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 Post subject: Alemite Grease Guns
PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2019 5:01 pm 

Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 12:36 am
Posts: 333
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Since Alemite hard grease guns for lubricating locomotive side rods are rarer than hens teeth, are there good alternatives?


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 Post subject: Re: Alemite Grease Guns
PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2019 7:11 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 5:55 pm
Posts: 839
What's the difference for a layman between these and what you are looking for?

https://www.skf.com/alemite/products/gr ... index.html


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 Post subject: Re: Alemite Grease Guns
PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2019 10:31 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:43 am
Posts: 613
well, one BIG difference to the layman is that the couple guns I see in that line that MIGHT pump hard grease are NOT power, but manual.

The grease used in the typical Alemite gun is closer to the consistency of clay then grease. It takes a heck of a grease gun to pump it in.

One question, does anyone know what kind of pressure a typical Alemite gun is capable of? That would be a good starting point to finding an alternative.


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 Post subject: Re: Alemite Grease Guns
PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2019 11:14 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 12:59 pm
Posts: 577
That web site's section on high-pressure grease guns says they can be used with bulk or stick lubricants.

https://www.skf.com/alemite/products/grease-guns/highpressure/index.html


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 Post subject: Re: Alemite Grease Guns
PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2019 11:22 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:47 pm
Posts: 188
Location: Philadelphia, PA
RDG put CP fittings on the air reservoirs of the T-1's and supplied the Alemite guns from there making the air pressure 90-130 psi depending on which side of the feed valve you were on.

CNR 6218 fed Alemite air from the trainline with a long hose. That would be 90-110 psi there if he had the train air released.

I don't know if the Alemite guns had regulators to standardize incoming air pressure tho.

Phil Mulligan


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 Post subject: Re: Alemite Grease Guns
PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2019 11:48 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:43 am
Posts: 613
An Alemite gun has a large air piston driving a small piston to force the grease. Maybe a 4 inch piston driving a 1/2 inch piston? Since pie are sqaure, that would be a 64 times force multiplication, so we're talking 6400 pounds of grease pressure on 100 psi air pressure.

The exact piston measurements would be key to knowing what the Alemite guns could do.


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 Post subject: Re: Alemite Grease Guns
PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 1:49 am 

Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2018 8:04 pm
Posts: 119
I have used ones similar to the one Al posted (battery powered) when I was a heavy equipment mechanic and they are a Gods send. No noise and it is a screw drive which is very powerful and fast even with hard packed grease bearings. I have fed 4 tubes of grease into one bearing that didn't even take 10 minutes. It would have taken a hour doing that by hand.

They need to find a alternative to those extremely loud grease guns they use on the locomotives. Probably a good alternative would be to have a small pipe running along the bottom running boards on each side of the locomotive that exits into the smokebox. On this pipe they could have a common air hose hook up. Tape a hole from the air output in the grease gun and thread a air hose fitting. Hook up the air hose from the grease gun into the pipe running into the smokebox and it would hardly make any noise at all.

I did see a video that shows the Union Pacific steam crew rolling those grease sticks by hand. The grease they use must be uncommon.


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 Post subject: Re: Alemite Grease Guns
PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 7:34 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:43 am
Posts: 613
At times were in danger of removing some of the more iconic parts of the steam experience. You COULD come up with a quiet, bulk fed, NiMH powered solution, but I think it would be better if someone could manufacture new Alemite guns, or even resurrect another manufactures forgotten solution. (Surely Alemite wasn't the ONLY game in town).


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 Post subject: Re: Alemite Grease Guns
PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 9:13 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:19 pm
Posts: 1838
Location: Pottstown,Pa.
I was fortunate to come across 6 brand new ones ( still in their shipping boxes) in 1966 and bought them from the roundhouse general foreman for $ 300 ( 1966 dollars =$ 2,300 2019 dollars) and have over time let 4 go to various past steam adventures.

I still have 2 which I'm saving for the next adventure. Should my call to report to the great roundhouse in the sky come first, I have made provisions in my will to donate them to 2 of my favorite steam enterprises.

Yes, today they are VERY hard to come by and there's no real substitute.

Ross Rowland


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 Post subject: Re: Alemite Grease Guns
PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 11:21 am 

Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 7:52 am
Posts: 1676
Location: Strasburg, PA
There were various designs hand powered grease guns available to use in place of the air powered ones, though not quite as easy to loose a digit in, we did have an engineer manage to take the end off of his index finger with one (his left hand literally didn't know what his right hand was doing).

Baldwin supplied their new locomotives with hand powered grease guns.

Attachment:
BLW 05.jpg
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I can't imagine that any automotive style grease gun could be made to work with proper rod hard grease.

I believe that the lever style is still available through Steam Services of America. They were the only type we ever used.
Attachment:
small Grease Gun.jpg
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We do have an air powered Alemite gun, but it's air cylinder is scored and would need to be bored and bushed.

BTW, proper rod hard grease has become practically unobtainable, though the problem is more acute for grease lubricated driving boxes, with rods seeming to be somewhat more forgiving (though I understand that UP has closed up their servicing stops to every 80 miles from every 100 due to the poorer quality of grease available). That's why many lines are switching their driving boxes from grease to oil lubrication using Armstrong Oilers. After a number of hot crankpins running on grease, we have switched all of our crankpins over to oil lubrication as well, giving us to added benefit of much cleaner driving gear than what could be maintained when using grease.

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 Post subject: Re: Alemite Grease Guns
PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 12:44 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 3:37 pm
Posts: 1132
Location: Pacific, MO
We had lines with quick disconnect from the main air reservoirs on 1522 with shutoff cocks on them. We made our own "turds" from the hard grease with a machine we bought at the NS auction in Birmingham. It had a heavy steel box with a plate with holes in it to squeeze the sticks out. We rolled them in graphite and stored them in ammo cans. The machine was heavily built and used a brake cylinder to power it.
Waaaay back in the late 60s, I was given a brand new Alemite gun by the Frisco. I kept it around for a while and couldn't figure out what to do with it. Nothing going on in the St Louis area. I ended up giving it to David Conrad for the IRM.
After getting involved with 1522's restoration, I was called several bad names for doing that. Woulda, coulda shoulda.
I think at one time Stan Matthews was going to sell reproductions of the Alemite gun, but after he passed, never heard any more about it.
They are as rare to find as bird guano in a cuckoo clock.


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 Post subject: Re: Alemite Grease Guns
PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 1:08 pm 

Joined: Fri May 04, 2012 12:20 pm
Posts: 166
Most of the Alemite fittings I’ve seen on locomotives (and on my 1927 Indian motorcycle) take a button head fitting and not a zerk fitting. The button head fittings are like hens teeth to find.

Keith


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 Post subject: Re: Alemite Grease Guns
PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 1:50 pm 

Joined: Mon May 24, 2010 10:22 am
Posts: 514
Moved a Locomotive out of the park without a Alemite Grease Gun, used bolts and a 3/4 ratchet, unscrew the bolt, drop in a chunk of grease, screw the bolt in, repeat as needed, it got us home without a hot rod bearing.

-Hudson


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 Post subject: Re: Alemite Grease Guns
PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 2:08 pm 

Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 7:52 am
Posts: 1676
Location: Strasburg, PA
Our #90 traveled from Philadelphia to Colorado, worked her career, and came back to Strasburg on the old fashioned screw-in grease plugs. She never had Alemite grease fittings until she came here.

The EBT engines still have the grease plugs instead of fittings. It's a nice leisurely way to lubricate your engine.

Attachment:
SOLID GREASE CUP, RODS.jpg
SOLID GREASE CUP, RODS.jpg [ 272.31 KiB | Viewed 779 times ]

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"It was not easy to convince Allnutt. All his shop training had given him a profound prejudice against inexact work, experimental work, hit-or-miss work."
C. S. Forester

Strasburg Rail Road Mechanical Department


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 Post subject: Re: Alemite Grease Guns
PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 2:23 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2018 7:08 pm
Posts: 87
Location: Alberta, Canada
There was a discussion on here last year about how to make hard grease sticks in-house, if buying the grease in bulk.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=41854

We at the Alberta Railway Museum have used a hand-powered grease gun very similar to the one in Kelly's picture for as long as I have been volunteering. It works fine but does require a fair amount of arm strength, especially if the grease is cold.

It is much easier to grease the engine after it has been moving around for a while, causing the grease already in the bearings to warm up a bit and soften.

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