What can I expect in quality life from NOS Wards trans/brake linings?
Best answer is run them and find out.
The cotton fibers are now very old, but if kept in good environment, they may hold. Or not.
Also, those NOS linings haven't seen heated oil either.
Removed these probably Scandi linings, from a motor without any history, but think these are old day linings. Not much wear, but these are now subject to rapid wear being old used ones.
And since the bands are so out-of-round, these linings need to be removed to round back the bands. But these aren't demountable ear bands anyway. Not worth too much at swaps.
Pat: I am installing a set of Wards linings. I asked almost the same question. Some replies were that they like them. One problem I have heard of is they are too short. When placed in my bands they were just barely long enough to reach each end and no extra. They should be too long so you can rivet each end with about a 1/8 to 1/4 inch overhang. Then still have extra to "work" the extra into the band. I took my linings and ran them through my sheet metal slip roll. By cranking them through a couple times and "squeezing" them they are now 3/4 inch too long (a good thing) It also made a nice smooth, firm,surface to the lining. These linings and also Scandinavians will ravel and produce some lint. I took the ends of the Wards bands and dipped the end into Quick Poly for about 1/8 inch. It hardens quickly and seals the ends of the bands. It is also soft enough to not hurt the drums. I have not tried them yet but I feel like they will be a good lining.
I installed a set of Wards lining in my 21 Touring rebuild. They seem to be OK so far.
I wondered also about the age of the bands but I don't think they were 'to old'. I did stretch and check to see for any rot or anything like that but they seemed fine.
I wish the Scandinavia bands of today were woven as well as the old Wards, Sears or old Scandinavia bands. They would sell pretty good if they were.
There were many good brands of bands back in the day. Any of them can be used still if they are not rotten.