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,

5 thoughts on “Lubricant for 05 impression cylinder shaft bearing?

  1. Yvon Lantaigne - August 10, 2011

    Indeed, I found the bearing more or less dry but rolling very smoothly still though. However, I’m glad I took photos as I was dismantling this unit, since I realize now that there was a trace of grease left on the shaft and the bearing retainer & collar (double shot attached).
    And I suppose that once reassembled, the collar and bearing retainer would act as some kind of gasket. Looks like the bearing simply gushed out whatever grease it contained over time, I’m glad I took things apart before starting to use the press seriously.
    I believe you’ve led me to the answer Eric, I’ll repack this bearing with a heavy axle grease as that is what seems to have been left on the shaft when I took the assembly apart.
    Wish me luck when I get to the four X-2688 carriage bearings. Hopefully I will find it possible to repack those as well, although they do seem from sheet 108 to be sealed units. If I found these bearings dry and nearly seized and wanted to revitalize this little press properly, where would you send me looking for replacement bearings of this type?
    Again, thank you for your assistance.

  2. Eric Holub - August 9, 2011

    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?

  3. Yvon Lantaigne - August 9, 2011

    Here is an image of page 108 of the 05 manual. I hope it is loading correctly. I could send a PDF of it by email to anyone curious enough to look into it? Thank you.

  4. Yvon Lantaigne - August 9, 2011

    Eric, thanks for reaching out once again. I believe this bearing is NOT solid, as it does have 2 rings with a series of ball bearings rolling within. Unfortunately my only head-on shot is blurry, but the 2 combined images attached should give you a good idea of what I’m dealing with.

    This bearing, once installed in its rightful spot, is embedded within the inking unit’s operator side sidewall, holding the impression cylinder shaft in place. As such, no oil hole or groove I’m afraid.

    I’d like to attach an image of page 108 so everyone gets a better idea of how this bearing sits, but I’m only allowed one attachment per post. I will upload it in my next comment. Thanks!

  5. Eric Holub - August 9, 2011

    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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