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Harrison lathe oils

what to use

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nathan talbot16/11/2015 15:35:12
23 forum posts
1 photos

Hi everyone

I have lucky enough recently to become an owner of a Harrison M250 Lathe i also have the maual in which describes the oil to use

Medium= shell Tellus 68, mobil DTE heavy medium etc

Heavy= shell Vitrea 220, mobil DTE Extra Heavy etc

Ive tried numerous searches but am having no luck and i think these are dicountinued lines does anybody know what equivilants i can use???



the artfull-codger16/11/2015 18:16:07
254 forum posts

Hi Nathan,

I used a recomended hydraulic oil for our harrison obtained from a local oil merchant [smith & allen] darlington but any good oil merchant should be able to advise you of an evailable equivalent.


Thor16/11/2015 18:18:14
1260 forum posts
39 photos

Hi Nathan,

As far as I know Shell Tellus 68 is a (medium) hydraulic oil, ISO viscosity 68. It may be called Shell Tellus S2 M 68. I guess any hydraulic oil with similar viscosity should do the job.

Here's a lubrication cross reference chart.


Edited By Thor on 16/11/2015 18:19:19

Chris Evans 617/11/2015 18:28:46
1725 forum posts

Any "DIN" 68 oil will do. Usually sold as a slide oil with brand names like "Slidex" It is used on Bridgeport and Hurco CNC mills and I use it on the one shot oiling of my Bridgeport turret mill. I scrounge a couple of litres when I call to the place I worked at until retirement. Avoid the model suppliers selling in little bottles, there are cheaper ways to buy it.

fizzy17/11/2015 19:45:51
1725 forum posts
116 photos

Can I ask - if motor grade gearbox oil will protect my car gearbox under heavy load for tens of thousands of hours, why isnt it perfectly suitable for my lathe? (not withstanding bearing seal material incompatabilities). Thanks.

Muzzer17/11/2015 19:59:02
2904 forum posts
448 photos

You can buy 5 litres of hydraulic oil at most motor factors for peanuts, as it's used in all sorts of off highway machines.

For my Bantam that calls for Telus 27, the substitute is ISO 32 and it seems that for Telus 68 it's ISO 68. The number is some measure of viscosity. For the Bantam, it's the same oil for gearboxes and slides and I also use it in the Bridgeport lube pump.

Chris Evans 617/11/2015 20:42:19
1725 forum posts

Fizzy, you can most likely use automotive gearbox oil. If you do choose GL4 spec not GL5 which is known to degrade bronze in gearboxes. Lots of threads re these oils on old Land Rover forums, (one of my passions after vintage bikes).

Kettrinboy21/12/2015 10:57:06
87 forum posts
47 photos

I use mineral based 20W50 motor oil in my 1963 Harrison L5 , and have done since 1986 and just change it every few years and its been no bother at all , but then the maximum spindle speed is only 750 rpm and I rarely even use that ,so its not that highly stressed , on a lathe that can do high speeds and is used often at say 2000rpm or more the oil quality and viscosity is probably more important to prevent premature wear.

Dave Martin21/12/2015 11:12:01
101 forum posts
11 photos


if the '68' is for the ways, if you can't find a Shell Tellus you should be able to find Mobil Vactra 68 which is what I use on my machines.


will hawkes21/12/2015 11:20:07
19 forum posts

i have just sorted out oils for most of my machinery, i needed iso 68 hydralic oil (original shell vitrea 33) this is a basic sae20 oil with no additives , the firm i have used to supply is westway lubricants, i needed a lot so a 20 litre container was £34.99 inc post , they also supply most other oils and greases for machines. all made in good old england. the no is 01902 854556, i have no connection with this firm but the elliott machines in the workshop recommend it ,. will.

Edited By will hawkes on 21/12/2015 11:22:12

Edited By will hawkes on 21/12/2015 11:23:28

Nicholas Wheeler 121/12/2015 11:35:50
362 forum posts
20 photos
Posted by fizzy on 17/11/2015 19:45:51:

Can I ask - if motor grade gearbox oil will protect my car gearbox under heavy load for tens of thousands of hours, why isnt it perfectly suitable for my lathe? (not withstanding bearing seal material incompatabilities). Thanks.

For our small machines pretty much any oil will be suitable.

The main reason for not using gearbox oil is it stinks.

David Cambridge21/12/2015 11:39:56
252 forum posts
68 photos

'The main reason for not using gearbox oil is it stinks.' That's a lesson I once learned the hard way!

Chris Evans 621/12/2015 20:26:27
1725 forum posts

Yes the smell of EP 90 gearbox oil pervades my workshop. Old Land Rovers tend to use rather a lot of the stuff.

Jon23/12/2015 22:32:49
997 forum posts
49 photos

Have another look the oil container denotes 68 for headstock, gearbox, carriage and lead screws. Different oil container picky denotes 32 for the slides.

Will feel quite some drag to over come with hydraulic 68 on the slides.
Been having the odd gallon from Smith and Allen for last 6 years £13 delivered back then now £17. I use it like its going out of fashion a disposable item.
Can pay a few more pennies and get AWD, antiware hydraulic.

ATF the red stuff has similar properties in general to hydraulic and recommended for the old Harrisons (L5, L5a, 11" and 140) headstock. Did try some fully synth 75W gearbox oil but the drag was too much until warm meaning hours of use to get working. This is why modern car oils have a dual viscosity ie 10W/30, when cold the 10W comes in to play, when warm the 30W. Can beat that by going 0W/30W as the 0W flows better when cold.

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