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Who knows anything about babbitt bearings? Never had a car with babbitt before. I have a 1940 Buick, but it has a '53 engine. I rebuilt a '50 Dodge Coronet, no babbitt. '54 Oldsmobile Rocket 88, no babbitt. Countless other cars, never even heard of babbitt.

 

Now, I'm doing a 1918 Buick 6-cylinder. I dropped a piston today and the babbitt looks like these pics.

 

So, all the babbitt experts can tell me what do you think of the state of repair of this 100 old babbitt. I see some small gouges, but no scrapes and no thinning or roughness and it's all smooth. But I'm no expert in fact I know absolutely nothing.

 

All 4 of the original shims are there and there is no looseness at all.

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Depends on if you plan on driving the car.  If you are going to look at the car, then put it together.  If you plan on driving/touring with the car, get all the mains and rods rebabbited.  Old babbit will get brittle and break up.  Ask me how I know.  Been there, done that.  Just had the rods in my truck redone last week because of an oil line failure.

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Those bearings look pretty good. They will give good service if the car is driven as intended. If you are going to push it beyond that you may want new ones.

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When I did my rebuild for the 1940 it was cheaper to machine the rods to take insert bearings. I'm sure in the US though you could find someone who rebabbits rods much cheaper then what in was quoted. 

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Morgan, 

    Here is an idea on the cost to rebabbitt in 2018.  Babbit work was done in California.  Line boring and crankshaft regrind was done 1 hour away in Houston to save on shipping a crankshaft and block.  They unfortunately never asked so, no shims were installed on the crank mains prior to the line bore, so I have none to remove later if I wanted to.   Connecting rods do have shims.     

$ 852      Babbit on 4 main bearings  

$1022     Babbit the Connecting Rods

$30               Shipping to California from Texas

$41               return Shipping

$225              Regrind crank shaft (1 hour away)

$385              Line bore the block   (1 hour away)

$100              Shop fees and tax

-------------------------

$2,655    

If the babbits plastigauge as good, and the surfaces are good, I would consider to run with it.  This is your call though.  Cleaning the engine out and adding fresh modern oil will make a world of difference.  It depends on the extent that you want to do the car and if you are willing to risk $3,000 that the engine is going to be OK.  I was of the opinion that when you rebuild an engine, you do all of it.  Now with the cost of babbiting getting so expensive, you have to really inspect what you have and make a determination.   Hugh

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I think the bearings and journals look good. Just plastigage them for correct clearance and you'll be OK.

I would never use thin shell insert bearings on a splash lubricated engine.

One of the nice things about the way thick babbit and splash lube work is that if you loose lube and develop a knock you can shut the engine down before any scoring occurs. A thin shell bearing would score the journal immediately.

 

As a big car collector friend once said,

"everybody knows where to start a restoration - very few know where to stop"

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Morgan,

 

   I agree with Don.  The babbitt looks to be in good condition.  I think if you go to the local auto parts store and purchase some "plasti-gauge" ,probably about $5,

and verify current clearance  you will find everything to be ok.   Give everything a good cleaning,  adjust clearances to about .003/.004".

 

  If you haven't yet, go to regresspress.com and get yourself  a reprint copy of the Buick 1918 Six Cylinder Instruction Book.

 

  There are youtube videos of plastiguage usage if you are new to that process.

 

Good Luck

Glenn Manes

Wheat Ridge CO

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Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, Glenn Manes said:

 I agree with Don.  The babbitt looks to be in good condition.

I also agree.  Just remove one shim at a time and recheck with plasti-gauge until it is right.

 

20 hours ago, Roger Barrett said:

Those bearings look pretty good. They will give good service if the car is driven as intended.

Roger pours babbitt and knows his stuff.

Edited by Mark Shaw (see edit history)
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While the pan is off, clean the oil distribution tube and the galleys that flow oil to the mains.  Also check the retaining bolt for the  wrist pins.

 

I wish the babbit on my 1917 looked that good.  I've got about 100 miles on mine since I reshimmed the bearings.  You should be good to go.  

 

Bob Engle

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, Glenn Manes said:

Morgan,

 

   I agree with Don.  The babbitt looks to be in good condition.  I think if you go to the local auto parts store and purchase some "plasti-gauge" ,probably about $5,

and verify current clearance  you will find everything to be ok.   Give everything a good cleaning,  adjust clearances to about .003/.004".

 

  If you haven't yet, go to regresspress.com and get yourself  a reprint copy of the Buick 1918 Six Cylinder Instruction Book.

 

  There are youtube videos of plastiguage usage if you are new to that process.

 

Good Luck

Glenn Manes

Wheat Ridge CO

 

This is not the correct clearance.

 

0.001 inch total clearance per inch of journal diameter is standard practice.

 

Edited by Brian_Heil (see edit history)
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7 hours ago, Brian_Heil said:

This is not the correct clearance.

 

0.001 inch total clearance per inch of journal diameter is standard practice.

Brian is 100% correct.

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The first thing is to check the crank pin size. Measure up and down, and then at a Quarter turn. Then across the pin, from one side to to the other. If over a 1/2 to 3/4 of a thousandths, the crank should be touched up. So what ever the desired clearance would be, say, on a 2 inch pin .002 thousandths, your actual clearance would be .002-75. you always have to fit to the largest diameter.

 

Check the rods for cracks, gap between the babbitt thrust and the rod. 

Having all the shims, is a Plus!

By all means, have the rods checked for alignment, twist, Bend, and Off-Set.

 

Most old GOOD shim pieces are is .002 thousandths increments, the cheaper ones, as today are in .003 thousandths pieces.

 

So, if you have .003 thousandths pieces, first only remove one shim from side one side, if it is to tight, leave the .003 out, and put in the .002, and if that is to tight, take out the .002, and replace, with a .001. square foot sheets of .002, and .001, are sold in Mc-Master-Carr.

 

I don't know your bolt size, so I won't say the torque.

 

If you use Plastigage, do NOT use it dry.

 

Your rods are still factory, with Tin base Babbitt, another Plus.

 

If usable, the crank pins should be polished.  But the biggest concern is the 100 years of grit in the engine that is going to go through the bearings when you run it. 

 

These are 1930 Buick, Rods, and Mains.

 

Well, I have told you more then I know.

 

Thanks,

 

Herm.

 

 

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I'd think the chances of your crank being less than  .0005" to .00075 (right amount of zeros) out of round or tapered is pretty close to zero.

 

However, perfection is optimal.

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Plastigage and run with it....worst case you re-visit it later if you find yourself running  the car hard.

 

On my first 16 d35..I had to babbitt as the main bearing babbit was cracked

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I recently used Harkin-Arcola in MN for the babbitt on my 1915 C-25 project (center main was falling apart in chunks).  Excellent customer service.  I used Fastenal's shipping service to get crankcase from ME to MN and back.  Made a sturdy box for it bolted to a pallet and had no issues.

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This is the crankshaft on my spare engine (1918 six cyl 242)

 

Looks like the babbit is in great shape, if anybody wants a crankshaft with good babbit I offer a U-pick-it service, just give me $200 and you pick it.

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