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  • Battle Shaper - the gearbox ...

    Between Old Sparky and the Battle Shaper sits a four speed gear box. It's made by the Drive-All company of Detroit, which is still in business. However, the sales rep was not able to give me much info about the thing - which is hardly surprising since I'll bet her great grandfather was young when this thing was made.



    Oddly enough, I've been able to find the oil fill plug, but no other plugs (like a drain plug). Maybe they are buried under the layers of grim. The photo shows the gearbox after a first cleaning, it's going to get a more thorough cleaning this weekend. A dip stick (literally a dip dowel) shows that there is something that used to be oil in the gearbox - it's black, it's thick - it resembles molasses. There is a small layer of crud in the bottom of the gearbox.



    So once I get the old oil out, what do you think about flushing the gearbox with kerosene, and then turning it over with kerosene for 5 to 10 seconds ? Draining it again, and then putting in gear oil (I will probably use tractor gear oil, since I have a 5 gallon bucket of that around for topping up my old David Brown 990). Or, instead of kerosene should I just use a really light oil like 20 W to clean and flush it, before putting in the gear oil?

  • #2
    http://www.driveallmfg.com/index.php...e-instructions

    In the above link they have a recommended oil so you could start there. One page I looked at said the gearbox has been in production for 70 years. If you look around the above site they have exploded views of the box so popping off the top for an inspection should be easy. I also read that the top plug should be a vent so check that out. That may explain some of the seeping around the seam. Good luck

    lg
    no neat sig line

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    • #3
      I would either clean it properly or leave it alone after draining and refilling it. I will be very surprised if you do not fine a drain hole someplace.

      I would avoid trying to stir up the crud and attempting to run that slurry out by tipping it over. Risk is that puts the crud into the workings and bearings.

      If there is not drain plug; then either syphon off the old (after dilution if needed) or use one of those manual or mechanical oil drain thingies.

      If you do want to do it properly; then I would take the top off (it will only contain the shift forks) and give it a good blast with a jet washer.

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      • #4
        Is this gearbox integral to the original shaper drive, or is it part of the modifications made when changing from the line shaft to electric motor? If it's original to the shaper, which, based on your photos, appears to be in pretty good condition for its age, then the gearbox might follow suit. If it's part of the conversion, then who knows what its previous history is, and why I would be tempted to take that top cover off for an inspection, and to siphon out the goop. If you're not running the gearbox then I see no harm in giving it a kerosene rinse to soften up the crud. As for a replacement gasket, it's an old design so use old techniques like gasket shellac and a piece of heavy card stock.

        That link from larry_g looks interesting. Matching up the physical size to the current models should help in deciding your question from a previous post about the size of a possible replacement motor.

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        • #5
          I am with those who recommend at least removing the top cover to clean out and inspect. You may find that a shaft seal may need replacing or something about to turn loose or fail. This way you will know what you have and not experience a failure at start up to spoil the occasion. Practicing due diligence and patience now will insure the enjoyment later of seeing chips fly.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by SMFtooler View Post
            I am with those who recommend at least removing the top cover to clean out and inspect. You may find that a shaft seal may need replacing or something about to turn loose or fail. This way you will know what you have and not experience a failure at start up to spoil the occasion. Practicing due diligence and patience now will insure the enjoyment later of seeing chips fly.
            I second a complete clean out. Did that to one I worked on, very simple inside, open ball bearings. Definitely replace the shaft seals, they should be stamped with a part#, try NAPA.

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            • #7
              With oil like that, nothing less than a complete strip down and clean would be carried out if it was mine.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Dan_the_Chemist View Post
                Between Old Sparky and the Battle Shaper sits a four speed gear box. It's made by the Drive-All company of Detroit, which is still in business. However, the sales rep was not able to give me much info about the thing - which is hardly surprising since I'll bet her great grandfather was young when this thing was made.
                When I call Drive-All many years ago their tech person recognized the model number but said all the old documentation and drawings at the company had been water damaged and were discarded. So I'm not surprised by the answer you received. I seem to remember using Mobil 626 in it. If there is no vent in that gearbox, then the pipe plug should have a tiny vent hole drilled in it.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by old mart View Post
                  With oil like that, nothing less than a complete strip down and clean would be carried out if it was mine.
                  I understand that feeling. At the same time, I also feel some eagerness to get things working well enough to make chips !!! I'm trying to take a balanced approach - for example, I thought about completely disassembling the mechanism on the interior of the Battle Shaper, degreasing everything, toothbrushing each part, stoning off any nicks, and then reassembling with new lubrication, etc... but then I decided I can always do that later. Besides - they look pretty good on visual inspection and so I think just a good cleaning with rags and q-tips followed by careful lubrication will suffice. In addition, the bull gear and fork look DARNED HEAVY !!!

                  So, is there an intermediate level of maintenance on the gear box that will be a vast improvement over the current black goop, but not take the time of a complete strip down? Then after I have satisified my desire to make chips (and maybe ordered gaskets, etc) I can tear it down? I did that with my lathe - used it for a while and then tore it down to nearly individual parts, cleaned, touched up, replaced a few worn parts, and then reassembled it. I was so pleased when it worked.

                  The bullgear. I need to borrow Mars-red's penny. You don't realize that the gears are 2" thick otherwise.



                  Back gear.



                  External - the gearing for the advance mechanism.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Dan_the_Chemist View Post
                    I understand that feeling. At the same time, I also feel some eagerness to get things working well enough to make chips !!!
                    I can understand this, but keep in mind that while those gearboxes used to be very common, they aren't exactly laying around to pick up cheap anymore. They are getting scarce. The same goes for internal parts of the shaper itself.

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                    • #11
                      From what I can see from your images the gears look to be in fantastic condition.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Dan_the_Chemist View Post
                        ... but then I decided I can always do that later. ...
                        Oh, right. Be sure to let us know when you do that and we'll work up an award. <BG>

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                        • #13
                          I have two Drivall boxes of similar size.One has drain plugs in the sides at the bottom,the other has drain plugs in the bottom,maybe look underneath???

                          One box was fine with clean oil,the other was nasty.I drained it and refilled with ATF,then ran it a few days,drained,rinsed with mineral spirits and refilled with clean oil.The oil level only comes up to about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch below the shaft.

                          The boxes are fairly simple inside,you could take the box off,shift it to neutral and pop the top off.Do your cleaning and put it back together.
                          I just need one more tool,just one!

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by wierdscience View Post
                            The boxes are fairly simple inside,you could take the box off,shift it to neutral and pop the top off.Do your cleaning and put it back together.
                            I cleaned the stand and the outside of the gearbox with brass wire brushes and dish scrubbers today. It took 1/2 bottle of dish detergent to get through the goo. I still can't find any drain plug. I haven't detached it from the frame/base yet - the whole assembly is very heavy and I've been trying to do as much as possible without moving it around. Plus there isn't any obvious way to slack off the three belts connecting Old Sparky to the gearbox... No bolts to loosen and slide either the motor or the box, etc. Until I figure that out, I don't want to mess with it.

                            I took the top off today. The gearbox is filled with oobleck. I want to see if I can get the oobleck out before I figure out my next step. There is also a loose ring, which doesn't seem to fit anything obvious. Oh well, time is more or less on my side (although less now than when I was 30 years old)...

                            Dan

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                            • #15
                              I am with the open it up for inspection group. The black oil may be contaminated with dirt or ??? which IMHO is like grinding compound. Get as much of that "stuck to it crud" out of there. I would fill to slightly over full mark with kerosene and run it unloaded for several minutes then drain and use your tractor hydraulic/Transmission oil.

                              Things were done differently 70 years ago but I believe there is a drain plug on that gear box somewhere also an air ventilation opening.
                              Have a good day
                              Ray

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