For several oil changes over the last couple of years I have found four to six small balls of what looks like Babbitt. They appear to have been rolled into balls, and are pretty uniform in size. I'm expecting to take off the bottom pan soon, but would like some of your expert opinions on what this might be. The engine was completely redone six or eight years ago, and has always started easily and run well with no worrisome noises. It is a 1923 Depot Hack with a York 808 body (a bit different but similar to the one they sell plans of). There is a small cast-iron Warford (low range only) and I have Rocky Mt. Brakes. A friend and I designed a brace for the Warford, though the original Depot Hack chassis had not had one.
What would produce pretty uniform small balls of metal? They run in the 18-24mm range.
Do you have any pictures? How big are they? Can you scratch them with a knife?
Usually any babbitt which would go into the crankcase would be either chipped from the thrust surface or melted from the bearing. If it melted, you would expect a knock. Do you know whether any of the transmission parts have been replaced by ball bearings? If those are ball bearings, they would be very hard metal and would not scratch with a knife.
They are pretty clearly soft metal. I can see they have been rolled into balls. There are no ball bearing parts in my transmission. It's the "rolled into balls" that puzzles me.
Babbitt often fall into little balls onto the bench when I'm re-pouring, (they are good for plugging up the holes after cleaning out carburetors)
Maybe someone wasn't over careful in cleaning out the block after rebuild.
I'm with Frank on this one. Probably a remnant from pouring new bearings that got missed. I wouldn't be too concerned.
I'm with Frank & Dennis. I can't imagine any where inside the engine where it's possible to roll metal into balls. Flakes I'd be worried about but balls? Nope.
Something got lost in the translation--24mm is almost 1", that can't be right, that's an awful lot of babbit, Don.
When a bearing gets hot quick, and melts, the bearing will many times melt into droplets, fall down in the oil, and harden, I guess you could call them little balls, not uncommon.
Sorry about the "24mm" , needs a decimal point. They're not much bigger than BBs. Could there be a 4th main problem with the Warford mount?
In the days, before shotgun pellets were made of steel, shot manufacturers melted lead then dropped the melted lead through a head, similar to a shower head, into water. Thanks to mother nature and physics this formed a uniformaly round ball. . Melted babbitt falling into oil will probably react similarly.