Oops!

Let’s say you’re on the operating table, just local anesthetic, the doctor is working to fix your torn rotator cuff, and he says, “oops!”  Ya think that would get your attention?  Well Saturday morning I got an email from the idiotic brother (IB) with just “Oops” as the caption.  Not that I’m in favor of it, but you know they’ve got doctors in India now reading your x-rays and this seems to be working-out just fine.  You’d think that from California, the idiotic brother could do at least equally as well, so what’s up with this “oops?”  Below is the short text of his email.

“Never asked you if bearings are worn out. Do any of the shell bearings have the babbitt worn away where raw steel would now actually be in contact with the journals?

Assuming bearings are ok, if there’s such a thing as one shell being better than the other, you should use the better shell on the rod end, not the cap end. On the mains, use the better shell on the main bearing cap, not the block.”

Babbitts, BABBITTS?  What the hell are babbitts?  Sounds like flibberty gibbets, Molly, try to control those flippin babbitts!  Well, turns out babbitts are the coppery looking surfaces of the bearings that I noticed as I was cleaning them up.  The alloy that the babbitts are made of (part copper) provides a lower friction surface for the crank to run on.  I shot a note back to the IB advising him that of course the babbitts are worn, it’s The Pony were talking about isn’t it?  I suggested that I send him photos of the bearing babbitts, and as you see these, he is also seeing them for the first time.

That first shot is of the main bearings, and I have circled the unfortunate areas where the babbitt surface has worn away.  I’d say its fairly safe to assume the remainder of the surface is fairly thin.  The next two shots are of the rod bearings.  I’ve done no circling, but I think now you know what to look for.  I would also say for the IB’s edification, that the respective surfaces of the bearings on the rods themselves (as opposed to the caps) are all pretty good for some reason.  By the way these items are pictured in the diagram on the Pony Tech page.

Don’t forget, you can click on these images to make ’em bigger.

At the same time that I removed the bearing caps for these photos, I also did the “red” plastigage test.  Again, you and the IB are getting these numbers at the same time:
Front main bearing:  .005-.006
Back main bearing:  .005-.006
Rod bearing No. 1:  .006
Rod bearing No. 2:  .005-.006
Rod bearing No. 3:  .005-.006
Rod bearing No. 4:  .006
These readings are all quite a bit higher than my “eye-ball” estimates with the green Plastigage, but I’m thinking just using the uniform 20 foot-pounds of torque may have given me narrower squish marks this time.

I’m not sure whether these bearing photos and the related clearances will change the IB’s advice, but prior to getting this information he had had a consultation with his mechanical guru.  What Jim was suggesting is that I place a piece of 120 grit sandpaper on a flat surface (like my table saw) and using a figure 8 motion, rub the ends of each bearing cap against the sandpaper.  This will remove some of the surface area from the bearing cap ends and have the effect of narrowing the clearances.  I would do this to just one bearing at a time, trying to get each one down to .002 (the recommended clearance).  But, you and I will have to wait now to hear whether this procedure should still go forward, given the new information provided in this post. 

By the way, I received an email from Jim this morning wherein he was complaining that he was not given credit in my last post for not dropping a torpedo on his foot during his 6 years as a nuclear submariner.  I’d say, “Good job Jim,” but stuff like that just goes to his head and makes him even harder to deal with.  Well listen, I need to go get undressed.  The Princess wants to go shopping!
Thanks for reading.

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One response to “Oops!

  1. Hello, I recently stumbled upon your blog and I enjoy reading about your adventure. You need to google the author, humorist Roger Welsch he has written some books on tractor restoration which would be right up your alley. Did you have the machine shop measure and polish the rod journals on the crankshaft? They will be able to tell you what size rode bearing you need just go ahead and replace them since she’s all opened up. I’ve been donwn your road before and it’s alot of fun. I’d recommend that you set some sort of goal like driving the “Pony” in a Memorial day or 4th of July parade, you could pull the princess, Gene and your brother riding on a hay wagon. Enjoy the journey

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