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The manual for the 1930 Cadillac calls for gear grease to top up the steering box, what would be today’s equivalent of gear grease. The chassis lube charts calls for wheel bearing grease and chassis grease in other locations so I assume it is not one those. Any suggestions??

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I would presume it would be the same "grease" which would lube the manual transmission and the rear axle gears. That usually used to be SAE 90 in viscosity, before we got all of the multi-weight manual transmission fluids (i.e., 85W-90 or similar).

Does it also list a "GL-__" number? In the case of manual tranmsission fluids, that number is a particular specification, in addition to the viscosity number, which relates to the compatibility of the particular lube with brass metals (used in synchronizers and for other bushings) in the transmission. This can be very important!

Good luck,

NTX5467

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Daytona,

Unless you have added a seal at the sector shaft, standard gear lube will leak out rather quickly. Even 600w will eventually leak out.

Chassis grease will not travel as you turn the shaft.

I use a semi fluid grease by Penrite from Restoration Supply. This most closely replicates the original lube.

If you have added a seal at the sector, most any heavy mineral based gear oil will work.

Dennis

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  • 3 weeks later...

Not sure what this grease is compatible with, but Penrite I'm sure could tell you (or Restoration Supply, who carry their lubricants). One interesting thing I discovered regarding my 1905 Maxwell differential was that the company put grease inside the housing, and instructed the owner to add oil to keep it the correct viscosity. There was no way to empty or remove the lubrication other than disassembling it.

Phil

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I realize most steering boxes are worn at the sector shaft and also the bottom where the horn/lighting rod on many cars protrudes and it is very difficult to keep gear oil of any viscosity in the box under these conditions, but I caution against Penrite because of the viscosity. I have tried it in a couple of leaky boxes - both worm & nut boxes (1913 Hudson and PI Rolls Royce) and found that it made the steering so heavy that I drained it (no easy task!)

The best is gear lube that will not channel under pressure like grease. New seals and a rebuilt pitman/sector shaft & bushings is the way to go and not so difficult to accomplish. FOr a leaky box, Penrite is worth a try, but it is very hard to remove of you don't like it!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I stopped using 600 W, and other, sometimes hard to find heavy lubes. Now, for some time, I've been using straight STP in the steering box. It doesn't channel, leak out, foam, break down, and clings to the gear teeth. I've driven in hot and cold weather, with no noticeable steering problems either. It's cheap and sold everywhere.

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Dave, A lot of guys think the same thing you are. Try putting a bottle of STP in your refrigerator overnight, open 'er up and pour it out cold. not much of any difference! STP can be mixed with any regular or synthetic engine oil also, to make your "custom" viscosity. Believe me, the amount of pounds per square inch between the steering worm and sector gears are so great, you would never feel a stiffness at the wheel while driving. Same with the thrust bearings. Why do you suppose some folks pumped grease into the steering boxes? That's a real no-no, since grease will channel out and starve the working surfaces. I use it in my transmissions and rear ends too with much success over many years.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I added the oil back when I first got the car and so far none of it has leaked out. I didn't have to add much to top it off. However, I have heard stories about really bad leaks developing. Miraculously, the seals on my steering box are still holding up after 60 years. Your results may vary depending on the condition of those seals.

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I rebuilt my steering box on my 32 buick 66s and installed a new lip seal on the sector shaft and the only place it leaks from is the adjustment bolt which is oval in shape so there will always be a gap between the bolt and the housing but a good tight fitting copper washer should get rid of that, just to many other cars to get back to the buick right now. I am using 90wt and the steering is a little eaiser to turn so my wife likes to drive this car.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Before you dump that "steering gear lube" into your steering box, you might want to do the following "test": Place a small dollup of lube on a piece of metal, use a screwdriver to cut a swath throuth the "mound" and wait for a moment or two to see if the lube flows back into the screwdriver groove. I encourage this because I recently purchased a branded steering gear lube that required significant effort to get it out of the bottle.

As such, I tested as described above and found that it not only didn't fill-in immediately, it continued to channel and was still unmoved by the following day! Don't think I want something like that in my steering box! If you're unsure about what's in your steering box, it might be prudent to remove the filler plug and extract a sample of lube for a test. Remember too, that unlike transmissions and differentials, steering boxes don't generate heat, so you won't get any thinning of the lubricant as the vehicle is driven.

As an aside, I recently filled one of my vintage car's steering box with #250 wt. Amsoil Synthetic Super Gear Lube. Just wanted to try something different. Seen too many old cars with steering innards that have pitting and spalling of the mating parts. After some use, I'll remove the gearbox top, and check the condition!

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