EricHoman

Grease / Oil for Steering Box

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What Grease / Oil should I be using in the steering box on my 1925? The book calls for a "graphite grease" which I am not familiar with. 

 

What do you guys recommend?

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Restorationstuff.com has Penrite Steering box lube.  It's a1200W oil specifically for the old steering boxes.  Page 25 of their catalog. LUB009 for $17.  I just bought some for my 25 after reading all of the comments and recommendations from doing a Google search.  Jay

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What Jay said. You want a semi-fluid grease. The idea is that when you wipe the grease off the worm with a turn it eventually flows back for later. Chassis grease will not flow back so there is soon no lubricant

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2 hours ago, JayG said:

Restorationstuff.com has Penrite Steering box lube.  It's a1200W oil specifically for the old steering boxes.

 

^^That stuff is a miracle. It does the job, and doesn't leak out.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, David_Leech said:

I cannot back this up, but I believe autogreaser lube will work. It is semi- fluid and thin. I am going to run it in my box 

 

Thin steering box lube is not the best because it leaks out. You probably only have a felt seal on the bottom and on the sector shaft so you want a thick semi-fluid grease. The Penrite stuff is good; it is best to heat the bottle (e.g. hot water) to make it pourable!

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The problem with a heavy oil is that it's best dispensed into a plug hole. Early DB steering boxes are lubricated through a fitting, either Alemite or Zerk. A proper oil gun as beloved by owners of British cars up to the 1960's (particularly the Rover P3  which specifies oil for the front suspension) would be necessary if used in this case.  In any event I doubt if it would stay in the box for too long given the rather rudimentary sealing arrangements, particularly along the sector/wheel shaft..

 

I suspect that the original specification of graphite grease was made to reduce the effect of grease wiping given its clinging properties.  The modern equivalent, which I use, is a molybdenum disulphate grease.  This stuff is usually distinguished by its specification for extra heavy duty applications and black colour.  Yes, my steering feels like trying to mix concrete with a teaspoon - but don't they all!

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I have the Penrite  Lube in the steering box of my Senior and to fill the box I used a  grease gun No mess No leaks although I must say that when I reconditioned the box I fitted modern lip seals to the lower part of the box and also on the sector shaft.

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I use the Penrite Lube. I clean up the area around it and remove the oil nipple, heat the bottle of oil as hot as I can hold with oven gloves, then decant it very carefully down a clean piece of 2.5 mm fencing wire into the hole. Easy peasy.

 

I had a modern lip seal put in the bottom and an O-ring put in the outer end of the bush at the end of the steering shaft when I overhauled the steering box.

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3 hours ago, TonyAus said:

The modern equivalent, which I use, is a molybdenum disulphate grease.  This stuff is usually distinguished by its specification for extra heavy duty applications and black colour.  Yes, my steering feels like trying to mix concrete with a teaspoon - but don't they all!

Um, no, they don't! Mine doesn't.

 

We don't know the fluidity of graphite grease back then so I would not use a modern chassis grease with equivalent additives that does not flow back. Even with molypoly. It will last a while, but eventually you will have no lubrication on the worm.

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7 hours ago, TonyAus said:

With respect to steering feel, you clearly don't drive a pre-1926 Dodge.

Correct. 1930.

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Any thoughts on using straight Lucas oil stabilizer in the steer box? Readily available and thick as molasses. Apparently you can use it 100% in a modern rear end (though I wouldn't) and considering what the steer box does, being a low speed device, I can't see any down side really

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A steering box is a high shear environment. Yes it is low speed, but the lubricant must be good for high shear.

 

What does an "oil stabiliser" do? There is no sensible information about it that says why one should use it as an additive to synthetic oil. It just reads like an oil but they don't want to say what it actually is. I am suspicious.

 

It is >45 cSt at 100 deg C, which puts it in the ISO 680 and top of the SAE 140 viscosity bands. So this is an oil rather than a grease.

 

Personally, I would not use it without a lot of research into what the stuff actually is. I see it is recommended to be added to synthetic oil: you are not proposing to use any synthetic oil. I would find a semi-fluid grease. Some on these fora have talked of Corn Head Grease for this purpose. Remembering that these old steering boxes are v. expensive to overhaul, I would use the proper stuff and not have a punt on something that appears risky without first reducing the risk with knowledge.

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Type O grease (corn head grease) has the consistency of half set Jello.

Type OO is somewhat thinner and flows better.

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