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Which spindle bearing oil?

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atharva

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Hello everyone,

I'm planning to oil the spindle bearing on my Thorens belt drive TT. Any suggestions on which oil (locally available) to use?
 
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reubensm

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Once on a visit to FM Kuruvila Jacob's home, he mentioned about using BMW engine oil. I sourced some from one of my colleagues and found it too thickish. I also sourced some Merc engine oil from another colleague (in cause you were wondering, yes, guys in Technopark, Trivandrum have started driving luxury cars) and found that to be thickish too. But I did try these on some older Garrards with great results. For all Garrards that I've had, I have always used Singer Machine oil with is not older than 6 months. For my Technics decks, I use the OEM Technics lube. In the past I have used Lubes prescribed for the Thorens TD135 turntable, as Dad had a small spouted bottle of it.
 

atharva

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Some people seem to suggest that sewing machine oil is not viscous enough but I'll trust those that have used it successfully :)
 

analogadikt

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Your TD160 or most other vintage turntables have sintered bronze bearing bushes. These have pores that are supposed to hold the oil. Silicon or any thick grade of oil shall clog these pores and damage the bearing in the long run.

An ex employee of Thorens was selling a lube kit on the bay few years ago. His name is Joel. Am not aware if he is still active. His email is
J.boutreux at gmx.de

If you cannot get him then 3in1 is the second best choice. What you get here is a clone, they are usually ok.

Regards,
 

jls001

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@analogadikt : 3-in-1 is sewing machine oil?

@Atharva : if your Thorens is a light platter, low torque belt drive, I would suggest Singer sewing machine oil. If it's a heavy platter high torque idler drive, you can still use Singer, but a viscous oil like 5W30 synthetic diesel motor oil can change your sound. On my idler drive I use 5W30 mixed with a bit of lithium grease to make it even more viscous.
 

anilva

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Singer Sewing machine oil is the one I have used for years on all types of turntables including Thorens, SP10 and EMTs. It works very well.
 

atharva

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Thanks everyone,

How much do you put? Just a few drops or fill the well? How frequently?
 

omishra

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For dry bearing I apply 3-4 drops at a time, wait for a minute and multiple single drops with 30 sec gap till it does not soak or just overflows. Dry Thorens took total 5-6 drops and now just 1 drop is enough. Same with Technics, it takes just 2 drops. That's all!

For Lenco like TT is needs filling the barrel half with oil.

Frequency for lubing is once in a year or 2 years.
 
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atharva

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Om, couple of questions

1. I assume "Dry Thorens" means that the well is totally dry?
2. What should not "soak"?
 

omishra

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Yes, dry means not oiled for a while, 5+ years.
Not soaked mean oil layer just visible and not getting disappeared into bearing. I may be missing proper words here, :(
 

kuruvilajacob

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Singer sewing machine oil (original) available with authorized singer dealers are sufficient for most belt drives. But for Garrard 301 and 401, they suggest thicker oils and those which do not dry easily and hence BMW engine oil is preferred.
 

purana pandit

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I am using Silicone oil with 30000 viscosity which is fairly suitable and thick with good ever lasting lubricating property..
The best part is it NEVER reacts with any metal nor reacts with any material.. Totally inert..Does not form any kind of oxides...so really suitable for turntable bearings switches..etc...
 

purana pandit

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Atharva U R in Pune right?
If you can manage to meet me here I can give you some silicone oil...Message me if you are interested.
 

analogadikt

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I am using Silicone oil with 30000 viscosity which is fairly suitable and thick with good ever lasting lubricating property..
The best part is it NEVER reacts with any metal nor reacts with any material.. Totally inert..Does not form any kind of oxides...so really suitable for turntable bearings switches..etc...
Silicone oil may be a suitable lubricant for plastic surfaces, but not for sintered bronze (metal)

Some uses of silicone oil
http://www.mrsilicone.com/SiliconeFluidOil.html

Regards,
 
Last edited:

jls001

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IIRC, silicone oil is not meant for lubrication duties but for damping. But low cSt value silicone oil may behave like a thick lubricant.

Regarding single grade oil - based on recommendations from experienced users, I searched and searched for single grade, synthetic compressor oil which has no additives, but they're available only in industrial-sized quantities (20 liter and 200 liter) and not in retail quantities. I eventually found and bought compressor oil in a one liter can but I was not able to determine its grade, whether it is multi or single grade, whether it is synthetic or natural, whether additives are added or not added. I tried it for some time and it seems quite suitable for the purpose. Later I tried Mobil Delvac 10W30 diesel engine oil, doped with a small quantity of lithium grease. Even without the added grease, the Mobil Delvac is slightly thicker than the compressor oil. I still use it. If you search the net, you will find lots of different recommendations, and it can be quite confusing. I haven't found a definitive answer, so I ended up making my own (hopefully informed) conclusions. My reasoning for using the Mobil Delvac is that it is fully synthetic (I still don't know why it is superior to natural oil - may be better characteristics compared to natural ones??? but manufacturers sure don't forget to tomtom the fact that a particular oil is fully synthetic), has some additives to prevent gumming (some people maintain that additives are bad), recommended oil change interval is 100000 kms, and is designed for engines operating with much higher rpm than the typical TT bearing spindle, so it can't possibly be inadequate for our TTs that operate at much lower rpms than diesel car engines.

So far, on my own DIY-ed massive bearings carrying more than 8 kgs of stacked platters, the Mobil Delvac seems to be working very nicely. YMMV, of course.

All this is, of course, twisting ourselves our collective audio knickers into unnecessary knots. Just use Singer sewing machine oil and it will be more than adequate for most bearings. That different types of oils sound different is another matter, though.
 

sachu888

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I use Synthetic Compressor oil SAE-30 grade(without any additive) for my Lenco. Lenco bearing is designed to withstand with minimum oil as it uses sintered bronze bushing. SAE-30 is thin enough to fill pours inside bearing and provide enough lubrication.

Regards
Sachin
 
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