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Does it make sense to replace all oil, hydraulic fluid, and grease with synthetic lubricants when you first obtain an older tractor and attachments? This includes the gearboxes on the tillers, snowcasters, and differentials

I will start with two assumptions about older tractors:
1. Generally, the grease and hydraulic fluid in the various gearboxes of these 40 to 60 year old tractors has been in there for 40 to 60 years. The oil may have been in the engine for 5 or more years
2. I think synthetic oils and greases are significantly better than standard lubricants, and the older lubes could not have been synthetic

Replacing all the grease would mean replacing all the gaskets on the various gear boxes.
 

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If its apart you mine as well do the fluids maintanence. It will also give you the opportunity to inspect/replace internal parts such as bearings, seals, worn gears, etc. I think it is well worth the extra time, effort and potential cost but I am sure your machine will pay you back with little to no downtime in the future. I know on my restoration I replaced all fluids, seals, bearings and even went down to replacing every nut and bolt.
 

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Does it make sense to replace all oil, hydraulic fluid, and grease with synthetic lubricants when you first obtain an older tractor and attachments? This includes the gearboxes on the tillers, snowcasters, and differentials

I will start with two assumptions about older tractors:
1. Generally, the grease and hydraulic fluid in the various gearboxes of these 40 to 60 year old tractors has been in there for 40 to 60 years. The oil may have been in the engine for 5 or more years
2. I think synthetic oils and greases are significantly better than standard lubricants, and the older lubes could not have been synthetic

Replacing all the grease would mean replacing all the gaskets on the various gear boxes.
I would definitely consider replacing all of the lubricants, especially the gear box lubes and any grease. After all these years you will be surprised how contaminated the gear oil will be, or how waxy the grease is.

I drained my snowcaster by pulling the plug and turning it on it's side to let the old fluid drain out. Then I put in some mineral spirits in it and let that sit for a few days, but I did not spin the unit. That dissolved a bit of the sludge that is on the bottom of the gear case. I drained that and then filled with fresh gear oil. There may be some value in taking it all apart and getting every last part of the sludge out, but that could also be accomplished by doing the drain/fill with the unit is warmed up, and doing it 2 or 3 times in short order. That should get the sludge in suspension and flush it out.

As far as synthetics go, I am not sure if these units run in a harsh enough environment to warrant the synthetics. It may not be necessary, but it would not hurt either.

But make sure to use the correct viscosity for the engine. Mine called for straight 30 weight and I once put 10w30 in as I had it on the shelf and was too lazy to go to the store to get 30 weight. It started to use a lot of oil and I thought that it was time for a new set of rings. Then I switched back to straight 30 weight and is is back to using little if any oil. Lesson learned!

Stuart
 
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