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Gearbox oil

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Steve Rowbotham19/07/2022 12:56:58
36 forum posts
6 photos

I have a new Warco WM280V lathe which is now due it's first gearbox oil change. The manual specifies Mobilgear 627, which is now obsolete, and the equivalent is Mobilgear 600 XP 100 which I can only find in industrial volumes (25L). I am contemplating purchasing 2L of gearbox oil from Warco, but before I place the order I just wondered if anyone else has been round this buoy before, and if so whether a regular gear oil from Halfords could be recommended.

JasonB19/07/2022 13:10:53
23022 forum posts
2763 photos
1 articles

I've just used Warco's "headstock oil" in my 280 for the last 10yrs or so.

Chris Evans 619/07/2022 13:11:15
2067 forum posts

I cant comment on the Warco spec. but most lathes I have used all seem to use an ISO 32 grade hydraulic oil for headstock and gearbox and ISO 68 grade hydraulic oil for the ways.

Journeyman19/07/2022 13:24:48
1174 forum posts
236 photos

I changed the oil in my similar WM 250 some tim ago. Like yours the manual says to use Mobilgear 627 but this is no longer available so I got some "gear oil" from Halfords reasoning that if it says it′s for gears and it′s going in a gear box, then it will most likely work. The oil in question is "EP 80W90 GL-4" this is marginally less viscous than the recommended oil but should still do the job, especially with the light use my lathe gets.

Might be something in my Maintenance page that is of interest. 


Edited By Journeyman on 19/07/2022 13:36:34

Thor 🇳🇴19/07/2022 18:24:48
1658 forum posts
46 photos

Hi Steve,

I use "gear oil" from a local supplier, the viscosity may not be correct so I mix in some ISO 68 oil. This has worked well for a decade on my 290 lathe. Just make sure there is enough oil in the gearbox and apron. I know that some use ATF fluid.


Edited By Thor 🇳🇴 on 19/07/2022 18:26:31

noel shelley19/07/2022 18:44:31
1435 forum posts
23 photos

In this context almost any oil is better none ! BUT a good mineral oil, ie SAE10 or 20 hydraulic oil will be fine and as many hydraulic pumps are of the gear type quite suitable ! There is NO need to buy expensive synthetic oils and DO NOT use EP90 gear oil. Any good hydraulics supplier will be able to help and if you take a container may draw from a 205L drum and big savings ! Good Luck, Noel.

Robert Atkinson 219/07/2022 19:40:54
1238 forum posts
20 photos

As Noel has said, don't use any EP oil! Don't use EP oil in any application that uses copper or copper alloy components. The sulphur and other additives in most EP oils (there are some modern exceptions) can damage them.
The specified Mobilgear 627 is an iso 100 grade oil so Nuto 32 is a bit thin.

My first stop for odd oils is Morris lubricants.

Drop them an email. We should support these british companies that aupport niche users. They sell steam oil

Journeyman19/07/2022 20:06:10
1174 forum posts
236 photos

I don't think an EP oil will be a problem with these gearboxes. They are crude low tech cast iron and steel things.


I can't remember seeing any brass or copper in there. They rotate very slowly at very low power so not mission critical. I think you could put golden syrup in it and have no problem.


Robert Atkinson 219/07/2022 20:23:50
1238 forum posts
20 photos

Are you sure there are no bushes?

Personally I would not take the risk. Even 100 weight engine oil would be a better choice and cheaper too.

Robert G8RPI.

Pete Rimmer19/07/2022 21:08:09
1255 forum posts
69 photos

What's the problem with EP90? not that I use it I'm just wondering why it's such a DO NOT?

john halfpenny19/07/2022 21:17:50
249 forum posts
24 photos

Some EP90s have additives that are said to attack yellow metals. There is no definitive list, and perhaps modern formulations are ok. Hence the advice to avoid, just in case.

Hopper19/07/2022 22:50:22
6616 forum posts
347 photos

GL4 spec EP oils are usually compatible with yellow metals as are some of the modern GL5 formulas. Usually it will say on the container if its compatable. I hate the smell of that stuff though.

And you dont really need EP additives for a 1hp lathe transmission vs a 100+ hp automotive tranny. 

Edited By Hopper on 19/07/2022 22:53:13

noel shelley19/07/2022 22:51:56
1435 forum posts
23 photos

Once upon a time there was OIL ! It was a lubricant ! Now there is an oil for every job. A friend bought a vehicle from a less than reputable dealer - 6 months later the AA recovered said machine it was going to cost £3000 to f ix due to the wrong engine oil poisoning the CAT. ! Some things can use almost any oil, others need a very specific oil - you just have to judge for your self or seek advice ! A simple gearbox, lathe , old motor cycle Etc would be quite happy on a SAE30 engine oil, if it's good enough for an engine that may run at 5000rpm, crank pistons timing gear Etc then the lathe will be fine ! EP 90 is best kept for high load spiral bevels Etc. Noel

Steve Rowbotham19/07/2022 23:19:32
36 forum posts
6 photos

Thanks as ever for your informative responses, I have managed to establish that the recommended oil is Astra 68 slideway oil - the manufacturer being Morris lubricants! It may have been easier to just buy from Warco, or plump for an engine or hydraulic oil, but at least I now know what spec. the manufacturer intended (and it's not golden syrup). Good to hear from you Thor, you will be pleased to know the Stuart Oscillator is now complete and running merrily on compressed air, and I have today unboxed a Stuart 10V set of castings - a bit more daunting than the oscillator so expect more requests for advice!

duncan webster19/07/2022 23:52:51
4105 forum posts
66 photos

If you're in the northwest then Caldo oils sell most grades in small quantities. Some oils advertised as slideway lubricants contain a waxy substance which if used in a gearbox will eventually bung up the sight glass. Not good

Neil Lickfold20/07/2022 02:13:37
890 forum posts
195 photos

I use ATF oil. Its used in the box for Hardinge lathes. It has additive for acid and alkaline . Does not cause issues with mixed alloys like bronze or aluminum or steel. I don't own Warco machines . I buy the cheapest ATF (auto transmission fluid) I can buy. Its great stuff. Some smell really bad or strong, so I don't get those ones.

Nicholas Wheeler 120/07/2022 09:54:58
956 forum posts
88 photos
Posted by john halfpenny on 19/07/2022 21:17:50:

Some EP90s have additives that are said to attack yellow metals. There is no definitive list, and perhaps modern formulations are ok. Hence the advice to avoid, just in case.

It also smells awful.

I use Dextron3 Automatic Transmission Fluid in and on my WM250 because it's basically just the thin hydraulic oil with some extra dye. And I had about 3litres of it going spare.

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