babbitt bearings?


hopefully this is right forum for this question.

Is it really necessary to repour babbitt bearings in a machine that hasn't been used in 20+? yrs? I have a Yates C3a moulder that I'd like to refurbish....or sell [at some point]. Most of the cutting heads won't turn. Is there any way to free them up with...penetrating oil, maybe? Or something else? Am afraid to force them to turn...or would the shafts be sturdy enuff to risk it?


Senior User
I have little experience with babbit, but would suspect that 20 years of disuse has led to the oil used to lubricate the babbit turning gummy a la what happens to sewing machines that sit.

Penetrating oil might dissolve the old oil. Alternatively, heat might liquify the old oil enough to allow the shafts to move/be removed for a full cleaning and inspection.


Roy G

Senior User
Can you disassemble the bearings? Some babbitt bearings are in two piece shells that have shims between them. If you can expose the babbitt material you can see if it looks worn out. You can reuse the old babbitt after you melt it out if you need to go that route.

Roy G

bob vaughan

Bob Vaughan
Senior User
I think Mark has identified the most likely problem. The old lubricant has likely devolved into an adhesive.
Another less likely possibility is that during storage water could have gotten down in the oil ports and rusted the shafts.
Babbitt is high maintenance so the bearing areas are made to be taken apart and the shafts removed from time to time.
Also, somebody could have put grease in the bearings. Bad move. Oil is the usual. I suspect that 10 weight mineral oil or maybe 20 weight would have been used on those bearings. Velocite is one popular brand of mineral oil for bearings.

Whatever is in there now is sticking things up and needs to be removed.

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