has anyone used the gene french main bearing babbit mold kit he sells. i just saw it in the classified section on the website here. My uncle and I have a few blocks the need to be done, and wonder if it is worth the 100 dollar investment?
You need the whole kit to do a main bearing job which is about $1000. The molds work good as does the boring tool if you take your time.
where can i find more info about this mold kit? did google gene french with no lead. tia, john
Contact Gene French at firstname.lastname@example.org
Or you can call him at 1-970-613-0952
I have no financial interest in Gene's products and have never met the man.
Wouldnt it be nice if clubs could pool together and buy a setup to do their own blocks and save some funds over the years?
I relize there are some reputable folkes offereing these services but to me carrying on the knowledge and know how and saveing some money on this type work should be worth it.
I remember my dad pouring the babbit bearings for the sawmill when i was a kid.took 2 trys but it sure did work and saved him money even back then over the cost of new main bearings for the mandrel.It was done in 76,kept oiled,and still yet no shims need removeing.
The idea sounds great, Mack, but the reality probably is that there is a learning curve involved in pouring babbitt and machining it. What I would guess would happen is that one of the guys would put the work and time into learning how to do it and suddenly be doing free babbitt work for the other guys who would be -- more than likely -- unhappy if it wasn't a perfect job guaranteed for a zillion miles. There is quite a bit of equipment needed to pour and bore and do a good job even with a "Kit" like Gene's. I've never used his setup but I looked it over at Chickasha last year and it sure looks like it would work. I would guess, tho, that the first or second or third job is going to get done over because of voids, chill spots, etc. As I said, there is a learning curve. I have a K R Wilson combination machine, which is more fool proof than Gene's appears to me to be and I've poured a few engines for myself and one for another guy but from my viewpoint there is more to it than meets the eye and I have a long ways to go to be confident of them coming out right every time. I don't think anybody is going to get a perfect job on the first one no matter what equipment they have.
I have the complete system for pouring bearings and line boring. This has been used on 2 engines. The first engine I did is still waiting for final assembly and the second engine has run about 1000 miles over Colorado mountains with no problems. When I checked the bearings several weeks ago, no degradation or need to remove any shims. Of course, I was fortunate to have Gene guide me through the work on first engine. Doing these 2 engines paid for the system. Since I have more engines to do, this turned out to be a good way to go. It takes about 1 1/2 hours to prep and pour the babbit on the block and caps. It takes about 2 more hours to line bore it out. Much of that time was spent talking to Gene as I learned how to do things. I expect if I did several in a row, it would go quicker as I became more proficient.
Only additional cost over Gene's system is the cost of babbitt, a palmer pot to melt it (sportings goods store), and some temperature sticks to ensure engine is at the right temperature (425 degrees) from heating with a gas torch.
I have no financial interest in this system (other than my savings using the system) but I do know Gene since he is in our club.
Pardon my ignorance, but wot's a "palmer pot" ?
I think it's a pot used to melt lead for pouring fish sinkers but I'm not sure.
I think one of the big advantages of using Gene's system is that he offers tech support like Robert mentioned. You still have to have a drill motor sufficient size to turn the cutter bar, you have to have some kind of a torch--to melt the old babbitt out of the block and caps, you need some way to cut the thrust surfaces, etc. I would guess that most people who feel confident enough in their ability to pour and bore engines already have a pretty good shop and wouldn't have to buy anything more of consequence to get started. As with anything, there might be a few things later on that you would want to add. As I said, it looks like a good system to me for the money and the fact that he will walk you through it the first time or two makes a lot of difference.
K R Wilson used to advertise that a mechanic could pour and bore an engine in an hour. Of course, they didn't pour caps, they assumed you were going to buy the caps from Ford, they were pretty cheap, four bits for the main cap and 35 cents each for the front and center. I suppose if you were doing them all day long you could do it that fast but it took me pretty much all day to do the last two I did. Now it has been so long since I did them I'd have another learning curve. Incidentally, if I were wanting to get into this, I'd buy one of French's sets instead of trying to build the setup shown in one of the books unless I had a good machine shop and didn't have to pay to have any machining done. Just my opinion, others have, will and probably should vary.
Correct on the Palmer Pot. Used for melting lead used for sinkers, bullets, etc. It heats things up to about 800 - 900 degrees. Contains about 1 cup of material. The pot itself has the electric heater so things do not cool down when you lift it to do a pour.
A standard 1/2" drill is sufficient to drive the boring rod. No real torque needed. Just the ability to hook to the boring rod. A smaller drill could be used but you would need an adapter for the boring rod shaft (1/2").
Other things used were simple files, sandpaper, level surface to ensure caps had flat ends, bearing scraper, timesaver compound, micrometers, etc. I agree a pretty good shop would have most of these items or they can be picked up cheaply in various auctions.
STAN i have one of Gene's machines and added the speed and feed mechanism from an extra kwik-way machine i had along with the micrometer dials for cutting the thrust flanges and a hand crank i don't think it needed the modifications but they were a neat little addition and a lot faster and easier to set up than my other kwik-way machine is.RAY
I'd sure like to see a picture. I think you have about 100 years more experience at this than most of us. Maybe you could license your improvements to Gene? Never know.
When I was rebuilding the engine and transmission in my 23 last year, I bought a book titled "Rebuilding the Model T Powerplant" by Vic Zannis. In this book, Mr. Zannis devoted three chapters to building molds and a line boring machine as well as detailed instructions for pouring and boring the mains. As it turned out, I had the mains done at Schwalms Bearing Service in Strasburg Pennsylvania, but I thought the rig Mr. Zannis described was fascinating. Later on, I sent for a brochure from Gene French and found his rig to be very similar. Has anyone built one of Vic Zannis's machines, and if so, how did all turn out. Incidentally, I found Vic's book to be invaluable throughout the project, and reccomend it highly.
Joe Calloway or anyone:
I'm interested in obtaining a copy of the book Joe mentioned (Rebuilding the Model T Powerplant). Did a quick search on Amazon, nothing. Where can one obtain a copy. Thanks: Byron
I bought an early Gene French Model T boring frame unit in 1990.
We built a block support table and used a Tobin Arps self contained hydraulic feed works to provide the horizontal feed for the align boring fixture. I was unimpressed with the horitonzontal feed works unit.
I found French's boring frame fine except that the end of the bar was was short of the end bearing when boring the final bearing. I reported this to Gene in writing to Gene and never received and answer
Ron the Coilman
Byron, Lang's has them, probably the other vendors also.
What is Vic Zannis' machine?
Byron, I found this on msn search, send 23.50 to vic zannis at model T power plant, 735 montgomery highway, suite 337 n, vestavia hills , al 35216. hope this helps, I'm going to send for a copy too. Keith B
I built the unit in Vic Zannis's book and have done three engines with it. I have three more to do in the next year. Right now I am working on a special jig to hold a dial indicator for setting the cutter height. I have been boring the bearing shooting for zero clearance and then lapping it in with time saver to get the .0015. If you aim for .0015 and end up with .003 you ain't gonna like it much. By aiming for zero if you get .0005-.001 it isn't a big deal and the remainder will lap in fast. The modification to make the third main a 360 thrust surface is in my opinion easier to do than trying to face the cap only. It should hold the end play correct as long as you own the car too.
Doug and Keith.
Vic's Machine is a home made pouring and line boring fiixture. Vic describes how to build it in great detail. It can be powered by a 1/2 drill and is similar in operation to the Gene French setup. One of these days I'm going to make one. Anyone with access to a lathe and a Bridgeport could build it, and it's actually fairly simple. I got the book from Lang's, and found it to be a my main scource of info when I was doing my engine and trans. Well worth the price of the book.
GARY search around some older auto machine shops and look for the micrometer from a kwik-way align boring machine it straddles the boring bar and the micrometer can be set and locked directly over top of the cutter and then the cutter advanced and locked to the cutter hieght you set on the micrometer it's nice to have the block raised above the table surface so you can hold the mic.with your left hand and come up through the cylinder and adjust the cutter with your right. RAY
Our club built one of the Zannis machines. I did 4 engines with it. It is very hard to set up. I then bought a Gene French machine which is many times faster and better. I have done 4 engines with his rig. If you are going to build the Zannis machine you should still buy Gene's molds which will give you a better job.
I find the micrometer harder to use.
I use a dial indicator set up like the one on the right in Dean's photo. Makes it easy to find the tip of the cutter and set it up.
Thank you for your intrest in my babbitt bearing and linebore products.my classified advertisements appear on the classified section of our club site,for a free promotional flyer and info. packet please call or e-mail with your mailing address.
I will give a brief history of my product evloution.
I have been building and selling these items since 1979,advertising mainly in Hemmings.
My early product line included the main and rod bearing molds for Model T,A ,B,and early V-8 Ford,mainbearing linebore unit,connecting rod boring fixture,"X" oil groove cutting fixture,connecting rod alignment fixture.My current products are limited to the linebore unit and bearing molds for model T and A mainbearings.
The mainbearing linebore unit has been refined in 3 stages .
Type 1 linebore frame was a ductile 80 cast unit,weighing over 115 lb.total.
Type 2 linebore frame was also a ductile 80 cast unit.I modified the patterns to reduce section thickness and overall length to allow compliance to the shipping requirements of U.P.S. and Fed.-Ex .Total weight of complete unit was reduced to just under 90 lb.,allowing shipment in one box.
Type 3 linebore unit is a 6061 Aluminum frame.Total weight of unit is under 50 lb..The type 3 unit is my current design.
My linebore units have always had adjustible boring bits to eliminate the need for individual sized reamers to finish the bearing bore to necessary size.
Linebore frame has always been configured to mount on both Model T and A Ford crankcases,has always included necessary false camshaft,adapter bushings,locator brackets,boring bits,toolset fixture,combination Radius/Facing bit and stopring to face thrust flanges and clearance radai.the current toolsetting fixture is a dial indicator type.
All my products include printed/illustrated instructions and my telephone (your call) or e-mail support.
I will be at the Chickasha swapmeet in March at space FJ-19,and at the Richmond meet later this summer.I invite you to stop by and inspect my fixtures on display,and ask questions.
Please introduce yourself,since i would like to be able to put a face to many of the people i have spoken to in the past.
Gene K. French
Can some of you post pictures of both the Zannis and French systems - I would like to compare and contrast.
By the way I also highly recommend Zannis' book, it has paid for itself many times over, in reference alone.