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Old 07-18-2020, 02:22 PM   #1
ricconhan
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Default First time adjusting rod and mains

Well Monday we're going to be putting the A on my neighbors two post lift (advice welcome) and pulling pan to check and adjust rods and mains also inspecting conditions of babbitt and crank, checking oil pump and just plain learning where I'm at with my new-to-me A Model. The guy I bought her from only bought it to flip and really doesn't have much info, I called the o'l boy who actually restored the car 30 - 40 years ago, he's now 84 and failing memory so limited info. So if I want to know what I got this is the only way I know. I figure if I go through the process of setting the clearances I will have a starting point for the next 10,000 mile inspection. Any and all advice and suggestions are welcome. Before I get asked or told, "Yes" I've got Les's book.
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Old 07-18-2020, 03:30 PM   #2
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Thumbs up Re: First time adjusting rod and mains

ricconhan,


About the only advice I can give. Is to do a good search on the ...'Barn here
for past threads on your subject. I'll be interested in what you find and info that others give about adjusting the rods/mains. I would like to do the same on my roadsters "B" block. Good Luck!


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Old 07-18-2020, 03:37 PM   #3
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Default Re: First time adjusting rod and mains

If you find a buildup in the bottom of the pan that should lead to cleaning out the oil galley behind the valve cover.
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Old 07-18-2020, 03:38 PM   #4
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Default Re: First time adjusting rod and mains

Its a good thing to check the clearances and clean up the pan. I prefer to use plastigauge and set all clearances to .0015". I also like both shims to be the same thickness. When checking the mains I put a little up pressure on the crank to keep it tight in the upper bearing half.
You'll probably find the most wear on the center main and a bit lesser on the rear. But I set them all at .0015". The front main may not be worn at all or enough to worry about.
With the rods mind the orientation of the caps. Do one at a time as all the caps [ rods and mains] have to go back to the same they came off of. Don't mix them up.
Make sure there are no rust holes in the dipper tray. The dipper tray can be pried out or popped out. When all back together pour at least qt of oil thru the distributor hole to get oil to the dipper tray and valve chamber.
Check the oil pump for clearance and condition. Usually just flipping the bottom plate is all thats needed.
This is all after the condition of the bearings is found to be good.
You'll probably never have to do this again.
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Old 07-18-2020, 05:13 PM   #5
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Default Re: First time adjusting rod and mains

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Originally Posted by ricconhan View Post
Well Monday we're going to be putting the A on my neighbors two post lift (advice welcome) and pulling pan to check and adjust rods and mains also inspecting conditions of babbitt and crank, checking oil pump and just plain learning where I'm at with my new-to-me A Model. The guy I bought her from only bought it to flip and really doesn't have much info, I called the o'l boy who actually restored the car 30 - 40 years ago, he's now 84 and failing memory so limited info. So if I want to know what I got this is the only way I know. I figure if I go through the process of setting the clearances I will have a starting point for the next 10,000 mile inspection. Any and all advice and suggestions are welcome. Before I get asked or told, "Yes" I've got Les's book.
Thought this may help
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_1182 oil pan baffle.jpg (48.1 KB, 153 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_1183 oil pan baffle.jpg (43.4 KB, 133 views)
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File Type: pdf Main-Bearing-Clearances.pdf (887.3 KB, 34 views)
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Old 07-18-2020, 08:00 PM   #6
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Default Re: First time adjusting rod and mains

One way to do it perform annual inspections,pull the engine annually,put it on a stand and go through it..the quality of work is better than working on it "in frame"..
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Old 07-18-2020, 09:11 PM   #7
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Default Re: First time adjusting rod and mains

Thanks to you all I'll take any and all advice.
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Old 07-18-2020, 11:42 PM   #8
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Default Re: First time adjusting rod and mains

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One way to do it perform annual inspections,pull the engine annually,put it on a stand and go through it..the quality of work is better than working on it "in frame"..
If you’re doing bearing adjustment, I would certainly agree with Jack!
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Old 07-19-2020, 06:09 AM   #9
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Default Re: First time adjusting rod and mains

Pull the engine every year, stick it on a stand, adjust the bearings ? WOW

You boys have a whole lot of ambition.
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Old 07-19-2020, 06:29 AM   #10
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Default Re: First time adjusting rod and mains

I don't believe you have access to the rear main cap from the oil pan.
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Old 07-19-2020, 07:03 AM   #11
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Default Re: First time adjusting rod and mains

if the correct bolts were used (locking heads), you can remove the rear main cap with the pan removed.....

Plastiguage is OK for clearance but I like the "go/no go" method using heavy duty aluminum foil spacers. Easier and possibly more accurate.....
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Old 07-19-2020, 08:09 AM   #12
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Default Re: First time adjusting rod and mains

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I don't believe you have access to the rear main cap from the oil pan.

The is enough room.
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Old 07-19-2020, 08:11 AM   #13
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Default Re: First time adjusting rod and mains

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Originally Posted by Chris in WNC View Post
if the correct bolts were used (locking heads), you can remove the rear main cap with the pan removed.....

Plastiguage is OK for clearance but I like the "go/no go" method using heavy duty aluminum foil spacers. Easier and possibly more accurate.....



Aluminum foil method is more accurate ?????

I can't wait to hear about that.
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Old 07-19-2020, 08:36 AM   #14
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Default Re: First time adjusting rod and mains

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One way to do it perform annual inspections,pull the engine annually,put it on a stand and go through it..the quality of work is better than working on it "in frame"..
Been reading this post over and over and am still unsure if you are serious or being facetious. I know that pulling the motor is a relatively simple and quick process but to pull it ANNUALLY to perform an inspection??. I seriously doubt (but don't actually KNOW) that this was a common practice back in the day when these were peoples everyday daily driver and they seen more miles in much ore varied conditions (IE extreme cold) than the vast majority of Model A's today. Of course there is nothing inherently wrong with pulling the engine annually to inspect if that's what you want to do. You could pull it and inspect on the stand it at each oil change if you wish. One plus is that, should you develop an issue that requites the engine be removed and torn down, everything will come apart easily.
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Old 07-19-2020, 08:58 AM   #15
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Default Re: First time adjusting rod and mains

FWIW, this is the method that I am using on my car. Not a recommendation, just sharing another way that, to my way of thinking makes sense. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MH3HtTnshQ
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Old 07-19-2020, 09:16 AM   #16
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Default Re: First time adjusting rod and mains

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The is enough room.
I stand corrected, thanks
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Old 07-19-2020, 09:21 AM   #17
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Default Re: First time adjusting rod and mains

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I don't believe you have access to the rear main cap from the oil pan.
The problem (for me) is that, while I can get the cap off and on, I can't get my torque wrench in there to torque it down to spec so I just have to make it TIGHT.
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Old 07-19-2020, 10:35 AM   #18
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Default Re: First time adjusting rod and mains

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The problem (for me) is that, while I can get the cap off and on, I can't get my torque wrench in there to torque it down to spec so I just have to make it TIGHT.
As long as TIGHT equals about 60 ft lb's or better you should be OK. Les Andrews book calls for 80 ft lbs but methinks that's a bit overmuch.
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Old 07-19-2020, 03:02 PM   #19
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Default Re: First time adjusting rod and mains

Lay on your back with oil dripping in your eyes trying to precisely set a main bearing doesn't necessarily give good results.nor does it lend itself to a leak free oil pan.Torquing is a pain too.its fairly easy to pull the engine especially if you use some sense,like installing decent connectors in the headlight harness.One caveat,I enjoy maintaining the car as much as driving it..On an annual everything gets checked,leaks fixed,improvements made...



full disclosure,I push mine pretty hard too

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Old 07-19-2020, 06:58 PM   #20
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Default Re: First time adjusting rod and mains

I don't use Plastiguage any more after I found I was getting too many unreliable readings when the engine was in the car. That was mostly due to my technique. The weight of the crankshaft gave false (tight) readings. When the engine is out and upside down, fine but not in the car.
The aluminium foil my wife uses is 0.0005" thick so 3 layers is just right. I also like a piece of newspaper (if you can get it these days) but that technique is slightly different. Examination of the paper after tightening the bearing cap tells me a lot about the clearance - too tight/too loose. I'll explain that later if anyone wants to know.
With all bearings backed off, the motor turns very easily (spark plugs out). I put 4 layers in the bearing, tighten and try turning the crank. It should be too tight. When I put 3 layers in and it turns with a little drag, I'm happy. If the crank still turns easily, the Bearing is worn so take out a shim and repeat till you feel a drag with 3 layers. Once you get that bearing right back it off and move to the next. Don't be impatient and do only one bearing at a time. Doing all 7 bearings properly takes time.
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Old 07-20-2020, 07:34 AM   #21
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Default Re: First time adjusting rod and mains

https://www.walmart.com/ip/PRECISION...8ade9fdbd4c06c

anyone try this stuff?
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Old 07-20-2020, 08:10 AM   #22
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Default Re: First time adjusting rod and mains

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Haven't had to add any, I just remove it.
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Old 07-20-2020, 12:49 PM   #23
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Default Re: First time adjusting rod and mains

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Lay on your back with oil dripping in your eyes trying to precisely set a main bearing doesn't necessarily give good results.nor does it lend itself to a leak free oil pan.Torquing is a pain too.
Yes, these days i would rather pull the engine rather than laying on my back to do it. Years ago i did a bearing roll on my '57 chevy in the driveway with the engine in the car. Went well but I was in my 20's then. These days i don't do ANYTHING on the floor. Everything is done on the lift.
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Old 07-20-2020, 01:53 PM   #24
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I don't have much of a problem still doing things on my back. I just fall asleep and take a little nap. If I can't get up I just fall asleep and take another little nap. [smiley face]
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Old 07-25-2020, 11:00 AM   #25
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Default Re: First time adjusting rod and mains

​Update on adjusting rods and mains,

Well when we dropped the pan I set it on the bench to investigate the bottom and almost had a heart attack, I pulled 3 chunks of lead ( approximately 1" X 1/2" ) out of the dipper tray and immediately went to see where the hell they came from. Remember, this engine as I was told was fresh rebuild, although the gent I bought her from only bought it to flip trying to help out the older gentleman who's 85 years old and trying to sell his collection, so I'm getting info 2nd hand. So I called the 85 year old fella and he couldn't remember why he swapped engines, but the one in the car was bought from someone who supposedly rebuilt it.
Long story short, whoever rebuilt it did some things great and others to make me scratch my head. When he balanced the rods, instead of using the lightest as your baseline, he used the heaviest and added lead to the rest which obviously didn't work out too well, thank God I followed my gut feeling to have a look see before we had a bigger mess, we pulled the head and rods and pistons to balance correctly, on the upside all the babbitt looks good, we've removed 1 shim from each of the mains and have perfect clearances. We've removed all the lead from the rods, haha he must have run out of lead, one rod actually had a piece of steel tacked to it, and are balancing everything. One of the pluses, someone counterbalanced the crank.
This engine will get me thru the season and this winter the spare/original engine is getting rebuilt by "MY" rebuilder. ​​​ ​ ​ ​​

1st picture, lead in rod at top.
2nd picture, where there "was" lead that ended up in splash tray.
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File Type: jpg a23.jpg (32.6 KB, 50 views)
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Last edited by ricconhan; 07-25-2020 at 04:08 PM. Reason: Think I figured out how to post pics
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Old 07-25-2020, 12:16 PM   #26
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Default Re: First time adjusting rod and mains

Just when you think you've heard it all !

If the lower clearances are now good and everything looks fine including the bore this monster just may run fine and not need a rebuild. You'll know in short time though won't you.
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Old 07-25-2020, 01:42 PM   #27
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Default Re: First time adjusting rod and mains

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Just when you think you've heard it all !

If the lower clearances are now good and everything looks fine including the bore this monster just may run fine and not need a rebuild. You'll know in short time though won't you.
Patrick L, granted the babbitt and clearances so far are good, we've only completed the mains as of now, the babbitt and crank rod journals look fine also, we're still balancing the rods and pistons and of course wrist pins, we don't get a lot done because we only get a little time during the week to work on this project since we both have day jobs and when we do get together there is the B.S. time to factor in. I'm hoping that by next weekend to have her back together and running. This engine is still going to come out at some point and be replaced with a professionally built engine because of several other things besides the shady previous build, for instance, just from visual inspection there are 3 different style of rods used, they'll be okay and work fine but it'll bug me knowing this. Since I have the original numbers matching engine sitting in my shop I want to get it built and installed. I'll have a lot more faith and trust in an engine done right. This engine will probably run and preform just fine when we're done but my plan is to swap them out this winter.
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Old 07-25-2020, 02:40 PM   #28
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Default Re: First time adjusting rod and mains

I can understand your concern Different type rods would drive me crazy. Having the original engine go back where it belongs is a good thing. Thats a good looking car. Good luck.
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Old 07-25-2020, 03:19 PM   #29
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Default Re: First time adjusting rod and mains

Here's what caused me concern and motivated me to open her up for inspection.

https://youtu.be/S1HVAQsxCZ4


And here is one of my granddaughter/daughter and I tearing up the streets of Wayne, NE on Fathers Day.

https://youtu.be/SF62oUL1brc
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Old 07-25-2020, 08:45 PM   #30
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Default Re: First time adjusting rod and mains

Referring to the pictures in post #25, do I see the skirt of that piston broken away?
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Old 07-25-2020, 08:51 PM   #31
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Referring to the pictures in post #25, do I see the skirt of that piston broken away?
I think what you are seeing is the counter balance in the way and just to the left of it, a shadow making the bottom of the rim dark and hard to see.
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Old 07-25-2020, 09:19 PM   #32
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Default Re: First time adjusting rod and mains

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Originally Posted by Synchro909 View Post
Referring to the pictures in post #25, do I see the skirt of that piston broken away?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Licensed to kill View Post
I think what you are seeing is the counter balance in the way and just to the left of it, a shadow making the bottom of the rim dark and hard to see.
Synchro909, Like Licensed to kill stated, counterbalance in the shot and shadow.. when we took them out besides there being 3 different types of rods, everything looked ok, and when we get done balancing the rods and pistons and get it all back together I should be good to go the rest of the summer. It's a little frustrating, but I love working on these A's so much it's hard to get too down. I just want to get her together so I can be driving her. Again, I'm sooo glad I followed my gut instinct to open her up before it got ugly.
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Old 07-25-2020, 10:40 PM   #33
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I think what you are seeing is the counter balance in the way and just to the left of it, a shadow making the bottom of the rim dark and hard to see.
OK, I see that now. Thanks.
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Old 07-27-2020, 12:10 AM   #34
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Default Re: First time adjusting rod and mains

Chris in WNC touches on what I feel is the easiest and most accurate way to adjust your main/ rod bearings --- the "go/ no go" method using heavy duty aluminum foil in the place of Plastigauge.

Search Mike V. Florida's 10/31/2010 post "interference fitting of bearings" for a detailed description of this method.

I adjusted main and rod bearings twice in my first engine using the "go/ no go" method with heavy duty aluminum foil and got great results. Helped me get 40,000 miles out of that somewhat worn engine.

Without a doubt this is the easiest and most accurate way to do what I feel is a tedious job.
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