So a simple dose of oil saved both the humidifier and the washer? Sounds like a viable do-it-yourself fix-it kit that might get some traction if sold on the Internet, maybe in some of those appliance chat rooms where users come to share their woes!
I'm guessing that anyone with the courage to tear apart their appliances will already have some means to apply lubrication. I've been called on the carpet for using automotive engine oil. I have a Hendey lathe that weighs 3,600 pounds and will be 101 years old next month. Motor oil keeps it going. I just did a job on it for the Army Corps of Engineers last year.
I've rebuilt a fair number of turntables and seen how the oil can really break down and become a hardened substance that can freeze parts in place as if glued.
For those and for sintered bearings, I clean thoroughly with alcohol if necessary and use a good dripless oil such as 3-in-1 or sewing machine oil. And as others have stated here, plan on relubing on a regular schedule.
Lubrication doesn't have to be frequent to be done on a regular basis but it should be done. I collected military stuff even before I went in the Army. I have rotary inverters and dynamotors from WWII that still have the original grease in the bearings. Once in a while I will fire one up just to hear it run and it will do so quite well. Pete
Thanks for the advice, Steve. It's always difficult to find the appropriate oil for appliances. I've restored several turntables, and the advice there for motors is the same -- don't use engine oil. The difficulty is that everyone has a jar of motor oil handy, whereas getting ahold of those various mineral oils which adhere properly and don't leak out of small motors and bearings (as the quickly do, leaving things dry again and liable to seize up) is hard.
Try Phil Wood products; Phil's Tenacious Oil, originally developed for bicycle lubrication, is a fine lubricant which stays put. They also make Bio Lube, a lighter lubricant, and Waterproof Grease. Not affiliated with Phil Wood, just a satisfied customer.
My house air-handler is around 30-40 years old. Big squirrel cage belt driven by a moter. The squirrel cage bearings and the motor bearings all have oil fill ports. With regular oiling maybe they'll last a few more decades.
I bought an oil bottle from a home improvement store (I don't remember which one). Not only does it have the correct oil, but the plastic bottle came with a small flexible tube (maybe 6" long) for dispensing. It's perfect for reaching the fill ports. Perhaps it would also be good for reaching in to oil "permanently lubricated" bearings?
I bought a 1989 Chevy full size pickup new in 1989. It had ball joints that were lifetime lubed. They had no grease fitting, no plugged hole, nothing. When it was about two years old the front started to make a clunking sound. I took it to the dealer. As I pulled into the shop and drove over the crack between the blacktop parking lot and the cement floor, the service manager heard the clunk, and said it needed new ball joints.
Chevy had a service bulleting that indicated to change the lifetime lubed ball joints with ones that had a grease fitting. Regardless of the mileage, regardless of in or out of warranty, replace at no charge. It even went so far as to have the dealer refund any ball joiint replacements that they had already done, again, regardless or warranty coverage or mileage.
At least Chevy dealt with the problem and had satisified customers.
Hard to go wrong with a Chevy. I plowed snow for years with my 1980 and will some day plow with my 1987, when I get the blade moved from the old one to the newer one. Both are 3/4 ton. I started plowing with my 1970 CJ-5 and still have it. The body is in great shape and I rust proofed it with motor oil but it was the oil that spent a few thousand miles in the engine firat. Pete
I've always thought that "permanent lubrication" is an oxymoron. How can it be permanent, given that the environmental conditions (temp and humidity swings) and duty cycle (how many hours used; 24 hours continuous or 1/2 hour a day for 48 days) to which a product will be subjected are unknown. Maybe they mean "permanent" for the life of the one-year warranty?
This is also why I don't like car batteries that don't let you add water. What, they never get overcharged?
The blower and it's motor in my home made air conditioner is from 1952 and running fine with motor oil. My 3,600 pound lathe dates back to 1911 and motor oil keeps it turning out parts. If someone has a better alternative, use it. Regards, Pete
Lathes get oiled a lot, versus a motor in something like an humidifier that may get oiled every few years. So oil running out is less of an issue. In fact, it probably helps keep fine metal dust from collecting in/around the bearings where it would cause more wear.
You also need to quantify -which- automotive oils you are using. I'm using automotive oils on my lathes (an old Logan and a newer HF mini lathe/mill), but I'd never put 10-40W on it. They are specific kinds of oil, one a thinner lube for rotating bearings and the other a rather thick and sticky oil for the ways. I don't recall off the top of my head what they are.
But I do recall that I am specifically NOT to use a detergent containing motor oil.
The problem is that when you say motor oil without specifying anything else, 99% out there are going to think they can go grab a quart of 20-50W from their garate.
Lathes "should" get oiled a lot. I would hope that most do. One of my friends worked at South Bend Lathe and now has his own machine tool business. He says that the most common failure mode of lathes is from lack of lubrication. Most of the points on my South Bend lathe get oiled with non detergent SAE 30 W motor oil. A few places get SAE 10 W. There is also spindle oil and weigh oil. These were the lubricants recommended by the factory. It would do my heart good to know that 99% are at least going to grab some kind of oil. All my vehicles use 5 W 30 or 10 W 30. As a flaming friction bearing (before Timkens) was rolling down the tracks on the NYCRR, the fellow in the control tower said that was good because it means that there is still oil in the bearing system!?! At least it was headed into the yard instead of out on to the main line.
As to the notion of oil evaporating, more insight can be gotten from the account of Millikan's oil droplet experiment. It was one of the classical experiments in physics. It was done to measure the charge of an electron. Water dropplets were used but evaporated so oil was substituted. Regards, Pete
My mistake. The comment used the term "dry out" not "evaporate". "Evaporate" was used in conjunction with WD-40. I also messed up on the way oil. I asked for way oil and the fellow sold me weigh oil. It should be way oil.
As for my Hendey lathe, I use plain old detergent 10 W 30 motor oil. I don't have a lubrication chart for that lathe. The underground oil deposits had not yet formed when Hendey went out of business. If I were smart, I would make a lubrication chart for my Hendey lathe using the chart from my South Bend lathe as a guide. Maybe I'll get another hundred years out of it. I am the poster child for "Do as I say, not as I do". I wonder if the detergent aspect of engine oils has to do with the combustion byproducts which would not be present in electric motor bearings.
When it's 40 degrees F in the gargage where the Hendey is, it's good to have the multi-viz oil. When I win the lottery, I'm putting a heater out there.
I've got a portable dehumidifier for coping with life in the redwoods, where mold grows on everything outdoors, including plastic (that's not a joke), and the amount of moisture indoors in winter, spring and sometimes summer is pretty amazing. We got an industrial-grade one with a longer warranty, but the reason it's lasted this long (about 8 years) is by voiding the warranty. It's a quality machine and worth the money we spent, but nowhere in the original specs or warranty were there any instructions on maintenance: only a "don't open it up or you void it" statement. But the amount of household dust the fan pulls in shut the motor down after the first 2-3 years. So once every couple of years we spend an hour or two taking it apart and cleaning or oiling the insides as needed.
If the motor has been stalled with power on it for a period of time, the rotor will become extreemely hot. It may take well over an hour for it to cool down enough to work on. I've done the same maintenance on my dehumidifier blower motor. (Its about 24 years old now) I use 3in1 for motors. It's in a blue bottle. I got that at a home improvement store that went out of business over 10 years ago. In the case of my blower motor, it acutally recommended that it be oiled every 2 years (on the motor). Nothing about that in the owner's manual.
I'm a bearing engineer by profession and have know for a long time that common lubricants such as oils and greasse have certain lives, which are greatly reduced by temperature. I've also realized that "lubricated for life" means that, "when the lubricant is at the end of its life, the life of the bearing ends shortly after." This is true even though the bearing has enough capacity to have a much longer life. So, it is an obvious conclusion that replenishing lubricant will not only extend bearing life, but also extend the life of the component, even though the OEM says the component is not serviceable. Small ball and needle bearings can be purchased over the counter from bearing distributors and industrial supply houses if one wants to undetake such a replacement. Often, the counter man will measure the bearing and supply a direct replacement. This works for rolling element bearings. For "sleave bearings", simply adding more oil is sufficient to keep the component running provided the bearing hasn't been galled or scored badly.
My parents had a dehumidifier bought in 1960. The fan quit in 2010 when the windings open circuited. The bearings were still fine even though they had never been lubricated after it left the factory. I'm not sure what kinfd of bearings are in it. I should take a peek. I found another motor that was similar and strapped it in with a hose clamp. I'm hoping for another 50 years. Regards, Pete
Hey Pete, I like seeing an old piece of equipment that keeps on running also. A motor for a dehumidifier constantly cools itself when it draws in air to blow over the cooling coils. Temperature is the key to a long life for oil and the bearings it lubes, and several things affect temperature such as how much horsepower a 1/2 HP motor actually has to make and the ambient temperature to name two. I designed two different types of deburring machines for my company 30 years ago and purposely used larger motors than needed. Basically, the motors didn't have to work as hard, so they are still running. The V-Belts have been replaced a few times though. Most many decade old motors and even some cheaper new ones use sleave type bearings. Often, the motor frame would have the small spring loaded caps for adding oil. When ball or needle roller bearings are used, they are usually grease packed as the grease will stay in the bearing but oil can run out and even evaporate inside the bearing. When there is no way of re-lubing the bearings, the manufacture says they are "lubed for life." I've had good success with extending the life of automobile alternator bearings by prying off the rubber seal, flushing out the old, dried up grease with mineral spirits, and re-packing with Chevron SRI 2 grease. A little bit of effort on a Saturday morning can save several hundred dollars on the cost of a new alternator. Underhood temperatures of cars has really gone up for various reasons the last 40 years.
Several hundred for an alternator!?! That's why I drive junk. Seventy dollars for a rebuilt alternator, $25 for a new disc brake rotor. I have replaced bearings in an alternator. Oddly, the bearings in my alternator in my 1970 CJ-5 are original. In all fairness, it only has 98,000 miles on it.
I;ve heard a lot of mention of spring loaded caps today. A quick search through a catalog like MSC under "oil cups" or "oil hole covers" will show you many flavors. I love them all.
I like your use of oversized motors. I'm guilty too. I've got a 72 inch mower deck on my tractor with a 65 HP engine. You and I must look over our shoulders for the carbon footprint police. Regards, Pete
...who remembers 3-in-1 oil? I'm sure they still sell it, at least at the "real" HW stores. I still have a couple of cans that I use for everything that WD40 doesn't fix! Most of the items I oil (all quite ancient) have little oil ports with spring-loaded covers that flip up to allow the tip of the oil can to enter. I also have an old pump oiler that I usually keep filled with SAE30 for lubing items that want a thicker oil. Between those two, I can lube about anything except fine watches (that were mostly designed to use ONLY whale oil!).
No, no, no! WD-40 is a moisture barrier. "WD-40" stands for Water Displacement formula 40. It has great penetrating and solvent qualities, so it it is applied to a squeaky hinge or bearing it will soften dried or caked lubricant--while it washes most of the lubricant away. It will seem to lubricate the surfaces, but it quickly evaporates and the bearing surfaces are soon damaged.
There are plenty of penetrating lubricants around, including 3-in-1--which is available in spray cans.
Hmmm. Good piece of information, Larry. I didn't realize household oil was available in spray containers. I knew that WD40 was a water displacement fluid, but I didn't realie it could do damage to surfaces.
I have a can of 3 in 1 oil that I got from somewhere. I have never used it.
I have more than one can of WD-40. Nowhere on the can is the word "lubricante" or anything starting with"lubri" used. I use it with an India stone if I don't have any kerosene handy. WD-40 seems to evaporate in a matter of days. The urband ledgend is that it was developed for use as something other than a lubricant.
The Bendix on my Jeep is suppposed to be lubricated with kerosene. Regards, Pete
Shudder. That's what I do when I hear someone say they are using WD40 as a lubricant. I agree with what Larry M had to say about it.
My father destroyed the door on a car of mine. Whenever I'd visit, he'd putter around my car for a while. Unbeknownst to me, he was also dousing my door hinges, hood hinges, locks, and other sliding and rotating surfaces with WD40. If it didn't have a zert on it, it got WD40.
So a few weeks after a visit, my doors would start squeeking. I'd try to relube them, which isn't easy without taking them off. Rinse, repeat. Within a couple years, I had to lift my door to shut it due to wear on the hinges. And I kept having to put graphite in the locks as they got harder and harder to turn.
I went to him for advice about it, although he's not a mechanic he was manager of an auto parts store. That's how I found out he'd been forcefully spraying WD40 in the hinges every time I visited, since I'd bought the car.
I have not found any spray lubes to be particularly good for any length of time. Too thin, I think. In general, rotating surfaces and sintered bearings get dripless oil, and sliding surfaces get an appropriate grease.
I'm surprised that routine mainenance of motor bearings gets a column. When I was a kid, I'm 60 now, I learned to save fans, phonograph and tape deck motors with a little oil. Record changer mechanisms got Lubriplate.
I did find out when I was on a synthetic oil binge with Amsoil that synthetic motor oil seems to last a whole lot longer on all bearings so I would keep an oil can full of it and stopped using dinosaur oil. It doesn't dry out like dino oil.
I guess the difference is that back then motors were made to be repaired or maintained whereas now we have "lifetime lubrication". No one says who's lifetime, though.
I was talking about electric motors, not gas engines. I found that the synthetic stays on the bearings a lot longer and doesn't gum up. Window fans with cheap motors like it.
I've used it in engines with good success. As for leaks, you're right. It takes the varnish off the metal parts in an engine. That's why you are supposed to start using it when the engine is relatively new after break in.
I don't know whether it will burn or not but it doesn't matter for this purpose.
Since I know nothing about synthetic oil, I'm all ears. Do I need any particular weight / viscosity or any other designator? Can I get it at any auto parts place? I know it won't sit well if go in there and ask for oil for my clothes dryer. Thanks for any advice. Pete
There are several brands of synthetic motor oil, typically the big claim is that it lasts much longer. It is usually in with the regular motor oil, but it may cost $4 or more per quart. IT was recommended by an earlier poster, see some of the previous comments. The claimis that it is less likely to be oxidized as rapidly, plus some of them do claim to provide better lubrication.
Automatic transmission fluid is quite different, it must keep the clutches in the tramsmission from wearing out, so it has to have excellent shear properties, meaning that the oil is mechanically rugged. That would be good for many other applications as well.
For the heavily loaded dryer bearings what you need to avoid is the extreme duty gear lubricant, because it is primarily intended to prevent glling of metal surfaces under extreme presure by allowing the metal to disolve, (soap), instead of grinding away. Unfortunately I have probably created more questions than I have answered.
But if the dryer application is for a hot bearing then the synthetic motor oil that is high temperature rated would be a good choice.
The comments about WD-40 are true. It is a water displacer, and a bit of a solvent. It also evaporates completely, so while it can help to free stuck things, it will not keep them free, they need some other lubricant. Cheap automotive oil is OK, I use it a lot, mostly because it is so cheap. But it may be hard on electrical insulation. Automatic transmission fluid is better for most non-engine applications, and it is not as hard on rubber as motor oil is.
There is a problem with many of the 3-in-1 products in that they turn quite gummy as the penetrating solvent evaporates. I would never recommend a 3 in 1 product for motor bearings, except for the initial freeing if they have seized. There are some other products, including KROIL and cyclo-lube, which include very agressive wetting agents. These products will provide lubrication, but they cost a lot more than the old #30 oil, not the 10W30 engine oil.
The concept of lifetime lubrication is interesting indeed. Of course the lifetime being referred to is probably the warranty lifetime. That would be my guess.
It certainly is amazing the number of products that can be restored to operation simply by providing the proper lubrication.
WD-40, duct tape, and big hammer, sounds like we both grew up in trailer town, Elkhart, Ind. I remember taping the leading corners of the mobile homes with duct tape so the siding wouldn't blow off in the wind when being towed down the highway. That was 1965.
This post was gold by the way. The little things make life interesting.
I have had the fortune of trying several Makes and models on dryers, fridge, ovens, etc. My conclusion is: Made to fail. These companies are so good at making their appliances to fail it's sad. The best part is when they make a simple failure to be the biggest thing. Had a few shocks go bad on a washer once. Called company tech he asked for 200$. Instead i searched on E-bay found imitator shocks for $5 and in under 2 hours had the things replaced. I think the tech never got the memo that another $200 and i can buy a new washer?
I know what it's like to work some place that never has time to design it right but always has time to do it over.
And then there are the designs where you have to remove a motor mount to get to a spark plug or remove the windshield wiper assembly to replace the alternator. Do they do this so that the owner will throw up his hands in disgust and pay the dealership the big bucks to do it? My wife had the dealership do an oil change. When she got home, it was leaking. I checked the plug and filter. They were OK. The dealer said it's the shaft seal. That didn't help but they suggested a new engine! The car company had to eat that one. But then the cruise control didn't work after the new engine went in. They said it was our baby. I asked the dealership if it was more likely that my wife broke the housing on the servo while getting in and out of the car or that it got broken during the engine change. The service manager got a strange look on his face and fixed it for no charge. Like someone said, I have seen the enemy and they are us. I'm rambling, Pete
Pete where i work we have to design things right the first time. No room for error. And yes we have made the mistake of designing wrong. The tests we place in our initial product have always caught flaws in our design. as far as the placement of components i am not involved with. That is more an art then engineering. Some people are very good at it. Others are clueless. We also consider installation damage as well. Our motto here is "Make it Idiot Proof" Regardless of who will install it.
I know how you feel designing it right the first time. When you build a one of a kind machine, you can't make up the development cost with production runs. The customer doesn't want to fund a lot of R&D. Come up with a good design and make it work right the first time. I won't say it's easy. We had a saying in my unit in Germany. "We've been doing so much for so long with so little that now we can do anything with nothing" Pete
Digital healthcare devices and wearable electronic products need to be thoroughly tested, lest they live short, ignominious lives, an expert will tell attendees at UBM’s upcoming Designers of Things conference in San Jose, Calif.
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