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What oil to put in the gearbox?

BlackLightning998

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
#1
Hi all,

Running in nicely - 1600 miles now and soon the third oil change (engine).

I've been chatting about what to put in the gearbox, the bike is currently running with 15/40 engine oil for running in, only gets to do 500 miles so no real risk of the oil shearing. People are recommending dropping that out and putting in two pints of EP90 gearbox/final drive oil. However my Dad said that might be like "treacle"

Any thoughts and comments?

Stuart
 

A_HRD

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
#2
Gearbox Oil - Twin and Comet

Stuart,

Your Dad was right - 40 years ago; EP90 was like treacle :eek:. But these days it is much thinner, not unlike your average engine oil. However, the modern Extreme Pressure additives (that won't shear) make it the ideal choice for Vincent Twin gearboxes.

I've been using it for years in my Rapide and have never had occasion to re-new any gears in the last 200,000 miles. :) And you can buy the stuff anywhere in UK - even Halfords.

Advice: only fill the box to the bottom tip of the dipstick; no more than one eighth of an inch showing. Otherwise the stuff will find various ways out and make a mess of the back end of your bike.

For Cometeers, use Castrol Spheerol; its a liquid grease. In other words, runny but thick when warm, and like grease when cold. It saves having to mix oil & grease to get adequate lubrication. You can get it from various places in UK (not sure about abroad) or better still, support your favourite Vincent stockist - they usually have it.

Regards,
Peter B
Bristol, UK
 

BlackLightning998

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
#3
Stuart,

Your Dad was right - 40 years ago; EP90 was like treacle :eek:. But these days it is much thinner, not unlike your average engine oil. However, the modern Extreme Pressure additives (that won't shear) make it the ideal choice for Vincent Twin gearboxes.

I've been using it for years in my Rapide and have never had occasion to re-new any gears in the last 200,000 miles. :) And you can buy the stuff anywhere in UK - even Halfords.

Advice: only fill the box to the bottom tip of the dipstick; no more than one eighth of an inch showing. Otherwise the stuff will find various ways out and make a mess of the back end of your bike.

For Cometeers, use Castrol Spheerol; its a liquid grease. In other words, runny but thick when warm, and like grease when cold. It saves having to mix oil & grease to get adequate lubrication. You can get it from various places in UK (not sure about abroad) or better still, support your favourite Vincent stockist - they usually have it.

Regards,
Peter B
Bristol, UK
Peter,

Many thanks for your input, very helpful - it's off to Halfords for me tonight.........

Stuart
 

petermb998

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
#4
gear box oils

Hi Stuart
I hesitate to reply to the thread of gear box oil and using EP oil.
On the Velocette forum there has been a long discussion about using EP
oils in the gear box and the advice is not to use this type of oil in gear boxes with bronze bearings as this oil will attack it. I suggest that if you want to check with the Velo forum on yahoo.co.uk and see what response you get. I have always Used Duckams 20/50 oil in the Vincent and Velo engine and gear boxes with no problems.
regards Peter
 

BlackLightning998

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
#5
Hi Stuart
I hesitate to reply to the thread of gear box oil and using EP oil.
On the Velocette forum there has been a long discussion about using EP
oils in the gear box and the advice is not to use this type of oil in gear boxes with bronze bearings as this oil will attack it. I suggest that if you want to check with the Velo forum on yahoo.co.uk and see what response you get. I have always Used Duckams 20/50 oil in the Vincent and Velo engine and gear boxes with no problems.
regards Peter
Hi Peter,
Wow, interesting stuff - I bought the oil tonight in Halfords and then did a web search - I'm no expert (as you've worked out) but there are loads and loads of pieces of information about EP oils containing additives that are perfect for gear teeth but questionable for bearings - especially bronze. However, Peter in his original reply has done over 200,000 fault free miles using EP oils.

Quite a bit of what I have read talks about temperature being a key factor, one manufacturer rates their EP oils as safe up until 200 degrees.

Complex stuff this oil, I found some interesting physics sites when I was researching engine oil and trying to decide on mineral or synthetic?

Thanks for the heads up - I certainly think I will do more research before putting the EP in the box - for the time being I think I will drop the oil and replace with 2 pints of fresh engine oil - I think I have overfilled it having seen the oil only registering on the bottom of the dipstick.

Cheers and thanks again.

Stuart
 

A_HRD

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
#6
Gearbox EP Oils

Stuart,

Like your Dad, Petermb998 was right - many years ago! EP (and other) oils did attack bronze over a period of time. The makers (Castrol) soon got wind of it and made the necessary chemical adjustments with additives.

This subject has been on the JTAN forum a few times in the last couple of years and all the long-distance Vincent riders and restorers were using EP80/90 in twins and highly recommending it. For what its worth, I have changed the bronze bushes in the hollow shaft twice in 200,000 miles. Not because it was essential, just because the cases were apart for other reasons; I also change the bearings on an opportunity-basis like this too.

But what is absolutely certain is that if you start an oil thread it will run on and on (without lubrication!) and there will be as many opinions as there are oils. So in the final analysis, you pays your money and takes your choice....

Cheers,

Peter B
Bristol, UK
 

vin998

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
#7
If you are going to use EP90 gear oil use the GL4 specification and not the GL5. Virtually all EP90 sold is to GL5 spec and are based on sulphur and/or zinc and it is this which attacks the bronze bushes.

My other interest is a Triumph GT6 which use EP90 to GL4 in the diff and gearbox with bronze bushes as recomended by the factory, owners club and well known gearbox builders who all say avoid GL5. It is this info which was concluded in the Velocette discussion forum as well.

Unfortunately GL4 spec is not as easy to get hold of.

Regards,
Simon.
 

BlackLightning998

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
#8
If you are going to use EP90 gear oil use the GL4 specification and not the GL5. Virtually all EP90 sold is to GL5 spec and are based on sulphur and/or zinc and it is this which attacks the bronze bushes.

My other interest is a Triumph GT6 which use EP90 to GL4 in the diff and gearbox with bronze bushes as recomended by the factory, owners club and well known gearbox builders who all say avoid GL5. It is this info which was concluded in the Velocette discussion forum as well.

Unfortunately GL4 spec is not as easy to get hold of.

Regards,
Simon.
Hi Simon

The oil gods are shining on me - I was going to buy Castrol but they didn't have EP80/90 - so I bought Halfords own product - £6.99 for a litre and it is GL4 specification.

Cheers

Stuart
 

BlackLightning998

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
#9
Stuart,

Like your Dad, Petermb998 was right - many years ago! EP (and other) oils did attack bronze over a period of time. The makers (Castrol) soon got wind of it and made the necessary chemical adjustments with additives.

This subject has been on the JTAN forum a few times in the last couple of years and all the long-distance Vincent riders and restorers were using EP80/90 in twins and highly recommending it. For what its worth, I have changed the bronze bushes in the hollow shaft twice in 200,000 miles. Not because it was essential, just because the cases were apart for other reasons; I also change the bearings on an opportunity-basis like this too.

But what is absolutely certain is that if you start an oil thread it will run on and on (without lubrication!) and there will be as many opinions as there are oils. So in the final analysis, you pays your money and takes your choice....

Cheers,

Peter B
Bristol, UK
Hi Peter,

Love the pun. Looks like this one falls into the category of ask the question, listen to the responses and then make your own mind up. 200,000 miles is quite compelling to me, and the local chap I trust has the most immaculate Shadow you can imagine which he uses enthusiastically (he's a very successful ex-road racer) and it was he who started me on the EP90 suggestion.

Luckily (see Simon's response) I bought GL4 specification by accident - must have been my day.

200,000 miles - how long did that take you?

My Dad's Series A Comet did over 250,000 miles and was the subject of letters to and from the factory that have been reproduced in a number of books (John H. Metcalfe) - he used to ride everywhere for the fun of it - but all of it done in the UK.

Cheers and thanks for your interest.

Stuart
 

Tom Gaynor

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
#10
Ep 90

If you are going to use EP90 gear oil use the GL4 specification and not the GL5. Virtually all EP90 sold is to GL5 spec and are based on sulphur and/or zinc and it is this which attacks the bronze bushes.

My other interest is a Triumph GT6 which use EP90 to GL4 in the diff and gearbox with bronze bushes as recomended by the factory, owners club and well known gearbox builders who all say avoid GL5. It is this info which was concluded in the Velocette discussion forum as well.

Unfortunately GL4 spec is not as easy to get hold of.

Regards,
Simon.
And I don't have 7 litres of it. Unlike GL5, as used in Guzzi rear drives......
 

stumpy lord

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
#11
gear box oil

Hi all,
Roger and i have used ep 80/90 oils for many years with no problems as have many other vincent owners that i know of.
As for the correct oil level, why not make a tailor made dip stick for your machine that will show you the correct level every time, and not leave you wondering how much oil you have left in the gear box every time the oil disapears of the end of the dip stick.
stumpy.
P.S. Stumpy had a good birthday and say thank to all his fans!!!!!
 

BlackLightning998

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
#12
Hi all,
Roger and i have used ep 80/90 oils for many years with no problems as have many other vincent owners that i know of.
As for the correct oil level, why not make a tailor made dip stick for your machine that will show you the correct level every time, and not leave you wondering how much oil you have left in the gear box every time the oil disapears of the end of the dip stick.
stumpy.
P.S. Stumpy had a good birthday and say thank to all his fans!!!!!
Hi Norman,

I tried that but with all that oil around the sellotape wouldn't hold the two bits together and the bottom fell off into the gearbox!!

Cheers.

Stuart
 

A_HRD

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
#13
Stuart/Simon,

For what its worth, I just checked the Castrol 'Manual EP80W' and the Castrol 'Manual EP80W-90' containers that I have, and both are to GL4 spec.

But you should know better Stuart ;-) both GL4 and GL5 attack sellotape....!

Regards,

Peter B
Bristol, UK
 

Tom Gaynor

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
#14
Gearbox oil

Thanks for the (unwelcome) information about GL4 and GL5. I have 7 litres of EP90, for a Guzzi. I wanted a litre, bought eight by mistake mail-order from Fuchs. Oh well, it's cheap in bulk......... And yep, it's GL5..........bugger!

Modern EP90 is about SAE 40 viscosity, there was a discussion on this topic on jtan a while back.

And if anyone wants a new sealed 4 litre can of EP90 to GL5, plus a 3/4 full open one, just call.....
 

john998

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
#15
Gear box oil

Just checked the oil in the outfit, yep its GL5. Have drained it, but it's off the road this year and I will be thinking about the oil in the hollow shaft till next summer! John.
 

Tnecniv Edipar

Well Known and Active Website User
Non-VOC Member
#16
Just for clarification , EP , which is abbreviated form Extreme Pressure , oil is not required in spur gear transmissions. EP oils are intended for transmissions included bevel or spiral bevel gears as used in for example , differentials. Normal engine oil is fine for Vincent 'boxes , I would recommend 15-40. Witness to this is the fact that the majority of Motorcycles these days use their engine oil to lube the gearbox too , albeit of non friction mofied type to prevent the clutch from slipping !! Slightly better though , for Vincent or any other non unit gearbox type bikes , would be a transmission type oil. This is due to the fact that the additives in such an oil are designed to better protect this type of box due to the lower operating temp and the fact it is not multi grade so cannot shear down , Penrite have this type of product in their range.
 
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BlackLightning998

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
#19
It's a bit heavy , but should be ok , apart from winter !! Also , drag will b high. Which brand is it ?
I've drained and re-filled with 2 pints of EP80/90 just to the very bottom of the dipstick.

Engine this time (third fill running in) with 20/50.

Felt great on the first 50 mile run yesterday - I'll keep the Forum posted on how I get on.

Stuart
 
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