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  • Headstock Oil Change

    Hi All, Would Automobile (car) Auto Transmision oil be ok for the geared head headstock of my import 12x36 lathe? Don't know what is in there at ptesent. Looks like it might be related to Ibew's Gravy!
    Michael.
    Michael

    Australia

  • #2
    what's the manual call for, or sometimes it's listed on the machine plate too. my lathe calls for DTE medium in the headstock.

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    • #3
      I have three brabds of lathes - Emco, Clausing, and an old J&L. The spec'd type of oil comes to a type of oil that ends up being texaco regal R&O 32. I believe the 32 is the ISO number. This is a thinner type of oil that is quick to get in the gears, non-foaming, and has good slip properties.

      Tranny oil may be too thick for headstocks as the loads are intermittient, and not continuous like a car transmission. From what I know about lubrication, which may be a bit different from others, a constant motion tramsmission needs a thicker lube because of constant movement and potential heat build up. The intermittient movement trannies need a lube that is thinner to get in the gears faster upon start up.

      Hydraulic oil also works in some applications.

      Check your specs and post them. Also cross reference them wih oil distributors. MSC will answer the questions and do the cross references, and sell oil by the gallon or "figal". Texaco, my choice, sells by the five gallon (figal) for special oils, but then again, I buy 15 gallons at a time for a two year cycle of way, hydraulic, and headstock oils.
      CCBW, MAH

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      • #4
        Thanks for the quick replies. When I first unpacked the lathe I was so put off by the Chinglish text in the "Operwation Instwuction" Manual that I tossed it aside. After your reply I went and found it again. Mobil D.T.E light for headstock and feedbox, Mobil Vactra No.2 for all other applications (probably including the belts and light bulb).
        Thanks again. This is a great place.
        Michael
        Michael

        Australia

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        • #5
          "Operwation Instwuction"?.......thanks for the chuckle!

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          • #6
            Yes, yes - don't forget the light-bulb oil!

            ---------------

            I am not a professional trobologist, so take the following advice with the appropriate quantity of salt: I would not put ATF in anything that didn't call for it, specifically - it's got all sorts of friction modifiers and additives in it that regular gear oil doesn't; and that makes me leery of putting it in something that wasn't designed for it. Likewise, you can't use the different types of ATF for different transmissions (if I remember right, my dad's Explorer requires Mercon V - and if you put Dexron or T4 in it, you will do bad things to the torque convertor and clutch packs)

            [This message has been edited by hammerhead74000 (edited 04-03-2005).]

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            • #7
              I started a thread on this very subject recently at the PM forum. Our Birmingham 13x40 manual doesn't have lube specs. I ended up using DTE Light (ISO32) for the gearboxes and DTE Medium (ISO46) in the apron. One of my co-workers uses regular ATF in is gearboxes at home. He likes it because it's anti-foaming and thin. I prefer something that's billed for the exact application. The important factor is the weight. You want it thick enough to do the job, yet not suck horsepower and create heat.

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              • #8
                From someone who has rebuilt quite a few gearboxes over the years I will say that if you have a nasty gearbox that needs cleaning ATF is the thing.

                All I would ever do is add a quart or two of ATF to the box,run it for a couple hours,wait overnight then drain and flush with diesil or kerosene.

                All that extra detergent cleaned things that a solvent tank would take forever to do.

                If I suspected metal floating around in the box I would stick a magnet in the bottom to catch anything that worked loose while the ATF did it's thing.
                I just need one more tool,just one!

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                • #9
                  I have a HF 12 x 36. The manual calls for Mobil DTE Light ISO 32 oil. Unfortunately, Mobil only sells that weight in 5 gal pails (or larger). You may be able to buy a smaller quantity if the distributor will sell it. I opted for Mobil DTE Heavy/Medium which does come in 1 gal containers. Although it is ISO 68, it doesn't seem to be a problem. I have run the machine for hundreds of hours without observing any overheating or other problems.

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                  • #10
                    I was looking for answers to this question about a year ago and the consensus was that motor oil had additives that binded to particles (a side-effect) and tended to keep them in suspension... and between gear teeth etc. This isn't a big deal in a car because it's constanly being filtered, but in a machine gear box you want particles to drop to the bottom and stay there.

                    I ended up getting DTE as recommended, and cleaning out the bottom of my gear box as best I could before adding the new oil.

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