Fan bearing lubricant was Re: WD-40 (again)

drlegendre . drlegendre at
Sun Apr 17 19:22:31 CDT 2016

If they use sleeve bearings, take a close look at the material.. does it
have the sintered look of oil-impregnated bronze (Oilite)? Are there
channels in the bearing to allow the distribution or retention of grease?

Those fans tend to run at pretty low RPM, so a very light bodied grease,
like the Phil's Grease for bicycles, would be fine to use. Otherwise, you
can just punt and use 20-30W motor oil. And yes, if you have a high-end
synthetic like Royal Purple 10-40 that is great. The RP oil is the go-to
for the guys on the antique fan site I visited when repairing my 1930s
Emerson Junior table fan.

The RP is really pricey, like $10/qt but a single quart will last several
guys a lifetime of small lubing tasks.

On Sun, Apr 17, 2016 at 5:54 PM, Noel Chiappa <jnc at>

>     > From: drlegendre
>     > There are so many types, sources & grades of lubricating oil out
> there,
>     > it boggles the best of minds.
> Speaking of lubricating oils... I've recently been cleaning/etc some of
> the ~4" boxer fans that the earlier PDP-11's use in large quantities.
> Some of the IMC fans (sleeve bearing) in the machine didn't really want to
> turn; on taking them apart, they were absolutely full of dirt, and when
> cleaned, spun up nicely.
> However.. what lubricant should I use on them before putting them back
> together for the long term? I assume I should use _something_? But the
> machine's going to be sitting a fair amount, so I don't want something that
> will dry out and/or gum up. What do people recommend? Would a 20SAE oil, as
> used on small electric motors, be OK, or is that in danger of turning into
> gummy stuff if left sitting for too long? Is there e.g. some silione-based
> stuff which is long-term capable?
> Thanks in advance for any/all advice!
>         Noel

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