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#2 rod bearing

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Paul Kane
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#2 rod bearing Empty #2 rod bearing

Post  stanger68 May 23rd 2021, 11:43 pm

The engine is 557/ A head, dyno was 975 hp @ 6800.
D1 block with Pro Gram splayed caps added.
fuel is M1 methanol
rod clearance is .003
main clearance is .0035
rod side clearance is .027
crower solid roller lifters with oil holes on both sides of axle
The oil filter is remote mounted with -10 AN hose
the main gallery to the filter pad from the pump is drilled out to 9/16 and smooth blended
the oil pump is  kasse. (the original build was melling HV)
the oil pan is Lem's alluminum 10qt.
I started out using brad Penn 20W/50, after the first bearing failure I switched to 10W/40 Brad Penn

The story: The original build had a Milodon fox body 7.5 qt. oil pan and Melling Hv pump. After about 50 1/8 mile passes and a dozen or so dyno pulls it started to knock. during teardown i found the #2 rod and bearing totally destroyed and #6 rod and bearing had enough heat damage that I went ahead and replaced it as well. The rest of the bearings looked relatively ok considering the amount of metal in the pan. I never saw any metal in the oil prior to that last run where it let go. I had a magnet on the drain plug and it was always clean when changing the oil. At the time I had attributed this failure to an incident 2 races prior to the failure I made a test pass of the trailer with milky oil by accident.

I had the crank turned. bought 2 new rods for #2 and #6. Bought one of Lems fancy 10 qt alluminum pans, upgraded the oil pump to a Kasse just for good measure. The rest of the parts seemed ok so I cleaned it all up and reassembled.

Now this where I get confused: The first time out I made 3 1/8 mile passes and loaded it up due to chassis problems and tire shake. went home, spent the next couple of weekends upgrading the rear suspension. As always I pull the drain plug and drain a 2-3 cups of oil to inspect before I load it on the trailer and I saw some metal. So I drained all the oil and cut open the filter. At this point it was obvious it was way more than just break in metal. large flakes of bearing material in the oil. When I dropped the pan and pulled the #2 rod bearing BAM copper again.

I pulled #2 main cap and it is shiny like its got 200,000 miles on it, same thing for #4 main, #7 rod and #4 rod. I didn't pull all the rod bearings because this pretty much told me what I wanted to know at the time.

What am I missing? It idles with 40 psi pressure hot. it goes to 60-70 psi when you rev it. I think it may even go over 70 at high rpm. The pressure gage port is plumbed in at the top rear of the block.


Last edited by stanger68 on May 24th 2021, 12:07 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : added more info.)

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Post  stanger68 May 24th 2021, 12:06 am


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Post  dfree383 May 24th 2021, 4:57 am

What oil ?
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Post  stanger68 May 24th 2021, 7:49 am

Its in the OP. Drink another cup of coffee and read it again. Smile what else did you miss?

First time Brad Penn 20w/50. second time Brad Penn 10w/40

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Post  pmrphil May 24th 2021, 8:10 am

My first thought is detonation, just dynoed a 545 with similar C/R & heads (inj. on alky) and it fell off when timing went above 29-30 degrees. Best was at 28. 2 & 4 mains hurt seems to show quite a bit of crank flexing, maybe due to detonating a bit?

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Post  stanger68 May 24th 2021, 10:30 am

Not likely. It hasn't seen more than 20 degrees due to tire shake.

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Post  Paul Kane May 25th 2021, 1:06 pm

When you say the bearings are "shiny like its got 200,000 miles on it, same thing for #4 main, #7 rod and #4 rod," I assume you mean they are completely worn out/top coating on bearings is gone.

In your build thread you state the main bearing clearances are as high as 0.004", and in this thread you mention that you "upgraded the oil pump to a Kaase..." In fact you actually just went from an HV pump to a std volume pump while having main bearing clearances as big as 0.004",  after which the engine bearings became trashed even faster yet. Based on that, the engine bearings seem to be in need of more oil delivery, not less.  I do suspect the primary source(s) of your oil starvation lies elsewhere (see below), and standard volume pumps are indeed capable of supporting ~1000 HP for 1320 feet, but the rest of the oiling system should be set up in accordance with that pump choice.  I would not recommend 0.0035"- 0.0040" mains/0.0030" rods with a std volume pump...let alone switch from a 20W-50 to a thinner 10W-40 oil under these oil system parameters.

The bearing damage symptoms in this case could be from a myriad of possibilities. Being that you are still investigating, I'd recommend considering/ looking at the following:

  • Inspect the remote oil filter system (plumbing, eliminate 90-degree elbows, etc)
  • Inspect the crankshaft's oil galleries from main to rods, especially the #2 main.
  • Inspect main bore alignment
  • In your build thread you stated you used Clevite main bearings, so I assume they are half-groove mains. I'd recommend upping to a 3/4-groove main bearing
  • Consider reducing all 13 bearing clearances (mains & rods) by 0.0005", especially if you are going to stay with a small pump
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Post  rmcomprandy May 25th 2021, 7:05 pm

Is your machine work right or the crankshaft a "Flexi-Flyer that you need "Nitro Engine" bearing clearances...?
Is the oil hole of the number 2,3,4 main bearings opened to match the supply drilling in the block or still just a slot ...?
Rods at .0025" and mains at .003", (or even slightly smaller), is probably plenty for good rotating assembly components.

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Post  stanger68 May 25th 2021, 9:39 pm

Paul Kane wrote:When you say the bearings are "shiny like its got 200,000 miles on it, same thing for #4 main, #7 rod and #4 rod," I assume you mean they are completely worn out/top coating on bearings is gone.

In your build thread you state the main bearing clearances are as high as 0.004", and in this thread you mention that you "upgraded the oil pump to a Kaase..." In fact you actually just went from an HV pump to a std volume pump while having main bearing clearances as big as 0.004",  after which the engine bearings became trashed even faster yet. Based on that, the engine bearings seem to be in need of more oil delivery, not less.  I do suspect the primary source(s) of your oil starvation lies elsewhere (see below), and standard volume pumps are indeed capable of supporting ~1000 HP for 1320 feet, but the rest of the oiling system should be set up in accordance with that pump choice.  I would not recommend 0.0035"- 0.0040" mains/0.0030" rods with a std volume pump...let alone switch from a 20W-50 to a thinner 10W-40 oil under these oil system parameters.

The bearing damage symptoms in this case could be from a myriad of possibilities. Being that you are still investigating, I'd recommend considering/ looking at the following:

  • Inspect the remote oil filter system (plumbing, eliminate 90-degree elbows, etc)
  • Inspect the crankshaft's oil galleries from main to rods, especially the #2 main.
  • Inspect main bore alignment
  • In your build thread you stated you used Clevite main bearings, so I assume they are half-groove mains. I'd recommend upping to a 3/4-groove main bearing
  • Consider reducing all 13 bearing clearances (mains & rods) by 0.0005", especially if you are going to stay with a small pump


Paul, you are pretty much dead on with what I have already been thinking and looking at the last couple of days. I just don't have the experience to know if I'm right or not. Thanks for taking the time to chime in.

- I am looking really hard at the remote filter set up trying to find a filter adapter that will allow -12 lines and still short enough to clear the steering shaft on the side of the block. this is a little more challenging than it sounds due to the lack of space available. but I will figure it out. even though the current -10 lines are short and pretty straight I have never liked them being that small. The -10 fittings measure .493 ID.
- I even bought a go pro camera to record the oil pressure gauge during a run. LOL poor mans data logger.
- Yes 2 of the main clearances on the original build were .004, the other 3 were .0035. However on the rebuild thy were all pretty much dead on .0035. sorry if I mis-stated that.
- I have looked hard at the #2 rod oil gallery and cant see anything wrong.
- Yes oil feeds in the block to the mains were stretched over to the bearing slot with a burr bit and smoothed out with a cartridge wheel.
- The block was align bored and square decked by a very well respected high performance machine shop/engine builder.
- I was under the impression that the Kasse pump was both HV/medium volume and HP.
- Yes they were 1/2 groove bearings. I will see if I can find some speed pro 134M. Is there another 3/4 groove bearing you prefer. As you probably know supply shortages are a factor right now. I'll see what I can find.
- Yesterday I purchased some king 5650 hp010 to reduce the main clearance to .0025, (main journals measure 2.8977-2.990) no one has XP bearings available. no one has .009 BBF main bearing available for several weeks. how else could you drop .0005 with out having 2 sets of bearings to mix?
- The reason the clearances were what they were on the first build is I was following the guidance of my machinist who had been building engines professionally since the mid 60's when he campaigned a 427 in NASCAR. he went on to do a lot of NHRA drag racing through the 70's and 80's. He ran a performance engine shop since 1972. Unfortunately he is no longer with us for me to lean on. He passed earlier this year.
- If I use .020 under rod bearings I will only have .002 clearance on 7 rods and .0025 on 1 rod. I can use .019 half and .020 half to get the .0025 clearance?
- SO in summary of all that if you're still awake. with the current supply chain issues I can pretty easily get .0025 clearance on both rods and mains. No practical way I see to get .003 on the mains. would you recommend 10w/40 or 20w/50 and should I ditch the brad penn? I mainly been using it because our local speed shop stocks it, it affordable and a lot of our local racers swear by it.

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Post  stanger68 May 25th 2021, 9:54 pm

rmcomprandy wrote:Is your machine work right or the crankshaft a "Flexi-Flyer that you need "Nitro Engine" bearing clearances...?
Is the oil hole of the number 2,3,4 main bearings opened to match the supply drilling in the block or still just a slot ...?
Rods at .0025" and mains at .003", (or even slightly smaller), is probably plenty for good rotating assembly components.

Thanks for taking the time to chime in Randy. I'm not sure what a flexi flier is. But as I stated in the reply to Mr Paul. The original build clearances were advice given to me by my former well known and respected machinist/ engine builder. At this point I'm not sure of anything except I want more than a -10 line feeding my oil filter. that's why I'm here.

- Yes the oil feeds from the block were stretched to the bearing slot.
- Yes the drain back in heads were matched to the head gaskets and block smoothed out.
- If you have time read my long winded response to paul and see what you think about those options.

Thanks again.


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Post  rmcomprandy May 26th 2021, 12:34 am

stanger68 wrote:
rmcomprandy wrote:Is your machine work right or the crankshaft a "Flexi-Flyer that you need "Nitro Engine" bearing clearances...?
Is the oil hole of the number 2,3,4 main bearings opened to match the supply drilling in the block or still just a slot ...?
Rods at .0025" and mains at .003", (or even slightly smaller), is probably plenty for good rotating assembly components.

Thanks for taking the time to chime in Randy. I'm not sure what a flexi flier is. But as I stated in the reply to Mr Paul. The original build clearances were advice given to me by my former well known and respected machinist/ engine builder.  At this point I'm not sure of anything except I want more than a -10 line feeding my oil filter. that's why I'm here.

- Yes the oil feeds from the block were stretched to the bearing slot.
- Yes the drain back in heads were matched to the head gaskets and block smoothed out.
- If you have time read my long winded response to paul and see what you think about those options.

Thanks Again.

"Flexi-Flier is a reference to a crankshaft which goes out of shape and twists more than it should; they are out there so, people should be aware. Crankshafts which distort need more clearance.
Yes, .0021" to .0025" should be fine with a 2.200" crank throw as long as the mains are.0030" or very slightly less so, the oil throw-off from them is not outrageous.

I like 15w-40 mineral oil for cylinder wall break-in
and
5W-30 synthetic oil, afterward.

And, that is mainly why oil clearances considered on the tight side, will work well.

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Post  Narmalee May 26th 2021, 6:30 am

we've always used 15-40 rotella for break-in... and half our stuff runs in the rest of its life LOL

its nice being able to buy a 55g drum of the stuff and pour it in the truck, the mustang AND the corvette xD
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Post  mao66fairlane June 5th 2021, 5:16 pm

Diesel oil is not what it used to be. The formulas have been changed to protect the life of the aftertreatment devices. You dont get any more zinc in rotella than you do off the shelf automotive oil. I am sorry but your oil choices are out of date and need to be rethought.

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Post  FDB June 6th 2021, 1:15 am

Make sure your main and rod bearing bores are round. If a cap slides sideways the end of the bearing will scrape the oil off the journal. Your pickup should be no more than 3/16" from the bottom of the pan or it will suck air instead of oil. Your going the right way with the grooves behind the main bearings, just go further. Use a cut off disc on an angle grinder and plunge a grove 1/4 - 3/8" deep around to within 1/4" of the parting line and drill 8 more holes (4&4) through the main bearing oil grooves. Then the crank can pick up oil at least 1/2 way around not just at the top. I know of tests that were done on 427's that showed there was no oil pressure in the groove more than 1/2" either side of the hole with 100psi and 7000RPM! The crank is a great centrifugal sucker.

You can look up your oil specs at PQIA.org. It shows Zinc & Phosphorus for Rotella T4 is 1130 & 1034, T5 is 1267 & 1086, & Motorcraft is 1233 & 1156. Other 15w-40's have been lowered though. Brad Penn is still better at 1533 & 1329. I have used 20w-50 Brad Penn for decades with no problems. I like that methanol and condensation will separate and drain out the bottom if you let it set a day or so. Others never will.

Let us know how it goes.

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Post  mao66fairlane June 6th 2021, 3:19 pm

Why not buy the proper oil to do the job? Mobil super has 926ppm of zinc but we have all felt the pain of automotive oil failing us on our flat tappet cams. Shell Rotella t4 1130ppm t5 1267ppm but is this enough? It is not worth the chance of the damage done to a high dollar engine. Why cheap out on the oil?

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Post  stanger68 June 9th 2021, 8:35 am

FDB wrote:Make sure your main and rod bearing bores are round.  If a cap slides sideways the end of the bearing will scrape the oil off the journal.  Your pickup should be no more than 3/16" from the bottom of the pan or it will suck air instead of oil.  Your going the right way with the grooves behind the main bearings, just go further.  Use a cut off disc on an angle grinder and plunge a grove 1/4 - 3/8" deep around to within 1/4" of the parting line and drill 8 more holes (4&4) through the main bearing oil grooves.  Then the crank can pick up oil at least 1/2 way around not just at the top.  I know of tests that were done on 427's that showed there was no oil pressure in the groove more than 1/2" either side of the hole with 100psi and 7000RPM!  The crank is a great centrifugal sucker.

You can look up your oil specs at PQIA.org.  It shows Zinc & Phosphorus for Rotella T4 is 1130 & 1034,  T5 is 1267 & 1086, & Motorcraft is 1233 & 1156.  Other 15w-40's have been lowered though.  Brad Penn is still better at 1533 & 1329.  I have used 20w-50 Brad Penn for decades with no problems.  I like that methanol and condensation will separate and drain out the bottom if you let it set a day or so.  Others never will.  

Let us know how it goes.

That does sound like a good idea, putting the groove behind the bearing.

I think I found the problem with the second failure though. I had forgotten about it until I saw it again. When I picked up the crank from the machine shop there was a tiny knick in #2 throw left over from the carnage. I asked the guy if he ran out of metal to turn it down further. He said no, that little scratch will be fine its below the surface. It was such a tiny mark I honestly agreed with him. I even had another elder engine guy bless it before I proceeded. Ill be damned if that tiny scratch doesn't align perfectly with the copper grooves in the bearing.

The first failure is still debatable.

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Post  rmcomprandy June 9th 2021, 4:03 pm

stanger68 wrote:

That does sound like a good idea, putting the groove behind the bearing.

I think I found the problem with the second failure though. I had forgotten about it until I saw it again. When I picked up the crank from the machine shop there was a tiny knick in #2 throw left over from the carnage. I asked the guy if he ran out of metal to turn it down further. He said no, that little scratch will be fine its below the surface.  It was such a tiny mark I honestly agreed with him. I even had another elder engine guy bless it before I proceeded. Ill be damned if that tiny scratch doesn't align perfectly with the copper grooves in the bearing.

The first failure is still debatable.  

You can believe whatever you want but, if that surface distortion is definitely below the surface with no raised edge at all, that is not the problem.

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Post  FDB June 10th 2021, 1:08 am

Take an old bearing shell that is in fairly good shape and roll it over the spot with lots of thumb pressure. Do it dry and if it scores the bearing you have a problem. You can polish the high spot off with something flat and as wide as the journal. Such as a large flat lathe bit or a fine file wrapped in 600 grit paper. Use rounding strokes.
Just don't over do it.

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