Main Bearings Look Rough . . .

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2011: Main Bearings Look Rough . . .
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Paul O'Neil on Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - 06:40 pm:

My July of 1922 motor was supposed to have been freshly overhauled when I bought my car. The '23 Runabout was a little rough, but I thought it would make a great driver with its fresh motor.

Sadly for me, there was a leaky head gasket that went undetected for some time and was only discovered when the transmission cover was removed to adjust the bands. By this time, there was visible rust on the transmission and the drums were so rough that they quickly ate the wooden bands. We decided to take the motor out of the car and completely apart for cleaning and repair of any damage.

Outside of the bores, the motor was pretty much clean as a whistle inside, the rust seems to have been limited to the transmission. While it was down I thought it wise to have a look at the bearings and make sure all is well. It is just as well that I did as I'm far from pleased with what I'm seeing.

Main bearing No 1:








Vintage Paul


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Paul O'Neil on Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - 06:41 pm:

Main bearing No 2:








Vintage Paul


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Paul O'Neil on Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - 06:43 pm:

Main bearing No 3, welded cap:



The clearance on No 3 tapered from tight at the front to loose at the rear:




Here is the bearing surface itself:








These surfaces look horrible to my untrained eyes. Are they as bad as they look? Can they be salvaged? What is needed to repair them? What would cause this sort of damage? Were they poorly made and fitted?

Vintage Paul, rather disheartened right now


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kerry van Ekeren. (Australia) on Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - 06:59 pm:

answers, yes, no repour and machine, poor workman ship and yes.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By jack daron-Brownsburg,In. on Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - 07:09 pm:

Did you have antifreeze in radiator? Looks like it. It doesn't apear to be poor workmanship to me.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Paul O'Neil on Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - 07:10 pm:

The pan (crankcase) is off to be straightened and I'll add a new 4rth main. While the trans is out & apart I'm thinking this might be a great time to get it balanced. The taper on the 3rd main and worn 4rth might indicated the trans was not spinning as smoothly as it should have done.

This has turned from a quick cleanup to a major project, hardly what I expected on a "new" engine.

Vintage Paul


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Paul O'Neil on Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - 07:18 pm:

No antifreeze, just the white anti rust.

Vintage Paul


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By joe bell on Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - 07:23 pm:

When it was line bored there was not enough babbitt there to machine out on a couple of them caps. I would pull some shims and try to get a better fit.I am not one for that time saver stuff but I think this is one I would try to use it on.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Thode - Onalaska, WA, USA on Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - 07:27 pm:

Paul.
What is the history on this engine? If it has ran for some time like this would indicate that there is there is less cause for concern.

You have some things going for you, You have quite a bit of babbit, you have shims left and the clearances are not that bad. Maybe a little
Timesaver lapping compound (in this case maybe a big money saver) and you would be good to go.

Jim


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Richard Gould on Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - 07:35 pm:

Thats way more than timesaver will remedy.
I think its time to make arragements for a repour. Even if you remove shims from the caps and rebore you won't clean up the babbitt in the block. Hey Herm, what say ye???


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Paul O'Neil on Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - 08:30 pm:

I bought this car with a "new" engine perhaps 500 miles ago. With no odometer this is just guesswork but certainly there are very few miles. Some in the Model T club confirm that this motor was a rebuilt one that was swapped out for a sick one.

I have no idea where it came from before the "overhaul."

Vintage Paul


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kohnke Rebabbitting on Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - 08:38 pm:

You got that right Mr. Rich. No. 1 Look at the thickness of the babbitt on each side of the bearings, one side thin, the other side is thick. That means the align bore is not on the center line of the block. The align bore should be dead center of the main bolt holes, NO exception, what makes it worse, I would doubt if the crank is ground on the center line, if that is off, and or the align bore, how does, the tail shaft line up in the ball cap, or a straight pan, front seal, time gears, transmission balance off center, Ect. Joe pointed out not enough babbitt in the caps, you have to use about .030 to .050 steel shim plates, to get the right amount of babbitt. The smearing of the babbitt, is from burning in, or out what ever way you look at it. But the bearings were to tight. This is a perfact example of what happens to a bearing when to tight, and now what happens is, all the smear comes loose in the bearing, and roles through the bearing like sand, with the same amount of damage. The rear cap is a joke! You can even see there is too much end clearance. The bearings don't show any signs of Peening. Paul, if you want to have fun with your car, have it all checked, Tranny, Mag., Pistons, bore, rings, and maybe Kerry can help you with Rod alignment, sorry Kerry, only Kidding. There is also a lack of GOOD oil grooves, and oil wells. Herm.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By J and M Machine on Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - 08:55 pm:

I would recommend to go through and check every part of this engine.
I always cringe when someone says "just rebuilt" we never see the good ones only the engines that have self destructed.

I always tell the customers when they come to this stage is you're better off doing it right while it's apart now than suffer the consequences had you left it together.

Paul: do it right and you'll only complain about the price once.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kerry van Ekeren. (Australia) on Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - 09:12 pm:

Herm, 8000 miles is a long way to go to get a good job done for free, I think you will be closer, but would you offer your services for the same?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ted Dumas on Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - 09:16 pm:

If it were mine and I had it all apart I think I would start over on the crankshaft and babbitt. Get the crank magnafluxed and centers checked. It seems weird to me the the bearings seem to be angled in the block. My guess is whoever did the rebuilding did not know what he was doing. You need to check everything out, then get it re-babbited. What do your camshaft, cam bearings, valve train, rod bearings etc look like? (Answer these items for you not for me). Disassemble and check out the transmission as you originally intended. Herm is right on on this one.

Then after everything checks OK re-assemble it yourself.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Craig Sutton on Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - 09:19 pm:

Are the nylon lock nuts some new trick the engine rebuilders use?

Paul, sorry about your discovery. But since you already took the time to take it down, you might as well have it done right this time. If you do that the chances are you'll never see the inside of it again.

Craig


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Paul O'Neil on Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - 09:25 pm:

Sadly, the rest of the motor looks as bad as the bearings outside of the cam & lifters. The .060 pistons were new looking but loose and the block will need to be sleeved down to standard. Also, there were cracks in the block repaired with JB Weld or something similar.

What is a babbit job on the rods & mains going to cost? How do I choose a shop that can do the work correctly? I just want to do this once.

Vintage Paul


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Gene Carrothers Huntington Beach on Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - 09:53 pm:

Hey Paul, Take your block and engine parts over to the OC Model T club garage at Dan's place on a Thursday night and you'll get some of the best first hand advice there is and then you'll be able to decide exactly what and where to do it. They're a great bunch of guys and have a wealth of knowledge and not afraid of helping out the fellow club members. They'll even walk you thru the reassembly piece by piece on every Thursday night if you want. You won't be sorry!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ted Dumas on Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - 10:04 pm:

On your pistons what does loose mean? Aluminum pistons are cam ground so they expand to round. Have your bores and pistons measured by a competent machine shop. They might be OK.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Stan Howe Helena, Montana on Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - 10:27 pm:

That could be the worst babbitt job I've ever seen. Looks like a Saturday special with not much equipment and less knowledge.

If there are cracks and JB Weld in the block, I'd throw it on the pile and start over. There is no shortage of decent 22-23 blocks for virtually nothing. Do it all and you will know what you have. I don't know who is doing babbitt down in California but there must be somebody that knows what he is doing.

I've seen a lot of junk in blocks but had never seen that welding on the rear main cap. It looks like it is bronze. Might not be that bad a deal, hard to say without trying it.

Cheer up! It's only money!! =) Or maybe not too much money, a lot of work, a learning curve and a chance to buy some new tools. Boring is cheap, the crank may be OK, just starting over with new babbitt in a different block may not be as big a deal as you think. Machine shops don't charge a lot to work on flat motors like a T. if you ask around I'll bet there are guys in the T club in Long Beach that have boring bars and valve tooks, etc. Good luck--it probably won't be as bad as you think.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jack Putnam, Bluffton, Ohio on Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - 10:34 pm:

Your bearing are trashed and have to be replaced. The crankshaft must be checked by someone who knows what they are doing. I would trust nothing on this engine to be correct. Apparently the work was done by a shade tree mechanic in full sunlight, yet he was still in the dark!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By J and M Machine on Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - 09:41 am:

Jack: I like that comment "Shade tree mechanic in full sunlight, yet was still in the dark"


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dave Huson on Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - 11:24 am:

Stan Howe:

You may have something. Bronze on the ends of the 3rd main may be actually a good thing. One of the best babbit shops in the country advised Montana 500 drivers to do that. I know that I have pulled many motors apart that had good babbit and plenty of shims but the babbitg was simply worn too short.
WHO KNOWS. I know of more than one person that relied on the Mag, to complain about shorting out going up hill when the short 3rd main was worn to the point of letting the flywheel fack too far for the mag to work. These of coarse are motors that have been used many years.

So I guess what I am trying to say I would not critize someone that tries bronz on the thrid cam. In fact I may try it some day myself.

Herm Kohnke:
You know a lot about bearings, what do you think about bronze on the ends of the 3rd main cap?

A910


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jerry VanOoteghem on Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - 11:36 am:

My dad put a bronze end on the 3rd main in his '25 Touring. That was 36 years ago. Doesn't seem to be a problem.

(I will add that there is also no coil ring so, no magnetic attraction constantly putting thrust on the bearing.)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Paul O'Neil on Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - 01:55 pm:

I have heard good things about the Thursday night gathering of the OCMTFC. I have a regular Vintage Motorcycle night the same time and have been missing them. Maybe I might do some sort of split duty here.

Stan suggested starting again with a new block and that is a very attractive option but for a legal complication here in California. The motor number is the VIN. To change it means getting one of those obnoxious riveted AL number plates that govmnt officials install in the most visible & inauthentic place they can find. I do not want to get involved in that unless there are no other options.

Right now I'm a bit stunned by the bad news and will have to sit & think about the situation. I'm thinking a martini or three might help adjust my attitude . . .

Vintage Paul, looking for that martini shaker . . .


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Stan Howe Helena, Montana on Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - 01:59 pm:

I'd grind the numbers off and stamp the old ones on a block. You also might be able to find a block with no numbers. But----if you grind the old ones off before you take it in to the shop and have it shot peened or cooked and blasted you will never be able to tell without X raying the number boss, which most people would never do. Don't ask me how I know this works.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Stan Howe Helena, Montana on Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - 02:00 pm:

Another thing you can do is just have the shop flip the block over and mill off the number stamp boss when they are cleaning up the manifold area enough to give you a clean stamping area. Not as obvious as grinding, maybe. I wouldn't worry about it.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Thode - Onalaska, WA, USA on Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - 04:38 pm:

Paul,
While you're sipping your martini, some things to consider. Looks like you have many options.

Completely rebuild your block for a few grand. When done you may have an engine that may run for several thousand miles or maybe for a few miles if you're block, magnets or crankshaft comes apart.

Find another block to rebuild and it would likely cost a few grand and still common problems would be possible.

Put you engine in the corner of the shop and pick up a running used engine, maybe $500.

Lap you existing bearings in and run your engine. Cost, maybe $20 and a few hours. You already have proof that it will run and will not self destruct when first started. The engine would not be up the modern quality rebuilding standards but I hear time and time again of barnyard repairs lasting for years and years. It is a Model T, it will run with shoe leather bearings and will NEVER be as reliable and a modern engine.

In the meantime you could keep an eye out for a replacement engine. When it does break and ALL engines will, you will be all set to go.

Your choice.
Jim


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Wayne Sheldon, Grass Valley, CA on Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - 06:16 pm:

I was NOT going to bring this up, until you mentioned Califunny and your VIN block. Those bearings look badly done. The rest of the work is therefore suspect. But it MAY be possible to save it for low cost (if, like me, cost is a big issue).
IF the crankshaft that was in it was turned undersized enough, say .020, the main bearings in the block could be very carefully hand scraped over to the one side to bring them close enough for center. The crankshaft would have to be replaced with a near-standard crank. You want the crank before any scraping is done so it can be fitted to match. This could make them work with the timing gears, and bring it straight enough for the tail shaft. I would not recommend trying to re-fit those caps. Get new ones that hopefully are re-Babbitted correctly. About 80% of the main bearing stress and wear is in the caps, not the block. That means a marginal Babbitt pour in the caps will fail many times faster than a marginal pour in the block. I would prefer to not trust those caps. Either way, the caps would have to be hand fitted.
Piston fit, bore and valve work also need to be checked. The pistons could be expanded (knurled) if the fit is a bit loose. Other things may also be easily reworked.
I know this is what I would do if faced with that engine from one of my cars. I cannot afford to spend enough for a complete rebuild (or even half of one), even though I know it is by far the best choice. But then, I have been hand scraping bearings for more than thirty years. Contact me if you need help with it. If you were a few hundred miles closer, I'd tell you to bring it over to get started. I could show a few tricks.
Drive carefully, and enjoy the season! W2


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Craig Sutton on Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - 06:25 pm:

I want to agree with Jim but man, there are a lot of issues with that engine. If it was still in the car, all together and only had the inspection cover off, that's one thing but it's all apart and ready to be done AT LEAST a little bit better. If not much much better!

Paul, I'd recommend not making any plans until you go to a club meeting and seeing what the guys have to say. Who knows, maybe they can make it a club project and it'll be a lot less expensive yet done right.

Craig


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kohnke Rebabbitting on Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - 07:14 pm:

Ya, Dave, I don't see any problem with Brass on the ends of the rear main cap. A big percentage of the cars, and tractor main shells we do were babbitt on the shaft wall of the bearings, and had just brass, or bronze for the thrust. But in the case that the bronze if wore to much, we make up in babbitt, what is missing for end play. The only thing working with Brass is harder to do to get the crank centered where it should be, and get your, probably not over .00350 to .004 thousandths end play, no align bore cutter will cut the brass, and make it true, and it has to be a perfact 90 degrees to the shaft. If we want more wear surface, we put a thrust on the block. Herm.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By James "Mike" Rogers on Thursday, December 15, 2011 - 06:55 am:

One thing I see that has not been mentioned (I could have missed it) is there are no wells on the sides of the bearings. The wells are important since they store oil for the bearing and distribute it across the majority of the bearing. I know the shims will create a well of sorts but not in the correct shape or size. This deletion will cause oil starvation and overheating of the babbitt resulting in the wiping and scoring of the front main bearing pictured. The babbitt was poured too thin whether the mandril was too big or the babbitt too hot something caused it to be uneven and thin. I also agree with Herm, that the bar was off center when the boring was done. We call this jack leg work and only done for the money and disappear as soon as it is done or, tell the owner "the builder was just learning and it was cheap".


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bob Shirley on Thursday, December 15, 2011 - 09:11 am:

As messed up as those bearings are it's for sure proper equipment was not used. Ford called the process of cutting mains (line boreing), done with a fixture that reames all three in a line. Also if the babbitt dose not fill the mould then is's not possible to peen it properly to make it conform to the block. As Mike points out the wells are not cut in the sides of the bearings so instead of adding oil they act like scrapers to remove oil. And because brass thrust is hard and will not let trash inbed, it will score and wear the crank flange. All this is to say, sadly you need to start over and have it done right with proper tooling and material.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bernard from San Buenaventura, Calif on Thursday, December 15, 2011 - 12:51 pm:

Paul O'Neil,

the VIN can be anything and anywhere you want it to me. As a classic car dealer and collector from California I can't begin telling you how often we encountered vehicles where the original engine number was also the VIN, which turns into a problem if the original engine was replaced decades ago.

In your specific case, do NOT under any circumstances allow your vehicle to be blue-tagged with an assigned VIN. That's a deal breaker right here, makes a vehicle almost sale proof among the cognescenti.

Instead, you have 3 options that are much more viable.
1) Get yourself an earlier Patent Plate from one of the vendors, one that has a blank field for the vehicle number, stamp it with your VIN, and rivet it to he firewall. It will from that point on the number to point out when looking for the VIN.
2) Stamp your frame with the VIN. You can get a set of numbers about anywhere, including Harbor Freight.
3) Restamp you engine block. That's what all those "matching numbers" Muscle Car and Porsche freaks do on a frequent basis.

What matters for DMV purposes is that the VIN on your title is to be found on your vehicle. You've got options.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Paul O'Neil on Friday, December 16, 2011 - 08:22 pm:

"the VIN can be anything and anywhere you want it to me. As a classic car dealer and collector from California I can't begin telling you how often we encountered vehicles where the original engine number was also the VIN, which turns into a problem if the original engine was replaced decades ago."

Thanks Bernard, I went through this once before with my 1951 Chevy truck. It also had the motor number as the VIN and it was quite a frustrating process to get this changed. I do not want to do this again - let sleeping dogs lay.

"In your specific case, do NOT under any circumstances allow your vehicle to be blue-tagged with an assigned VIN. That's a deal breaker right here, makes a vehicle almost sale proof among the cognescenti."

Yes, these really interfere with the look of an old car. OK on a hot rod that has many modern bits anyway but not for a restored or original car.

"Instead, you have 3 options that are much more viable.
1) Get yourself an earlier Patent Plate from one of the vendors, one that has a blank field for the vehicle number, stamp it with your VIN, and rivet it to he firewall. It will from that point on the number to point out when looking for the VIN.
2) Stamp your frame with the VIN. You can get a set of numbers about anywhere, including Harbor Freight.
3) Restamp you engine block. That's what all those "matching numbers" Muscle Car and Porsche freaks do on a frequent basis.

What matters for DMV purposes is that the VIN on your title is to be found on your vehicle."

This is a key insight that I did not have until you pointed it out, thank you so much for it! Your first option sounds like it would work well for me. I think I already have the plate on hand just waiting for me to figure out where to put it. With the VIN stamped on it, the motor could be switched out without VIN worries.

I'm still not sure which way to go on this motor. It needs welding & sleeving, but is set up for the larger modern valves. It may be less work & expense to stay with the one I have now. I'll be getting some prices this coming week to see how the numbers work out.

Vintage Paul


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Gene Carrothers Huntington Beach on Saturday, December 17, 2011 - 02:16 pm:

Paul,

Don't neglect to get an opinion and quote from club member John Hollins machine shop. He's done many T engines including mine and has good honest knowledge. He also is very reasonable in my opinion. He is located in Orange and his number is listed in the Fliver & Flapper.

You may also send me a PM and I'll discuss a shop that I would Not recommend.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Paul O'Neil on Sunday, December 18, 2011 - 02:56 pm:

Thanks Gene, PM sent. I'm ready to move on this as soon as I can nail the best plan down that I can afford. It has been one thing after another with this car and the good times have to be in sight someplace!

Vintage Paul


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