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Oil leak


McCargar
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When I was trailing the ’26 home I noticed oil leaking from the right rear hub. It was coming out of a round tube type thing below the axle. Being new to this era of Buick I have no idea what it is or what its function is and I was unable to find it in any of the manuals I have.  I am hoping someone can enlighten me to its function and why oil would be leaking out of it.

Right rear.jpg

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That is a drain tube to let excess differential fluid escape rather than leak onto the brake linings.  If the fluid level is correct in the differential but you jack up one side  or drive the car on a slope the fl uid will run down the differential tube.  The 1917 reference manual  Page 55 -57, comments on this function.

Be thankfull  that the tubes are not blocked with dirt.  

 

Bob Engle

 

 

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It’s actually the overflow for the wheel bearing grease that is lubed from the outboard side of the hub. You greased the bearing until clean grease came out this tube. 

 

Now, if gear oil from the differential is coming out it that means the felt seal is bad and dif. fluid is getting past it. 

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Oil suddenly coming out of these tubes is a sign of a heavy lean to that side or overfilled differential oil level. A gradually appearing leak would be seals as felt doesn't suddenly fail.  Id run it and check oil level periodically. It can even be a little low and still operate safely.

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10 hours ago, Roger Barrett said:

It is there because Buick didn't trust the felt seal to keep the oil in. Its supposed to dump leakage out on the ground instead of on the brakes. It means it's time to replace the seals. Better yet, go to modern seals. I have numbers and pics for the job.

how hard is it to tell if it's been done already . Can you see if the cover is off the dif. ?? kyle

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One thing to check is the viscosity of the gear oil. Sometimes people put SAE 90 gear oil in the diff , just as you would with a modern car. This will find its way past the old seals. If that is the case , the proper viscosity is SAE 250 , and a change might just cure the leaking. Worth checking , and I hope it is just that simple.   - Carl 

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Hi Kyle ! Actually I am using synthetic 250 in the trans and diff in my old '24 & '27 Cadillacs. But I assumed it would be O.K. because of the non synchro trans. But now I don't really feel 100% confident about this  , bronze bushings in the trans ? I have to check into this. One of the alternatives is an older designation , 600W , which has the equivalent viscosity , and is not synthetic. I am fanatic about synthetic lubricants , but again , I made an assumption which may not be correct. The more experienced guys here have convinced me I need to do some research. In any case , use the heavy weight gear oil. I hope you are on the road soon , and get to enjoy the wide open back roads to Denver ! I wish I could be there with you.   - Carl 

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I should have mentioned , it is not that the gear oil is SYNTHETIC. That in itself is not the potential problem. The problem is that these are modern HYPOID lubricants. They are engineered to lubricate the high shear , sliding component of hypoid gears. EXTREME PRESSURE (EP) requires sulphur compounds which are corrosive to yellow metals. I really want to feel comfortable using synthetic gear oil , and expect to get it figured out. Of course synthetic engine oil is not EP , and causes no problems with nickel/phosphor bronze found in engines.    - Carl 

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I just did a lube change on my 25-45 after years 35 years!!! (shame!)  the manual says to use steam cylinder oil , so I set about doing some research on gear oils which was all very conflicting.  I then researched steam cylinder oil and found it is still made and available.  As we have a local tourist attraction in Summerland (the Kettle Valley Steam Railway) I asked them if they had some for sale.  They had recently changed to a more EP rated steam oil and offered what they had left (new 5gal pail made by Shell) to me.  I gave them a donation.  This stuff is quite thick and I needed to put it out in the sun to heat it up to get it out of the pail.  Looks like thick molasses.  The transmission does shift better, no doubt because the gears slow down quicker!!!When I built the car years ago I put in some modern gear oil that is much thinner than this.  When I cleaned it out then it had a heavy thick gear oil that I wondered what the h-ll did someone put in there!! I now know what.  

Scan 1.jpeg

IMG_0056.jpg

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The manual says to use steam cylinder oil because that was a one of the accessible high viscosity oils available back then. But is it rated for work in a differential or transmission? I.e. does it foam and does it work as a gear oil on straight bevel and spiral bevel gears. Personally, I would not use it unless it is rated for work inside a box full of high speed stirring agents. And what do you mean by "a more EP rated steam oil"?

 

Perhaps a simple test is to put a bit in a bowl and whip it with an egg beater. If it foams much, you need a more appropriate oil. If it moves away from the egg better, it might not be a very good lubricant in that situation. Look for something that adheres to the beater.

 

UPDATE: http://transmarineoil.com/_files/ValvataJ.pdf

shows these oils might be OK for low speed enclosed gears. I would not use it for that reason; it is not the right oil. Use an SAE 250 oil that is formulated for high speed gears. And if you have copper-bearing metals in the box, look for one with a 1a result for the Copper strip corrosion test ASTM D130.

Edited by Spinneyhill (see edit history)
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Steam cylinder oil is not only heavy, but it tenaciously sticks to everything. It does not tend to run off like other olis. As steam cylinder oil, it must be able to mix with water so it will coat various parts of a steam engine valves and cylinders. Steam is vaporized water and it does condense in a valve and cylinder. It will carry the oil with it.

I have taken apart staem locomotives which have not been run onover 40 years and found that the wear surfaces were still rust free and still coated with oil.

I feel the stuff still works OK today.

Obviously, my opinion.

 

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I have been meaning to draw how the rear wheel oil shedder works, so here is a cross section view. 

Attached is also a picture of the area in the brake drum.  At the bottom of the shedder, you can see light thru the drain tube.  This is a replacement lip seal in the correct orientation for installation.  I have a write up on how to machine your shedder for oil seal installation to replace the felt.

Hugh

5ac6bf7887e30_BuickRearwheelshedderoperation.thumb.JPG.030525d8ab3e314c2e51fb62d6d67fd1.JPG5ac6bf8c7a1f2_IMG_6099Rearwheeloilshedder.thumb.JPG.fa207a3a19eb7de9e36d966779750612.JPG 

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Steam Cylinder oil is a paraffin and lard based oil that was the only heavy 'gear oil' available back in the day.

 

Use at your own risk.

 

A steam engine needs this organic lubricant since a steam engine is oiled in much the same way a 2-cycle engine is oiled, but in the case of a steam engine, the steam dissolves and carries the oil.

 

There are far superior modern day lubricants that can and should be used.

 

My go-to is the M-533 from Snyders.  SAE250 or also called 600w.  It is actually Chevron Meropa repackaged.  Easy to order, good price and it comes in two days to my doorstep.  I don't care to order and ship a 55 gallon drum or a 5 gallon tub from Chevron since shipping was very high.

 

I use it in both the transmission and rear axle.  Excellent product.  Excellent shifting since the transmission requires a heavy oil to slow the gears down to help shift.

 

http://www.snydersantiqueauto.com/600-w-oil

 

http://www.snydersantiqueauto.com/Content/uploads/M533LABEL4INCH-5386.pdf

 

(I used modern 90w140 gear oil in the valvetrain/overhead)

 

 

Edited by Brian_Heil (see edit history)
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20 hours ago, garnetkid said:

This is one article that I found interesting and prompted me to go with the steam oil.  Besides it looks like and smells like the old stuff I cleaned out of the trans and diff.  Can't see it doing any harm.  leon

http://www.southernsteamtrains.com/misc/steam-oil-hwade.htm

It is interesting that you use that article to justify using an inappropriate oil. The last paragraph before the section on Application says steam oil does not want all the advances in oil that make it best for high speed gears: anti-foaming, anti-corrosion, anti-oxidation, anti-wear additives and so on. Foam does not lubricate much and your diff. and gearbox will quickly turn the oil to a froth every time you drive the car. The stirring action of the gears will continuously introduce oxygen to the oil. The article tells you precisely why you should NOT use steam cylinder oil.

 

Use an oil formulated for the job, not one formulated for a completely different job that requires different properties.

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White lithium grease was used in the suspension parts during the start of an abandoned rebuild in the 70's.  When I pulled the parts apart, it was just white powder inside.  I used an older honey type wheel bearing grease in a throttle linkage 20 years ago on another car, and the linkage is sticking now, so I have to put new grease in it as it has "dried out".  I will use a lithium based or synthetic on the rebuild.  My transmission had 600 wt steam oil in it, (not changed since at least the 60's or 70's).  Thick as molasses.  No damage to the parts.  I would not say the "old stuff" did a lot of damage.  Routine oil changes is the key.  But if it were a modern lubricant and 50 years later, I would be pulling the drain plug and just refilling the box.  I am doing an awful lot of scraping in the engine, transmission, and rear axle to rid myself of the old 600 WT steam oil and non detergent oil and byproducts in the engine.   

 

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On 7/04/2018 at 10:30 AM, DonMicheletti said:

Has anyone a correctly documented failure (not antecdotal) due to the use of a specific lubricant?

 

I have looked for and seen the results of wear tests on engine oils, but have not done so for gear oils. I would expect that wear tests for gear oils would not include steam cylinder oils because they are not gear oils. Perhaps a search would be in order at this juncture?

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On 4/6/2018 at 6:30 PM, DonMicheletti said:

Has anyone a correctly documented failure (not antecdotal) due to the use of a specific lubricant?

 

Two.

 

Oil starvation and spun rod bearings both, caused by years of non detergent oil and heavy sludge nearly blocking the pick up screen on both.  Sadly both could have been prevented if the new owners weren’t so anxious to go down the road instead of pulling the pan on their vehicles. 

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