Lubricant for 05 impression cylinder shaft bearing?

Quoting from sheet 108 of the sparse Vandercook 05 proof press manual sheets:

– SAE 20 motor oil is recommended for all moving parts.
– Ball bearings X-2688 and X-2698 are packed in grease and require no further attention.

I’ve not had a chance to disassemble and investigate the carriage assembly thoroughly enough to get a visual of the lower bearings yet, but on my 05, the X-2688 bearing that slips on to the impression cylinder shaft certainly doesn’t looked sealed or still packed in grease. Rather the bearing is more or less bone dry. If this was never taken apart (my press dates back to 1947) could the original grease have all but dried out? Seems unlikely.

I’m familiar with repacking front wheel bearings on cars and trucks with what I commonly refer to as axle grease…should I properly clean and repack this bearing with something as heavy as axle grease, or would a lighter white grease be more appropriate? In this instance there is no great load or excessive heat, nor moisture…any suggestions on an appropriate grease would be greatly appreciated.

As well, should I find the lower bearings on the carriage bone dry, if they can be taken apart, what grease would be recommended for those?

Thanks for your help,

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Eric Holub
12 years ago

Well that is certainly an unsealed ball bearing assembly, so packing with grease would seem to be the appropriate thing. Is there no evidence of previous lubrication? Is there any gasket that would retain the grease after you pack it?

Eric Holub
12 years ago

If this is a simple solid bearing then it would be oiled not greased, and I’d expect an oilhole or groove to carry the oil to the area needing lubrication. In this style the bearing and shaft are rubbing directly on each other.
The bearings that need to be greased have inner and outer rings, each fixed to other parts and it is the inner and outer rings that rotate against intermediate balls or rollers turning in the greased interior. If the bearings are sealed bearings then you don’t repack with grease, you replace when worn.

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