Vintage LeBlond 13" Regal Oil Leaks
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  1. #1
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    Default Vintage LeBlond 13" Regal Oil Leaks

    Hi everyone, new member here. I have a vintage LeBlond 13" Regal, specifically a 1940 model S/N B3131, that I acquired some number of years ago from a local tech school auction. I only use it for home hobbying purposes and finally decided to give it a general reconditioning. My main issue that I have put up with for years since I have had it, is significant oil leakage from what appears to be around the shifter handles in the headstock. It appears that the packing in these is pretty much shot as I can't seem to get the packing nuts tight enough to control the leaks and there is even a puddle of oil down inside of the cabinet on the lathe stand. My question, what is the best way to re-pack these or does anyone have a recommendation for a type of packing to use or any other ideas to eliminate this issue? Has anyone ever replaced these or have a modern day alternative for new packing in same? Thanks in advance.

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    My brother has just done his WW2 Regal,and I think he said he used cotton lacing as packing.....ideal would be the asbestos cross woven packing like Crosslite in a small size.

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    There is an amazing array of packing out there. I need something better for my Monarch, which also slowly makes a mess

    Packing

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    My 1942 LeBlond 15" has the same problem... Both shafts seep oil over time if I fill the head stock to the specified level...The oil level leaks down to the bottom of the lever shafts then shows low in the oil cup.. I suppose the gears still pick oil up at that level but I always add before I use the machine...Going to have to do something about it someday I guess.. Ramsay 1

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    That's kind of where I'm at ramsay1, I have been putting up with this for years and just tired of the mess! There is such an abundance of packing available so I just wondered what others have used. Don't know if the plain old graphite packing rope as used in everyday plumbing valve stems would work or not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jebbear View Post
    That's kind of where I'm at ramsay1, I have been putting up with this for years and just tired of the mess! There is such an abundance of packing available so I just wondered what others have used. Don't know if the plain old graphite packing rope as used in everyday plumbing valve stems would work or not.
    The lathe I have now is the second one I have owned.. The two machines actually have consecutive serial numbers as Louisiana State University bought a lot of them at one point...I scrapped the first machine and it leaked oil from the shift shafts..When I get a chance, I think I will see how low the oil actually is when the leakage stops...As long as the gears touch oil and can pick it up, you are probably safe... I usually add oil to the head stock before I use the machine and it always leaks down to the bottom of the shift shafts then stops..I have had these shafts out before and it is quite an ordeal to get them out as I recall...I have an extra head stock from the previous machine which I may disassemble at some point to see if I can use something to stop the leakage.. Cheers; Ramsay 1

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    I removed the cover from my 1942 LeBlond 15 inch machine today ..It has been sitting long enough to stop seeping oil from the head stock shifter shafts and the level in the oil cup was under the bottom of the filler pipe in the cup... The gears, for the most part, were dry looking as the oil from the last run had run off.

    I wanted to see if any gears were below the oil level when it was below the shifter shafts.. The largest gear on the spindle next to the bearing was still touching oil but I don't think I would chance running the machine at this level as most of the gears and bearings in this area depend on oil that is splashed onto the upper part of the casting so that it can drip onto the gears and bearings...Both spindle bearings and the drive shaft outer bearing next to the driven pulley have oil ports so I assume that they may not get oil even with a full head stock....

    I added oil until the level in the cup was at the top of the filler pipe in the cup and both large gears on the spindle began slinging oil....I don't think it took but about a pint of oil to fill to this level...

    Just a heads up.. I would at least fill to the bottom of the pipe in the oil cup before I used the machine....I always do that...Cheers; Ramsay 1
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails oil-level.jpg   oil-ports.jpg   20191121_155928.jpg  

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    Thanks for the info Ramsay1. I also had these shifter shafts out way back when I first acquired the machine, but don't remember how much of an issue it was. I certainly would like to get this leak stopped as opposed to just adding oil all of the time, more so just to stop the mess. I often wondered about the oil level scenario that you researched in your little "experiment" and the relationship between the bottom of the cup and the gears. Good info, THANKS!

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    Quote Originally Posted by jebbear View Post
    Thanks for the info Ramsay1. I also had these shifter shafts out way back when I first acquired the machine, but don't remember how much of an issue it was. I certainly would like to get this leak stopped as opposed to just adding oil all of the time, more so just to stop the mess. I often wondered about the oil level scenario that you researched in your little "experiment" and the relationship between the bottom of the cup and the gears. Good info, THANKS!
    YVW... I sometimes wonder if one could use "o" rings instead of packing somehow..I wonder if it would work and how long the substitution would last..

    It is a real PIA the seep from those shafts and the fact that if you want to use the machine you usually have to top it off with oil each time..I now know that if you allow the level to drop below the filler pipe or below the bottoms of the shifter shafts, the head may starve for oil....Cheers; Ramsay 1

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    I also wondered about O-rings. Another thought I had (probably a long shot) was to attempt to find an actual oil seal after taking some measurements and checking if somewhere like Motion Industries or McMaster-Carr may stock something that would work.

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    Some times if the bore will allow it seals work great as the O.D. of the shaft is generally in good condition.
    With all the different size seals available there's generally one that will work.
    We use the heck out of our Chicago rawhide and SKF seal interchange books for projects just like this.
    Another very useful item for shaft seals are standard Quad rings, think 4 sided O-ring, used a lot in hydraulic applications.
    We have even stacked quad rings where old adjustable packing was used before, just an ever so slight preload on the quads and they worked great.

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