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Old 12-10-2019, 08:04 PM   #1
daren007
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Default Babbit vs Inserts

I read somewhere you should not run inserts unless you have a pressurized oil system. Any help here?
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Old 12-11-2019, 09:10 AM   #2
jhowes
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Default Re: Babbit vs Inserts

I don't know the answer to your question, but I have read the same thing. My model A has run for 90 years with the babbit, why change and invite new types of problems? Jack
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Old 12-11-2019, 09:35 AM   #3
dennis lumbert
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Default Re: Babbit vs Inserts

There are many ,many members on this forum who have driven 10s of thousands of miles with inserted engines.Opinions will vary and lots of disscussions on this if you do a search.
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Old 12-11-2019, 09:36 AM   #4
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Default Re: Babbit vs Inserts

There are a few conversations on this topic that a search should bring up. I think a lot of people go to inserts because pouring babbit correctly is becoming a lost art. That being said, if you find someone that does good babbit work, I would take poured bearings over inserts on a stock engine.
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Old 12-11-2019, 09:56 AM   #5
Mike Peters
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Default Re: Babbit vs Inserts

A fellow club member ran 30,000 miles on an insert motor and it started to knock. The surface of the insert rod bearings failed.
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Old 12-11-2019, 09:57 AM   #6
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Default Re: Babbit vs Inserts

I should add that this was a stock motor, non pressurized.
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Old 12-11-2019, 10:08 AM   #7
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Default Re: Babbit vs Inserts

I have one of each and both are driven hard. Last Year, I took my inserted engine to Bert's Model A to have some stuff checked and everything was fine. It was built in 1985 and it was built using Kabota tractor inserts. That engine was run at 3500 RPM on a dyno and the babbited engine was run on the same dyno at 3200 RPM. These engines produced 60 and 59 horsepower at the rear wheels respectively. Neither engines have a pressure oil system.



Quite frankly, I don't think that it makes a bit of difference based on my observations. However, I'm a firm advocate of having A engines balanced by a professional machine shop.




The Durango-Silverton Narrow gauge railroad has a facility in town to do babbit pouring. Someday I'm going to ask if they would do a Model A engine.
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Old 12-11-2019, 08:22 PM   #8
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Default Re: Babbit vs Inserts

It will work either way . I prefer babbit . Babbit bearings can be adjusted by removing or adding shims between the connecting rod and rod cap . Insert bearings only have a thin layer of babbit where they meet the journal of the crankshaft and are not shimmed or adjustable . Babbit is softer than steel . If the thin layer of babbit wears off the insert ,. steel on steel will wear out very , very quickly . It has been said that insert bearings can be used with dipper cap oiling . Pressure oiling would be better and last longer but costs more !!!

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Old 12-12-2019, 11:17 AM   #9
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Default Re: Babbit vs Inserts

Ok fine, but how many are running a filter system too that have inserts? Just saying that you got X miles with them but not including the fact you do have a filter installed is only telling part of the story.
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Old 12-12-2019, 11:39 AM   #10
denis4x4
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Default Re: Babbit vs Inserts

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Ok fine, but how many are running a filter system too that have inserts? Just saying that you got X miles with them but not including the fact you do have a filter installed is only telling part of the story.
Had an Affordable filter on the side plate and cut it open twice and there was nothing! When ever I drop the pan, I run a magnet through the residue and again nothing! Been doing Model A’s for 30+ years and have come to the conclusion that too many people overthink the issues. BTW, sold the filter here on the ‘barn. I use 10-30 Castrol high mileage oil and change it every 1000 miles on both cars.
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Old 12-12-2019, 01:52 PM   #11
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Default Re: Babbit vs Inserts

The key of this discussion is the quality of the work done by a MACHINE SHOP.

Yes quality shops are not cheap but are worth it in the long run. Our X31 engine started to knock an found some babbit flakes. The engine was gone through in 1996 with over 40,000 touring miles. It is now back at the same shop and the original machinist is doing it. He had all the records from the rebuild in 96. Impressive!
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Old 12-12-2019, 05:38 PM   #12
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Default Re: Babbit vs Insert

Quote:
Originally Posted by denis4x4 View Post
The Durango-Silverton Narrow gauge railroad has a facility in town to do babbit pouring. Someday I'm going to ask if they would do a Model A engine.
Sounds like an interesting idea you have.

We have the Orange Empire Railway Museum in Perris, Ca about 20 miles from my house. They have a shop to restore and maintain the old engines and trollies in their collection. There is also a railroad museum in San Diego.

Likewise, I may stop by to find out if they can pour Babbitt.

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Old 12-12-2019, 05:57 PM   #13
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Default Re: Babbit vs Inserts

In my most used Model A, a 1929 Phaeton, I run inserts with just the middle one pressure fed at 25 psi. It has an oil filter on the side cover and an air filter, 5.5:1 head, downdraught carburettor and mild touring cam. I have put about 40,000 miles on it towing a camper around the outback. I am just now staring to hear the bottom end pounding away under full throttle so I will soon be pulling it down and doing whatever I think it needs. I expect to find the middle main bearing worn but considering the miles it has done and how they have been done, I am not complaining.
I have a friend who does similar trips towing a camper behind his 1928 Chev with babbit bottom end. He carries a spare con rod with him and adjusts the mains every few thousand miles. Clearly, my inserts have stood up to the demands better than his babbited engine.
PS Re oil change. I watch the instruments and when I see the oil pressure droping for the usual 50mph and 180F, I change the oil. That is a regular 3,500 miles using the cheapest oil out there.
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Old 12-12-2019, 09:47 PM   #14
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Default Re: Babbit vs Inserts

I have a motor that I don’t know who built it but it is inserted and this last weekend we did a parade and somewhere in the motor or trans noise started and a slight knock. The motor would not idle and either the alternator bearings or throw out bearing is going out. I am planning in the near future on pulling the motor and trans and take them apart to check everything out.
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Old 12-13-2019, 07:22 AM   #15
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Default Re: Babbit vs Inserts

Quote:
Originally Posted by denis4x4 View Post
I have one of each and both are driven hard. Last Year, I took my inserted engine to Bert's Model A to have some stuff checked and everything was fine. It was built in 1985 and it was built using Kabota tractor inserts. That engine was run at 3500 RPM on a dyno and the babbited engine was run on the same dyno at 3200 RPM. These engines produced 60 and 59 horsepower at the rear wheels respectively. Neither engines have a pressure oil system.



Quite frankly, I don't think that it makes a bit of difference based on my observations. However, I'm a firm advocate of having A engines balanced by a professional machine shop.




The Durango-Silverton Narrow gauge railroad has a facility in town to do babbit pouring. Someday I'm going to ask if they would do a Model A engine.
Denis, what have you done to the engine to get 60HP?
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Old 12-13-2019, 08:05 AM   #16
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Default Re: Babbit vs Inserts

From reading multiple posts on the subject it seems that babbit tends to fail more gradually than inserts. If you hear a babbited engine making noise there is probably time to tighten things up before damage is done to the crank whereas if you hear an inserted engine making noise it is already too late.


My personal experience backs this up. My old engine had failing mains and rods, flaking apart, chunks missing, etc. As bad as it looked and sounded, the crank only needed to be polished before being used in the new engine. I was very happy the rods and mains could be kept at .010 under.
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Old 12-13-2019, 10:55 PM   #17
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Default Re: Babbit vs Inserts

If there is no damage to the crank can the insert bearings just be replaced?
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Old 12-13-2019, 11:11 PM   #18
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Default Re: Babbit vs Inserts

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If there is no damage to the crank can the insert bearings just be replaced?
Yes and usually without removing the crank shaft.
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Old 12-13-2019, 11:12 PM   #19
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Default Re: Babbit vs Inserts

Add me to the not true gang.
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Old 12-13-2019, 11:31 PM   #20
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Default Re: Babbit vs Inserts

I removed and replaced the insert main bearings in my 1951 Massey Harris Tractor without removing the crankshaft but that was a continental four cylinder engine .
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Old 12-14-2019, 04:55 AM   #21
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Default Re: Babbit vs Inserts

It’s a little hard to adjust end play in a Babbitt engine. I can change crankshaft in my engine easily with inserts, and adjust end play.
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Old 12-14-2019, 07:12 AM   #22
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Default Re: Babbit vs Inserts

I'm a firm believer of checking clearances on stuff when working the bottom end. The only way to do that is to remove the crankshaft. The other question would be whether or not oversize bearings are available with inserts. Cranks wear too and they have pretty small journals at stock size.

Folks mention Locomotive repair shops and ability to pour babbitt. Steam engine, large industrial engine, and old sea going vessel engine repair facilities generally all have some babbit pouring capability but they do the big stuff that makes model A engines look like tinker toys. Any one can melt babbitt and pour it but a person has to have the tooling and experience to do the Ford model T & A engines. There are a lot of things to know when re-babbitting them that differ greatly from the large stuff.
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Old 12-14-2019, 11:29 AM   #23
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Default Re: Babbit vs Inserts

Wish I lived closer to Bert's
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Old 12-14-2019, 11:41 AM   #24
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Wish I lived closer to Bert's
Ever think of moving?
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Old 12-14-2019, 01:45 PM   #25
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Default Re: Babbit vs Inserts

At what rpm are these industrial engines etc. running at?
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Old 12-14-2019, 06:01 PM   #26
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Default Re: Babbit vs Inserts

It depends on the application. Large engines are usually low rpm engines with huge connecting rod and main bearings. The Cooper Bessemer's my brother used to work on ran around 150 rpm but they had a 12 foot diameter flywheel. You could crawl through the cylinders.

Here is a link to a type 26 running.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b78BELn8U2M

Last edited by rotorwrench; 12-14-2019 at 06:06 PM.
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