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Oil for gearbox

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Stuart Cox 320/01/2021 22:59:18
107 forum posts
17 photos

I was just about to buy some oil to refill my Clarke CL500M when I found a brand new bottle of Harley Davidson formula + transmission oil in my shed.

I can't seem to find any info on the recommended oil for my machine, or the amount required which is a little frustrating.

Does anyone know if this would be suitable? It is a mineral oil

Thanks Stuart

Hopper20/01/2021 23:22:01
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5200 forum posts
114 photos

Well it would work ok. It's compatible with bronze bushings etc as they are used in many Harley gearboxes that run just fine on Formula + . But it is kind of stinky stuff. Smells like fish oil. Not something I would want that close to me when working So I maybe would just use regular hydraulic oil in a lathe gearbox probably ISO32 or 46. You don't need special gear oil with all the extreme pressure additives and stuff for lathe use with a 1hp motor vs a 70hp Harley engine and trans.

At the end of the day, the main thing is that there is some kind of clean oil in there. What type is not as critical in such a low power, low rpm application. I have one old lathe that has been lubricated exclusively with whatever motorcycle or car engine oil that was to hand for the past 50 years that I know of with no apparent ill effects.

If you are a bike guy, spray-on chain lube is ideal for the change gears between main spindle and leadscrew gearbox on you lathe. It does not fling off and make a mess. Use the teflon clean street formula, not the black graphite dirt bike chain lube though!

Edited By Hopper on 20/01/2021 23:40:08

Thor21/01/2021 04:56:12
1340 forum posts
40 photos

Hi Stuart,

The manual for my 290 lathe says Mobilgear 627 for the gearbox. This is an old oil, may be called Mobilgear 600 XP100 now, it is a gearbox oil with an ISO viscosity of 100. As Hopper says, make sure there is oil in the gearbox.

Thor

Stuart Cox 321/01/2021 07:24:40
107 forum posts
17 photos
Posted by Hopper on 20/01/2021 23:22:01:

Well it would work ok. It's compatible with bronze bushings etc as they are used in many Harley gearboxes that run just fine on Formula + . But it is kind of stinky stuff. Smells like fish oil. Not something I would want that close to me when working So I maybe would just use regular hydraulic oil in a lathe gearbox probably ISO32 or 46. You don't need special gear oil with all the extreme pressure additives and stuff for lathe use with a 1hp motor vs a 70hp Harley engine and trans.

At the end of the day, the main thing is that there is some kind of clean oil in there. What type is not as critical in such a low power, low rpm application. I have one old lathe that has been lubricated exclusively with whatever motorcycle or car engine oil that was to hand for the past 50 years that I know of with no apparent ill effects.

If you are a bike guy, spray-on chain lube is ideal for the change gears between main spindle and leadscrew gearbox on you lathe. It does not fling off and make a mess. Use the teflon clean street formula, not the black graphite dirt bike chain lube though!

Edited By Hopper on 20/01/2021 23:40:08

Thanks Hopper, yes I am using chain lube for the change gears

The other thing I need to consider is the oil also lubricates the tapered spindle bearings

Stuart

Stuart Cox 321/01/2021 07:27:54
107 forum posts
17 photos

....I also have a bottle of sealey Hydraulic oil ISO32, so maybe I'll use that instead!

Bo'sun21/01/2021 09:44:08
358 forum posts

While it might be tempting to use a higher viscosity gear oil like EP80/EP90, bear in mind there might be some "splash" lubrication involved. As the gearbox will run relatively cool, splash lubrication might not happen with the higher viscosity. I've heard of people using a high viscosity oil in an attempt to reduce noise.

Stuart Cox 322/01/2021 09:50:59
107 forum posts
17 photos
Posted by Bo'sun on 21/01/2021 09:44:08:

While it might be tempting to use a higher viscosity gear oil like EP80/EP90, bear in mind there might be some "splash" lubrication involved. As the gearbox will run relatively cool, splash lubrication might not happen with the higher viscosity. I've heard of people using a high viscosity oil in an attempt to reduce noise.

Yes that is a good point. I think the Hydraulic oil will be a bit thinner then the HD oil so that should help with the splash lubrication of the spindle bearings.

Thanks Stuart

Hopper22/01/2021 09:59:44
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5200 forum posts
114 photos
Posted by Stuart Cox 3 on 22/01/2021 09:50:59:
Posted by Bo'sun on 21/01/2021 09:44:08:

While it might be tempting to use a higher viscosity gear oil like EP80/EP90, bear in mind there might be some "splash" lubrication involved. As the gearbox will run relatively cool, splash lubrication might not happen with the higher viscosity. I've heard of people using a high viscosity oil in an attempt to reduce noise.

Yes that is a good point. I think the Hydraulic oil will be a bit thinner then the HD oil so that should help with the splash lubrication of the spindle bearings.

Thanks Stuart

The HD Formula + is not as thick is some gear oils. It is formulated to lubricate the needle roller bearings used in some Harley gearboxes, which need a reaonsably thin oil. Also it lubricates the small pitch primary chaincase bath that Harleys use. So probably ok for splashing around. Harley gearboxes rely in splash lubrication as there is no circulation pump. Bearings will often have a small catch "funnel" and drain hole in the casting above them to capture splashed oil.

But if you are using the oil to lubricate your headstock, including bearings, rather than just the leadscrew gearbox, it might be worth checking what your manufacturer recomends, or the manufacturer of similar machines.

But as a default, plenty of lathes specify a hydraulic oil for the headstock.

Edited By Hopper on 22/01/2021 10:01:01

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