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rhino
08-12-2014, 11:54 AM
All new bearings and seals are here. Ready to begin assembly. dumb newbie question: what lube should I use in the head?
Several posts seem to warn not to go with auto wheel bearing grease.

John Garner
08-12-2014, 08:05 PM
rhino --

The Benchmaster mill was designed in the mid 1900s, and I understand that its spindle uses tapered-roller bearings. Considering the ago of the design and the lubricants commonly available back then, I'd guess that the factory-fill lube was a sodium-soap-thickened ball-and-roller-bearing grease, probably of National Lubricating Grease Institute (NLGI) #3 consistency. The closest readily-available grease today would be a "drum-brake wheel bearing and universal joint grease" from an auto supply store that's specifically labelled NOT FOR DISC BRAKES (or words to that effect).

Any grease meeting NLGI "GC-LB" specifications -- meaning it provides appropriate lubrication for disc-brake wheel bearings AND auto chassis -- will meet your needs. I'd recommend picking one that's a light-amber or dishwater-gray color, but only because moly-disulfide, graphite, and intense dyes stain T-shirts and khaki pants badly.

I'll note at this point that I use Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) meeting General Motor's "Dexron II" or "Dexron III" specifications as a general-purpose lube and hydraulic oil fairly often. The
red dye does stain badly, but ATF is very readily available in single-quart packages at a multitude of retail outlets, while hydraulic oils are generally available only in multiple-gallon jugs or pails at lubricant or farm-supply outlets.

On the other hand, using a modern oil intended for internal-combustion-engine crankcase service to serve a non-engine-lubrication need is cause for hesitation. Modern engine oils are heavily loaded with detergent, dispersant, and alkaline additives that simply aren't needed in applications that don't involve combustion byproducts. (Having said that, Mobil One engine oil is widely used as a light lubricating oil for journal bearings.)

John

rhino
08-12-2014, 09:44 PM
Thanks!