Author Topic: Albion 4 speed g/box Grease ?  (Read 371 times)

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playgirl2

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on: November 28, 2022, 08:57:53 am
Ready to fill albion 4speed gearbox with grease/oil Could someone tell me which grease i should use and is 20/50s oil O.K. Hitchcocks have some but a bit expensive at £20 any cheaper versions. Thanks.


Bilgemaster

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Reply #1 on: November 28, 2022, 01:23:05 pm
The question of what lubricant(s) to use in Bullet 4-speed "Albion" gearboxes came up very recently in a separate thread and has been much discussed in several threads of the past.

Perhaps the definitive examination of the matter is found in a superb video by Paul Henshaw (a.k.a. "The Bullet Whisperer") of Performance Classics  at https://youtu.be/PaD3wfwu9Gs.

In short, the original Redditch gearboxes called for oil. Yet apparent lack of effective oil sealing in later Indian-made gearboxes led to a practice of filling them with a very  thin grease known as "00" and topping off periodically with gear oil, typically of about 90 weight. This was frankly a bit of a slapdash workaround or "bodge" to reduce oil loss from poor sealing. Later Indian-made 4-speed boxes with improved seals or earlier boxes later retrofitted with same (available from our Forum hosts Hitchcocks) generally reverted to the original British oil-only/no-grease regime.

Generally whatever weight oil is used should probably NOT be "GL-5" rated, as the phosphoric anti-impact additives used in some (but not all) gear oil formulations, which may note on the jug or bottle that they are "compatible with grades GL-2 through GL-5" are probably best avoided as they MAY be corrosive to any copper or brass bits found within. If not found among the automotive offerings, straight GL-4 gear oil can often be found among boating supplies, as it is often called for in outboard motors and outdrives. Mercury's Quicksilver  brand SAE 90 is a fine choice. That said, the estimable  Mr. Henshaw says in his video that he simply uses 20W-50 engine oil. I chose the straight GL-4 90 weight simply because that's what's called for in my latter-day 5-speed's Owner's Manual.

For most owners who have not recently refurbished their 4-speed gearboxes, which are working "well enough", I might recommend simply draining and refilling with straight GL-4 SAE 90, whether conventional or synthetic. If it leaks a bit more than you'd care for--quite possible with a 1990s or earlier box with slapdash seals--maybe squirt a bit of that very light "00" grease in there as a "chaser" like the Indians do. The stuff is readily available online.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2022, 01:30:17 pm by Bilgemaster »
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AzCal Retred

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Reply #2 on: November 28, 2022, 05:00:47 pm
These aren't "Space Shuttles", plain old 140W/85 gear oil has worked fine for me in sunny SoCal. Three bikes swapped over to oil from grease with only the errant drip. There's a clever rotary scraper behind the "open" bearing. The really good news is that the entire guts of the gearbox can come out whilst still in the frame, a useful feature when dealing with bits that were worn/damaged by the dreaded "P.O.".
« Last Edit: November 28, 2022, 05:33:28 pm by AzCal Retred »
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playgirl2

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Reply #3 on: November 28, 2022, 06:42:35 pm
BILGEMASTER & AZCAL Thanks for your reply`s I will try the gear oil you recommend it`s a 1998 Indian Bullet so should have the better oil seal. Thanks again.


playgirl2

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Reply #4 on: December 14, 2022, 03:55:37 pm
I have decided to fit a new closed bearing and new oil seal, i am using 140s oil. all this came about because i have done a modification on the bell crank to eliminate the false neutrals in the gearbox. all work now done and ready to test, just waiting for break in the weather. will let you know if problem solved. Thanks for all the advice


AzCal Retred

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Reply #5 on: December 14, 2022, 05:18:00 pm
If you change out the bearing, make sure it's seated well. I had one machine show up here with that bearing cover pre-cracked and covered (ineffectively) with red RTV because some ham-fisted wizzerd just torqued it down with the bearing still "proud".

With the OEM screw-type "oil scraper" gadget in place I really haven't had an issue with leakage even from the open bearings. Oil can exit past the clutch pushrod in any case.

Take a REAL HARD look at the kick-start guts whilst you have it apart. The spring loaded pawl needs to be "real new" looking, and the splines inside the ratchet hubmust be in good shape. If it's working now, take pix of the internal bits for future reference. I was amazed to find my hub, which looked just fine to me, still didn't work when fed a new pawl. By the 2nd or 3rd go around and new bits it gave in. Also - check for cracking in the kick start shaft. That was a rude discovery also. I always keep a new KS spring and pawl on hand.

Good hunting - ACR -
A trifecta of Pre-Unit Bullets: a Red Deluxe 500, a Green Standard 500, and a Black ES 350.