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Old 04-11-2018, 06:37 PM   #1
Nosetime
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Default Lesser of two evils..cracked main babbit or used replacement?

Gentleman, I need some experienced engine builder advice. Save the "rebuild it", I know what is best practice, but I need to get some miles out of this engine before a complete rebuild. I posted my question a while back and some of the best here agreed to just run it, without to high of expectations. But, this weekend I bought 3 rear mains with one that has good babbitt...for $5. It looks like shelf wear scratches and very solid. I did not clean it up so the pics are as found. It appears to fit the crank very well, so my question. Would you try and use this instead of the cracked one? My thought is to assemble with prussian blue or something, Give it a few turns..carefully fit, then spec carefully on assembly. I assume this has been done before?
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Old 04-11-2018, 06:45 PM   #2
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Default Re: Lesser of two evils..cracked main babbit or used replacement?

Ford sold pre finished caps, fit it and put it together
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Old 04-11-2018, 06:49 PM   #3
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Default Re: Lesser of two evils..cracked main babbit or used replacement?

Kurt, any advice on the fitment? BTW, I noticed the picture makes it look worse than it is. I will be thrilled if it works, as the rest of my engine is looking pretty good. Thanks, Greg
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Old 04-11-2018, 07:48 PM   #4
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Default Re: Lesser of two evils..cracked main babbit or used replacement?

you need to keep in mind that the crank main could be std. .010,.020,.030 or more so replacment main cap needs to be the same.
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Old 04-11-2018, 07:57 PM   #5
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Default Re: Lesser of two evils..cracked main babbit or used replacement?

Yes, Bill I thought the same thing. But, would the proper original that is broken, be better than a "close enough" replacement? Again, my expectations would be realistic either way. Would there be a way to spec out what I have to help the decision? I'm runnin' one or the other either way.
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Old 04-11-2018, 08:06 PM   #6
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Default Re: Lesser of two evils..cracked main babbit or used replacement?

I'd also fit it and run it. Shim to get .0015" clearance. If the diameter is correct, then you shouldn't be able to move the main left and right against the block more than .0015". If you can move it 10 or 20 thousandths, then you need to find a better fitting main cap.
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Old 04-11-2018, 08:19 PM   #7
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Default Re: Lesser of two evils..cracked main babbit or used replacement?

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Originally Posted by Bill Pursel View Post
you need to keep in mind that the crank main could be std. .010,.020,.030 or more so replacment main cap needs to be the same.
Those are the standard sizes for undersized inserts. For babbit, they can be anything. One of the things I like about babbit is that a reconditioner can grind the shaft just enough to clean it up, then bore the babbit to suit. Only the bare minimum is removed from the journals. If the cap the OP has is an originall Ford replacement, what you say may be correct but otherwise, there is a good chance it is not.
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Old 04-11-2018, 08:32 PM   #8
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Default Re: Lesser of two evils..cracked main babbit or used replacement?

Greg, you did not mention if you have shims on that main, but why not install a few shims and then a small piece of plastigage, tighten down the cap and then remove it and check for clearance and repeat with less or more shims if needed. Would not take long. That looks like a nice cap. Just my 2 1/2 cents.
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Old 04-11-2018, 09:09 PM   #9
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Default Re: Lesser of two evils..cracked main babbit or used replacement?

I agree with ZZ...Ernie
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Old 04-11-2018, 09:36 PM   #10
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Default Re: Lesser of two evils..cracked main babbit or used replacement?

By fitting, put the crank in and spin. High spots should be shiny chect fit. Bit of an art to know what to do next, but if the crank turns tight and the clearance if good then you need to bring down high spots. I am not very experienced at it so I do not dare go further. Obviously you will playing with shims at the same time to get the fit.

FWIW there are special babbitt scraping tools. You may have to make due with a knife edge.
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Old 04-11-2018, 10:09 PM   #11
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Default Re: Lesser of two evils..cracked main babbit or used replacement?

I dont care for plastigage,especially if your fitting a cap like this..the reading the plastigage gives is too narrow for fitting. Id use aluminum foil,Ford used a red lead compound to read the entire face of the bearings,not just the 1/8" the plastgage reads. Its important to figure out what kind of babbit the caps you are considering to use have.Model T US grade 2 babbit is hard and will take a sharp knife to shape,stock model a babbit is way softer,and easier to shape.

Aluminum foil ,heavy duty folded is about .002,use a mic to set. Cut foil for full width of the bearing shell,install the shell and torque it.remove shell and 'read' the foil.Make a bearing knife and scrape the bearing to fit. Impression fluid like Ford used is good as well,it will tell you where you need to concentrate with the knife..patience is key,cut,fit and check,repeat till you hit the sweet spot.002 to .0025. Grade 2 babbit is harder to dress with a knife,A babbit cuts easy.Take you time,hand fitting babbit takes time and patience,its the method Ford mechanics used.

Its important to do all work using .030 shims,that way when its fitted you get full life out of the bearing..but dont worry if you remove a shim or two to make up for overzealous knife work,it happens.Babbit wears about .001 per ten thousand miles or so,so losing a shim or two fitting will still give good life.So many neglect to properly check and maintain their bearing clearances, with the engine in the car its hard dirty work..but necessary for full engine life.

Last edited by Railcarmover; 04-11-2018 at 10:16 PM.
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Old 04-12-2018, 06:57 AM   #12
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Default Re: Lesser of two evils..cracked main babbit or used replacement?

Thanks to all. The engine is completely disassembled on a stand. Kevon and Rails method is about what we had figured. Thanks for the nicely described instructions! ZZ, yes of course we will shim everything correctly. I am finally at the end of a year of parts collecting, cleaning, fixing and info gathering! We are doing the Tardel rear frame step this week and frame is ready to be blasted/painted and start putting it all back together! The engine is ready to be assembled. I am really happy to have found that main, the broken one would have bugged me everyday, now maybe I can drive it for some time before a complete rebuild.
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Old 04-12-2018, 06:58 AM   #13
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Default Re: Lesser of two evils..cracked main babbit or used replacement?

Railcarver. Any suggestion on making the babbitt knife? Thanks, Greg
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Old 04-12-2018, 07:47 AM   #14
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Default Re: Lesser of two evils..cracked main babbit or used replacement?

Hardest steel you can get your hands on..german kitchen knife,wood chisel..Ford mechanics made them out of old files. Sounds like the engine is out on a stand,nice,it makes the work easier.Test your replacement cap first,if its oversize it will be tight at the parting line(edges) so you'll most likely be working the edges first. Here's to hoping you roll a 7 on the comeout,that the cap you scored for 5 bucks fits on the first fit up.DONT FORGET THE SHIMS!!

Once you are done you can polish the babbit and take out micro abrasions with the BACK of a piece of emory cloth.

The biggest part of the job is you,get frustrated? back off,this is time consuming tedious work,I spend time on ergonomics..no hunched over squinting to see stuff..

If all else fails you can run that cracked one,polish it up good,fill the cracks on the thrust with epoxy..if the cracked chunk is still adhered to the cap..
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Old 04-12-2018, 08:21 AM   #15
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Default Re: Lesser of two evils..cracked main babbit or used replacement?

Scrapers show up on eBay fairly regularly.

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Old 04-12-2018, 08:34 AM   #16
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Default Re: Lesser of two evils..cracked main babbit or used replacement?

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Originally Posted by Railcarmover View Post
Model T US grade 2 babbit is hard and will take a sharp knife to shape,stock model a babbit is way softer,and easier to shape.
Not to get off topic but why would Ford have used much softer babbit in the Model A?
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Old 04-12-2018, 06:23 PM   #17
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Default Re: Lesser of two evils..cracked main babbit or used replacement?

Ok guys, for those curious. There are plenty of Babbit scrapers on ebay and some great videos on youtube. I am ready for this! Thanks again to railcarmover, I will use your suggestions.
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Old 04-12-2018, 06:53 PM   #18
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Default Re: Lesser of two evils..cracked main babbit or used replacement?

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Ok guys, for those curious. There are plenty of Babbit scrapers on ebay and some great videos on youtube. I am ready for this! Thanks again to railcarmover, I will use your suggestions.
And plenty of time. It's a slow, arduous process. Patience is a must, as has been said.
A little Prussian Blue on the shaft, test fit and turn. Dismantle and scrape away the transferred blue and repeat till you have a good contact.
Keep the coffee coming!
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Old 04-12-2018, 08:42 PM   #19
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Default Re: Lesser of two evils..cracked main babbit or used replacement?

I just did this. I used a bearing scrapper and I used a red sharpie as my marking. I used platigauge to get it to .0015. I broke the slinger seal groove on my original rear main and the one I found was for a .010 under crank mine is stock. It took 5 hours of scrapping you will get about 1/12 to 1/20th of a thousand per scrap and only in a very small area. But it works. I make a quick grid on the bearing with the marker. set the cap on and if its .010 under it will have gaps but as you get close the gaps will close then after some more it will free up under torque. then you have continue to get your clearance. A good vise that will hold your work at a comfortable level is a must for 5 hours of bearing scrapping.

If you can make it happen with shims try shims first.

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Old 04-12-2018, 08:45 PM   #20
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Default Re: Lesser of two evils..cracked main babbit or used replacement?

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Not to get off topic but why would Ford have used much softer babbit in the Model A?
Umm, Ford didn't use softer babbitt then grade 2.

The copper makes it harder and hotter to pour. The 2 stuff is just what is easy to get and works ok. You have to have a large batch made to the Ford spec if you want the original numbers. At least that is what we have found trying to source the correct babbitt for our own cars.

Babbitt grades
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Old 04-12-2018, 11:45 PM   #21
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Default Re: Lesser of two evils..cracked main babbit or used replacement?

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Not to get off topic but why would Ford have used much softer babbit in the Model A?

Ford used 86-7-7, in his Model T's, A's, and Model B's. If any one has lead in there motor, it has been replaced. During the war, the government had most of the Tin, so bearing builders had to use lead.


If Plastigage does not work for you, its not being used correctly.


Just about all Bearing Manufactures in the U.S. used Grade No.11, Grade 2, and Fords are all right, But Fords is dirty to machine, because of the amount of Antimony used.


Ford said, a 1 inch square of there Babbitt compressed to 14,000 pounds, would only compress, 2%, and that is way over what is needed. The proper clearance for a Model A shaft is .001-60 to not over .002-10


When a bearing has been adjusted down .006 thousandths, it is about time for new Babbitt any way, as the time gears are closer, and after you scrape, is even worse. The rear main will leak more, as the clearance up and down may be right, but the sides will always be standard, or what ever the hole size was when the new Babbitt was put in.


I built 3 engines for a Howard Kittleson in Mn. in the 80's some time. Two Model t's, and one Model A. His 1927 T Roadster went on the AK. tour. There is a lot to tell, but I will make it as short as I can. When he got back, he had 18,000 miles on it and wanted the mains and rods checked. I pulled a.001 shim out of each rod, and stuck the engine, so I had to put them back. Done the same with the mains. He run the car wide open all the time. I told him to use 30 Wt., but he said he used 10-30 Wt., What could I say, NOTHING.


If you have Babbitt that is wearing, better check, and see why. The shaft should not be touching the Babbitt, it should be setting on oil molecule.


I have a few pictures of failed main cap, and showing what happened. I will put the first set on of what a original Ford Babbitt job looks like. The failed caps are of builders, we all know, and love.


Herm.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Model T & A Main Caps that failed, after New Babbitt Jobs. 003.jpg (58.9 KB, 73 views)
File Type: jpg Model T & A Main Caps that failed, after New Babbitt Jobs. 005.jpg (49.4 KB, 70 views)
File Type: jpg Model T & A Main Caps that failed, after New Babbitt Jobs. 007.jpg (63.6 KB, 68 views)
File Type: jpg Model T & A Main Caps that failed, after New Babbitt Jobs. 009.jpg (40.9 KB, 66 views)
File Type: jpg Model T & A Main Caps that failed, after New Babbitt Jobs. 011.jpg (58.1 KB, 70 views)
File Type: jpg Model T & A Main Caps that failed, after New Babbitt Jobs. 013.jpg (53.8 KB, 69 views)
File Type: jpg Model T & A Main Caps that failed, after New Babbitt Jobs. 015.jpg (64.9 KB, 68 views)
File Type: jpg Model T & A Main Caps that failed, after New Babbitt Jobs. 017.jpg (60.4 KB, 67 views)
File Type: jpg Model T & A Main Caps that failed, after New Babbitt Jobs. 021.jpg (58.4 KB, 68 views)
File Type: jpg Model T & A Main Caps that failed, after New Babbitt Jobs. 024.jpg (48.1 KB, 67 views)
File Type: jpg Model T & A Main Caps that failed, after New Babbitt Jobs. 025.jpg (40.1 KB, 68 views)
File Type: jpg Model T & A Main Caps that failed, after New Babbitt Jobs. 028.jpg (33.7 KB, 68 views)
File Type: jpg Model T & A Main Caps that failed, after New Babbitt Jobs. 029.jpg (55.1 KB, 67 views)

Last edited by Kohnke Rebabbitting; 04-13-2018 at 12:27 PM.
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Old 04-13-2018, 03:41 AM   #22
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Default Re: Lesser of two evils..cracked main babbit or used replacement?

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Originally Posted by Kohnke Rebabbitting View Post
Ford used 86-7-7, in his Model T's, A's, and Model B's. If any one has lead in there motor, it has been replaced. During the war, the government had most of the Tin, so bearing builders had to use lead.


If Plastigage does not work for you, its not being used correctly.


Just about all Bearing Manufactures in the U.S. used Grade No.11, Grade 2, and Fords are all right, But Fords is dirty to machine, because of the amount of Antimony used.


Ford said, a 1 inch square of there Babbitt compressed to 14,000 pounds, would only compress, 2%, and that is way over what is needed. The proper clearance for a Model A shaft is .001-60 to not over .002-10


When a bearing has been adjusted down .006 thousandths, it is about time for new Babbitt any way, as the time gears are closer, and after you scrape, is even worse. The rear main will leak more, as the clearance up and down may be right, but the sides will always be standard, or what ever the hole size was when the new Babbitt was put in.


I built 3 engines for a Howard Kittleson in Mn. in the 80's some time. Two Model t's, and one Model A. His 1927 T Roadster went on the AK. tour. There is a lot to tell, but I will make it as short as I can. When he got back, he had 18,000 miles on it and wanted the main and rods checked. I pulled a.001 shim out of each rod, and stuck the engine, so I had to put them back. Done the same with the mains. He run the car wide open all the time. I told him to use 30 Wt., but he said he used 10-30 Wt., What could I say, NOTHING.


If you have Babbitt that is wearing, better check, and see why. The shaft should not be touching the shaft, it should be setting on oil molecule.


I have a few pictures of failed main cap, and showing what happened. I will put the first set on of what a original Ford Babbitt job looks like. The failed caps are of builders, we all know, and love.


Herm.
Would that be Howard Kittleson of Blooming Prairie?
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Old 04-13-2018, 06:44 AM   #23
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Default Re: Lesser of two evils..cracked main babbit or used replacement?

Mike, I'm off to work, but I will send you a PM if you don't mind. I would like to hear more about your experience. Greg
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Old 04-13-2018, 09:54 AM   #24
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Default Re: Lesser of two evils..cracked main babbit or used replacement?

I know a fellow who had a babbitt engine done by Mike Richter of L&M Babbitt here in Denver. He drove it 35,000 miles and pulled one shim, it locked the crank.

He put shims back in and drove another 35,000 to 70,000 when it locked crank again.

Then he died and car was sold so we do not know if it is still running or not.
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Old 04-13-2018, 12:19 PM   #25
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Would that be Howard Kittleson of Blooming Prairie?



Yup, he was a Hell of a nice Guy.


Herm.
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Old 04-13-2018, 12:46 PM   #26
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Default Re: Lesser of two evils..cracked main babbit or used replacement?

I have done it o two engines both re still running great - used plaic guage to fit.
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Old 04-13-2018, 04:14 PM   #27
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Yup, he was a Hell of a nice Guy.


Herm.
He's my cousin.
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Old 04-13-2018, 06:49 PM   #28
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Default Re: Lesser of two evils..cracked main babbit or used replacement?

Just to share a PM from Marshall V. Daut with a great point, my motor with the cracked babbitt ran quiet and did not pour out oil.. I disassembled this entire engine to clean and check/reassemble, as it was parked for many years. The babbitt under the cracked main cap is OK, so with all the great advice I will try to fit the donor. Bought a really nice, vintage scraper on ebay for $25, adding my $5 for the cap and I won't have too much invested in the venture. LOL, Greg.
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Old 04-13-2018, 07:14 PM   #29
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He's my cousin.

Well I'll be darned, small world. He and Edith are missed.


I have a bunch of stuff Howard sent me, I could copy it off, I think and send it to you. I rebuilt a Model A motor for him in 1993, or 94, and they went to AK. again with four other Model A's. That story is in their home town paper.


I would put all that stuff on here, but, I have a new PC, and none of my other equipment works with it. Maybe you can do it.


Send me your address, by PM.


Herm.
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Old 04-13-2018, 09:36 PM   #30
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Default Re: Lesser of two evils..cracked main babbit or used replacement?

They make a compound to mix with engine oil. It is made to lap in a Babbitt bearing. I heard the Model T guys use it a lot. I have used it myself on the A engine. It did a beautiful job. Just wash out with kerosene when done. If any particles left in place they will not hurt anything.
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Old 04-13-2018, 11:41 PM   #31
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They make a compound to mix with engine oil. It is made to lap in a Babbitt bearing. I heard the Model T guys use it a lot. I have used it myself on the A engine. It did a beautiful job. Just wash out with kerosene when done. If any particles left in place they will not hurt anything.

It is called time saver. It can cause problems with alignment of a used crank, and Babbitt.


Herm.
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Old 04-13-2018, 11:54 PM   #32
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Just to share a PM from Marshall V. Daut with a great point, my motor with the cracked babbitt ran quiet and did not pour out oil.. I disassembled this entire engine to clean and check/reassemble, as it was parked for many years. The babbitt under the cracked main cap is OK, so with all the great advice I will try to fit the donor. Bought a really nice, vintage scraper on ebay for $25, adding my $5 for the cap and I won't have too much invested in the venture. LOL, Greg.
Good luck,post up how it comes out.
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Old 04-16-2018, 11:43 AM   #33
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Well I'll be darned, small world. He and Edith are missed.


I have a bunch of stuff Howard sent me, I could copy it off, I think and send it to you. I rebuilt a Model A motor for him in 1993, or 94, and they went to AK. again with four other Model A's. That story is in their home town paper.


I would put all that stuff on here, but, I have a new PC, and none of my other equipment works with it. Maybe you can do it.


Send me your address, by PM.


Herm.
Herm, After poking around on the internet and thinking about what you said about Howard being missed, we may have different Howards in mind. My cousin is 74, same age as me, and I don't think his wife is named Edith. I found another Howard Kittelson (note spelling 'elson', ours is 'leson') in Minnesota, in his 90's. My cousin is now living in Owatonna, MN and as far as I know, still alive. Sorry if I caused any confusion!
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Old 04-18-2018, 04:43 PM   #34
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Default Re: Lesser of two evils..cracked main babbit or used replacement?

Well, got my Babbitt tool, what a beautiful piece of art! Then it occurred to me I have the extra main caps to practice on! A few strokes on the stone and my tool was sharp. But, what I did not expect is how enjoyable...read therapeutic or stress relieving to pull a few curls on the babbitt! I really had fun getting the feel of this and am really looking forward to fitting my cap! Thanks to all for the help. BTW, I just ordered a 30-31 Brookville roadster body today. I hope scraping my own rear main babbitt will give me a pass on the new body from the Barn! Ha ha. I just could not do an original body build, but think I am staying true to the spirit of the car. I will do another post later on that whole deal! Greg
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Last edited by Nosetime; 04-18-2018 at 04:49 PM.
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Old 04-18-2018, 05:58 PM   #35
Kohnke Rebabbitting
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Default Re: Lesser of two evils..cracked main babbit or used replacement?

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Originally Posted by 40 Deluxe View Post
Herm, After poking around on the internet and thinking about what you said about Howard being missed, we may have different Howards in mind. My cousin is 74, same age as me, and I don't think his wife is named Edith. I found another Howard Kittelson (note spelling 'elson', ours is 'leson') in Minnesota, in his 90's. My cousin is now living in Owatonna, MN and as far as I know, still alive. Sorry if I caused any confusion!



Did he have, or used to have Model T's?, and go to AK. ? on a trip.






Herm.
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Old 04-19-2018, 12:40 AM   #36
40 Deluxe
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Default Re: Lesser of two evils..cracked main babbit or used replacement?

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Originally Posted by Kohnke Rebabbitting View Post
Did he have, or used to have Model T's?, and go to AK. ? on a trip.






Herm.
I don't remember hearing if he did that or not. My younger brother is farming the home place. I'll check with him tomorrow.
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