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  1. #1
    Platinum Member Mark Page's Avatar
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    Default Babbet Bearings

    Has anyone ever come across Babbet bearings? As I understand it, back in the day before 2 pc. main bearings they were somehow poured in place with hot metal. I don't understand how this could be possible but a friend has an antique car that has them. It's a 1927 Moon Straight 8 Roadster with an in-line 8 cylinder Continental truck engine.
    Gear Up and Throttle Down.

    2011 Massey 2615, 7ft Woods Rear Discharge Finish Mower, 6 ft Lucknow Snow Blower, Danuser post hole digger with 12" and 24" augers, 350 lb 3 pt broadcast spreader, 7ft scraper blade, 7 ft. drag harrow, JD GT 275 rider with 38" snow blower attachment.


  2. #2
    Elite Member sandman2234's Avatar
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    Default Re: Babbet Bearings

    We repaired a few at the shop I worked for, really nothing to it. There are things that are done (For a reason!!) such as sooting the mold, heating the mold, etc so it pays to become familiar with the actual process and the safety requirements.
    David from jax

    Pouring a Babbitt bearing - YouTube
    A serious accident is one that money won't fix.

  3. #3
    Gold Member nikdfish's Avatar
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    John Deere 3038E & 1025R FILB

    Default Re: Babbet Bearings

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Page View Post
    ... As I understand it, back in the day before 2 pc. main bearings they were somehow poured in place with hot metal. ...
    One of the stories I remember from my grandfather included a reference to pouring new bearings "on the side of the road" during a cross country trip sometime around 1920 or so. He was a racer in the day as well as a mechanic. I've seen some of the old newspaper clippings of auto racing coverage referring to him as "the boy chauffeur".

    Nick
    2010 John Deere 3038E w/305 FEL
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    2010 Gator CX
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  4. #4
    Silver Member
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    Default Re: Babbet Bearings

    Yes. I have an old Craftsman vertical bandsaw that has babbett bearings. I was able to source an owners manual online and it instructs the owner how to heat the bearing materials to redo them.

  5. #5
    Super Member
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    Central wisconsin
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    International 2500a with Loader

    Default Re: Babbet Bearings

    i have a saw rig with babit bearings and had it for years,cut 10 full cords a year.works great

  6. #6
    Elite Member zzvyb6's Avatar
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    jd 1070

    Default Re: Babbet Bearings

    Some of my windmills have babbit metal bearings. It was invented by Isaac Babbitt in the US 1839. Its an amalgam of lead and tin and/or copper. Its very soft: you can scratch it with your fingernail. The metal softens like lead, can be poured into place with a wooden dowel shaft form and honed to fit the final drive shaft. The metal holds oil within its molecular structure and lasts a long time. I buy it in 10 lb chunks which have a cool impression on the top surface, almost collectable. All you need is a propane torch, some okem, and a ladle.

    Early rail cars had babbitted journal bearings and when they wore out or failed could catch fire. An engineer such as my grandfather on the NYC railroad sometimes had to rebabbitt a car journal bearing on the road while the train waited. I have an old engineman's handbook which describes the process. Cooling the truck frame and axle using hand carried tender water was the entire crew's job. Never mind the high speed passenger service 1 hour behind you....
    There is no "I" in team, but there is a "Me" if you want to jumble it up a bit...

  7. #7
    Veteran Member MHarryE's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by zzvyb6
    Some of my windmills have babbit metal bearings. It was invented by Isaac Babbitt in the US 1839. Its an amalgam of lead and tin and/or copper. Its very soft: you can scratch it with your fingernail. The metal softens like lead, can be poured into place with a wooden dowel shaft form and honed to fit the final drive shaft. The metal holds oil within its molecular structure and lasts a long time. I buy it in 10 lb chunks which have a cool impression on the top surface, almost collectable. All you need is a propane torch, some okem, and a ladle.

    Early rail cars had babbitted journal bearings and when they wore out or failed could catch fire. An engineer such as my grandfather on the NYC railroad sometimes had to rebabbitt a car journal bearing on the road while the train waited. I have an old engineman's handbook which describes the process. Cooling the truck frame and axle using hand carried tender water was the entire crew's job. Never mind the high speed passenger service 1 hour behind you....
    But what about cars? I remember the '51 Chev dad had for me to run chores in before I was able to get my license. When I overhauled it I remember it did not have sleeve bearings - Babbitt directly in the rods and caps. If I remember right I only used PlastiGauge and ground the caps until I got the correct clearance but does that sound right?
    JD7720; KubotaM135GX; NH TS115A; JD6230; KubotaL5740

  8. #8
    Elite Member
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    265 MF / JD 310B Backhoe

    Default Re: Babbet Bearings

    Along the time of the first Corvettes Chevy cars moved from poured rods to inserts. I think our 1953 PU had poured rods.

    It is easy to tell because they have shims between the rod caps and the rods. If you heard a rod knock you pulled the oil pan and removed a shim or two. They make a material you could put in the cap and tighten it down kind like the dentist does to may sure he gets a new filling down to the right height.
    If done during a trip often the SWAG method was use. You did not have to worry about spinning a rod bearing but if you got a car out and ran it hard, had dirt in the oil, etc you could cut out the soft babbet in a heart beat.

    As a 3-4 year old kid I remember handing my dad tools when he would do this in the front yard under a big shade tree.

    Never want to go back to them but they worked fine for a long time. People who knew how to keep the rod bearings tight could buy old cars with a knock and have cheap transportation.

    MHarryE mentioned PlastiGauge and that was what I was trying to remember how to spell. If you were grinding down the rod cap you were on the last bit of babbit I expect. New they came with shims and you just removed shims. There were many industrial bears that used shims in this manner to tighten up bearings.

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