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What do you think is the best oil to use in your live steam locomotive?

1. STEAM OIL which is manufactured from mineral crude oil.

2 CASTROL M which I understand is maufactured from the firsts cold pressings from the castor oil plant.

3. CASTOR OIL which is the ordinary oil that we can buy almost anywhere.

4. TALLOW which was used before mineral steam oil was invented.

I ask as one day mineral crude oil will be so expensive that it will be used as an ornament and we will have to return to what was used before steam oil was invented towards the end of the the 19th century.
 

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Steam Oil, no question. Anything else will get scoured off working surfaces (i.e. valves and cylinders) by steam.
 

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No question about it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Use Steam Oil!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Steam Oil to use is the type sold by Roundhouse Engineering http://www.roundhouse-eng.com/ or the type sold by several US Dealers. Try http://www.svrronline.com/ , http://www.southernsteamtrains.com/index.htm , http://www.quisenberrystation.com/

I suggest you take a look at "Steam Oil" on the Technical page of the Roundhouse site. The point being made is to use steam oil suitable for small scale live steam.

This is a topic that comes up every once in a while on MLS. You may want to look at some of the past threads on this subject.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
So it is Steam oil for now, but what are we going to use when steam oil is no longer available.

Steam oil was invented in about 1880 and is made from crude mineral oil and this will run-out or become too expensive to be manufactured.

Before 1880 Tallow was the stuff that was used, but as it a solid unless kept warm we need to consider what is going to replace steam oil in the not too distant future.

We need a sustainable product that may be grown, which is why I mentioned the other products.
 

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I notice nobody has mentioned which grade steam oil should be used or are you guys using any old steam oil, for the big stuff 5" and 71/4" SAE1000 should be used for your Gauge 1 SAE 460 this is slightly thinner and best for the smaller steam pipes.
 

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Posted By F7 on 01/30/2009 12:24 PM
So it is Steam oil for now, but what are we going to use when steam oil is no longer available.

Steam oil was invented in about 1880 and is made from crude mineral oil and this will run-out or become too expensive to be manufactured.

Before 1880 Tallow was the stuff that was used, but as it a solid unless kept warm we need to consider what is going to replace steam oil in the not too distant future.

We need a sustainable product that may be grown, which is why I mentioned the other products.



I doubt we will see that in our life time given the suppliers like Roundhouse, Quisenberry Station, Green Velvet, etc have invested in keeping the hobby going. Keep in mind that we need only a very small amount to make the wheels go around. Just in case keep us up to date on your efforts to bring about the alternative supply that will be cheaper given our very, very small market.
 

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I use the SAE 460. Got it from Sulphur Springs. A one quart can will last a very long time. I think 460 is used in industry as a heavier gear oil.

Some folks use an oil conditioner product from Lucas. It's available at any auto parts store.
 

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Can label: STEAM OIL
ISO VG 320/460 2000 SUS @ 100

This was a product I got from Sulphur Springs Steam Models Ltd. I am sure it was repackaged from a bulk container. I also have some from our Sponsor: Quisenberry Station that appears to be a bit lighter viscosity I use it in cold weather.
 

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Here we go again.
My son and I have been using Lucas oil for about (5) years in
rubys to K27s. in temps from 20to 106 degrees.no failuresof
any kind. Learned this from none other than the king of steam
DAVE HOTTMAN !!!!!!
So I will sit back and listen to all the Naysayers.
 

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Well Dave S. I have two thoughts on that
1) Their your engines do what ever you want.... but;
2) Dave H. has the machines and knowledge to rebuild his cylinders and valves, make new over sized pistons etc., so I doubt he has done any long term testing. Why would he waste his time.
I have emailed LUCAS their response " No steam compatible products" but again Its your engine....
You may want to open the steam chest up and have a look before you say " no failures "
 

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From the notes of other "steam master" Kevin O'Connor:
Steam oil



No nay sayer....just a proven way...


As Jeff as indicated there is a lot of stress due to the pressure relative to the scale size of our parts:
"The result will be metal-to-metal contact between the internal parts of the steam engine assembly, which will result in the scoring and galling of mating wear surfaces,: relative to using any other oils than "steam oil." Bottom line is that cost steam oil is not prohibited in comparison to any suggested alternative oil, so why not utilize what is specifically designed for steam engines....unless one wants to experiment with a quite expensive piece of lab equipment.
 

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If you buy a gallon from Roundhouse or one of the US suppliers you will have enough steam oil to last your lifetime and your children will have some to use after you and I are long gone. If you do so you will have the "right" steam oil. Actually, I bought two liters from Rounghouse about five years ago and have used less than one quarter of one of the bottles. My engines are certainly run at least an average amount of time.

Given the articles about steam line blockage, I threw away a quart I had purchased from Sulfur Springs and gave away a five gallon pail of a similiar type to the guys running on seven and one half gauge track.
 

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Most of the Steam Oil sold in the UK is Shell Valvata 460. I suspect that the Roundhouse oil is this brand but I don't know that as a certainty.

Shell Valvata can be purchased quite cheaply in 20 litre drums. I'm surprised that groups of live steamers don't co-operate and buy a drum and share it out.
 

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Here we go again as Dave says. This topic comes up every few months and it’s the same old thing. If you look at it, the real question is what’s the cheapest. It’s disguised as “what should I use or what do you use” but it always comes down to what’s the cheapest. Why would a person not use steam oil, you can buy it labeled “Steam Oil” so there is no mistake, instead of wasting time trying to save money. In Canada it is $50 for 20 liters, that’s about $7 US a US gallon. Why would you take a chance on a $5,000, $8,000 or $10,000 or for that matter even a $1,000 engine to save what, $3 a year at the most? I have used SAE 460 Steam oil down to -20C outside air temperature up to 45C or maybe higher or lower but I’m not going to stand around in those temperatures so why always the question. It’s the oil to use in engines from “O” gauge to 7 ½” If you need a heavier oil to seal the piston rings then it’s like putting sawdust into a car transmission so you can sell it. The proper thing to do is fix it, not cover it up. But you do what you want.

Don't give them any hints Andrew, I sell it for $5 per 8oz or $412 per 20 liters.
 

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People ask because it is not readily available at the local grocery store or on the shelf at the hardware. It is not so much as wanting cheapest but easiest to obtain. Sure, it can be mailordered... just like the locomotive was, but it is another "order" to place for an unknown product from an unknown vendor. I think it is that bunch of unknowns that get folk to ask about it.
 

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I think someone on this list told me mobile 600 was what steam oil is.... is that right? I bought mine from accucrafts online store, so I don't know for sure.
 
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