View Full Version : Spindle Lubrication

02-05-2010, 12:10 PM
I've got an 11" Rockwell lathe that is relatively new --- to me.
I'm trying to find some information on the type of grease to use in the headstock / spindle.
The sparse paperwork I have says to use Texaco Regal Starfak #2 - which was discontinued years ago. The internet searches I've done have told me
pretty much nothing new other than Texaco spends as much time and effort in dreaming up catchy names for their grease as they do publishing specs.
Anyone have any suggestions?

02-05-2010, 03:20 PM
Try ArcPak Slip-True Micron #12.

Sorry, couldn't resist. I bet that fancy name boils down to a simple common lubricant. Is it a grease or an oil?

02-05-2010, 03:21 PM
Google gave me this site http://www.hwpetro.com/texacoproducts.html and on it the oil seems to be the same grades as the standard ISO 32 to 68 grade oils sold by others. Depending on how hot your headstock runs you will have to select a viscosity to suit it. I use ISO 46 in my headstock.

02-05-2010, 03:45 PM
I had the same lathe, same question. Biggest concern is not knowing what is in there now, or if someone else may have already mixed incompatible greases.

I called Mobile Tech, they suggested a vastly superior (but otherwise matching important specs) Mobile SHC-220 Synthetic (IIRC). I got a tube from Enco for about $10 as part of a free shipping order. Removed and cleaned the hardened old calcium grease out of the bearings, replaced with a ~25% fill of SHC-220, reinstalled, pumped a few squirts in the "reservoir" (top of HS), and never touched it again...

02-05-2010, 03:46 PM
Thanks Carld,
My problem is cross referencing the obsolete Texaco spec to a modern spec:Valvolene, NAPA, etc. - something I can go out and buy.
I'm thinking about just trying a high-temp synthetic grease of somekind.
What concerns me by guessing is compatability issues with whatever grease is in there now. I remember from years ago that by mixing greases, winding up with a rock-hard lump of "kryptonite".
I suppose that I could purge the existing grease with solvent but that could lead to bearing failure due to inadequate initial lubing.
There's only one Zerk fitting on the entire lathe and don't you know that's the one that gives you all the trouble!!

Thanks also Baddog!!

02-05-2010, 05:44 PM
ummm, so it is a grease your looking for. That site had some greases listed on it, maybe it will tell you something about the specs so you can cross reference it.

02-05-2010, 07:00 PM
Did a quick search and found a Texaco pdf (http://fileserver.urimarketing.com/websites/Texaco_Lubrication_Magazine/1960-1964/V46%201960%20(10)/V46%20N06%201960.pdf)from 1960 relating to lubrication in the dairy industry.
Looking at the specs of the Starfak grease it is a very common EP 2 lithium soap, ball,roller, and plain bearing grease.
Just about any lubricant supplier should be able to match those specs, nothing exotic or fancy. Just plain wheel bearing grease.

From page 15 of the Texaco pdf:

Texaco Regal Starfak Premium Premium oxidation-resistant rust-inhibiting ball,
roller and plain bearing grease; useable tempera-
ture range --40F to +250F; lithium soap; oil
viscosity 225 SUS at 100F.

02-05-2010, 07:21 PM
The names they make up for oils are as silly as the sames they make up for tires. Am I right?


02-05-2010, 07:22 PM
I assume the type he needs to match then is 'lithium soap' to prevent incompatability problems? (Assuming the origional owner uses the proper grease! better send a sample off to the mass spec lab. :P)

02-05-2010, 07:58 PM
Doozer, yeah ya gotta wonder how they decide what name goes into the hat before they pull one out. Kinda like car names as well as tires.

Black_Moons, if it was me I would do as BadDog suggested and clean out the gearbox before putting new lube in there. No telling what's in there now, and no sense sending some old crap out to have it anylized...just get rid of it.

02-05-2010, 09:17 PM
I use RO 32 (Texaco) for my headstocks. This is the grade (though not the exact brand but the cross reference) recommended by J&L, Emco, and Clausing. It has non foaming properties which are very important in headstock oils.

02-05-2010, 09:18 PM
The plot thickens!!!
The old (understanable) spec calls for a viscocity of 225 sus (Saybolt Seconds Universal) @ 100* F.
The new spec viscocity is 64cSt @ 40*C. Really difficult to compare apples and apples. Just what is a cSt anyway and do I have enough of 'em??
Not that it matters as I'm more that likely going to clean out the old and put in the new. Leaning toward the Mobil synthetic stuff suggested by baddog.
Years ago we switched to Mobil 28 in aircraft carrier arresting gear engines -
turned out to be a godsend.
I swear - it doesn't seem likely that this much research went into the first space shuttle mission!!
Thanks all for your inputs.

02-05-2010, 10:12 PM
cST, means centistokes, a unit of measuring kinematic viscosity.

You are still in the same ballpark in so far as viscosity is concerned, or grease consistency of AGMA #2.

Here's a chart to make things easier when crossing over from one system to another.


02-05-2010, 10:41 PM
Thanks for the chart!
I'm slowly getting a handle on this grease thing.