Removing water from gearbox.
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    Default Removing water from gearbox.

    I just purchased a Monarch Series 61, 16 x 54. It's in very good shape, but the guy I bought it from let it get rained on. I've cleaned it up, and replaced all the fluids, but the gear box was full of water. Now when I put oil in it, I keep getting emulsified water and oil out in the end sump. I keep sucking the water out of it and topping the oil off, but can't get all of the water out yet. It's starting to get expensive ruining all that DTE Medium Hvy. Have any of you run across a similar situation? I'm considering thoroughly flushing it out with diesel then refilling it with oil, but I thought I'd run it by you guys first.

    Thanks
    Scotty

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    While not knowing the Monarch, but faced with your problem I'd flush it with diesel a couple of times, then add a dewatering oil to the last diesel fill, (or neat WD40) before leaving it to drain over night.
    Once refilled with fresh oil I'd run her up till warm, dump that and refill.

    FWIW when using diesel I'd not run the gearbox under power to stir it up, but turn it over by hand.

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    Default Dewatering oil?

    Sami, I'm not familiar with the term "dewatering oil" can you explain or site a brand or name? Thanks.

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    dont try this till you have checked it out but what about sticking somthing like break fluid in to absorb the water then flushing it out with a light oil like transformer oil [ think that absorbs water too] check with someone who is up on oils before trying it
    mark

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    Default Brake fluid?

    It's a rare day when I don't learn something new from this board. I wasn't aware that brake fluid absorbed water, or that there was such a thing as dewatering oil. I will check Monday with our lubricant salesman and get his opinion. Thanks.

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    If you've emulsified it to a milkshake, probably time to change it completely as it won't separate easily.....will take a long time...days to weeks to go back.

    I would order up a couple pails of Mobil DTE Heavy Medium (one might do it, I don't have authoritative fill volumes on a Monarch 61 x 16" swing) and call it a good day.

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    i know nothing about monarch's but i know a thing or two about gearboxes

    you want to get the crap out asap, it plays hell on brgs and will rustpit brg surfaces.

    i would remove any access covers if it has any and wipe, suck, gently blow out all i could get to.
    then i would flush it with diesel a couple of times under power,, you gotta get the diesel up into all the troughs or feed lines etc to displace the water.
    then i would open it up again and wipe, suck... etc
    then i would buy some cheap hyd oil from costco or whereever and flush it under power again.
    i would hesitate using brake fluid for a couple of reasons, firstly the residue is difficult and expensive to dispose of legally, and secondly it may or rather likely will damage any seals in the unit,,
    after all that i would open the case again if possible and put a heat lamp on it to aid in drying out any remaining moisture. maybe even put in some of that dessicant stuff as well.

    the problem with gear cases in general is there will be area's where water will collect between seals and brgs that is going to be difficult to get out.

    obviously this is a machine you care about rather than just some old farm truck or tractor that really is not that important to you.

    i would take extra care in trying to get it dried out as soon as possible.

    after you are done i would check the oil frequently, maybe after it has run and set over the weekend drain a bit and see if any water appears when you open the drain plug
    assuming it has one. if you find any, i would drain it and do it again.

    i wouldn't use any high dollar lubes in it until you are through with the flushing process and are ready to put it back to work under load.

    rain... man... i hate that.
    only thing worse is salt water, save for maybe a professional sandblast job
    before it was dipped in ebay blue paint.

    good luck

    bob g

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    Bob, nice idea, the use of something like capturing a 100W lightbulb in the newly drained headstock sounds great...that and a very slow draft of air which can naturally convect should get the job done.

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    Default Water-continued.

    Bob, I think you are singing a song I like. I had been thinking about the reply from Sami about not running it with the diesel in it, but thought this does nothing to get it out of the lines. I've watched that oil pump work, and you couldn't possibly spin this beast by hand enough to pump it through all the lines. I also like your heat lamp idea.

    Keep the ideas coming guys. I may wind up trying several.

    Bob, your right, this is a lathe that is in such good condition for being sixty years old, that I really do intend to pamper it some.

    Thanks,
    Scotty

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    Smile use gas addative

    I have used the gas line anti freeze heat added to the oil, run the lathe a low speed a min or so and drain and replace the oil. It will take about 3 cans for the headstock on a type 61. DO NOT USE THIS ON A HYDO SHIFT HEADSTOCK the orings will be history...Phil in Mt

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    I like to use alchol because it will absorb water but no idea what it might do to seals etc. On my wood working planer gearbox, bought used, full of sawdust and oil sludge. I added some solvent. It might even have been paint thiner, no seals at all in that box.
    They way I did this was drain as best I could scoop out as much muck as possible. Then I put a pipe fitting in the drain and atached a used car fuel pump to circulate the solvent around and wash down the box. Worked good until the pump froze up jammed with junk.
    If I did it again I would have a drain tube into a solvent tank and use either a coolant pump or solvent washer pump to circulate the oil. While it is pumping rotate the gears by hand and wash off as much as possibe. That way would allow the junk to settle out and not jam the pump.
    Bill D.

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    mobile_bob has some excellent advice on cleaning out the gearbox, especially the warning about not putting brake fluid in the gearbox. I'll repeat it again...please don't put brake fluid in your expensive gearbox!

    One thing that you could mix in with one of the diesel flushes is methyl hydrate or gas line anti freeze. It will disperse the moisture with the diesel fuel allowing you to drain it out along with the diesel. After the moisture has been drained follow the rest of mobile_bob's excellent advice.

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    Yup, as the others have said. Diesel. It loves water. The heat is kinda a nice idea but as things start drying out they will wanna oxidize.. Its a dry heat VS a wet heat. A wet heat such as in a engine crank case removes water but you have to get it above the boiling point of the water, cant do that on the lathe.

    No brake fluid. It will swell and mush up any natural rubber seals. Works good for an old chevy engine that leaks pretty bad but not a lathe..

    I like the diesel alot. Its cheap and if you have a tractor or generator you can still use it as fuel.. JRouche

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    Default Willy

    Willy, I think you and Bob have just dotted the I on this for me.

    First flush, diesel with Heat.
    Second flush, diesel only with a short run under power on both of these to get it out of the lines.
    Third flush with oil, if it doesn't look too milky, I'll leave it in there for a few days, then replace with oil one more time.

    If anyone spots a flaw or can add something I'm still up for learning more.

    Thanks to everyone who has contributed. I repost in a few days to let you know the outcome.

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    only flaw i see with your plan is number three

    "if it doesn't look too milky"

    i would be much more agressive!

    if there was "any" and i mean "any" sign of moisture i would repeat the process
    at a minimum!

    the thing is there will likely be water condensed on the top surfaces as well as mixed in.

    you care about this machine, then don't take shortcuts here.
    time spent doing all you can to get it dry will pay dividends later.

    but it is your machine, and your time invested
    do as you like, but i would be very agressive getting this thing dried out

    and i surely would no wait a few days to do the job or wait a few days to see what comes out if i were to see any sign of water in the lube after the flushing.

    like i said " i know nothing of monarch machines"
    but it is my bet they aint cheap to rebuild, are they?

    hope all goes well for you and the old girl.

    bob g

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    I would definitely run it under power with the diesel fuel in it. There is enough lubrication in it that it won't hurt it short term and that is the only way to get a good flush.
    I had a boat engine that I just rebuilt get salt water in the oil (milky,2 quarts overfill) when a manifold failed. I was in the Keys on vacation when it happened. I was 500 miles and about 3 days from being able to do anything with it. I stopped at a station, pumped 3 gallons of diesel into the crankcase, disconnected the coil and cranked until the batteries were weak.
    Once drained and manifold changed I had no further problems with the engine.

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    I wish people would be more specific in terminology. There are at least three parts of a lathe that could be called "gearbox:" headstock transmission, quick change transmission, and apron transmission. All have their separate ways and means of service for water extraction. On some lathes there may be more - like a two speed handwheel on the quill, the index reversal, and sometime an under-drive headstock transmission.

    The head stock opens quite simply by removing the top. Inside is the spoindle transmission, shifters, etc all there to see including the sump which may be ribbed with little ponds of water in each depression which have to be idividually sucked clean. The quick change may have to be removed to be cleared of water. I don't know which Monarch lathe you are wrestling with and I'm not that familiar with Monarch anatomy to begin with. However they are well designed machine tools, built for ready maintenence. Reference to the manuals should indicate a path not difficult for anyone with mechanical experience to follow. The apron may be inspected by positioning it about mid-travel along the bed, supporting it by blocking it from underneath, removing the attachment bolts to the carriage and lowering the apron on the elasticity of the lead screws and feed shafts to clear the crossfeed gear where it projects above the apron joint. Move the carriage sideways down the bed and you can inspect the apron internals and clean them of debris, coolant, and water.

    What's de-watering oil? I never heard of it but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Sounds like a Godsend to the struggling mechanic.

    Don't refer to procedures like "flush with diesel" lightly. Think it through. If a transmission is compartmented so that multiple lube changes still brings off water in the drained oil, diesel will only complicate the problem. Diesel has very limited lubricity. Even small amounts of diesel contamination inhibits the film forming properties of the intended lube oil and greatly inhibits the boundary effect in lubrication. It takes many oil changes to dilute the diesel remainder sufficiently to safely allow full transmitted power. A thoughtless diesel flush could do more harm than good.

    Water in complex equipment items can be "baked out" but to do so is a hassle if the item of equipment cannot be fitted in an available oven. You can extemporise an oven with 2" foam sheets or a light frame and glass batt insulation (provided has a vapor barrier to prevent air movement thruough the thickness.) Surround the item with isulation, taping the joints and leaving air space between the insulation and the item. Provide a 2" hole top and at the bottom edge for limited air circulation and a board to cover. Install a circulating air heater and a temperature sensor - preferably a temperature controller's thermocouple to be attached to a solid mass on the item. Ramp the temperature up to 220 degrees and hold for a couple of days. This will not hurt the electrics, rubber,. or plastics but it will smell. Water will be driven off as vapor.

    A salvaged electric furnace element set and blower works very well as a heater and air mover and its relays can work from the controller's NO contacts. This is a heroic measure that takes time but it works very well. It's long been used in electrical equipment. I've used it to de-water a transmission on a diesel truck, dry out many a drenched electrical panel and M/G set, and a few flooded machine tools equipped with complex hydraulics.

    Water intrained in oil is not a loss. Most mineral oil fomulations will drop emulsified water. Let your drained oil stand for a day then pour it off carefully into a clean container. A chamois soaked in oil and placed in a funnel over a liner of expanded metal will exclude water from oil filtered through it. Oil passes chamois slowly. Heat the oil to 120F and the process goes much quicker. Out in the boondocks, aviation gas has been strained through chamois funnel for a hundred years.

    Once the oil has been separated heat it to 250 F (in batches if you have to) and the water will evaporate off. The usual precautions apply. One thing: DON'T heat oil with visible water in it. It may explosively pop hot oil.

    If a machine tool transmission is suspected of water contamination you better do something positive quick. Rust waits for no-one.

    If it was simple anyone can do it.
    Last edited by Forrest Addy; 02-03-2008 at 07:47 PM.

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    Default Water in my gearbox

    Hi' all,
    By accident I might have found a cheap way to clean out a water contaminated gear box of residual water and contaminated oil that is nearly impossible to remove with out a strip down.

    I was machining a lead on a hydraulic ram to remove it from the cylinder on an old tractor, When I
    removed the collar on the ram still held in the lathe the cylinder was full of oil and poured in to my chip tray contaminating the coolant oil, no problem it floats on top so just scooped it off.


    I got to thinking about it, the tractor has badly contaminated oil, when I removed the gear box cover there were water droplets on the inside of the casting and all over the gears, the oil was well and truly emulsified, I drained the oil over a couple of days and was going to flush it out with diesoline and hope for the best.


    What I am now going to try is use a water based degreaser as a flush, then hears the brain wave I will then mix up some water based coolant the same as used in my lathe and mill this should be safe enough to spin the gear box with no load, thus flushing any residual oil and water out of the bearings as the coolant is soulable in water and should pick up any water left hiding and float the emulsified oil to the top, then drain the coolant, refill with new gear box oil then run the tractor for a bit then drain a bit of the oil out to see if it did the job.

    The advantage if it works is very little waste, you can use the flush coolant in your lathe or whatever, The coolant actually helps prevent rust forming and it's also a lubricant so it shouldn't cause any problems under light loads during the flushing process, and best of all it should not damage your seals.

    I am out of coolant right now so next time I go to town(we are out in the bush)I will get some coolant and oil.


    If any one has a better Idea or an opinion on any Pros or cons, it would be greatly welcomed as I am sure this is a problem not only in farm machinery but all kinds of machinery.

    Regard's
    Mysterytour.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sjm512 View Post
    It's a rare day when I don't learn something new from this board. I wasn't aware that brake fluid absorbed water, or that there was such a thing as dewatering oil. I will check Monday with our lubricant salesman and get his opinion. Thanks.
    Brake fluid is hygroscopic, that’s why it is changed on a large service.

    The fluid absorbs water and moisture, that can lead to brake fade if you need to brake heavily, water has lower boiling temperature than brake fluid, that can cause brakes to be spongy or fade.


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