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I am looking for recommendations for grease for the gears under the 3 gearboxes on my Pfaff 145 that I am restoring.  What I have found under the bottom two was probably the original, very petrified.  I just took off the top gearbox, as I move through the machine.  It wasn't as petrified, but it defiantly must be cleaned out and replaced.  

  And yes I have a gallon of Lilly White Sewing Machine Oil for the oil ports.

I saw where Uwe recommended tri-flow for the gears, but they make 2 kinds, and I watched the Consew 206 RB  video.    

I would like to know why you use it, which version if the manufacturer makes several different greases, and where you have found it.   I live in Central Indiana for reference.

 

Thank you.  I really appreciate all the time and effort so many of you put into answering questions and sharing your experiences and knowledge.   

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The problem with greased gear boxes is that even when you put a good amount of grease in them the lubrication is not better as when you just grease the gears (and not the surrounding) Why? Because the grease that got "squeezed out" when the gears get in contact with each other does not "fall back onto them because of the consistency of the grease. I noticed this on several old sewing machines when I opened the gear boxes and cleaned out the old grease. Hope you know what I mean.

I even tried a very soft grease too but result was always the same - the grease does not fall back onto the gears. Question is does it make sense to grease the gear boxes at all? Sure they need a lubrication but not necessarily grease.

So what I do is I use clear synthetic chain lube for motor cycle chains which is quite sticky. This also reduces the gear sound (you sometimes have that on certain machines). I´m also using this stuff on the cams of my patcher machine. Not saying this is the best you can do but this just what I do - others may have other or better ideas. Often people make too much "science" out of oil and grease topic. Even Lilly White will keep your gears well running, I bet.

So I will not jump into a "greasy" discussion - I just say what works well for me. ;)

BTW - Once I even found a note in a Singer manual that the lower gear box should not necessarily be re-greased because it got oiled by it self with excess oil dripping down from the mechanics. But I have to look into the manual again for the correct wording...

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I know a lot of Pfaff's have gearbox covers that are missing & people just put regular oil on them & probably not as often as they should & they've been using them that way for years.

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If you really want to dig deep on this topic, search lubricants over on the Practical Machinist site. I have heard of the effect of gears creating a void in the grease referred to as channeling, and there are definitely products designed to avoid this. There are also greases designed to be used on open gearing, like the spur gear on the top of a “camelback” drill. The problem with many of these specialized products is that they are packaged for industrial use in 5-gallon and 55-gallon drums. In the end, like Bob and Constabulary said, just keep oil in it.

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Constabulary, it's not just sewing machine gearboxes that have this problem of squeezing the grease out of the gears! Unless the gears run hot enough to melt the grease back into the gears (!) they tend to not be as lubricated as we might think. Your idea of a sticky oil is pretty good, chainsaw bar lube might also work ,it's designed to be sticky stuff and might be a bit thicker than the spray-on stuff for bike chains.

Food for thought...

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Anyone tried gearbox oil? 80W90 is £5/litre from Wilkos... That's pretty sticky.

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1 hour ago, Matt S said:

Anyone tried gearbox oil? 80W90 is £5/litre from Wilkos... That's pretty sticky.

usually most gear boxes are not completely sealed and would not hold the oil. Most also do not have a filler and drain screw. ;)

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I like TriFlow grease. It coats the gears and a thin film stays there a long time. It’s also not sticky so it doesn’t attract every piece of lint and crud in a two mile radius. When I don’t know where I set it down, I use oil like Bob said. 

Regards, Eric 

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Last year I picked up some grease for my Singer 15-90 motor: https://singer-featherweight.com/products/sew-retro-grease?variant=18303537283

Some interesting info on melting points. Been using it on the gears of my Consew 207 and 104 to see how it holds up. So far okay -- but I'm not sewing a whole lot on 'em. Hafta check out the Tri-Flow.

"I saw where Uwe recommended tri-flow for the gears, but they make 2 kinds..."
I assume the TF clear grease is what people are using: https://www.amazon.com/Tri-Flow-TF23004-Clear-Synthetic-Grease/dp/B000C15MUU/

https://www.triflowlubricants.com/wheretobuy

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On 3/21/2018 at 8:39 AM, gottaknow said:

I like TriFlow grease. It coats the gears and a thin film stays there a long time. It’s also not sticky so it doesn’t attract every piece of lint and crud in a two mile radius. When I don’t know where I set it down, I use oil like Bob said. 

Regards, Eric 

Tri-Flow has...magical properties.  That said, we also us Castrol hi temp grease, for axle, disk breaks, stuff like that.

 

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There are 2 tri-flow grease's listed on their website.  Which one are you guys using?    How long does it's stay on the gears, before you need to recoat?       

I stopped in an auto supply store and they recommended a heavy-duty grease, but the person helping said it may dry out after 5 or 6 months (that sounded a little strange.  It had lithium and was a modern lubricant).

Thank you for your help.  

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TriFlow stays longer than any other grease I’ve used. And I’ve used them all.  

Regards, Eric 

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If you decide on the Tri flow brand, use the clear synthetic. The other is for other types of equipment. I understand from the earlier post your restoring so Im taking this as the old lube has been removed. Thats a good choice you made. We should remember most synthetics are great for higher temps, not a critical thing here. What is important is the “clean” or non or very very few additives to oils and greases being used in precision machining components. Here is where the clear oils we all use along with the older “standard” white lithium grease thats been used for ages for new assembly of parts and or repair and adjustment of such. So in any case it will need to be monitored and likely other oils needed if there is shafts and bushings. Respectfully the grease can only sit, its not likely to soak down to a bushing, so that may need to be monitored. 

good day

Floyd

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On 3/23/2018 at 7:42 PM, gottaknow said:

TriFlow stays longer than any other grease I’ve used. And I’ve used them all.  

Regards, Eric 

Great to know Eric! Although I have a 1 lb. can of grease that came with every commercial embroidery machine we own (LOL) I always feel weird smearing that stuff all over the gears because I know how get dark and gunky it is going to get. I always clean up previous grease before applying new, but that is a messy job! Have thought of getting some TriFlow, now I think I will. Great discussion here everyone! I think I'll donate all that grease!

One thing I started doing a couple years back with my sewing machine oil is adding Marvel Mystery Oil to it. Mix is 50 Marvel/50 Lily white. The Marvel Mystery Oil is reddish in color, so mixed in with the Lily oil, it appears orange. Smells good, I like that! What I really like though, is that it seems to keep my machines running smoother and cleaner. I've thought of using it on the gears too, think I'll go ahead and do that now since there were a few comments about those who just oil the gears.

Edited by suzelle
spelling

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11 hours ago, suzelle said:

One thing I started doing a couple years back with my sewing machine oil is adding Marvel Mystery Oil to it. Mix is 50 Marvel/50 Lily white.

What lubrication inadequacies are you addressing by using Marvel Mystery Oil, which is mostly mineral oil and Stoddard solvent?

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3 hours ago, 480volt said:

What lubrication inadequacies are you addressing by using Marvel Mystery Oil, which is mostly mineral oil and Stoddard solvent?

Not any inadequacies really, I keep them oiled regularly. A commercial embroidery machine mechanic recommended it.

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On ‎3‎/‎23‎/‎2018 at 9:03 AM, Gregg From Keystone Sewing said:

Tri-Flow has...magical properties.  That said, we also us Castrol hi temp grease, for axle, disk breaks, stuff like that.

 

Gregg, I don't know if that Castrol high temp comment was intended to be as funny as it is but know this..... had me grinning. And I still don't know if you were serious or not. Doesn't even matter :)

No telling what equipment you are running up there.

 

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Tri Flow Clear Grease is the one you want, as someone else already said.  It does not harden or get stiff with age.  Many bicycle shops carry it or can order it for you.  Our local Ace Hardware store ordered it for me.  I have used in on several vintage domestic Singers with great success.  A small amount is all that is needed.

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When I had my new 227R copy delivered and setup, the machine service guy recommended Inox spray. I think Inox is known the whole world over.

Does any body have any thoughts on this lubricant?

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It's a lubricant similar to WD-40, RP7, Ballistol, C-RC etc. It does not attract dust, displaces moisture, penetrates and lubricates against rust etc. 

It comes in spray can or half gallon, gallon bottle or larger.

Edited by Rockoboy

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