The fact that I lost a rod bearing in my í15 Runabout had me concerned about the bearings in my other cars. This bearing had just a few hundred miles on it and I suspected softer babbitt in it. I have always preferred to do my bearing fitting on upside down engines out of the car. This makes the job easier with lots of room and not having to lie under the car. But the inspection I decided to do did not allow that.
The 1909 has about 10,000 miles on it. I found the secondary radius rod to make the inspection even more difficult. I donít use Plastigage anymore. An old timer showed me how to test the fit by sliding the bearing back and forth on the journal. Easy movement means too loose. Some resistance in moving it shows it is just right. On removing one .001 thick shim from the first three rods the bearing had no movement. I concluded they probably were alright that way and number four could stay as is. It seemed to be snug still.
The Coupe has about 5,000 miles on it since making the rod journals round and fitting the bearings. However it required taking out .003 to .006 in shims from the rods. I conclude harder winter driving and fewer oil changes to possibly be the cause. This required the dreaded fourth rod bearing to be adjusted through a 3-dip pan. I elected to bolt a plate inside the pan to catch any falling nuts or cotter pins. I can sympathize with all who have done this task. There is little room for tools or fingers. Getting the fit right and the cap back on was about all I could do for the rest of the day.
The contrast between the two cars is quite noticeable. The í09 is kept relatively clean. I had to remove the protective layer of oil and dirt caked on the Coupes oil pan. However I felt a kinship with the mechanics of yore working on the Coupe. Most cars back in the day were not well kept.
Day two was spent trying to seal the oil on the pan bolts. I had tried sealers and more recently string on the pan bolts. Nothing seems to keep the oil from dripping out eventually. I remember someone commenting about how charming little bits of string were hanging from the cover. On both cars I decided on copper flat washers and plastic tube slices. Not having copper sheet I sliced open a copper tube and flattened it. Drilling, cutting and turning the pieces made what I needed. The plastic tubing was difficult to slide onto the bolts but eventually did. We will see how this works.
Two items I found useful putting the pan cover on were slotted studs to align the pan and a bolt with a taper ground on the end to push the gasket holes into the right location.
Like so many tasks this became an ordeal which I was not sure I would survive. It is more difficult to work under the car and make my muscles work like they did years ago. But the completion of a task has great satisfaction and these should be good for many more miles. One more car to check but it has a 4-dip pan.
There is a nice steel siding rubber sealing washer (5/16") commercially available - it is vulcanized to an aluminum crush washer - been using them for over 20 years - minimal, if any drips down under !
Richard, In your picture of #4 rod adjusting, showing the parts catching tray, is the tray scraping the oily film off part of the flywheel magnet u-bolt heads as you turn the crank by hand, making them partly shinny in the picture? If not they are rubbing on something else you should look for, it just caught me eye.
Ha Ha, Like the plate you made. I did one myself last year, made it a little more elaborate, and thicker as I wanted a permanent tool.
Here is the thread I did on it:
It works extremely well in my opinion. And only having to stuff minimal rags in there is a plus to me. Plus you probably won't even have to change the oil either by using the plate....but its probably a good idea anyhow.
(Message edited by Chad_Marchees on September 09, 2018)
Steve, sounds like a great item.
Kevin, thanks for the heads up. I don't rotate the engine with the plate installed. I can't imagine what made those scrapes. It doesn't make noise but I will keep that in mind.
Chad, I missed that post. I wish I had seen it before. I should have drained the oil and used rags but I wasn't going to change the oil. I did decide to change it since. It is the best time to do that with the oil removed from the cover dips.
You got a great photo of the pan in place.
I will be doing the same soon, I hear more noise than I like at higher RPMs. Fortunately I have a 4 dipper pan on my 24.
Is there any trick to checking main bearings without pulling the caps ?
I don't think they are that bad, but would like to be assured while the pan is off.
Another fortunate thing is...the old man was a collector.
I have 2 garages full of spare parts.
I heard noise from the Coupe and am glad I checked it. There is no way to check clearance without taking the caps off that I know of. It does make a lot of off and on. If the nuts don't turn freely it is even worse. The peace of mind in knowing things are right is well worth the effort.
I find little things in the shop that encourage me to keep going. Like the pretty color of the old string or a message in the Pennzoil cap. ;o)