’29 Engine rebuild

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    My ’29 Pierce club sedan has a bad rod bearing(s)which means a partial rebuild. It is a very nice car, 3 tone blue, not concours but a CCCA senior. I did a lot of cosmetic work on it prior to bringing it to the 100th anniversary meet in Buffalo.
    With the cost of restoring anything being astronomical these days, and the value of the car being what it is, I plan on pulling the engine locally, stripping it, and sending it out to have no more done than necessary. The car ran great, had excellent compression and oil pressure etc.
    there are a few shops advertising in Hemmings that do poured bearings. Has anyone had experience with any of them? Where are club members getting engine work done? any advice would be helpful.
    Ed Johnson
    Vero Beach, Fl.


    Hi, Ed,

    I’ve gone the route you’ve chosen. I pulled the ’29 engine myself and disassembled it. (Be sure to pull the front fenders off the car first. They’re pretty and you want them to stay that way.)

    Then I took the block, crank, cam and rods to a local machine shop (Auto Machine in St. Charles, IL). They bored the block polished the crank and sent the rods to Effingham Grinding in Effingham, Illinois for repouring. Many of the Chicago CCCA guys use Effingham and I’ve had three sets of rods done by them and they are beautiful. My cam bearings were okay so they only buffed the camshaft. Your main bearings will probably be fine, as they usually are.

    Don’t be surprised if you find cracks in the other rod bearings. When one goes, there are often others in the wait.

    A lot depends on how bad the rod bearing is and how much you drove on it. Plan on extra machine work for that crank pin. It’s quite possible that you may wind up with one rod that has a more undersize bearing than the others.

    It’s a good idea to have your machine shop make sure that all the pieces fit correctly and are within the "as new" tolerances.

    Get a really big cherry picker when you go to pull the engine. It’s real heavy and you’ll probably have to extend the boom which lowers the lifting capacity. Engine and trans come out together.

    Good luck,


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