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The “Lube Tips” Section of Machinery Lubrication magazine features innovative ideas submitted by our readers. Additional tips can be found in our Lube-Tips email newsletter. If you have a tip to share, email it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. To receive the Lube-Tips newsletter, subscribe now at

Quick Test for Lubricant Compatibility

Lube tips

Suppose you run out of a lubricant and are in critical need to top off the reservoir. If the equipment is forcelubricated from a sump, it usually is better to leave it a little low until you can obtain the proper fluid. If you simply cannot resist the temptation to conduct a science experiment, take a few minutes to perform the following test: In a clean, clear plastic bottle, add equal amounts of both lubricants, leaving some headspace. Shake the bottle vigorously and allow to settle. Do you see more than one layer, a hazy or milky appearance, any color change or sediment? Any of these results is a red flag and a warning not to mix these fluids. In two separate bottles, vigorously shake the samples of the two fluids separately. Do the bubbles rise to the top and pop as quickly in the mixture as they do in the individual fluids? If you skip the test and go ahead and mix the lubricants, a foaming problem and subsequent major disaster could be heading your way.

Prevent Damage When Changing Bearings

When changing pillow-block bearings with a cylindrical outside diameter on the outer race, be sure to clean the grease channel located in the housing prior to installation of the new bearing. The grease in the channel tends to attract dust and dirt over time. When the bearing is changed, this dirt can become displaced into the grease channel as the new bearing is tipped into the housing. The dirt can either pass through the application hole in the outer bearing race or plug off the hole, resulting in damage to the new bearing.

Oil Sampling Made Easy

If you collect a lot of oil samples from tight areas or hard-to-reach locations, obtain a battery-operated medical suction unit. Your sample bottle hand pump can be easily converted so the suction unit will draw the sample directly into the bottle as the hand pump did. Just install a new bottle and turn on the suction unit. You now can use both hands and all your concentration to get the tubing into the oil in the sump. These units can be obtained from any medical-supply store.

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