What type of lubricant for electric fan motor shaft/bushings?

Discussion in 'Non-audio related DIY' started by roger2, Sep 30, 2017.

  1. roger2

    roger2 . Subscriber

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    I have a floor standing Honeywell fan that has served me well for 25-30 years or so. It seems that the original lubrication for the motor shaft has finally dried up. I would like to get this fan working again if possible.

    What should be used for lubrication between the shaft and bushings? Grease? Oil? Any specific recommendations?

    I would like to use whatever will last as long as possible as disassembly of this fan is fairly involved.

    Thanks....

    DSC00732.JPG DSC00735.JPG DSC00734.JPG DSC00738.JPG
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2017
  2. Mrv8q

    Mrv8q Well-Known Member

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    Just did this two weeks ago on a similarly aged Patton fan. Disassembled as you did, cleaned, and reassembled the fan motor. It was choked with dust and hair. Used sewing machine oil, which I believe is 20W oil. I would have used
    3 in 1 as well, which I believe is also 20W.

    The fan fired right up and should last another 30 years. I will lubricate it more frequently, though. The sewing machine oil dispenser I have has a nice telescoping spout for accurate application. Good luck!
     
  3. ellitoid

    ellitoid New Member

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    Zoom Spout Turbine Oil is the best to use on your fan motor.
     
  4. Eastham

    Eastham More Class A than ever! Subscriber

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    I've always used 10w-40 motor oil for electric motors, turntables, CD drive trays, fans, etc. Use full synthetic only for european models!;)
     
  5. roger2

    roger2 . Subscriber

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    Thank you Mrv8q & ellitoid & Eastham

    I have just re-assembled the motor portion of the fan. I used 3-in-1 Motor Oil which i had sitting around. It says it is for 1/4 HP motors or larger, which I doubt this motor is. But it is 20 weight and I need to get this project off of my bench. Usually I would explore every conceivable option....but tonight I had time on my hands and a bottle of (likely) decent oil siting here. After cleaning off the old and lubricating with the new, the fan shaft spins around easily as it should (and was not doing so before).

    Didn't know there was such a thing as turbine oil. Will keep that in mind for future projects.

    Still would be curious to hear other ideas. But the decision is already made for this time around :)
     
  6. Wildcat

    Wildcat Spring ain't here... Subscriber

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    I can't tell if those are solid bronze or sintered bronze bushings. Likely the latter, since the former really have no lubrication properties.

    Sintered bronze bushings are produced from pressing powdered bronze into a bar or brick. After they are forged, they are machined to size, and the oil is drawn into the porous bronze via vacuum. That makes them self lubricating, as the oil is given out over time. Oiling after the fact will help for a short while, but is no substitute for the exhausted supply of oil from the bushing. If the bushings could be pressed out of the housing, they could be replaced...but that may be difficult as they are a soft material, and the exact dimensions may not be available in the aftermarket.

    Oilite was a trade name for these bushings, first developed by Chrysler back in the 1930s. They used a 30W oil back then.
     
  7. roger2

    roger2 . Subscriber

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    Thanks Wildcat. Very informative and interesting post.

    I don't know what material the bushings are made of, wish I did know more about different types of metals. But the fan (which I originally purchased new) logged a huge number of hours before the original lubrication failed. I used to run the fan every all night every night just for its steady noise that made sleeping easier. And during hot weather sometimes it would run for days, possibly weeks, at a stretch as I avoid AC whenever possible.

    Since reassembly I have not been using the fan the same as I did before. Just by instinct I guess, but apparently that agrees with your information. I have not been using it as a sleeping aid. And going forward will use it only when it is actually needed, and maybe put some cheap box fans into the rotation to lessen hours on the Honeywell, and hopefully it will have a few more years of life left. Or I could always disassemble and lube again...if I am still able, lol.
     
  8. Wildcat

    Wildcat Spring ain't here... Subscriber

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    The gold color inside the bushing in your last photo most closely resembles the sintered bronze bushings I have sold over the years. When new, the insides are not as shiny though--they look like this flanged bushing I stole an image of:

    upload_2017-11-8_9-6-34.png

    The bronze is machined and cut only with the sharpest of tools, so that the porosity of the surface is not affected. Thinking about it, though, a bushing that gets way too worn and becomes really shiny (to the point that they look polished) could not "ooze" oil out of its pores, since those pores are now blocked. It's just the nature of the beast. Rotating parts like this are made of dissimilar metals. Better to wear out a cheap bushing than destroy an expensive hardened metal shaft.

    Manually oiling it should work for a while though.

    My dad had an ancient fan dating back to the 60s. I recall that it had a tiny spring-loaded metal door to oil the shaft.
     

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