The Model A Ford that was reborn during a four-day build at the Hershey swap meet has lived an odd life, but it’s hopefully headed back on the road soon. First, it needs some new bearings, and that is no simple task—even for Redline Rebuild guru Davin Reckow. To get it done, a road trip was in order on the latest episode of Redline Update.
Davin filled a truck with everything he needs to survive—greasy engine parts, camera, and beef jerky, and hit the highway headed for Ron’s Machine Shop in Shandon, Ohio. The Model A engine got torn down and was now in need of fresh main and rod bearings, a process more involved than modern engines.
“These Model A engines utilize poured babbitt bearings, something that requires a bit of experience and tooling that neither I nor our local machine shop have,” said Davin when asked why he strayed away from the usual places with this engine.
Babbitt bearings are the polar opposite of insert bearings. The bearing material is cast in place on the engine block and connecting rods, then machined to final finished diameter. It is not incredibly complicated, but there are a few specialty tools required outside of the molds themselves, which simply don’t make sense to own unless you are pouring Model A bearings on a regular basis. Not your average enthusiast’s idea of an easy weekend task.
“The engine is really designed for maintenance. The bearings are cast with shims in them that if the tolerance grows too large, you simply pull the main caps, remove a shim, and put it back together,” Said Davin. “Rather than requiring a full tear down, you can refresh the bottom end of the short block by simply pulling the oil pan.”
The nice part of the design is that though it is easy to service, the low stress and overbuilt nature of the 40-horsepower engine mean that you likely won’t need to do service very often.
The next steps will be the assembly of this engine, and if you want to stay up to date on the latest updates for this engine and also the other projects Davin has going in the Redline Rebuild garage, be sure to subscribe to the Hagerty YouTube page to receive notifications with each video that goes live.