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Guy Montana

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hello all!  Please chime in your thoughts and opinions.  Facts are also VERY welcome! [wink]

     I have only been a tech for almost 3 years and the guy I work under is an expert in the much newer machines.  So I really wanna do the best job possible on the repairs and machine services I do!!

     As a repair tech, I have a couple thoughts and issues with the idea of low temperature melting grease to lubricate the motor spindles.  I understand that as the motor gets warm, the grease melts and lubes up the bushings.  I have found a few places that sell replacement grease that usually will melt at a little lower temperature than the original Singer grease.  Singer designed the motor grease as a low maintenance idea.....   Or that was what they told the public.  As I understand it; the bronze is a porous metal that sort of holds the oil when you put a drop of oil for the steel shaft.   I tend to think that for their commercial machines, that ran all day; it was possibly a good solve to keeping the motor lubed for optimum performance.  But I find it hard to see an average home user getting enough use in one go to get the motor hot enough to melt and lube the bushing.  So many home sewers will get to a point and sew for a bit then off to the lay out table, or off making adjustments to the fabric or pattern or off for a cup of coffee...... basically just not there using the motor enough for it to get hot.  While in a production setting, you would have the different staff making the patterns, cutting out the pieces, and the sewers sewing.  Every one doing their part to make as many of the final product in one day as possible.  (Newer commercial machines even have a oil pan to keep the moving parts well oiled and cooler.)  I kind of think it was a bit of bogus information so that you would buy a bottle of oil and a tube of grease....  This "solution" to lubricate motors is no longer being used.  As far as I know only SInger used it for a fairly short period of time.  So I guess there is the idea of using it to keep it closer to original manufacturer's specs.  But all the motors I have serviced seem to do just great with a proper oiling.  When I take them apart I oil soak the bushing, and when the motor is assembled, each end gets a drop of oil....


Anyway, guys whats your thoughts?   
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Jim/Steelsewing

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Reply with quote  #2 
My thoughts on this after going over so many vintage machines... is that the motors that were designed to be greased, should probably continue to have usual maintenance performed on them from the manual, and if that means grease, or oil, then that's what it means. We're just now seeing one hundred year old electric motors on household machines since they began to sell those in the late to mid 19 teens. From that period on through the 70s, I don't see any real issue following the manufacturer's procedure. Where I have seen real issues is with the Husqvarna Viking 6000 series machines that were sold with 'so-called' lifetime lubrication and supposedly would never need to be oiled. Ha. Those machines are often found locked tight where the original lube has turned into hard varnish.

The idea that someone might use a 90 year old machine for constant use as if in a production line... is a somewhat accurate description of the modern quilting group and their table full of featherweights. All the prep work has been done long before they drove to the monthly meeting and it's game on now, all machines on deck. Some costume people can spend hours hemming yards and yards of billowing skirt hems. So there are incidents, perhaps not as many as there used to be, but some do exist. If the repair person asks the right usage questions, I suppose you might be able to custom Taylor the lubrication method. The thing I am mindful of is the current condition of whatever vintage machine I just dragged home. I have no idea at all what sort of maintenance has, or has not, been performed - or just how many years the machine has sat idle. If, however, I purchased that machine to do tasks that do involve hours of hands on sewing, or especially thick materials... then I would be very attentive to the motor needs. If, I bought the machine to look pretty on the shelf... it still has to sew for me, but I might not be as particular.

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Mkwatts

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Reply with quote  #3 
A question along these lines is what favorite brand of motor grease does everyone use with the motor wicks? Vaseline scares me alittle. Is it really ok?I

I have a pile of motors to do this winter and have used up the tube of vintage Singer engine grease. It was clear and in good shape but now gone.

I use Tri Flow oil on moving parts and Tri Flow grease for the gears. It was recommended by so many.
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pgf

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Reply with quote  #4 
I've never heard anyone say Vaseline was bad to use, and I've heard lots of people, who seemed to know what they were talking about, say it's just like the Singer grease.

I recall seeing a site where someone had done melting point comparisons of Vaseline and the Singer grease, and they pretty much matched.  (Unlike the modern Singer grease, which was very different than the old stuff.

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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #5 
I've done about 5 potted motors - Singers 15-91s, 201s, 101.  I have used Vaseline for all of them.  I usually rewire, clean the commutator, change brushes, use new grease wicks with the Vaseline.  The first one I did was about 5 years ago and still going strong.  All of the motors I have done have worked perfectly and I have had no issues. Of course, I can't tell about longevity, but I do a good check up at least once a year and no failures or problems yet.

I actually would not know what else to use besides the Vaseline.  I know now there are replacement grease for the old Singer grease and they seem quite expensive.  I would be very interested to know if anyone has a recommendation that they can compare to the Vaseline using actual machines as comparisons.

I have on my do-to list about 4 more potted motors to do and wonder if I should reconsider using Vaseline.
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ke6cvh

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Reply with quote  #6 
Hello group,  I buy the generic petroleum jelly to protect metal parts that do not move against each other and use oil or other for that.  Somewhere I read (was it this forum?) that Vaseline is a higher quality and the generic is not to be relied on.  So, I keep some of the expensive Vaseline around for any potential work on motors.  I learned about the preservative qualities from knife making forums where folks say the oil only lasts for a week or two whereas the vaseline clings for months.  I can personally testify to this.  I used some rust converter that turned the red rust to black rust.  Normally one is supposed to prime and paint after that.  I just rub it down with petroleum jelly and it stays black but was red with rust before and have had a few parts like this that wouldn't be painted so use the petroleum jelly after rust converter if applicable.  Also, I think the petroleum jelly does a decent job of eventually dissolving red rust but doesn't seem to do this at all to converted black rust.  So what I'm trying to say is that oil doesn't stick around very long on metal......  Vaseline does.  Maybe it was more than just the melting point and also the fact that this stuff sticks around on the surfaces good.  Maybe the properties are just right where it heats up and runs (and doesn't act like a dust sponge like grease would) and the oil doesn't.  As far as porosity of metal I used to believe guns soaked up oil until I read this was an urban legend on one source.  Maybe brass and bronze are different.  Sintered bronze with oil (Oilite) bushings have been around since the 30's according to the internet and the sintered stuff does absorb up to 30 percent in oil according to one web page.  Phosphor bronze also absorbs oil as does graphite plugged bronze bushings (that are soaked in oil).  Over oiling is obviously a bad thing.  For me I'd use Vaseline where applicable...my 2 cents on the subject.  Best regards, Mike
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Guy Montana

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Reply with quote  #7 
I can only say that I have never heard good results with vaseline; but neither have I heard bad....  But I for sure can say I have excellent results with Tri Flow grease for the gears ONLY.  The Singer Featherweight Shop https://singer-featherweight.com/   shows their own brand of grease with others in a little oven and the Tri Flow doesn't melt.  Prior to Singer putting in the grease wicks, I believe they just had the bushings oiled.  Bernina put their little red dots for oil points on the motor bushings, so many others just did the oil holes in the motor casing.  I prefer to clean out and just oil the motor..... But I honestly don't know if that is best?  
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Farmer John

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Reply with quote  #8 
Guy, the motor bearings do not have to get hot in order for the grease lubricant  to melt and feed the bearings.  At 70 degrees, room temperature, the greases will migrate, as seen in the photos.  The grease samples are about the size of a split pea, and the samples were allowed to stand at 70 deg for only 9 hours.  The paper size is 3" x 3"
    I think that Singer realized that if they put oil holes on their motors, the home maker would liberally oil the motor every time that the sm was oiled.....more is better, right ?  Soon the commutator segments would be an oily mess, and the motor would fail.
     On those motors that have a tiny oil hole on each end bell, the hole leads to a felt doughnut that surrounds the porous bronze bearing. 
 100_2043.jpg 100_2041.jpg 
Notice that Vaseline and Singer motor lubricant migrate at about the same rate.  The third sample is "Sew-Retro " motor and gear grease.  I have done this test with every grease that I could find, and they all creep, or migrate, although many greases will not actually melt when heat is applied.  Both Vaseline and Singer lube melt readily at around 115 degrees F.
John


Attached Images
jpeg 100_2041.jpg (312.78 KB, 11 views)

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Mkwatts

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Reply with quote  #9 
I have only overhauled a few motors and am no expert for sure. Do you all have a good source for the replacement wicks? Is it sold by the yard or little pieces?
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Farmer John

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Reply with quote  #10 
Mkwatts, you will find 3/16 wicking here,
https://shop.sew-classic.com/Motors-and-Motor-Parts_c21.htm
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Mkwatts

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Reply with quote  #11 
Thank you Farmer John!


And thank you for the grease test results. I will be stopping to grab some real deal Vaseline on the way home.
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Jim/Steelsewing

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Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mkwatts
And thank you for the grease test results. I will be stopping to grab some real deal Vaseline on the way home.


Can you check and see if they have anything for earworms?



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Cari-in-Oly

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Reply with quote  #13 
The Featherweight Shoppe and another website both say never to use Vaseline, only use their Sew Retro grease. OF COURSE THEY DO, because they spent all that money coming up with that special grease and they have to get their money back somehow.  I didn't trust it when it first came out and still don't.
Almost all of the sewing machine "experts" that I trust on the internet say that Vaseline is what you should use. Besides John's test results, Tammi Lee(ArchaicArchane) also did a comprehensive melting point test of several greases, including that special grease for FWs. The ONLY thing that melted at the right temp for a sewing machine motor was Vaseline. Even Ray Elkins of Sew Purty fame says to use Vaseline. I figure, since people have been using it for umpteen years and there's never been a proven case of Vaseline ruining a good motor, why take chances?

Cari

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Jim/Steelsewing

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Reply with quote  #14 
Just a quick question here. We are all talking about petroleum jelly right? Something you might use on any vintage singer machine?
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SteveH-VSS

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Reply with quote  #15 
yes
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Guy Montana

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Reply with quote  #16 
This is all VERY interesting!  I really appreciate everyone's input!!!  Thanks Farmer John!  Keep the ideas rolling.
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OurWorkbench

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Reply with quote  #17 
There is another thread regarding motor lubricant here on VSS - https://www.victoriansweatshop.com/post/motor-lubricants-truth-or-legend-8241009

Archaic Arcane did a couple of posts on her blog at https://archaicarcane.com/a-search-for-things-you-cant-see-singer-motor-lube-replacement/ and https://archaicarcane.com/greased-lightning-singer-motor-lube-in-canada/ She also referenced http://vssmb.blogspot.com/2011/12/how-to-re-wire-potted-motor-part-19-re.html in the other thread here on VSS.

Janey

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Aronel

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Reply with quote  #18 
Would white lithium grease be safe for a FW motor?
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WI Lori

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Reply with quote  #19 
I think most would say it is not.
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OurWorkbench

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Reply with quote  #20 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aronel
Would white lithium grease be safe for a FW motor?

My first thought was "Absolutely NOT!" I did some research last night as many of the modern service manuals say White Grease for gears - but this is NOT lithium AND NOT for motors. It is Molykote, which is mentioned in the sew-classic pdf
https://shop.sew-classic.com/downloadlogin.sc?invoiceId=0000022456&accessId=b9tf4nnrzmzm
FOR GEARS only.

Aronel, please read the links. Unless you have an old lead tube of original Singer grease (not plastic tube "Singer" lubricant) I would suggest Petroleum Jelly or the Lubricants that singer-featherweight.com or nova montgomery's site sell.

Janey



Edited to correct link... will still need to download.

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Farmer John

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Reply with quote  #21 
I had sampled Luibriplate white grease, and   the oil will migrate out of the grease mass.   Like other metallic soap greases, the melting point of the Lubriplate grease is 450-500 degrees.  Singer grease and petroleum jelly both melt at around 115 degrees.
     I understand PJ to be a low melting point petroleum wax.  There is a less refined, industrial amber petroleum jelly, that would look much like genuine Singer motor grease.  Since it is not readily available, plus the minimum quantity is large, I will stick with Vaseline.
John
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Guy Montana

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Reply with quote  #22 
Quote:
Originally Posted by OurWorkbench

My first thought was "Absolutely NOT!" I did some research last night as many of the modern service manuals say White Grease for gears - but this is NOT lithium AND NOT for motors. It is Molykote, which is mentioned in the sew-classic pdf
http://www.shop.sew-classic.com/medi...0lubricate.pdf
FOR GEARS only.

Aronel, please read the links. Unless you have an old lead tube of original Singer grease (not plastic tube "Singer" lubricant) I would suggest Petroleum Jelly or the Lubricants that singer-featherweight.com or nova montgomery's site sell.

Janey



There are other applications for MolyKote.  But those other applications are for much newer machines.  For instance, if an up-take lever is removed for any reason on a Baby Lock; those bushings MUST have MolyKote.   Unfortunately, our shop found out by a customer's machine that had the up-take replaced and it promptly friction welded itself together because the other shop had not used the MolyKote....

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Farmer John

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Reply with quote  #23 
Do you know which Molykote product is rated for the Baby Lock.  There are over 60 compounds that use the "Molykote" brand.  I even have Molykote dry stick lube.
100_2048.jpg 

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ke6cvh

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Reply with quote  #24 
Hi Farmer John,

  No idea but the air threading with the hollow loopers is pretty cool as well as the auto threading needle.  I recently researched some of their high end overlocks and they are apparently over 4k US dollars.  Most sites will not list the price (by far the majority) which is a red flag for me.  Also, owning too many industrial overlocks to want to admit and having to work on them they have some type of fixed looper they talk about eliminating any need for adjustment.  All good except when I watch the youtube reviews that are positive they also talk about some of the negative.  One is that there is no going past the fixed tensions.  There is an almost hidden adjustment but that adjusts all of them at same time.  Where that doesn't work right is in the seam they call their flat lock seam which is really a break apart seam.  It is not universal for all materials and therefore not good.  The Singer professional 5 which can be had for around 500 dollars with a set of 6 free presser feet on Amazon or even sometimes on HSN has an auto tension but also can individually tweak those tensions.  What I see is a nice one machine that does all on the Babylock (almost) for portable use and what they call semi professional sewers and they make up with the auto threading eliminating time expenditures.  However, if at home I believe strongly even with domestics just to get an cover stitch and set it up, a low cost 4 thread, and maybe a Singer Pro 5 all for a fraction of the cost.  Another thing the Babylock is not recommended for is if one is to be doing stitches that can be done by a lower cost serger (which is what I just essentially said).  Bruce has had great success with silicone oil in places that aren't supposed to be lubed.  Also, the most expensive bablocks are advertised as self oilers.  I tried to find out exactly what that means?  An oil bath for some metal gears?  Who knows as they don't talk about it.  

Best regards,
Mike
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Guy Montana

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Reply with quote  #25 
Not off the top of my head, but I can find out!  I have a couple days off so it will be a bit.  But I will post the technical information as soon as I can find and validate it.
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OurWorkbench

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Reply with quote  #26 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Farmer John
Do you know which Molykote product is rated for the Baby Lock.  There are over 60 compounds that use the "Molykote" brand.  I even have Molykote dry stick lube.
100_2048.jpg 


According to https://www.manualslib.com/manual/917949/Janome-Jw7630.html?page=39
MOLYCOTE EM-40M
According to https://shop.sew-classic.com/downloadlogin.sc?invoiceId=0000022456&accessId=b9tf4nnrzmzm Molykote EM-40M

(I'll correct link in previous for pdf)

Janey

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ellellbee

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Reply with quote  #27 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pgf
I've never heard anyone say Vaseline was bad to use, and I've heard lots of people, who seemed to know what they were talking about, say it's just like the Singer grease.

I recall seeing a site where someone had done melting point comparisons of Vaseline and the Singer grease, and they pretty much matched.  (Unlike the modern Singer grease, which was very different than the old stuff.


that was Tammi Lee of the Archaic & the Arcane. 
https://archaicarcane.com/a-search-for-things-you-cant-see-singer-motor-lube-replacement/

I see someone else posted it below. I agree with Cari in Oly that the Featherweight Shop's similar comparison might not be an even comparison due to the temperatures used. 

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Farmer John

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Reply with quote  #28 
Janey, I searched the Molykote site endlessly for info about the EM40M grease.  While I found a listing, there are no specs or applications or availability.  The EM30L and EM50 are for plastic parts.  The EM40M may be a proprietary compound.  I sent them an email.
John
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Cari-in-Oly

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Reply with quote  #29 
Mike, the reason you don't see Babylock prices in print is because Tacony (Babylock's owner) doesn't allow it. Dealers aren't even supposed to give price quotes over the phone. They want you to go to the dealer where they can hard sell you.

Cari

Edited to add, this is true for the higher end machines.


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OurWorkbench

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Reply with quote  #30 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Farmer John
Janey, I searched the Molykote site endlessly for info about the EM40M grease.  While I found a listing, there are no specs or applications or availability.  The EM30L and EM50 are for plastic parts.  The EM40M may be a proprietary compound.  I sent them an email.
John


Yes, that was my experience. I have tried to find out what the new "Singer Lubricant" is or a MSDS/SDS for it. I also tried to find Janome grease, with no luck. Anybody know a Janome technician?!?

It will be anxiously awaiting to hear/read if Molykote replies and what they say. Based on the descriptions of EM30L and EM50, it appears that they might work fine for new plastic sewing machines.

Janey

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Farmer John

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Reply with quote  #31 
My request of Dow/Dupont for specs on the Molykote EM40M got routed to a distributor.  Here is their reply...
______________________________________________

Hi John-

 I just tried you at the office in addition.

 This is not a grade that I have a channel to source you and team with.  Please reach out to Dupont directly.  Thanks!

 

BRAD SMITH

CHEMPOINT   |   Market Developer

Office 425.378.8609  |   CHEMPOINT.COM
___________________________________________

 

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OurWorkbench

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Reply with quote  #32 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Farmer John
My request of Dow/Dupont for specs on the Molykote EM40M got routed to a distributor.  Here is their reply...


That was NOT very helpful. I'm wondering if a Janome Technician would have better information? According to some of the Janome service manuals I have found it states:
"ORDER THROUGH YOUR RPDC IN THE USUAL MANNER; DIVISION 20, SOURCE 158"

Janey

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Mickey

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Reply with quote  #33 
It's all been mentioned now, but my experience is that oil tend to compare favorable to grease in almost all cases. That said, I know ball bearings need oil, the only exception I have seen that worked for more than a short period, was when they ran in a sort of perpetual oil bath. Grease has it's advantages.

I guess the old motors run on grease, because the old type saponofied grease worked well and it was and still is very easy to over oil small motor bearings.  Not any of the synthetic greases wick at all, and almost all are of this type these days. There are different type of vaseline, some very soft and gel like, some a bit firmer and more like grease. I haven't done the detailed experiments others have, but if I cleaned and replaced wicks in a motor, I guess I would go for the grease sold by Sew-Retro or The Featherweight Shop.

I think repalcements very close to the original Singer grease still are made, whe just can't get them in small tubes and tubs, they come in large bucket sizes.

I have given old motors a drop or two of oil and it has done the job until I have had a chance to sort them out more thoroughly.

I have seen domestic Singer motors from around 1920s to 1950, and all had grease wicks. I think 1955 201K-23 are so called lubrication free, it doesn't have any grese ports, just the tinies pin hole I initially thought it was meant to be oiled, but it looks like it was marketed as lubrication free.
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OurWorkbench

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Reply with quote  #34 
Quote:
Originally Posted by OurWorkbench

It will be anxiously awaiting to hear/read if Molykote replies and what they say. Based on the descriptions of EM30L and EM50, it appears that they might work fine for new plastic sewing machines.
Janey


I found https://www.lubricantspecialty.com/our-solutions/by-type/greases?gclid=Cj0KCQiArdLvBRCrARIsAGhB_syQPdPJ0fBHLrZsYtdbSshXcTxv885Rp_mxp3-19WHU93FiZpiJSLEaAspUEALw_wcB this morning and it looks like the thickner is lithium for the EM30L and EM50  but of course not the EM40M

Janey

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Guy Montana

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Reply with quote  #35 
Well I found an MSDS for the MolyKote EM30L.  Here is the link: https://www.ulbrich.si/chemical-technical-products/MSDS_MOLYKOTE_EM_30L_eng.pdf

It is good stuff for what it is designed for.  I would NOT use it to lube motor bushings.  Its melting temperature is way to high.  But for what Baby Lock wants it used for, up take bearings it works great! 

   After reading everyone's comments, I still feel regular maintenance of just good old sewing machine oil is best for motor bushings for the old Singer motors.  There is some truth for those people that don't do maintenance... the low temp melt greases would be a good choice.  But a SINGLE regular drop of oil now and then, works well across many motor applications.  On average that drop of oil on each end of the motor armature, would be about once every 6 months at most.  But the motor would still need to be checked and cleaned and carbon brushes changed every so often.  At least cleaned and checked.  For most people, carbon brushes will be fine for quite a long time. 

       That's my 2 cents anyway.... which means that there may be room to change or need to change!!

    As far as gears ONLY.  I do prefer Tri Flow's grease, it seems to be a bit thicker and makes for a smoother action.  But that also means you took the time to take the old junk off, and applied it with a brush evenly throughout the connecting gears.  

Thank you everyone for all your input!!!  Farmer John, I really appreciated your feed back!!  More is DEFINITELY not always better.  Unless its an additional cup of coffee.....

    Our Work Bench, thank you very much for adding links to the other threads about these issues!!  They were very helpful!  



  
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OurWorkbench

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Reply with quote  #36 
Glad I could help, Guy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OurWorkbench


... Anybody know a Janome technician?!?..


I put a call in to a local Janome dealer. Received a call from service guy and was told to use oil only. He suggested that nothing to grease unless opened up. When explained further, he contacted Janome technicians in New York. He was told that they use synthetic grease with Teflon which would be available in 3 ounce tube from WalMart. I Googled "synthetic grease with Teflon" walmart, the first result was for Tri-Flow Grease, but only available online. He also stated it could be used on metal to metal, plastic to metal and plastic to plastic.

Janey


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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #37 
Janey,

Thanks for researching this info - very helpful.  I've always wondered about the plastic to metal and plastic to plastic connections.
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lu_

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Reply with quote  #38 
What about original Singer lube?  Would you people use it? 
It was my mothers and probably about 50 years old.  It comes out of the tube a nice clear honey colour and holds its shape when some is sqeezed out. 
I wonder if that was its original colour or if age has turned it that honey colour...?
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Guy Montana

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Reply with quote  #39 
I would not.  I might keep the tube for nostalgia, but I would use oil, or a different grease as discussed.  But I wouldn't use the old stuff.
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Farmer John

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Reply with quote  #40 
I use the old Singer lube.  After all, it is the standard by which all substitutes are compared.  All of the several tubes that I have contain honey colored lube.
John
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pgf

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Reply with quote  #41 
I'd use it.  If it looks okay (and it sounds like it does), then it almost certainly is okay.  Grease doesn't really go bad.  (Petroleum based grease, that is.  Whale oil is another story.)
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lu_

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Reply with quote  #42 
Ok, thanks for the input (:
The lube has certainly been given some harsh Aussie temperature treatment from living inland, then coastal then hot tin storage sheds etc.. I thought it would have been all dried up or gone some murky colour.
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