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Bandsaw gear oil survey

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markba633csi

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#1
I just rebuilt an old 4x6 bandsaw with integrated gearbox, spent bunches of hours. New bearings and the gears are in good shape. Should I spend $ and get expensive oil like Royal Purple or Mobil SHC 634 or would a garden variety non-detergent oil work fine? It has a brass worm gear and I've heard about the possible problem with GL5 oils attacking the brass, but other people say that it's not likely to happen for many years and a bandsaw is not a highly stressed application. I've also seen cars with brass distributor gears that use regular oil without issue. So I can't decide. What are you all using?
Mark S.
 

markba633csi

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#3
Mine has a needle bearing supporting the worm shaft, so I have to use oil.
MS
 

Bob Korves

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#4
Just buy some 90 weight oil that does not say EP or extreme pressure on the label. Gl-1 spec. is what to look for. It is available at most auto parts stores, WalMart, and many other places. Clean up the grit and shavings in the reservoir really well. Some people make a clear plastic cover to see what is going on in there.
 

markba633csi

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#5
Thanks Bob I'll see if I can find that locally. I flushed out the box and needle bearing really well with a home brew solvent nozzle. New sealed Nachi bearings. Should be oiltight and run for years now.
Mark S.
 

coherent

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#6
I just have a small import and use cheap non detergent motor oil and change it when I remember or think about it. Still running after 10 years of so of fairly regular use and dozens of blade changes. I think just keeping oil in it to ensure the bearings and gears stay lubed is more important than getting the pricey stuff unless you have a production business where its ran continuously or the manufacturer recommends a specific lubricant. They run pretty slow and there's not a lot of extreme pressures on the gears or bearings in the grand scheme of things. IMO if motor oil can keep a auto engine lubed that runs in excess of 3-5k rpm for thousands of miles, it'll work in a bandsaw. But of course I'm not a mechincal engineer or chemist who's studied lubricants or rheology.
 
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markba633csi

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#7
Thanks I'm just collecting opinions, it seems there's no clear concensus. Some say only Mobil super duper gear oil and others say any old crankcase drippings will work. I've heard the factories actually put used motor oil in...one guy said whale oil! Poor little Orcas.
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mksj

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#8
Well you can read all the testimonials, but it boils down to what is recommended in the manual/manufacturer, and what are considered equivalent oils for the specs at the time the manual was written. Their has been a lot written about EP additives, and GL-4 and GL-5 gear oils and issues with brass. But I am not aware of any factual information that states modern GL-4 and GL-5 gear oils will attack or destroy brass gears/bushings. What has been stated in the manufacture literature is that GL-5 has more EP additives, the problem is specific to brass synchros and that the too much EP additives can literally tear the brass off the synchros. Their is nothing about them eating brass bushings/bearings, modern EP additives are buffered and do not attack brass. A synthetic oil will maintain a wider temperature operating range and will last a lot longer then conventional oils. If you look at something like compressor oil, standard mineral oils may last 200 hours, synthetic compressor oils are rated for 2000+ hours and beyond. So if you have a machine that is starting in the cold and then warming up to temperature, then a synthetic oil may be a better choice. In my gear head mill, I picked up about 100 RPM on the top end and it ran a lot quieter when I switched to a similar viscosity synthetic oil. The mill head also ran much cooler.

If you want to erh on the conservative, then go with a GL-4 gear oil such as RedLine MT-90 75W90 GL-4 gear oil or Amsoil Marine 75W90 gear oil. I spoke with their tech people and they specifically said there where no issues with brass gears, bushings etc. I used the Amsoil Marine gear oil because it can takes higher water levels, something that can be a problem over time with condensation in open gearboxes. There are lots of other oils that will work just fine. Most manufactures have specific "Gear Oils" for machinery, not engines, not differentials, not transmissions.... If you do not have a filter and a pressure lube system then the manufactures recommend a non-detergent oil, for the simple reason is that the detergent oil keep particles suspended so they can be taken out by the filter. Use the wrong viscosity oil, then most likely you will have premature bearing/gear failure. There are lots of testimonials on using engine oils in machinery, sometimes they work and sometimes they do not. In machinery that uses splash lubrication, the proper viscosity is important to the lubrication of the bearings, too viscous and the oil won't flow to the bearing. Also viscosity and operating range of oils are application specific, so the ratings and specifications are not necessarily directly interchangeable for and equivalent viscosity oil. This is only at a specifc operating temperature, one that your bandsaw will never get close too.

So the bottom line, I just replace my bandsaw oil with Amsoil Marine 75W90 gear oil because I had left over from my mill, but the RedLine or just about any other "gear oil" of the proper viscosity would have worked fine and would have been 10X better than what came out of the gearbox. On my mill and lathe I use Mobil ISO gear/hydraulic oils that are specific for their purpose. Looking at the quantity, I do not follow the saving a few dollars here or that and experimenting with engine oil. As they say, any oil is better than none, just some are better than others. Do I use GL-1 mineral oil in anything, no.
 

royesses

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#9
I use the Mobil SHC 634 in mine. I also use Mobil 1 EP 5w30 in my vehicles along with a Mobil 1(Champion manufactured) filter or Wix if a substitute is needed. To me a premium lubricant is cheap insurance. That's based on 45 years as a mechanic and tearing down engines for multi million mile wear inspections. The only lubricant caused failures I've seen were from the no name 2 quarts for a dollar dime store oils. I've built engines that went 2 million miles between overhauls. They all used premium lubricants. They were CAT engines. I never skimp on lubricants or filters.

Roy
 

benmychree

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#10
The issue with EP gear oils is that they corrode the brass/bronze and then the friction in use rubs the corrosion off; it is a continuous process. I saw a new bronze worm gear on a bottle labeler completely worn out, the teeth gone in about one year of use due to this situation. I think about any type of oil would do the job, EXCEPT an EP oil.
 

Ken from ontario

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#11
I couldn't find Mobil 600 series for my old Kalamazoo bandsaw, that's what the Manufacturer recommended so I looked around for an equivalent gear oil and settled on Lucas V-twin gear oil . it is a synthetic oil (75w-140), and based on what I read on their site, it will not harm the brass parts and that's all I was worried about, other than that , it's just a good lubricant, for the amount of use that bandsaw sees in my shop ,I am not worried at all using this oil.
 

Silverbullet

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#12
Use a good brand name of gear oil it's what they need . Gear oils are tacky to stick to the gears and lubricate them.. I see no reason not to use a synthetic lube which is made for gears. Any lube is better then no lube. I'm a fan of Mobil one , never had an engine or gearbox go bad in forty years plus.
 

firestopper

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#13
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pgk

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#14
So! Which one do you use Paco? Back in my hot rod days we would put a motor together run it for a day or so then change the oil to get rid of any small metal particles that may have accumulated during break in .. Thought about doing the same with my saw???
 
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