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Oil for Bridgeport M head spindle bearings

techymechy

Aluminum
Joined
Oct 24, 2018
I'm buying a Bridgeport M head. There is a oil cup on the head that lubricates the spindle bearings. I found an old manual that says that one should use Mobil Vectra Heavy/Medium Oil. I looked this up on the Mobil web site and it stated that this is a circulating oil with ISO68 viscosity.

There is a Mobil Vectra #2 Way Oil with an ISO68 viscosity.

There is also a Mobil DTE Heavy/Medium Oil which has an ISO68 viscosity and is called a circulating oil


I cannot find the Vectra Heavy/Medium Oil sold anywhere. I can only find the Vectra #2 and the Mobil DTE Heavy Medium Oil. Do you have a suggestion for what oil to use for the M head spindle bearings?

Dave
 

jim rozen

Diamond
Joined
Feb 26, 2004
Location
peekskill, NY
Nobody else has contributed, so: use 0-W-20 mobile one engine oil. The lower spindle bearings (the ones that do all the work) get their lube last, it has to go through the pulley bearings and the upper pair before it gets to the lower pair. The oil cup needs to have the pipe cleaner wick in place and cannot be shut off.

If oil is not dripping out of the lower bearings, they're not getting oil.
 

techymechy

Aluminum
Joined
Oct 24, 2018
Thanks so much for the reply.

The head I'm purchasing hasn't been used for a number of years. Where does one get the pipe cleaner wick? Would you suggest running an "oil cup" full of oil through the bearings (spinning them occasionally) before using the head for any milling work?

Dave
 

M.B. Naegle

Titanium
Joined
Feb 7, 2011
Location
Conroe, TX USA
The old BP heads work on the total loss system where the oil is being flung out in use, and taking with it any debris that might get inside. The wick is meant to meter the oil so it doesn't run out all at once. I've also seen some heads (like mine) that use the old glass cylinder oilers with the adjustable needle valve to the same effect. If no oil is coming through the bottom, that just means that it's not getting that far and likely is stopped by dirt or something inside. I don't think that the old wick'd oil cups used anything special. It'll work fine without the wick, provided you just keep dumping oil into it, so IMO even a pipe cleaner will help slow down the oil so it's not running out too fast. Ideally you will have a slow flow of oil going through the head while the bearing is in use, unlike other applications where you are just keeping a film or bubble of oil in one spot and replenishing it at some interval. I like the glass cylinder oiler as you can see when it's empty and adjust how fast it's emptying. Other than that, as long as the bottom of the spindle is wet, then I know the oil is moving and working like it should.

I use Mobil Velocite #10 (or any medium weight spindle oil) on mine.
 

techymechy

Aluminum
Joined
Oct 24, 2018
The cup is a bit different design than what you have. The cup I have is a metal cup with an overflow weir on the inside. A wick is curled around inside of the cup and wicks the oil over the overflow. I would like to replace the wick, but I'm not too sure where I can get the correct wick to make this work. The one that is in there looks older than Methuselah.

I will have to look for the Mobil Velocite #10 and/or Mobil 1 0W20 synthetic oil (at least this is the oil that is in my car). It looks like the Mobil 1 is about 1/2 the price of the Velocite #10.

Do you know if there is anything special with this wick?

Dave
 

jim rozen

Diamond
Joined
Feb 26, 2004
Location
peekskill, NY
I put a drip feed oiler on my m head, as well - one that could be shut off as well as metering when it was on. Don't run the wick feed cup without the wick as the standpipe inside the oiler goes almost to the top, so you'd effectively have almost zero capacity. Also the pipe cleaner wick filters the oil as it's being drawn over the top of the standpipe by capillary action. This is what your m head should have growing out of the aluminum housing:

oil_cup2.JPG
 

MilGunsmith

Stainless
Joined
Mar 6, 2006
Location
Sandyston, NJ
A standard pipe cleaner from any tobacco shop or Walmart works. I bent mine in half and twisted it together before putting in place like the picture above.
 

Doozer

Titanium
Joined
Jul 23, 2001
Location
Buffalo NY
I slather my ways with Vactra #2
and at the same time, I fill the
cup on my M-Head with it. Being
so old, I think the bearing
preload is not what is used to be
so I think a little thicker oil
will be OK.

--Doozer
 








 
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