Leblond Dual Drive, Oil Flow in Reverse

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Jul 26, 2014
The information posted here may fall in the category of “everybody already knows that,” since it pertains to a 60 year old lathe. But I’m posting it anyway since it’s new to me and perhaps helpful to that one other person who didn’t already know it.

I am about to finish my fix-up project of a 1954 Leblond Dual Drive 15 x 54 lathe. One thing that bothered me was that the headstock oil pump puts oil in the right places only during forward operation of the spindle. Upon scanning the discussion forums, it seems that’s a problem with several other older lathe makes and models, but in many cases, there isn’t an easy fix.

This morning I was looking thru the old manual for my Leblond. I stumbled upon a paragraph that confirms the pump works properly only in forward running, but that the spindle can be run in reverse for a short time if it’s first run in forward to coat everything with oil. But, it also says that for extended running in reverse, to rotate the oil pump cover plate 90 degrees, and the pump will send oil where it’s needed. So I tried 90 degrees clockwise rotation of the plate on my machine. No luck, and not only no oil flow in reverse, but no flow in forward either. So, I tried rotating the plate 90 degrees CCW from its original location. Still no flow in either spindle rotation. At that point, I probably said a few cuss words about the manual, but before I gave up completely, I rotated the cover plate, not 90, but 180 degrees from its original position. Success --- the spindle and gears lubricated with the reverse running.

Hope this works for anybody else who may have a relic like mine.


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Active User
Jun 18, 2013
Very nice looking machine! Have any more pics, like the whole thing?

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As soon as I saw the bit about turning it 90° I thought there was a mistake there. For the ports to line up properly would require 180° rotation.

I was never aware of that ability with an older LeBlond lathe, but I had seen it once on an old hydraulic pump for something else. The ports were on the back plate of the pump body, and the body had a built in pressure relief valve. In order for the pump to work properly when run in reverse rotation, all you had to do was turn the back cover 180°.


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Feb 8, 2014
I wish that was sitting in my shop. Now I see why you want to run backwards for an extended period, nice tool post grinder.
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