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Customs 1932 Ford Flathead babbitt engine - conversion?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by gretaa, May 6, 2020.

  1. gretaa
    Joined: Oct 15, 2019
    Posts: 13


    Hello guys, did anyone made a conversion of babbitt crank & rod early 32 engine, into a bearing type? I own a june 1932 5 window and unfortunately, the crank and conrods was "still" made babbitt style. Since my engine is in a absolute stunning condition (not a single crack, no valve seats needed (!), casting looking almost new, I really want to keep this block. But the contact surface of the babbitt is worn and for mileage comfort, I want to go for a bearing crank and rods. I plan to have a new rotating kit (realized by Scat) but what bearing to use and what experience did anyone of you have? Thanks for your posts. Chris

    Attached Files:

  2. Pete Eastwood
    Joined: Jul 27, 2011
    Posts: 1,173

    Pete Eastwood
    from california

    Tom Lieb at SCAT should be able to answer your questions .
    kidcampbell71 and Desoto291Hemi like this.
  3. Beautiful car. Yes it can be done. Try posting your question on fordbarn:

    You might want to consider a '36 LB engine or a '37/'38 21 stud with block off plates.

    You should update your profile to include your general location.

    Charlie Stephens
  4. hemihotrod66
    Joined: May 5, 2019
    Posts: 694


    You might try H&H Flatheads for your project...Or H&H Antique Engine repair for 4 banger stuff...I would imagine other folks on the site will have places for you to check...

  5. I assume that you have a V8 since your photo shows a V8 emblem on the car. If your block is truly a '32 block it is quite valuable since most of the '32 engines have been replaced over the years. It is only the main bearings which are Babbitt. The rod bearing should be the full floating inserts. There are shops who can bore the main bearings to allow the use of inserted main bearings. Remember that the bearing sizes increased with the 24 stud engines, so a later crankshaft may not fit easily into your early block.
  6. My 32 Tudor had the original 32-V8 in it and replacing the babbit bearings was a 3000 euro job here in the Netherlands which I didn't had done.
    No idea if in Swiss (if i'm right I see a Swiss plate on your car) it can be done too.
    I changed my engine for a 37-V8. Looks the same and even better HP
    Last edited: May 6, 2020
  7. Very rare engine even in America.If I remember right its 221 cubic inches,and 65 horse power.Speed equipment for a 21 stud is harder to come by.For the cost of re-babitting you could get a later block...say 37 built.May be one of those French flatties we hear about.
  8. Andy
    Joined: Nov 17, 2002
    Posts: 4,940


    There may be a problem with converting to insert bearings. The engines with inserts had a wider spacing of the fasteners to accommodate the thicker bearings. You can’t move the bolt holes so you have to turn down the crank and find bearings to suit. Problem
    The rods are already using insert bearings so a non problem.
    I would like to sell a 32 engine with fresh rebabbit and turned crank. It is complete with all the rare parts. 5k
    KiWinUS and kidcampbell71 like this.
  9. gretaa
    Joined: Oct 15, 2019
    Posts: 13


    Thank you Pete. Yes, I am in contacts with Scat already. Thanks! Chris
  10. gretaa
    Joined: Oct 15, 2019
    Posts: 13


    Well, I want to keep my stock 32 engine. It is the one of the car (all matching numbers, with aluminium oil pan) and its condition is extremely well preserved fo its age. Thank you. Chris
  11. gretaa
    Joined: Oct 15, 2019
    Posts: 13


    Yes, I want to insert bearings in my original block, and, indeed, there is few space allowed because of the close by location of the holes for the caps studs. Rods are OK indeed. Thanks. Chris
  12. gretaa
    Joined: Oct 15, 2019
    Posts: 13


    Yes, my engine was made approx. on july 15th. 1932. The car is in its 100% original condition. I know it is rare, but still, I want to drive it in this original condition. Gonna have to spend some bucks especially considering I don't want to re Babbitt the mains (there is a company in Belgium still doing that job, but I have more trust in modern bearings. Cheers. Chris
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  13. gretaa
    Joined: Oct 15, 2019
    Posts: 13


    Hi Andy, plz send me the datas of your engine. And did you dyno it?. Thank you. Chris
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  14. gretaa
    Joined: Oct 15, 2019
    Posts: 13


    Hi, thanks for answer. Do you have the name of the dutch company who might have done the job ? Bedankt! Chris
  15. Theres nothing wrong with babbit as a bearing in a stock,or mild engine.If you change the oil every 500 miles the engine will last a very long time.
  16. shawnsauto1 likes this.
  17. No personal experience but this is the company:

    Machinefabriek Bootsman,
    1e Dwarstocht 4,
    1507CH Zaandam, Holland
  18. winduptoy
    Joined: Feb 19, 2013
    Posts: 2,856


    And remember in the day, the babbitt was different composition than modern babbitt material. You will very likely get all the service out of modern babbitt, properly done, than the original. Modern lubricants play a factor as well.
    Beautiful car, good luck

    Sent from my XT1585 using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  19. Beanscoot
    Joined: May 14, 2008
    Posts: 2,434


    I don't know how useful "Around the Block Engines" will be to Mr. Elmiger, as he is in Switzerland and that company is in Ontario (Canada).
  20. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 6,200


    I second the thought that you should take this problem to "The Ford Barn". There s a lot of specialized knowledge over there. I am not really involved with aftermarket cranks and rods, but remember that some "Scat" components are sub-standard and the conventional wisdom is to not use them. This is going to be an expensive project no matter how you slice it, so the more research done up front, the better.
  21. Theo is a great guy. I’d recommend talking to him about the babbit

    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
  22. patterg2003
    Joined: Sep 21, 2014
    Posts: 776


    I was looking around for old Ford engine builders years ago and reading this remembered there was a shop in Minnesota that did bearing insert conversions. I did a search and think this may be the one. This may be of some interest if you can find a shop to do the work. Parts with instructions. The Fordbarn may give feedback on this conversion.
    Durable performance does the conversion and may be able to give more guidance.
  23. 97
    Joined: May 18, 2005
    Posts: 1,977


    Just remember if you change to insert bearings they do not absorb hard metal particles , you need to keep changing your oil regularly , but you also need to put in place a better oil filtration system and upgrade the oil pump to modern bearing standards.
    I note that you said you are more comfortable with modern insert bearings , I feel exactly the opposite. IMHO insert bearings are designed for engine manufacturers convenience and profit rather than long life. They are steel backed which takes up the space that could (should) be used for softer babbitt in these engines. I would not use a Scat crank or any other aftermarket crank or bearings in such a fine car, it has run for 88 years like it is, and will go for another 90. With care and attention. If I was going to change anything it would be the whole engine to one which is made for inserts and still has all Ford parts.
    KiWinUS and dwollam like this.

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