Large Scale Central


What greases and lubricants do you guys use. Was looking at Bachmann but have to mail order it since I can find it on the parts site to go with the rest of my order.

I got some synthetic lube in a bottle with a needle on Amazon, claiming it was for hobby use. It seems to work on my electric models.

I have a bottle of ‘turbine oil’ which came from the hardware store; sewing machine oil is similar and designed for high speed bearings. It is in my steam box, so the live steamers get some of that when necessary.

Grease is tricky. The Bachmann grease is fine but separates after a year or two. I have some white hobby lithium grease in a tube that is holding up for now.

A number of years ago, when people found that the Aristo recommended lubricants were destroying some of their plastics; a few people started a bit of research.
First>they noticed that there was such a thing as PLASTIC safe lube oil available, from several hobby suppliers…but at a rather RICH price for very small quantities.
Second> they did some good research and found that most Automotive brands of SYNTHETIC gear lube were plastic Compatible…safe for plastics.

Since then I have been using strictly “Lucas” brand automotive gear lube for all my lubricating needs…on Large Scale equipment.
I find that there has not been any plastic failures.
The Lucas brand comes in a convenient quart + container that easily pours into small applicators, is priced at about $9 a quart (Can)…it does not dry out, stays where you apply it, and is far less expensive than the small little hobby lube stuff at $4 an ounce.
3 In1 oil, or sewing machine oil is NOT Plastic Compatible, neither is WD40…and white Litium grease dries out, leaving a powder…or squeezes out of bearings, and gears getting all over the place, rather than where you want it.

 Others may/will disagree with my post...I'm just reporting my observations....


I have no scientific backing or any idea if I am making a huge mistake. But what use is what I have easy access to. Working in for a water system that delivers potable water, we have to use food safe lubricants. So I have a supply of white lithium grease. Seems to work fine and I haven’t ruined anything yet. But in a rare moment, I concur with what Fred has said about lithium. While its completely plastic compatible is kinda a sissy when it comes to being a durable lubricant.

But my favorite lubricant is from my wood working. “Wet” grease of any kind is not great. Anything saw dust can stick to is bad. So I started using two products. 3m silicone spray lubricant. Love the stuff. Makes things slippery and doesn’t collect dirt and dust. The other is graphite powder lubricant. Again slippery and doesn’t collect dust.

And just as a side note powdered graphite is basically pencil “lead” and is a black shiny metallic powder that adds some interesting weather looks. Can give a metallic luster with out looking like polished aluminum.

Neither seem to affect plastic. But at the same time neither are durable and long lived. But both are easy to apply often and liberally.

Well since all of my engines are Bachmann steamers, I guess I’ll just stick with their stuff.

1 Like