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Meddings MF4 lubrication question

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Robert Swift24/11/2014 13:47:29
4 forum posts
1 photos


I’m new to the forum, I've recently purchased a lovingly owned Meddings MF4 pillar drill, absolutely fabulous to use. I contacted Meddings to understand what oil and grease I should use (the recommendations from 1967 are no longer sold) and I now have the ISO22 oil and Gadus S2 V100 3 grease (via Smith & Allan, very helpful). From the instructions/diagram I can see two grease nipples (numbers 51 & 82 from the diagram) and one oiler (number 140). Nipple 51, on the left hand side of the drill is no problem... but...
I cannot attach the grease gun to the nipple on the quill, number 82? The nipple is enclosed, and the gun attachment is too big? I've taken the gun attachment apart and it is obvious that I cannot file or turn it down, it is very thin. The photo below is the nipple in question:

Meddings MF4 Quill Grease Nipple

I feel I'm missing something really obvious, I've searched online for 'small' grease gun heads but all I can seem to find are regular grease gun heads on small capacity bodies?

I'm hoping someone has a suggestion to help me on this? I'm very grateful in advance for any guidance.

I'm not sure how often I should load the grease, I bought the lathe from a couple who were selling off the contents of a workshop following the death of the owner, so I'm not able to ask him.

Last question, the oiler at the top of the gearbox has confused me a bit, it has a flap suggesting regular oil, yet when I unscrewed to check (and learn about the inner workings of the drill) the ball race was full of grease, not oil? Should I be squirting some grease down there from time-to-time?

Apologies for the rolling eyes from many readers, I'm rather new to engineering and, whilst I'm enjoying the challenge of learning new things, some learning curves are harder than others, it seems some aspects of engineering are taken for granted, whereas others have a million and one YouTube videos to give a steer.

Thanks in advance - Robert...

Clive Foster24/11/2014 16:33:55
2988 forum posts
105 photos

Doesn't look like a standard zerk fitting to me.

If not could either accept a narrow cone nozzle pushing straight onto the ball or be a flat type having a groove under the head for a hook on nozzle. Cone nozzles come in either metal or rubber varieties. I suspect the rubber ones may seal better but are harder to align. Hook on nozzles have a U shaped bottom which slides over the nipple so the groove holds it in place.

A Google search should turn up pictures. Single ends are around £3 to £5 delivered if you know what you want. Kits containing several interchangeable end attachments can be found for around £20 to £30 and may be worth the cost if you tend to get involved in fixing things for folks.


Mike Poole24/11/2014 17:27:35
3162 forum posts
72 photos

Is the part that is obstructing the grease nipple clamped round the spindle? If so slacken the clamp and reposition either permanently or just to grease. The instructions for my MF4 Mk3 recommends 2000 hours of use for the gearbox repack and a weekly application to the nipples. I would think that frequency is for industrial use and for home workshop use could be extended. Grease tends to age badly after an extended period so it may be worth an inspection to see how things are. Making a short extension to bring the nipple out of the recess could also be done.


It appears the early machines used oil in the gearbox so ignore my grease repack comment. It does look as though the obstructing part is a clamp so should move easily, I think it tends to get pushed down as it is the stop when the quill is retracted.

Edited By Michael Poole on 24/11/2014 17:56:57

Robert Swift24/11/2014 17:39:04
4 forum posts
1 photos

Thanks both for the replies. I took the nipple out with some long nose pliers, was a bit tricky. The grease gun fitted straight on to it, although getting it off again was a bit of fun

The diagram I have states that this is a '2BA Nipple 5714' but I cannot determine what the 5714 means? The nipple on the side that is easy to access is listed as a '1/4" BSF Hydraulic Nipple'.

I'll have a look to see what can be slackened off around it, but certainly from all my investigation so far, the only thing that can be tightened is the lock for the quill assembly itself, the metal obstruction seems to be part of the quill assembly? It is a good idea about making a small extension, I'll also look into different nozzles for the grease gun. The drill will be getting light use, so I'm able to make do in the short term with a bit of creativity and some rags to clean up afterwards.

Thanks for the guidance on the time before new grease is needed too.

Thanks again, much appreciated - Robert...

David Clark 124/11/2014 17:46:47
3357 forum posts
112 photos
10 articles

Try adding a small bit of tube between the nipple and lubricator or replace the nipple with an extended or angled one.

I don't think we lubricated these nipples in over 5 years with no problems but we did grease the entire bearing by dismantling the quill to tighten up the bearings every year or so. If the bearings are slack they can be tightened very easily and will be as good as new.

Robert Swift24/11/2014 19:04:46
4 forum posts
1 photos

So armed with a fresh perspective based on Mike's suggestion, I had another look, I'd seen the bolt that was part of what I assumed to be the quill assembly, seems that it is in fact just the scale holder, loosened it, and it slid up nicely. Job done

Lesson learned, don't assume the bleedin' obvious isn't actually, bleedin' obvious

Cheers - Robert...

clogs24/11/2014 21:14:22
619 forum posts
12 photos

HI Rob, go into any car parts place (prob not Halfords) u can get the nipple with a long extension…..

1/4 - 1/2" etc etc……often used on car prop shafts…if ur in the country-side tractors use them all the time a tractor repair place will def have them….look at the thread before u go it prob is AF but could be a Whit…….there's loads to choose from….

dont worry about the grease down the hole..couple of drops of oil will make everything right…..

price around 20p


oldvelo26/11/2014 02:57:32
280 forum posts
54 photos

Hi Robert

This is another solution

a "Needle Nose" tip for your grease gun. Also available to replace the claw fitting on your gun they are usually

1/8 BSP thread


Robert Swift26/11/2014 09:52:18
4 forum posts
1 photos

Thanks to all for the responses... I am very grateful for the time people have taken to reply, find links etc.

Cheers - Robert...

korby26/11/2014 16:33:18
37 forum posts
2 photos

Car prop shaft UJ's with grease nipples, the last car I owned so fitted was a 1962 MGB. They were on extension tubes as suggested by DC. Shame the rust fairys got it to the point it sagged in the middle and jammed the doors.

Ho Hum

JohnF26/11/2014 22:06:28
1123 forum posts
183 photos

Hi All, I have a couple of PDF docs with exploded views of this machine and the gearbox, if anyone wants them please PM me with you email and I'll forward them to you.


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