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Old 11-21-2020, 01:09 PM   #1
nkaminar
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Default Leather main bearing

This is a story from 1964. I was going to college in San Luis Obispo in central California. There was a Model A group at the college. I owned a 1930 coupe at the time. The group had a tour up the coast on Highway 1 through scenic Big Sur. One of the cars developed a very bad leak in the rear main and the owner took the pan off to see what could be done. The babbitt in the rear main cap had disintegrated leaving nothing but the cap. We found a sandal on the side of the road and the owner cut the leather to fit the cap and bolted the car back together. He drove back to San Luis Obispo, about 100 miles, on that leather bearing. I think his intention was to get home and then repair the engine with a new babbitt bearing.
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Old 11-21-2020, 01:20 PM   #2
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Default Re: Leather main bearing

I heard a similar story at the National MARC meet held in Rochester, NY years back. Some one driving to the event had a bearing fail and he cut a new bearing from his belt and drove it to the meet to be repaired... Car that is, not the belt...

Also people driving any Italian Sports Cars often had to resort to using shoe leather to get to their destinations.. LOL..
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Old 11-21-2020, 01:45 PM   #3
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Default Re: Leather main bearing

I think there was a similar reference in the book "The Grapes of Wrath"
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Old 11-21-2020, 04:35 PM   #4
larry harding
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Default Re: Leather main bearing

seems like when i was much younger , i heard stories about crooked used car dealers putting in leather bearings in order to sell a clunker. i don't think thwy would last long.
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Old 11-21-2020, 05:21 PM   #5
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Pack a rear axle with bananas and it will stay quiet long enough to sell.

Oatmeal and pepper makes a good radiator stop leak.
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Old 11-21-2020, 06:41 PM   #6
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Oatmeal:

I have to tell a story of a 54 Packard I was given. It had a very leaky radiator and I had no money to replace it. So in went the oatmeal. Taking off the radiator cap resulted in an oatmeal geyser. Have you ever tried to removed dried oatmeal from an engine compartment?
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Old 11-21-2020, 07:09 PM   #7
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Default Re: Leather main bearing

Quote:
Originally Posted by larry harding View Post
seems like when i was much younger , i heard stories about crooked used car dealers putting in leather bearings in order to sell a clunker. i don't think thwy would last long.
Was done all the time by "Reputable" used car salesmen. Sawdust in the transmission's and rear ends also was a common trick to "Get it out the door for a buck". Did any of these last long? No. But there were no warranty's for most used cars either and they were not in business very long in the same town.
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Old 11-21-2020, 07:52 PM   #8
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Default Re: Leather main bearing

Burn some corks and then put the ash into the oil, will slow oil consumption for a while.
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Old 11-22-2020, 01:56 AM   #9
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https://theoldmotor.com/?p=149647
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Old 11-22-2020, 04:48 AM   #10
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As a boy I worked after school at a garage in South Africa . The sure fire short term fix for noisy rear ends and transmissions was to stuff them full with used nylon stockings . I can remember doing this at about 14 years old totally unaware of the heinous crime I was party to !!!

John in sunny chilly morning Suffolk County England .
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Old 11-22-2020, 06:08 AM   #11
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Tell us how you got those used stockings!
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Old 11-22-2020, 06:25 AM   #12
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Default Re: Leather main bearing

I was told a similar story about a leather bearing on a '1936 Ford. In a pinch...I guess it worked
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Old 11-22-2020, 08:00 AM   #13
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Nylons from the garage owners wife and sundry daughters my mom never wore them I think and I had no sisters !!!

John in same place same weather.
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Old 11-22-2020, 02:40 PM   #14
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Default Re: Leather main bearing

Leather bearings and wooden pistons were folk lore when I was a kid. We were told those stories by such a straight face that they had to be true.
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Old 11-22-2020, 03:44 PM   #15
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Yep,its like the hill was so steep we had to back the A unit to keep from starving for fuel..even if it isn't true I'd give anything to hear those stories again from my father.
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Old 11-22-2020, 04:35 PM   #16
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Default Re: Leather main bearing

Throwing rocks in the tank to get the last bit of fuel out.

Actually, the local road breakdown service has an advert about their service man in the 20's fixing someones bearings on the side of the road with his belt.
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Old 11-23-2020, 10:15 AM   #17
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Default Re: Leather main bearing

I once used a 16 Penny nail to link the ends of a broken fan belt together, and it got me home that way. The wildest thing I ever saw was a Model A on the interstate with a pair of Visegrips sticking out of the right front wheel. Apparently there was an issue with the nut holding the drum on. I later learned that the nut had to be split to get it off the spindle when a failed wheel bearing welded it in place.
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Old 11-24-2020, 12:00 PM   #18
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Default Re: Leather main bearing

One of my older friends told a story of one of his buddies of long ago that was fellow member of the military and had an old Model A that he would drive several hundred miles to see family when he as on leave. He would start patrolling the barracks a few days before to see if anyone had worn out combat boots he could cut the tongue out of to patch a main bearing malady. He'd pull the pan on the night before leave and pack the main then put the pan back on & refill with oil. My friend mentioned that he would come back with a bit of a knock and not much oil left but he was never AWOL.
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Old 11-24-2020, 12:31 PM   #19
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Default Re: Leather main bearing

Had a friend that bought a Model A a few years ago that ran and drove fairly well. After a couple years he restored it and found in the transmission someone had whittled the cluster gear shaft out of a piece of hard wood. Said he would have never known it if he hadn't torn it apart.
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Old 11-24-2020, 01:28 PM   #20
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Default Re: Leather main bearing

I seem to remember that there was a story about a leather bearing emergency repair in an issue of The Restorer a few years back. It was documented with photos. I will have to dig through back issues.
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