Thread Number: 35626  /  Tag: 50s/60s/70s Vacuum Cleaners
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Post# 382675   12/15/2017 at 14:10 (306 days old) by dialamaticman (Sheboygan Falls, WI)        

Have a Royal 880 upright that I use on a nearly daily basis...How often should I lubricate it via the oiler tube ? Can't find any info on the manual on that. Thanks.

Post# 382900 , Reply# 1   12/19/2017 at 17:18 (301 days old) by Louvac (A)        
Royal Motor Oil


Here is a thread to a post I wrote awhile back. Copy the URL below and paste it in a search bar. Look for my comments.

Post# 382913 , Reply# 2   12/19/2017 at 18:18 (301 days old) by Real1shep (Walla Walla, WA)        

Well, the link takes you to a real pissing match...unclear after reading it if anything 'correct' was recommended.


I would say that if Royal wanted you to ues a heavier wt oil than non-detergent 20wt, that's available at places like AutoZone et al. Shell makes a product, as does Valvoline etc.....even WallyWorld has a product.


ND motor oils are designed to use in equipment that is 'once through' or not requiring all the additives to fight oxidation/rust. Lots of equipment still out there that need ND motor oils. I sure wouldn't hesitate to use "auto" motor oils if they are ND, just because they are "auto" motor oils.



Post# 382915 , Reply# 3   12/19/2017 at 18:32 (301 days old) by Ultralux88 (Denver, Colorado)        

ultralux88's profile picture
Here is the answer, a lot of people have a lot of opinions here, I've even heard people suggest using graphite to lube sleeve bearings... Please don't do that! These bearings are made by grinding up metal, usually bronze, and then molding it under high heat and pressure to create a porous material that will absorb the oil and keep a thin film on the surface between the shaft and the bearing, this is how they work. Detergents can break down the bearing material and ruin it, and anything like grease or graphite will destroy the oil film and allow the shaft to eat into the bearing, ruining it. The reason this stuff is made is because it is what you want and need to lubricate sleeve bearings.


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Post# 382920 , Reply# 4   12/19/2017 at 20:56 (301 days old) by huskyvacs (Northern Indiana)        

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SAE-30 nondetergent oil is what is preferred by many vacuum shop owners on this website and it's who I trust, since they would lose business if they screwed up their customers vacuum cleaners numerous times from using the wrong oil, would they not? Walmart has some of this SAE30 oil. It's a lubricating oil, not a motor oil.

3-in-1 oil is too lightweight for large motors. If you had a blender or a carving knife, sure, but not for a vacuum. I used 3-in-1 only once on an antique cast iron fan I had, and didn't do anything to it. I later rummaged around my garage and used SAE30 small engine oil from my snowblower after the 3-in-1 didn't work, and put a little bit of that down the motor, runs like new now(as new as a motor can after being rusted solid for 50 years). Brought the motor back from the dead. I'd never use 3-in-1 oil on my 1/4 horsepower shop fan, as that motor is way too powerful for that kind of oil.

When you have a big motor that generates a lot of heat and runs at high RPM's, you need thicker oil. Nondetergent oil won't gum up in cold temperatures or when the motor is cold, and it won't make a slimy residue. SAE30 is slightly thicker than SAE20 so it will not just be sloughed out of the motor as easily from G-forces of the motor turning.

As with car motor oil, you will get people that fight over silly little things like that, as you are going against what they have been believing for years or decades. People always stick with what they have been taught from wherever source and won't divert from that. Really, the only way to find out what oil is right, is when you have to replace a blown motor. lol If you have a laser thermometer that can help by measuring temperatures before and after oiling at various parts of the motor. You will always have heat, as it's a motor, but if the temperature drops off significantly then you know you've got a good oil.

I will use that oil from Walmart in my vacuums once I start repairing them, but last year when I oiled my vintage fans, I used SAE30 small engine oil and I did check their temps after 2 hours of running them, and they were virtually ice cold, not at all overheating like they were previously. Took forever for them to lose momentum too when switched off, which is a good thing, as shows they are well oiled.

Good luck!

Post# 382933 , Reply# 5   12/20/2017 at 00:45 (301 days old) by Stricklybojack (Southern California)        

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Use Sewing Machine oil or Electric Motor Oil, nothing else.
Standard 3 in 1 oil is too light, has a mild solvent in it I think.
Just a few drops and let it sit for an hour so it can work it's way in.
Then fire it up, and Vac away.
Mine was a screeching mess one minute, then one of the smoothest vacs I ever heard the next.

Post# 382937 , Reply# 6   12/20/2017 at 10:51 (301 days old) by Real1shep (Walla Walla, WA)        


As far as sintered bronze bushings...some of them are dry impregnated/lubricated. It is NOT a good idea to mix non-detergent oils with dry lubricated sintered bushings...they can eventually gall up. There's no real way to clean out a dry sintered bushing completely to change it to a wet lube bushing, other than swapping it out. If however, the sintered bushing is a wet lube type, 20wt or 30wt ND oils are the choice preferred.....if the manufacturer says 30wt over 20wt, use that.



Post# 382940 , Reply# 7   12/20/2017 at 12:31 (301 days old) by Ultralux88 (Denver, Colorado)        

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I never really run across the dry type, outside of possibly in those little P/N motors that start squealing.

Post# 382951 , Reply# 8   12/20/2017 at 16:48 (300 days old) by Real1shep (Walla Walla, WA)        

I see them all the time in smaller electric motors. They are a pain to get a long service life out of them....generally because there's no layperson way to clean and re-dry impregnate. 


To me, the advent of dry sintered bushings was a cost cutting measure.



Post# 382952 , Reply# 9   12/20/2017 at 18:36 (300 days old) by tig21er (Indiana)        
My Father

was a service man for Hoover company in the early 50's. 3 in 1 oil was what was used by Hoover repairmen at the time to oil their bearings.
In our shop we have been using it for over 67 years.

Post# 382953 , Reply# 10   12/20/2017 at 20:14 (300 days old) by Stricklybojack (Southern California)        

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Here is something on 3 in 1 that is similar to what I have seen elsewhere.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO Stricklybojack's LINK

Post# 382954 , Reply# 11   12/20/2017 at 22:16 (300 days old) by vacuumlad1650 (Chicago Suburbs)        

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I like to use 3-in-1 MOTOR oil in sleeve bearings, 3-in-1 "solution" oil on low temperature points (like wheels and handle reclines), and a good high temperature bearing grease in (cleaned out) Ball Bearings. Never had a problem yet! That's what the Old Timers at the Vac Shops taught me.

Post# 382973 , Reply# 12   12/21/2017 at 15:17 (300 days old) by vacuumdevil (Denver)        

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My long preference for oiling stuff like this has been tri-flow.
It's waterproof it doesn't dry out oh and it's kosher!

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Post# 382986 , Reply# 13   12/21/2017 at 21:24 (299 days old) by huskyvacs (Northern Indiana)        

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@ vacuumdevil

That oil has chemicals in it that eats away anything made of rubber, so be careful with it if you have motors that have rubber gaskets, washers, or bushings near the motor.

Post# 383036 , Reply# 14   12/22/2017 at 23:53 (298 days old) by Real1shep (Walla Walla, WA)        

I know a tech in vintage reel-to-reels that uses Tri-flow in motor bearing on the decks. I've used it for guns....lack the confidence in it for small motors.


He says it last forever because even if it drys out,  it leaves Teflon for a lube.  I dunno.....




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