

              13. 14. 15. & 16. Shows our Rod press, and Alignment machine to check rods after machining, for twist, Bend, and Offset.

               17. Shows the finished rods, with their oil pipes put on. What looks like a gob of solder, is the wire twist that goes through the rod, and twisted around the pipe and soldered, to lock the pipe.

 

Thanks,

 

Herm.   KohnkeRebabbittingService.com

 

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3 hours ago, Roger Frazee said:

As the owner of a 100 year-old Overland, I may eventually have a need for new bearings.  It's very reassuring to know that re-babbitting services are still available.

 

May I respectfully suggest it is even MORE "reassuring" to know that there are companies today, that can manufacture for you brand new connecting rods of modern materials,  that will interchange in every way with your original connecting rods,  but with this change.....they are equipped to handle modern (meaning post 1934 thinking.....!   )   "precision insert" style rod bearings..........

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Another possibility would be to investigate whether, on engines that were produced in both the "poured" and "inserted" days,  inserted rode were made available to replace the poured ones...

My only direct knowledge is of a widely used  industrial/tractor/light truck engine, the Waukesha FC, but it seems unlikely  that would be the only case in the indstry...

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2 hours ago, Bud Tierney said:

Another possibility would be to investigate whether, on engines that were produced in both the "poured" and "inserted" days,  inserted rode were made available to replace the poured ones...

My only direct knowledge is of a widely used  industrial/tractor/light truck engine, the Waukesha FC, but it seems unlikely  that would be the only case in the indstry...

When poured rods went to replaceable inserts, they were not better, but it was way cheaper. The inserts were still mostly made of heaver steel, Bronze, a very few were thin tin, and still at least .030-00 of Babbitt lining.

 

We do not recommend pouring rod inserts, and should be poured solid in the rod, as  inserts will distort when pouring, and many times will not give the complete 100% backing that  is needed so the Babbitt will not fracture. Mains work fine as they don't have the stress of a Rod, up and down.

 

A solid poured Rod is better any way, as oil behind inserts, is not a very good heat conductor, from bearing to Rod.  But rods inserts can still be poured.

 

Herm.

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6 hours ago, SaddleRider said:

 

May I respectfully suggest it is even MORE "reassuring" to know that there are companies today, that can manufacture for you brand new connecting rods of modern materials,  that will interchange in every way with your original connecting rods,  but with this change.....they are equipped to handle modern (meaning post 1934 thinking.....!   )   "precision insert" style rod bearings..........

Post 1934 thinking, I Think not!   The correct year would be 1950.

 

Herm.

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Herm,

What about the thick bronze shells many expensive cars used? I'm thinking here of the RRs I've worked on, all of which had removable shells but they were much thicker than a modern insert bearing.

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You know, with all the antiquated technology ( Babbitt bearings, drum brakes, non synchronized transmissions, and so forth)....it's amazing that all those people "back then"  were able to get around at all...

 

If they'd been as smart as we are now, they'd have just stayed home, instead of traveling the country as they did...

 

 

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I'm curious as to the price of rebabbitting today. When we had the rods poured for my dads 1933 Pierce Arrow 836  back in the early 60's they were $8 each and were returned individually wrapped and boxed with rod # and size listed like little jewels. Never had a problem with them - wish I could say the same for the head gasket....

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I am not keen of the suggestion of LEAD in babbitt.  It has always been a No-No,  with the single exception that the upper main bearings in a T Ford,  (after they lined the top half of T main bearings at all in about 1911).    The much higher pouring temperature of the lead-base material apparently gave a better chance that it would stick.  It was not considered to have optimal proportions of the constituents in usual tin-based  Babbitt .     You really want a metallurgical bond, so the lining will not peel out; and so the reliable interface between the bearing and connecting rod conducts way any heat.  Of course, the lubricating oil does not only separate the working surfaces,  it is also vital for cooling, in particular components such as pistons.    I do not greatly admire Duralumin connecting rods with poured babbitt bearings.   You are supposed to scratch-tin the surface with a clean scraper, pure tin stick, and a gentle gas flame;  then build the thickness of that with the Babbitt alloy to be used.  You need to have the alloy and the rod and cap at the precise ideal temperatures so there will be no discontinuity when you pour.  But surfaces oxidise very quickly.  Within limits you can tell by tapping lightly with a very small  hammer.  A dull sound means you should melt it out and try again ; and a higher pitch noise signals that the job is probably reasonable.   The worst problem with aluminium alloy connecting rods is that the bolts at the correct torsion setting do not stretch within their elastic limits.  They compress the alloy  so it may crack under the bolt heads.  When you are concerned about the indefinite longevity of your Stutz  you mill new connecting rods out of 4140 alloy steel or similar, to fit either International or Bedford truck copper-lead bearing shells;  but it may be prudent to nitride your crankshaft journals, and run with a full-flow oil filter.  Copper-lead does not have embedability like Babbitt,  and neither does aluminium, though engines have been satisfactory and reliable with Aluminium alloy connecting rods running directly on the journals.   I understand that Catepillar ran aluminium bearing shells for years:  (We had a very early D8 at the family sawmill in the mid 1940s,  but I was too little to be involved with it personally.  That D8 still survives,  a friend has it here and two others similar;  but Phillip told me that one has a single digit serial number).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

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3 hours ago, trimacar said:

You know, with all the antiquated technology ( Babbitt bearings, drum brakes, non synchronized transmissions, and so forth)....it's amazing that all those people "back then"  were able to get around at all...

 

If they'd been as smart as we are now, they'd have just stayed home, instead of traveling the country as they did...

 

 

 

As the old saying goes, " We shoulda stood in bed." !

 

Paul

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4 hours ago, JV Puleo said:

Herm,

What about the thick bronze shells many expensive cars used? I'm thinking here of the RRs I've worked on, all of which had removable shells but they were much thicker than a modern insert bearing.

Years ago, we used to make bearings for Elect power plant Diesels. The pistons looked like Bushel Baskets, and the Rod was about 5 foot long, and the rod weighed about 200 pounds. The inserts were were solid Babbitt, 36 pounds each, shaft size was 12" inches.  The wall  thickness was 1- 1/ 2 inches, and the old inserts were just as good as new, but they wanted them replaced. This one particular  engine had blown a piston, and knocked a free standing wall down. That's is what they used as a shield.

The point here is thick Babbitt works just fine. Thousands of Bearings had thick Babbitt over the years. How ever the bearing is made, that is what you replace it with.

Tin base Babbitt, a 1 inch square will only compress 2% at 14.000 thousand pounds.

The Biggest cause of Babbitt bearing failure today is the same as years past, Poor workmanship. There is way more to it then just heating, and pouring. Anybody can do that, it is seeing, and knowing it stuck. If it isn't it won't last long.

Like I have said, that is what has given Babbitt a bad name, we have never had a bad bearing, and if you have, look closer at the cause, and you can tell every time what the cause was. 

Of course, it can be oil, or lack of it,  Timing ect.

 

Thanks MR. JV,

 

Herm.

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5 hours ago, trimacar said:

You know, with all the antiquated technology ( Babbitt bearings, drum brakes, non synchronized transmissions, and so forth)....it's amazing that all those people "back then"  were able to get around at all...

 

If they'd been as smart as we are now, they'd have just stayed home, instead of traveling the country as they did...

 

 

Ya, I have often thought about the Model T Ford. They were a very dependable car, as many others. LOL But the poor Guys that cussed them, are the ones that got them when they were all wore out, as that is when they could afford a Model T, second hand and couldn't afford to fix them right, or didn't have the money to. So they used their bailing, patched, and  cussed them.

 

Herm.

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5 hours ago, Ivan Saxton said:

I am not keen of the suggestion of LEAD in babbitt.  It has always been a No-No,  with the single exception that the upper main bearings in a T Ford,  (after they lined the top half of T main bearings at all in about 1911).    The much higher pouring temperature of the lead-base material apparently gave a better chance that it would stick.  It was not considered to have optimal proportions of the constituents in usual tin-based  Babbitt .     You really want a metallurgical bond, so the lining will not peel out; and so the reliable interface between the bearing and connecting rod conducts way any heat.  Of course, the lubricating oil does not only separate the working surfaces,  it is also vital for cooling, in particular components such as pistons.    I do not greatly admire Duralumin connecting rods with poured babbitt bearings.   You are supposed to scratch-tin the surface with a clean scraper, pure tin stick, and a gentle gas flame;  then build the thickness of that with the Babbitt alloy to be used.  You need to have the alloy and the rod and cap at the precise ideal temperatures so there will be no discontinuity when you pour.  But surfaces oxidise very quickly.  Within limits you can tell by tapping lightly with a very small  hammer.  A dull sound means you should melt it out and try again ; and a higher pitch noise signals that the job is probably reasonable.   The worst problem with aluminium alloy connecting rods is that the bolts at the correct torsion setting do not stretch within their elastic limits.  They compress the alloy  so it may crack under the bolt heads.  When you are concerned about the indefinite longevity of your Stutz  you mill new connecting rods out of 4140 alloy steel or similar, to fit either International or Bedford truck copper-lead bearing shells;  but it may be prudent to nitride your crankshaft journals, and run with a full-flow oil filter.  Copper-lead does not have embedability like Babbitt,  and neither does aluminium, though engines have been satisfactory and reliable with Aluminium alloy connecting rods running directly on the journals.   I understand that Catepillar ran aluminium bearing shells for years:  (We had a very early D8 at the family sawmill in the mid 1940s,  but I was too little to be involved with it personally.  That D8 still survives,  a friend has it here and two others similar;  but Phillip told me that one has a single digit serial number).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

The first 2500 Model T's in the fall of 1908, and the first part of 1909,  did not have Babbitt in the Block as Mr. Saxton has stated. Trying to tin a cast iron Block, is not need, or desired. The problem of trying to tin  cast, is that it is very porous, and as you bring it up to temp., the oils, cleaning solutions ect., start coming out of the cast, and I will tell you, nothing sticks to dirt. The other thing, on a newly machined Block, that must be  heated to 600 to try to tin, this is not good on newly bored cylinders. 

 

Lead Babbitt pours  at a way lower Temp. then Tin, and is no good for engine bearings, as it will not take the higher engine

R.P.M's. There are some Babbitt shops using it today, because it is way cheaper then Tin base, and a lot easier to pour. Have your shop show and tell you what they use.

 

There's no  kind of tinning flux that will tin a Aluminum Rod. Those kind of Rods have about a  1/8th inch Babbitt thickness wall. Or they are a Aluminite that is cut to run on the crank, with out Babbitt, that works very well.

 

The Aluminum type rod that will take Tinning is known as Lynite. It can be Tinned, and poured, because that type of Aluminum is a Aluminum, Copper mix, and the tinning will stick because of the copper.

 

As Mr. Saxton stated, and a very good point is Rod bolts can damage an Aluminum Rod, if you don't have, or forget to put on the flat steel machine washers that are in the picture of the Aluminum Rod.

 

I will list some pictures. One is the Spin caster, one is the pouring pots, Fully Temp. Regulated.

 

The two bars of Babbitt are Lead babbitt, and the other is Tin, the Lead is dark .

 

Thanks,

 

Herm.

 

 

  

Lead and Tin Babbitt 003.jpg

Lead and Tin Babbitt 006.jpg

1927 Aluminum Rods, and Mains, Franklin 009.jpg

133_3311.jpg

133_3312.jpg

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I am sure that quote I made about lead-base having a higher pouring temperature was from an English Hoyt Metal book.  We might both be partly right, because melting temperature and pouring temperature possibly vary according to different proportion of constituents.   One odd alloy, "woods metal", is potentially useful in antique car restoration, for a purpose and process that was used during the war here.   Chamberlain brothers were very versatile engineers.  They were required to make some quantity of radiator cores for aircraft of square honeycomb core pattern.   What you would do today,  if you had access to the design parameters for impact extrusion  tooling; ( and had, as I have now, a Eurospark electric spark erosion machine, and a suitable Impact press),  would be to extrude the square tube, cut to length, and expand the ends to give clear water passages.  They cast myriads of pieces of the correct internal shape in woods metal electroplate these formers with copper to the desired wall thickness, and re-cycle the woods metal by melting it out in hot water..    That spin-casting device would be ideal for thin-wall bearings cast directly into A model Duesenberg connecting rods. The reason Duesenberg started to do this for their racing engines is recorded as the discovery, after some bearing failures,  that the bronze bearing shells softened close to the failure temperature of the bearing metal itself.   Apparently Bugatti discovered the same thing about the same time:  But he was interested in using rollers for main and big end bearings, without realising the his rollers, which had large diameter with respect to their their width, were noisy and did not track accurately compared to the needle roller bearings which were used more quietly and successfully  by Velocette and others.

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20 hours ago, herm111 said:

Post 1934 thinking, I Think not!   The correct year would be 1950.

 

Herm.

 

Wrong...Herm......while 1950 was a very good year  ( I saw it with the original cast )...it was not the first year for "insert" connecting rod bearings.   By 1935,  the concept was becoming industry-wide, with some exceptions, such as Chevrolet and Buick.    Someone with real, legit, accurate info. will have to correct me... for Buick I believe it was 1952 production , for Chevrolet 1954.

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10 hours ago, SaddleRider said:

 

Wrong...Herm......while 1950 was a very good year  ( I saw it with the original cast )...it was not the first year for "insert" connecting rod bearings.   By 1935,  the concept was becoming industry-wide, with some exceptions, such as Chevrolet and Buick.    Someone with real, legit, accurate info. will have to correct me... for Buick I believe it was 1952 production , for Chevrolet 1954.

What I was talking about was precision inserts. We pour inserts all the time, That is one thing I know is Bearings. We pour many rods these days that were inserted, but replacements just can't be found, or  in the size needed for the crank size. There were a lot of engines made such as Waukesha, Buda, Continental, that had there engines in much stuff. John Deere started inserts in 1950 in there Rods, but they still had Thick Brass Mains until 1954. 

 

We also pour Precision main  inserts that are not available anymore. There is still a lot more car engine Rods that were poured solid, give or take 1950. It also did not take 53 years for me to find that out.

 

Herm.

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12 hours ago, herm111 said:

, That is one thing I know is Bearings. We pour many rods these days that were inserted, but replacements just can't be found,

 

Sorry that my comments could be interpreted as interfering with your business.   I apologize for suggesting that there are companies today who can make ANY connecting rod for ANYTHING manufactured EVER on Planet Earth,   made in such a way one can use "off-the-shelf" modern "precision insert" type con rod bearings.   Clearly you "know" far more than Planet Earth's automotive industry, which abandoned the earlier technology.

 

As a side-note, let's not be too tough on earlier engineering.   These guys weren't dumb - they did the best they could with the technology they had to work with. 

 

Cable/mechanical brakes ?   What choice did they have ?  Wasn't till technology developed durable seals could we mass-produce and use hydraulic brakes.

 

Low compression motors with (by today's standards)  absurdly low compression ratios.  What choice did they have ?   How do you get mechanical energy out of low octane fuel unless you have a longer stroke ?

 

Dinky little small-diameter crank pins ?   What choice did they have ?  The larger diameter the crank-pin,  the higher its surface speed.  The faster the surface speed of the bearing, the more heat.  The higher the heat, the faster the bearing material will fail.

 

Absurdly "low" final drive ratios that guarantee rapid engine failure at higher road speeds ?  What choice did they have ?  First of all, look at the condition of roads prior to the 1930's.    At what speeds did people drive then....at what road speeds did they need the power of those long-stroke motors.  Add to that the annoyance in shifting gears in the "pre synchro" days.  Sure....with practice you can get pretty good at it....but the less shifting, the more saleable a car.  The lower the rear axle ratio,  the less shifting necessary ( again...assuming the low speeds of pre 1930's roads).

 

Cars whose bodies were framed in WOOD,  on which relatively small pieces of sheet metal were nailed and/or screwed on ?  What choice did auto makers have until the mid 1930's,  when more advanced steel that was more "drawable" combined with better stamping techniques,  allowed for larger shapes with more curves.....

 

Bottom line...correct...those "good old days" weren't so good....but did they have a choice ?

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2 hours ago, SaddleRider said:

 

Sorry that my comments could be interpreted as interfering with your business.   I apologize for suggesting that there are companies today who can make ANY connecting rod for ANYTHING manufactured EVER on Planet Earth,   made in such a way one can use "off-the-shelf" modern "precision insert" type con rod bearings.   Clearly you "know" far more than Planet Earth's automotive industry, which abandoned the earlier technology.

 

As a side-note, let's not be too tough on earlier engineering.   These guys weren't dumb - they did the best they could with the technology they had to work with. 

 

Cable/mechanical brakes ?   What choice did they have ?  Wasn't till technology developed durable seals could we mass-produce and use hydraulic brakes.

 

Low compression motors with (by today's standards)  absurdly low compression ratios.  What choice did they have ?   How do you get mechanical energy out of low octane fuel unless you have a longer stroke ?

 

Dinky little small-diameter crank pins ?   What choice did they have ?  The larger diameter the crank-pin,  the higher its surface speed.  The faster the surface speed of the bearing, the more heat.  The higher the heat, the faster the bearing material will fail.

 

Absurdly "low" final drive ratios that guarantee rapid engine failure at higher road speeds ?  What choice did they have ?  First of all, look at the condition of roads prior to the 1930's.    At what speeds did people drive then....at what road speeds did they need the power of those long-stroke motors.  Add to that the annoyance in shifting gears in the "pre synchro" days.  Sure....with practice you can get pretty good at it....but the less shifting, the more saleable a car.  The lower the rear axle ratio,  the less shifting necessary ( again...assuming the low speeds of pre 1930's roads).

 

Cars whose bodies were framed in WOOD,  on which relatively small pieces of sheet metal were nailed and/or screwed on ?  What choice did auto makers have until the mid 1930's,  when more advanced steel that was more "drawable" combined with better stamping techniques,  allowed for larger shapes with more curves.....

 

Bottom line...correct...those "good old days" weren't so good....but did they have a choice ?

I will leave this at your enlightened opinion. It kind of sounds to me like maybe your Mom slaps you up beside the head when you bring up the word Babbitt, that you despise  so much.

 

I am sure glad the hundreds of customers we have, which are 95% machine shop engine  builders, have a different opinion, then you.

 

I do not have, and have never had a problem with Precision inserts, I have installed many, in the 50's, 60's, and 70's, we pour them also from, time to time, but you've got a lot to learn about Babbitt. 

 

Like I said, we have never had a bad Bearing!

 

I Done,

 

Herm.

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Herm,

 

Thank you for all the info you've posted about babbitt and what's involved in babbitting bearings. Very informative and enjoyable.

 

And thank you for continuing to provide a valuable service to the old car hobby !!!!!

 

Paul

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21 hours ago, herm111 said:

I will leave this at your enlightened opinion. It kind of sounds to me like maybe your Mom slaps you up beside the head when you bring up the word Babbitt, that you despise  so much.

 

Be assured I agree that from what I have seen, your shop does competent, quality work.   Sorry you confused my comments to the point where you think I despise anything or anyone in here !

 

The automobile industry supplied many millions of cars that ran many millions of miles prior to the adaption of "precision insert" connecting rods.   But that was then.

 

I have no quarrel with those who are certain their pre-war cars will only be operated on show grounds to move from the trailer to the display area,  or if they are absolutely convinced their pre-war car will only be operated at the road/engine speeds for which it was designed.  For that application,  "poured babbitt" connecting rod bearings will work just fine.

 

The comments of some of you are in error if you think "precision insert" style connecting rod bearings are somehow cheaper and/or easier to produce than a "babbit" job.    If you are seriously interested in the issues related to the industry wide adoption of "precision insert" rod bearings, I recommend going to the SAE ( Society Of Engineers ) site - they have an outstanding library of their articles.   While these articles are written by legimate automotive engineers,  most  of those articles were deliberately designed to be understood by laymen.  

 

I hope I mis-understood what I read elsewhere in this thread - that some think it is an acceptable shop practice to pour ordinary babbet - to fill the void,  in a connecting rod bearing that was originally set up for "inserts".   Babbitt  that thick, in the place of an engineered insert, is an invitation to disaster.   For the simple reason that when the Babbitt is that thick,  it cannot transfer the loads of service without eventually cracking up and flacking out..    (From what I know from personal experience,  having to help people out who have made that mistake....the average life of a poured Babbitt job on a 1935 - 1939 Packard V-12 connecting rod,  was around 1,800 miles before destructive rod  bearing failure.).

 

The automotive industry was not happy with the additional expense and complexity of going to "precision insert" connecting rod bearings.   It had no choice for obvious reasons established by changing driving speeds &  the laws of physics which do not change!.    Those of you who think you can substitute what you want to believe,  for  that of qualified  automotive engineers,  are doing a disservice for whoever winds up with a motor you worked on.

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On ‎9‎/‎15‎/‎2017 at 3:04 PM, JV Puleo said:

Herm,

What about the thick bronze shells many expensive cars used? I'm thinking here of the RRs I've worked on, all of which had removable shells but they were much thicker than a modern insert bearing.

 

You are correct.  Worked fine for many years ( provided the car was used according to the road speeds for which it was designed). 

 

But that was then.,    The owner/operator manual of the Rolls Royce Phantom III  ( their 1936-1940 passenger car V-12)   uses typical British "tact" to suggest one not "push their luck" with sustained high speed driving....!    I do not speak or read German well-enough - so I can only quote what I read somewhere that Damiler-Benz had a similar warning for its Mercedes line.

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3 hours ago, SaddleRider said:

 

I recommend people use our forum to benefit each other with helpful information.   Using the Internet to act out personal vendettas because you disagree with someone is not a helpful practice.

 

Yet you knew exactly who I was talking about. Hmmm...

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3 hours ago, SaddleRider said:

 

Be assured I agree that from what I have seen, your shop does competent, quality work.   Sorry you confused my comments to the point where you think I despise anything or anyone in here !

 

The automobile industry supplied many millions of cars that ran many millions of miles prior to the adaption of "precision insert" connecting rods.   But that was then.

 

I have no quarrel with those who are certain their pre-war cars will only be operated on show grounds to move from the trailer to the display area,  or if they are absolutely convinced their pre-war car will only be operated at the road/engine speeds for which it was designed.  For that application,  "poured babbitt" connecting rod bearings will work just fine.

 

The comments of some of you are in error if you think "precision insert" style connecting rod bearings are somehow cheaper and/or easier to produce than a "babbit" job.    If you are seriously interested in the issues related to the industry wide adoption of "precision insert" rod bearings, I recommend going to the SAE ( Society Of Engineers ) site - they have an outstanding library of their articles.   While these articles are written by legimate automotive engineers,  most  of those articles were deliberately designed to be understood by laymen.  

 

I hope I mis-understood what I read elsewhere in this thread - that some think it is an acceptable shop practice to pour ordinary babbet - to fill the void,  in a connecting rod bearing that was originally set up for "inserts".   Babbitt  that thick, in the place of an engineered insert, is an invitation to disaster.   For the simple reason that when the Babbitt is that thick,  it cannot transfer the loads of service without eventually cracking up and flacking out..    (From what I know from personal experience,  having to help people out who have made that mistake....the average life of a poured Babbitt job on a 1935 - 1939 Packard V-12 connecting rod,  was around 1,800 miles before destructive rod  bearing failure.).

 

The automotive industry was not happy with the additional expense and complexity of going to "precision insert" connecting rod bearings.   It had no choice for obvious reasons established by changing driving speeds &  the laws of physics which do not change!.    Those of you who think you can substitute what you want to believe,  for  that of qualified  automotive engineers,  are doing a disservice for whoever winds up with a motor you worked on.

S. R., When Babbitt was first poured out of a ladle in the 1800's, the biggest cause of Bearing failure was Tinning properly, and adhesion, and that includes, Temperature, Temperature, Temperature,  many of the shops today, do not have Temperature Regulated Babbitt Pots, and even I could not pour, with out them. That Is Still True Today. Just because somebody has bought some machine shop Babbitting Equipment, and hangs out a Babbitting here sign, does not make them a Babbitter, by any stretch, of the Imagination!

 

You, and Your friends experience with a Packard V-12  has no Baring on Babbitt bearings in General, what so ever, that are done correctly. There are many factors that contribute to bearing failure, and as I said, the biggest one is Poor Workmanship, or as we say in the business S&%# Work!!!!!!!!!!!!    LOL.

 

By our records, it has shown we have  done 8, V-12  Packards over the years, 1 in the last  two years, and the other about 5 years ago. All the 8 were good to go. You have to ask, why did your friend have trouble, I know!

 

The second one is Rod Alignment. There is not a Rod Boring Machine in the world, including one made new Today, that will machine a rod in, Perfect  Alignment. That is why Alignment Machines,  and Rod Presses were made, and that was about 2,800.00, and a 1,800.00 investment over 40 years ago. A Rod that is out of Alignment will blow a Rod quick as anything, and even can make, if real bad a lot of noise, and there is no way to fix it with out Alignment I think there is about a 99% chance your Rods were never checked for alignment, or a good job done on them, and I shall not tell you why.

 

One thing here, there is always a lot of discussion on piston slap. and it normally centers around the pistons, as what kind to use, and what the clearance it should be. Well, neither has anything to do with piston slap.

What causes piston slap, by a 100% is ROD ALIGNMENT!  The only thing you can do to the piston,  is have the right clearance, the right ring gap, and balanced, a long with the Rods and Pistons, while not being Assembled on the Rods of course.

 

A bad thing to do with any engine, either warn, and triple when cold, is Rev at Hi RPM's. Speed shifting at High RPM's and missing the Gear will also blow a Rod bearing, even with Modern inserts, I might add.

 

Babbitt  that thick, in the place of an engineered insert, is an invitation to disaster. "END QUOTE"

Mr S. R.this single statement of yours lets me know that you know nothing of Babbitt Bearings to compare to Modern Bearings.

A normal Packard, Babbitted rod in the early 1930;s had a machined wall thickness of about .0.030 thousandths at standard Bore. A .020 thousandths under Rod  would have added to that .020 to make a .050 wall on a Babbitt Rod.

 

Now your 1935 to your 1939 Rod wall thickness in a Packard insert is .052 to .056 thousandths, depending what year. So a .020 thousandths Rod insert would be .072 thousandths thick, get it.

 

I have no idea what is meant by ordinary Babbitt, I have never seen any.

 

Tin base Babbitt, at 88, to 89 percent Tin will only compress 2% at 14,000 pounds, on a 1" square piece, and that is a long way off of what a  Packard could make.

 

The last thing is Timing. This single thing has Blown rods from the Model T , on up. It can make Rods change Holes!

 

So in closing, as they say, I am in no way saying that I think you are Ignorant of the Facts about Babbitt, I am just saying every thing you know about  Babbitt Bearings, is  wrong.

 

If our bearings didn't hold up, we would have been out of business 50 years ago!

 

Have a good one if you can,

 

Herm.            

 

 

Pictures on Piston Slap, and 1937 Packard inserts rods they couldn't find bearings for their size of crank.

 

  

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8 hours ago, SaddleRider said:

 

You are correct.  Worked fine for many years ( provided the car was used according to the road speeds for which it was designed). 

 

But that was then.,    The owner/operator manual of the Rolls Royce Phantom III  ( their 1936-1940 passenger car V-12)   uses typical British "tact" to suggest one not "push their luck" with sustained high speed driving....!    I do not speak or read German well-enough - so I can only quote what I read somewhere that Damiler-Benz had a similar warning for its Mercedes line.

I thank that warning comes with every car. Who in there right mind runs a  antique car at top speeds at prolonged times. If you are in that much of a hurry, take your modern ride.

 

Herm. 

Edited by herm111 (see edit history)
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5 hours ago, SaddleRider said:

 

I recommend people use our forum to benefit each other with helpful information.   Using the Internet to act out personal vendettas because you disagree with someone is not a helpful practice.

I Agree, and also is very helpful in dispersing Misinformation.

 

thanks,

 

Herm.

 

 

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Herm, any comments on burnishing the rods? In our shop we do mostly high end big CCCA cars, and unlike most people we drive our cars. I used babbit on my 36 Pierce twelve twenty five thousand miles ago. We run at modern highway speeds, and with the stock gears and factory overdrive we have never had a problem. We also use babbit in the high rpm engines of Stutz, WO Bentley, Duesenberg, etc. In the U.K. Someone is marketing a "high pressure" or "high compression" rated babbit. Are you familiar with it? I agree 99.9 percent of ALL antique automobile problems are quaility of workmanship issues. I'm my past 40 years of building pre war engines, I have only found two type of babbit shops............ones who do great work, and all the others that seem to be uninspired and have the it's good enough for an old car mentality. The last set of rods I had done were returned to me, I inspected them, and them sent them out to someone who's workmanship I trust. I had been told the guy I sent them to first did decent work..........WRONG! Fact is that the good shops today are very busy, and the ones who can get to the job right away always seem to have quaility issues. I was in a hurry, and it cost me two months and 1500 dollars in wasted money. I knew better, but was in a hurry, and I got poor results. Seems when it comes to babbit I have to relearn this lesson every 12 to 15 years......"..Ed

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When we rebuilt the engine in the 1935 Auburn 851 we found one of the main bearing shells to have delamination of the poured bearing in its shell (it had caused only minute damage be being loose and pounding edges of the delaminated bearing material a little bit, though fortunately bearing was pretty contained and car had a hardened crankshaft which I attribute to preventing any real damage).  The response from the current engine rebuilder was "this was probably the last bearing poured and often such is the case as the temperature of the last one is too cold when someone does not really understand bearing technology or is not use to doing larger sized engines with that many main bearings").

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1 hour ago, edinmass said:

Herm, any comments on burnishing the rods? In our shop we do mostly high end big CCCA cars, and unlike most people we drive our cars. I used babbit on my 36 Pierce twelve twenty five thousand miles ago. We run at modern highway speeds, and with the stock gears and factory overdrive we have never had a problem. We also use babbit in the high rpm engines of Stutz, WO Bentley, Duesenberg, etc. In the U.K. Someone is marketing a "high pressure" or "high compression" rated babbit. Are you familiar with it? I agree 99.9 percent of ALL antique automobile problems are quaility of workmanship issues. I'm my past 40 years of building pre war engines, I have only found two type of babbit shops............ones who do great work, and all the others that seem to be uninspired and have the it's good enough for an old car mentality. The last set of rods I had done were returned to me, I inspected them, and them sent them out to someone who's workmanship I trust. I had been told the guy I sent them to first did decent work..........WRONG! Fact is that the good shops today are very busy, and the ones who can get to the job right away always seem to have quaility issues. I was in a hurry, and it cost me two months and 1500 dollars in wasted money. I knew better, but was in a hurry, and I got poor results. Seems when it comes to babbit I have to relearn this lesson every 12 to 15 years......"..Ed

I Agree with you Mr. ED, on all your points.

 

1. Burnishing, this process was used in the 20's, and some of the 30's. In the Model T days, Ford dealer ships had machines that run cranks in engines that they had just Babbitted. They tightened the crank in the main bearings, and the machine turned it until the  mains, squealed, smoked, and a Guy standing there trying to oil the bearings, until you could turn the shaft. This was called, "Burning in Bearings" and that is what it done, but then your bearings were wore out, as  the few thousandths of the bearing surface, has been Compromised.

 

Then K. R. Wilson came along in 1916 with a Ford Transmission Reaming Fixture that would  Ream the transmission Bushing quick, and in perfect Alignment with the drums. So, he got his foot in the door with Ford , and later on built,  ( I am getting there ) all of Fords Dealership Tools.  Wilson made Babbitt tools, later on, to pour, Align Bore, and then Align Ream. He showed Ford how much more Superior that was to Burning in. Later on the people that were making the Burning in tooling, changed the name to Burnishing to not sound, quite so Harsh. So in my Opinion  it would do nothing good, and I don't know how it would improve anything, to the good.

 

The term  "High Pressure Metal" has been used since the 1920's, and up to Present Day. It is a term used for Tin Base Babbitt.  Some people use it like, they have something Special, nobody else has. LOL.  Some Formulas, as Grade # 2  in one Babbitt Co. calls it Government Genuine, sounds Important, but has nothing to do with the Government.

 

We use Grade # 11 some times, and Grade No. 2 half the time. They are very close in Formula, that a man running for his life would not notice!

A lot of bearings we have sent in for rebuild had been replaced with Lead Babbitt, and there are some shops using that today, and also a mixture of.

 

Tin Babbitt has a 14,000 pound compress at 2% on a 1 inch square piece.

 

If a Bearing is built, and is done right, at way high speed, it just doesn't pound out. The first thing is oil failure, then you get a soft  bearing surface,  clearance will widen, and bearing will pound out, or explode, but is that the fault of a Babbitt.

 

Here are some pictures of a 1908 Aplex, Two Cycle engine we done a while back.

 

Thanks,

 

Herm.

 

 

 

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Herm, what in your opinion is the highest compression ratio you can run on a long stroke pre war car without ANY concern with babbit issues. Is 7.5 to 1 safe? Enclosed is a photo of a popular tool the English use on their WO Bentley and Bugatti builds. This process is done cold, they take a rough cut, and put the roller burnishing tool in it to "pre crush" or compress the babbit before they take their finish cut. They are bumping up the compression and spinning these long stroke motors very fast. The feet per second pistion speed and valve float start to become problems. You shop set up looks very nice, and the work sure looks first rate. Interesting two stroke motor, a local collector has a 1910 Atlas 60 horse power two stroke car. It's quite a handful to drive, but is a very interesting power plant. Do you have an opinion on reusing old babbit? I know some shops do, but I'm not entirely convinced it's a good idea.

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23 hours ago, John_Mereness said:

When we rebuilt the engine in the 1935 Auburn 851 we found one of the main bearing shells to have delamination of the poured bearing in its shell (it had caused only minute damage be being loose and pounding edges of the delaminated bearing material a little bit, though fortunately bearing was pretty contained and car had a hardened crankshaft which I attribute to preventing any real damage).  The response from the current engine rebuilder was "this was probably the last bearing poured and often such is the case as the temperature of the last one is too cold when someone does not really understand bearing technology or is not use to doing larger sized engines with that many main bearings").

First, to comment on your bad shell, or delamination. You didn't say if it was from the shell, or the Babbitt, but your engine builder was right, to Cold, we see this all the time with newly rebuilt bearings, that are sent in with less then a 100, 1,000, and even 20,000 thousand miles on. If it came loose from the shell, the cause could also be bearing not clean. If it is Babbitt, from Babbitt, and leaves a seam, the second Babbitt was not hot enough to melt into the first, each other.

 

If you see anybody taking a torch, after a new pour, and melting all the holes, dirt, and wrinkles in the face of the bearing to cover up all the screw ups, Beware, all those imperfections go all the way to the shell, as I have shown in one of my posts. They can be hide, but it will come back to Roost on you.

 

When bearings are poured, on matter if you have 1, or a hundred, the jig has to be heated, to the correct temp., with each pour.

There are many variables, to have a good pour.

 

1.The tinning, and pouring pots have to be Temp. controlled, as I have said, even I can't pour with out that. The tinning pot has to be set with in a area of 40 degrees, Plus, or  minus. If 10 degrees colder, the tinning pot Babbitt will be pimply to the look, and sluggish on the shell. If 10 degrees hotter, it will burn the tinning off instantly. So the Temp. is checked each day in the pots.

 

2. The shells, your pouring, have to be bare metal clean, as nothing sticks to dirt. There are many videos on u-Tube depicting Babbitt being poured. There may be, but I have not seen a shell cleaned to bare metal. I have seen them use hand grinders that if slipped could make a mess out of the part line, and will not clean into deep grooves in some shells, and you should never remove them either. Some are tried to be cleaned with small belt sanders, not very effective either, for the same reasons. Many bearing shells are not cleaned at all. They are melted out the babbitt, and the flux put on, and scrubbed with a acid brush. It will look so nice tinned, but what they have done is tinned over the carbon that was there, so the Babbitt sticks to the tinning, but will not stick to the carbon, so it fails. That is why some people say Babbitt is no good. It would be like buying a new tire and get a nail in it, so you have it fixed, and the patch came off, and so the conclusion is, tires can't be fixed, you have to keep buying new ones.  LOL.

 

Pots, and Jigs have to be close to each other, as a ladle holding a coffee cup of Babbitt, will can drop 350 degrees in 30 seconds. You should not pour out of the first ladle full if longer then a 10 seconds, you should  dip again.

 

Heating Jigs, and shells,  to get ready for a pour is also a deal breaker. The videos I have seen,  most of the time, use a cutting torch, a rose bud, or a big heating tip. All I will say here, is you don't do it that way.

 

Also a lot of the Jigs you see, were  made for small shops that poured Lead Babbitt. Tin base Babbitt, Jigs need heavy heat holding pour machines, because the shell has to cool first, not the mandrel.

 

The old trick of holding a pine stick in the Babbitt until it chars is maybe all right for wood saw bearings, but tells you nothing for auto bearings, and it was used only for lead Babbitt, not tin base, as that Temp. would make the stick explode with fire.

 

OK, I will shut up now.

 

Thanks,

 

Herm.   KohnkeRebabbittingService.com 

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23 hours ago, edinmass said:

Herm, what in your opinion is the highest compression ratio you can run on a long stroke pre war car without ANY concern with babbit issues. Is 7.5 to 1 safe? Enclosed is a photo of a popular tool the English use on their WO Bentley and Bugatti builds. This process is done cold, they take a rough cut, and put the roller burnishing tool in it to "pre crush" or compress the babbit before they take their finish cut. They are bumping up the compression and spinning these long stroke motors very fast. The feet per second pistion speed and valve float start to become problems. You shop set up looks very nice, and the work sure looks first rate. Interesting two stroke motor, a local collector has a 1910 Atlas 60 horse power two stroke car. It's quite a handful to drive, but is a very interesting power plant. Do you have an opinion on reusing old babbit? I know some shops do, but I'm not entirely convinced it's a good idea.

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I would think 7.5 to one would be alright.  On the Ford Barn the Guys talk of 5 to 1, up to 8 to 1.

In the racing days, of the Model T's, with RAJO, and Gulavin, dual over head cams, and Hemi combustion chamber were said to run, 10 to 1, up to 14 to 1.

 

On that kind of burnishing tool, I am not  the one to ask. 

 

In my opinion, what they are after is a harder, in side few thousandths, next to the crank surface.  Does it work, I couldn't even guess. But you have me curious.

 

Thanks,

 

Herm.

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"herm"s shop should be complimented for their combination of excellent machine work, coupled with a good understanding of bearing material.   

 

If "herm" is telling us he has had success in using "poured Babbitt" in a 1935-1939 Packard V-12 connecting rod,  my suspicion is those folks do not drive their cars the way I drive mine....!  ( as a side-note,  mine still has its "factory-original"  copper-lead "precision inserts"....160,000 miles so far,  still get 20 lbs oil pressure  at idle after an extreme speed run at extreme speeds  ( 55 lbs at anything much over a fast idle....!).

 

A word of caution for those overhauling Packard V-12's.  As herm notes,  rod alignment is critical. 

 

Another word of caution - the piston clearances specified by Packard are WRONG !     Way too tight !    Yes, correct for the precision steel-strut pistons Packard used in new car produciton ( their advertising term was "Auto-Thermic" - simply a sexy way of describing the fact that the internal steel strut in the piston controlled expansion, permitting a tighter and thus quieter-when-cold piston). 

 

These days,  all we have available is cast aluminum (or forged if you can get that done)  aluminum pistons, which have a much wilder rate of expansion as they heat up.    Ever seen a Packard Twelve trying to crank over when it is "hot"?  Sad to say..seen so many that will barely crank over because their modern "slug" pistons have expanded to the point where they are "dragging".    If you happen to see mine, it spins fast and starts right now.  Hot or cold.   That is because when I bought pistons ( cant recall now whether they are Jahns or Egge...heck that was a few years ago.....!)  I fit em "loose as a goose".     When the motor is "cold-soaked" you can hear a wee bit of piston noise until they get some warmth and thus start to expand.

 

Herm is incorrect about warnings of extreme speed driving.  As I noted earlier, Rolls and Damiler had to be concerned about it - but Packard did not - needed no such warning.  Well...let me qualify that.   Their attempts to make "poured Babbitt" work for the sustained higher speed driving possible as roads improved in the early 1930's....didn't work.  Finned rod bearing caps....full-flow higher pressure oil filters & cooling...all great ideas.  It wasn't until the introduction of the "precision insert" rod bearing introduced  for 1935 production could you run a Packard wide open as long as you wanted, with no risk.  That is exactly what Packard did in an advertising "stunt" for an auto show in late '34.   Filmed the famous 25,000 mile "wide open" test of one of their cars, averaging over 90 mph. ( interesting...they picked their smallest-engine product to do that....a "off-the-shelf"  1935 Standard Eight (320 cu in)  sedan.).

 

As much as I admire the quality and resourcefulness of herm and his shop,   there is no way of denying that world-wide, the auto industry gave up years ago on the cheaper but less durable "poured Babbitt" method for connecting rod bearings.  

 

I would have no reservations, if it ever became necessary,  to have  herm's shop do my main bearings in my Packard V-12.   As for con rod bearings,  have to disagree with him - I would stick with the "precision insert" concept.  True,  it would be more expensive - as some of you noted, the "inserts" we used to do Packard V-12's in the 50's even the 60's and 70's,  are now obsolete - so I'd have to have Crower or some entity like that duplicate my connecting rods in a way they'd except some present-day off-the-shelf  "insert".

 

 

Edited by SaddleRider
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On ‎9‎/‎19‎/‎2017 at 5:27 PM, edinmass said:

Herm, what in your opinion is the highest compression ratio you can run on a long stroke pre war car without ANY concern with babbit issues. Is 7.5 to 1 safe? Enclosed is a photo of a popular tool the English use on their WO Bentley and Bugatti builds. This process is done cold, they take a rough cut, and put the roller burnishing tool in it to "pre crush" or compress the babbit before they take their finish cut. They are bumping up the compression and spinning these long stroke motors very fast. The feet per second pistion speed and valve float start to become problems. You shop set up looks very nice, and the work sure looks first rate. Interesting two stroke motor, a local collector has a 1910 Atlas 60 horse power two stroke car. It's quite a handful to drive, but is a very interesting power plant. Do you have an opinion on reusing old babbit? I know some shops do, but I'm not entirely convinced it's a good idea.

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Mr. Edinmass,

 

I have had  time to think on the Burnishing. This is still my opinion,  but I can't see where it would do any good. As you say, they put grooves, or probably threads, and then role down the Mountains, into the Valleys, in an attempt to, in reality Peen the Babbitt, like we do in a cast iron block. What Peening does is push the .001 thousandths of gap between the Babbitt and wall, caused from the shrinking away from the cast iron block, and push it back to it

But all that would be affected with the burnishing depth, would only be how deep the valleys of the grooves are, maybe a .020 wall at best.

How would a compressed .020 wall thickness help any thing for higher R.P.M.'s. The rest of the  Babbitt still would  be unchanged.

If you try to compress Babbitt, on a Tinned shell, you will brake it loose from the shell.

 

I will put in some pictures.

While I am on the pictures. If anybody doesn't like that many pictures, let me know, as I can cut back with the Visual Aids.

 

There are 12 pictures of the spinner, and cam bearings we pour all the time.

The rest are of a Model A Ford that was poured, Peened just off of molten, and then Align Bored.

 

Thanks

 

Herm.

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