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Lubrication on Haas machines that don't use a central plumbing system?

Donkey Hotey

Titanium
Joined
Dec 22, 2007
Doing a bunch of maintenance to my machines. As has been discussed a number of times, Haas once had a central lubrication pump system that distributed oil throughout the machines: spindle, bearing trucks, ball-screws, etc. The original recommendation for those systems was Vactra 2 way oil. An unfortunate side effect of Vactra is the tackifier that keeps lubrication in place also ends up blocking the tiny metering orifices used to regulate it around the machine. Probably a case of the right product in the wrong application.

So the new Haas recommendation is to change over to regular Mobile 1 automotive oil. Fair enough. Going to pick up a gallon right now.

I used to be the caretaker of a GR712 gantry router. That machine did not use a central lubrication pump. It had zerk fittings all over the machine and came with a gun and cartridge of regular automotive lithium grease. It was not supplied with specialized "Haas" grease or any of the purpose formulated machine greases.

I also own a TL-1 lathe. Same story: multiple zerks to periodically lubricate the machine. Regular tan lithium grease. My current method: over grease everything, until clean grease is clearly visible, then wipe off the excess. Better clean and lubricated than any dirt.

Has anyone opted to change over to using oil on these machines that use individually-lubricated ports? The grease worms and plugged bearing trucks other people are seeing on the greased machines have always concerned me. I'm wondering if Vactra 2 might be the right choice for these machines with individual plumbing. To my knowledge, these don't have any orifices or valves. It's just plumbing out to the lube point. I doubt they'd ever gum up with the Vactra yet, the tackifier in Vactra might help to keep it where the lubrication is needed. I'm a little concerned that Mobil 1 might be a bit thin and coolant could wash it off. What are other people having success with?

To be completely transparent, I have nearly a gallon of Vactra that I'm trying to find an appropriate use for. Is it destined for the knee mill? Or the waste oil container?
 
I never heard haas recommend Mobil 1 automotive oil. What specific one?


When I ran out of vactra and called for a replacement they sold me some haas branded oil in a 5 gallon. (2008vf2 with single central lube pump)
 
I never heard haas recommend Mobil 1 automotive oil. What specific one?

Yep. Do a search for Vactra on the Haas website and you'll see the recommendation in numerous places. Here is the Bijur pump replacement page:


Right off the page:
Note: To prevent build up of contamination, use Mobil SHC 625, Mobil 1 5W-20, or Mobil 1 10W-30. Do not use Mobil Vactra #2.

When you use Vactra #2, contamination ("sludge") collects in the reservoir. This causes the pump assembly to become clogged.

I bought a 5 quart jug of Mobil 1 10W-30 today. I reasoned that moderately thicker is probably better to stay stuck where it needs to be.

What I'm wondering about are the multiple lube point machines: GR, TM, TL, etc. I need to do something with the leftover Vactra 2.

Edit to add: we used to occasionally cut a very abrasive urethane sheet material on our GR. It got fine dust on everything. The grease picked it up and smeared a tar-like paste around the rails.

I regularly used WD40 and paper towels to wipe the rails down. I often thought about making a pressurized system to force ATF, paint thinner or something through the individual zerks to periodically flush the bearings.

For someone doing a lot of wood, stone countertops or similar, the Vactra might also be a better choice for those. Much easier to wipe up contaminated oil than grease.
 
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Yep. Do a search for Vactra on the Haas website and you'll see the recommendation in numerous places. Here is the Bijur pump replacement page:


Right off the page:


I bought a 5 quart jug of Mobil 1 10W-30 today. I reasoned that moderately thicker is probably better to stay stuck where it needs to be.

What I'm wondering about are the multiple lube point machines: GR, TM, TL, etc. I need to do something with the leftover Vactra 2.

Edit to add: we used to occasionally cut a very abrasive urethane sheet material on our GR. It got fine dust on everything. The grease picked it up and smeared a tar-like paste around the rails.

I regularly used WD40 and paper towels to wipe the rails down. I often thought about making a pressurized system to force ATF, paint thinner or something through the individual zerks to periodically flush the bearings.

For someone doing a lot of wood, stone countertops or similar, the Vactra might also be a better choice for those. Much easier to wipe up contaminated oil than grease.
If it where my machines I would not hesitate putting vactra into the Individual point. Not for a second.

And the ability to “flush” with a thin oil is really nice for abrasives when comparing oil vs grease.
I’m just not a grease lubrication fan in general where oil is an option.

Every grease machine I owned (tm1,tm2,tl-1) all had plugged lines. Lucky the plugged trucks where easily accessible and I added a zerk to each.
 
So you've had some of the individually greased machines as well? Yeah, grease hardening is a problem in everything else (cars, trailers, motorcycles). I'm not sure why we expect it to be any different in machine tools.

It seems there aren't any off-the-shelf "oil" guns. Looks like I'm going to have to modify a grease gun to seal the grease tube and hold oil.

Funny that I just drained the Vactra from the 2004 VF-2. The container is actually clean. I ran that oil through a paint strainer and back into the Vactra jug. It'll get used I guess.
 
My TM1 is a 2009 and has been greased regularly. How can I tell if a line is getting plugged and grease is not getting to the all the places it needs to? Is there a split in a grease line feeding two places or is it a single fitting going to a specific ball truck?
 
I'm personally using up the last of the grease in the grease gun before switching. I've been over-greasing the TL-1 to deliberately flush the trucks. What I've been doing is wiping up the excess and noting how clean or dirty it is.

On the TL I can reach underneath the saddle and wipe the X-axis screw and other areas. I can't remember exactly where the grease comes out on the TM but, it will be obvious if it's getting to the lube points or not. The TL rails and X-axis screw is a greasy mess--in a good way. That's what I'd be looking for. When things are open and flowing, it's obvious where the lubrication is and isn't going.
 
Described up-thread: I'm thinking of using the old gallon of Vactra 2 on the TL-1. I could use it on the knee mill but, that'll take years. I also have half a 5-gallon bucket of Chevron turbine oil that came with a long-gone lathe. Don't know what I'm going to do with that. I assume it was what they ran in the gearbox.
 
I certainly did. I agree with what you did and often wondered how they keep those greased spindles lubed.

Haas recommends the 2.5 hour run-in if an oiled spindle has sat for more than two weeks. Why? To purge excess oil and keep it from overheating from too much. Okay, what about the bearings smashing through all that grease? That's just okay and run with it? That always seemed odd.
 
Usually that run in has a pretty slow ramp up, I think the goal is to slowly heat and liquify anything that's in there while keeping the load on the bearings low in the process.
 








 
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