It's a bearing blitz! (sung to the tune of The Ballroom Blitz by the British glam-rock band The Sweet)

Posted by Andrew Lydecker on

I'm continuing to sort through the 135+ totes of parts I bought from Little Dearborn in Minneapolis.  Lately I've been focusing on engine bearings - specifically bearings for the Ford flathead V8s.  They were pretty well organized on the shelves, and I took care when boxing them up to maintain provenience (there's that hundred dollar scientific word again), so I've been largely successful in identifying aftermarket brands like Thompson, Federal Mogul, and Detroit Bearing, with the actual Ford application.

But with this lot of bearings came numerous boxes of mixed bearings.  What the heck am I supposed to do with these?????  Do I just put them on the dollar tarp at the swap meet? The first question they are going to ask is What do these fit?? Is there a realistic way to determine what these are??  Are they worth selling if I can identify them?

Turns out, there IS a way to identify them, potentially.  It largely depends on how much time you want to spend. What the application is will determine if they are sellable, and that will determine how much time you want to spend.  Flathead?  Those will definitely sell.  H Engine (1948-1949 Ford straight 6)? Perhaps.  G Engine?  Can't give them away.  But flathead bearings are definitely worth sorting out.  I generally ask $50 for a full set of rod bearings (6211 x 4), and $100 for a full set of main bearings (consisting of a front and a center (6333 x 2) and a rear (6331).

Check out my inventory of flathead bearings here:

https://automotivearchaeology.biz/collections/ford-flathead-v8

I've got two types of bearings here - connecting rod bearings and main bearings.  Both are easy to identify visually.  I'll use the rod bearings as an example.  The flathead V8 utilized floating bearings for the crank end of the rods.  Because the bearings were not fixed into position, and both sides of the bearing acted as a bearing surface, this enabled the engine designers to place the rods in pairs which could utilize the same bearing.  That's why rod bearing sets for the flathead V8 only have 4 bearing pairs.  They are very distinctive visually as you can see below.

As you can see in the next photo, I have sorted out all the flathead rod bearings.  They all look very similar, but since there were a number of different flathead engines with different sized rod bearings, they are most certainly not all the same, and by comparing sizes, they can be easily sorted into groups of similar sizes that will roughly coincide with applications.  One application - 40-6211, which fits 1932-1936 - are especially easy to sort out as they are the only one with a lip around the outside.

OK, so now we have few neat stacks of similar looking bearings.  What now?  Fortunately, one of my very dirty and VERY well used books comes in handy for this - Ford Chassis Parts and Accessories Catalog 1932-1948:

On page 248-249 is a chart of flathead connecting rod bearings with part numbers, applications, and other information including the crankshaft journal outside diameter and the connecting rod inside diameter.

The pertinent information can be summarized as follows:

Part No.       Crank Diameter     Rod Diameter

40-6211-A    1.998-1.999           2.20

52-6211-A    1.598-1.599           1.80

81A-6211-A  1.998-1.999           2.20

92A-6211-A  1.698-1.699           1.90

99A-6211-A  2.138-2.139           2.36

8BA-6211-G 2.139                     2.29

 

By now, you can see where I'm going with this, and I will continue in the next blog post.


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