View topic - Lubricants for Antique Cars

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2021 2:18 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2021 4:20 pm
Posts: 14
Greetings from Lakewood, Washington. I am new to the DB Forum, and also new to owning a antique DB car. During the past several decades I have been a hobbyist at old car restoration and have completed a number of 1950’s and 60’s vintage cars. For the past year I have restored a 1927 Willys to be a go anywhere car, and I recently bought a 1923 DB Roadster and am doing a off frame restoration of it now. On Lubricants for our old cars.....semi-liquid steam oil is no longer commercially available, to my knowledge. But it is still the recommended gear lube for steering gear boxes. I have found that the product sold as CV Joint lubricant is pretty well suited in viscosity and compatibility for this use. I have found no DIRECT replacement for what DB calls cup grease (in the 50’s we called it “hard” grease) but Auto Zone sells some general purpose grease, which is non-acidic, which seems to serve the purpose for wheels and fittings. The 600W and 1500W oil sold at various places, is recommended in transmissions and differentials for two reasons. The first being its ability to cling, and in the gear boxes containing only about 4 ounces of lube, this is extremely important to keeping the gears in the upper housing lubricated. The 2nd is the fact that most of these cars use felt seals, rather than rubber, and depend on wicking to saturate and seal the joint. I have been told that using conventionally available gear oil (90/145 for example) speeds deterioration of brass parts and should be shunned for this reason alone. But the best reason I can think of to use the higher viscosity 600W or 1500W is that the lighter weight gear oil, designed for use with rubber seals, will leak right past felt seals and ruin things, like brake linings. I already belong to too many old car fan clubs and, after I decide which one to drop, will most probably become a full member of the DB Club.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2021 10:59 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 05, 2020 1:56 pm
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Sounds like you have a pretty good handle on what to do and how to do it. I do think steam cylinder oil is available if you google it. I had looked recently and found it and lots of info on it. Steam cylinder oil, from what I read, is tallow based and that is needed for certain bushings in the transmission. A as to your offer in your other thread, that is a generous offer. But I am on the other coast. What a lot of people, myself included, have been doing is using corn head grease in the steering box. It is a almost flowable grease that seems to lubricate well and not leak out of the bushing. John Deere and other tractor supply places have it. And welcome. There are some of us, not many, that don't do FB. SO I check here every day. AACA forum also has a DB section that sees a lot of traffic.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2021 2:26 am 
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Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2021 4:20 pm
Posts: 14
Hi Doug. I am certain that nearly every car collector knows more about the lubricants their cars like than I do. But, a first post has to start somewhere, and lubricants are as benign as any other subject I could pick. I am saving your post though because the corn husk (whatever) is really new to me. The parts I have to offer are those the previous owner took to the swap meets he enjoyed attending, and there are some things marked with prices which will knock your socks off. I have a box of timing chains for the 23 4 cylinder, and I see they are $285.00 in the store. I sure hope someone can use some of it because I’m in no physical shape to keep moving it around. Momentarily I’m hip,deep in this 1923 DB Roadster, but I just had a very pleasing breakthrough. The car is in pieces, as well as is the engine. I have the engine ready to crank but the starter/generator will not power it through a full cranking revolution. I was certain that the starter/generator had some bad windings, and I could see a huge delay in looking for electrical parts. But, I pulled the head back off and found a badly warped intake valve on the number 2 cylinder. Seems like the 23 DB 4 cylinder engine uses internal passages rather than a intake manifold. And, it appears the leaking valve was pressurizing the other cylinders during the intake stroke, and the poor starter/generator was just overwhelmed. I ground the valves tonight, but I’m really antsy about putting the head back on until I’m certain I have the leaking valve fixed.


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