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#870108 01/25/22 9:34 am
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Restoring a 1948 5T speed twin pre unit with white metal big end bearings , can the old rods be refurbed or will new rods with shell bearings fit on the existing crank with no problems having the cranked checked for wear etc any suggestions would be great

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You can do either. Easiest route is new rods.

However there are some specialists that will refurb your old rods with new white metal (if you are happy that the old rods are OK to use).

John.

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Many early automobiles had babbited rods.

Talk to some of the "old car guys." They will know someone who does a good babbit job.

But remember: After the babbit itself is done, the rods will have to be hand-fitted to the crank.
Unless you are experienced in the scrape-and-fit process, this is more of a professional skill.

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Originally Posted by Irish Swede
But remember: After the babbit itself is done, the rods will have to be hand-fitted to the crank.
Unless you are experienced in the scrape-and-fit process, this is more of a professional skill.
This is correct.

It depends on your level of confidence, experience etc. I did my own when I did a similar job but I had previously done some hand scraping on a very old lathe head-stock that had white metal bearings. However I would not call myself an experienced hand scraper. I just did the research/reading and took it methodically. It probably took me 10 times longer than an experienced person but it turned out OK.

John

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As I remember (and someone will no doubt put me right) the white metal is only applied to the steel end cap, I don't think you can "metal" the rod itself. If that is the case, then you cannot get a close fit at the joint of the two halves in the alloy conrod if it's worn. I'd modify the rods for shells every time, though obviously if the rods are poor to begin with, then replacements made for shells are the way to go.

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As I remember , from discussion with a now deceased friend who re-babbited rods for his Indian-4, the rods were cast=iron or steel, and he told me that he had a Ford Model-T enthusiast re-babbit his.

I will be visiting another friend tomorrow who has also restored and rebuilt another Indian-4.
I will ask him about this, and like Arnold Swartzenegger, "I'll be baaack!"

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No problem with steel rods, as both surfaces can be re-metaled, but I don't think the alloy of a Triumph rod can.

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As promised two days ago, I spoke with my friend who rebuilt an Indian - 4. Yes, the rods in that bike had babbitted rod bearings, on steel rods.
He bought the bike in parts but the rods came to him with new babbit already in them, so he did not know who did the job.

An interesting fact he told me: Babbitt being soft, it entraps hard particles in the oil and tends to protect the crankshaft itself.
Like the sludge trap in a Triumph crankshaft, the babbitt works like a kind of "oil filter."

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Thanks for the info. Tinker , I think you may be right looking at the end caps a biker contact just got in touch and showed me some rods that had the caps bolted together then machined out to take shells the white metal on the rods looked ok my only problem might be that I have to have the crank reground when I fit new shell bearings in the caps , will update you when I find out , once again thanks for all the comments Mike

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Originally Posted by Irish Swede
An interesting fact he told me: Babbitt being soft, it entraps hard particles in the oil and tends to protect the crankshaft itself.

A property called embedibility, the softer materials like the White metals have high amounts of embedibility. However once the bearing surface is saturated with collected particles it is no longer a bearing and starts to wear away at the steel journal like sandpaper. So this is not a property to rely on, so always fit an oil filter.

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Here is one source of new shell type conrods to replace the babbit type rods. Tri-Supply in the UK.

Gordo

https://www.trisupply.co.uk/product...-etc-made-in-england-to-highest-quality/


The roadside repairs make for the best post ride stories.
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Agreed, Kommando.

But if the oil is changed on schedule (as it should be) it's not as much of a problem.
A filter is, of course, the better answer.

A note on the life of babbit bearings: A rider in our club restored his Indian-4 in 1969, patiently fitting the babbit-lined con-rods by repeatedly
assembling and disassembling the rods, hand-scraping the babbit until he gained the proper clearances.

In the 15 years after, he rode that bike almost daily, and made trips coast-to-coast and border-to-border with no bearing problems.
Not bad for a 1940 Indian-4 with babbit bearings.

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When I took my 53 5T apart for maintenance I found what may have been the original babbit rods. The journals still looked decent and the crank had not been ground to undersize. The engine had over 50,000 miles on it. There was a lot of junk inside the flywheels but oil was still getting through somehow.

I could not find anyone to redo the babbit material so I got the new shell type rods for it.

Gordo.


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Auto makers reamed or bored the poured babbit, yes? Mass production on a moving or time limited engine assembly line would not really allow hand fitting.
I had a 53 6T needing engine work..This was around 1992 and I found NOS rods at a shop listed in Hemmings...The crank journals were barrel shaped, MAP cycle said they could weld the journals,
. I sent the crank but months later nothing was done..Got the parts returned, sold them, got unit parts, machined the crank timing side journal to fit...All was good...


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Originally Posted by Gordo in Comox
......I could not find anyone to redo the babbit material so I got the new shell type rods for it......
These guys do babbit. I've used them a couple of times. They know their work and are reliable.
https://www.paulsrodandbearing.com/

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Stuart: Thanks for the link. 'Pauls' sure looks like the real deal but shipping bits that far for repair would not be my first choice..

Gordo


The roadside repairs make for the best post ride stories.

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