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Vectux now running on veggie oil!
Submitted by Mik on Sun, 06/21/2009 - 04:14
Well, unfortunately just the gearbox, really...it still needs electrons for the battery!
I have again opened up the Vectux gear box yesterday and then re-filled it with Castor oil.
I also added an oil filling hole through one of the disc brake holes, by drilling a 6.5mm hole through it. This allows the insertion of a tube, connected to a syringe, to fill the gear box with fresh oil. It should also allow to suck out some of the oil to inspect it later on. No more need to lay the scooter on it's side!
The oil which I removed has been in there for about 7600km, more than three times the distance traveled with the original oil, but it does not seem anywhere near as black as the original oil after less than 2000km. It was a mix of a red synthetic Castrol gear oil and about 1/4 Tru Blu Additive.
Still looking fairly red.
The pitting on the planetary gears might have worsened, but it is very difficult to see this clearly without taking the gears out and washing them. I did not do this. No need to risk recreating the still absent uneven noise (which it used to make before I shuffled the planetary gears around and whacked the ring gear with a rubber mallet a few times).
Some preliminary testing had shown that the castor oil and the synthetic mix already in the Vectux is mixing well, so I just removed as much as I could of the old mix by letting it drip, and by wiping the accessible surfaces clean with toilet paper.
Then I added 80ml of pure pharmacy grade castor oil through the newly drilled filling hole. It might be slightly over filled that way, but not much, and so far nothing has come out of the gearbox vent on top of the motor housing. Thread lock applied to the disk brake bolt should hopefully provide a good seal to keep the oil in the gearbox and away from the disk brake...
Why castor oil?
It appears that it is superior to most mineral oils and synthetic lubricants in some circumstances.
It is used in racing engines and IC model engines, because of it's properties.
But, although it is superior to other lubricants at high temperatures, it tends to produce varnish and makes frequent engine rebuilding necessary. I hope I understand correctly that the varnish buildup is related to high temperatures, which do not occur in a Vectrix gear box.
Castor oil is a bit too thick for cold temperatures, but where I live, I will very rarely ride the Vectux with a gearbox starting temperature of less than 16°C.
And castor oil is good for you! Unlike the synthetic oil which I took out, which smells toxic, looks toxic and is toxic, castor oil can be taken orally at a dose of 1-2 teaspoons daily. It is also an important ingredient in multiple cosmetic and pharmaceutical products, good for your skin.
So, you can work with the stuff, if you get it on your hands, just rub it in, done!
And because it comes in 100ml bottles, it is also cheap: AU$5.95 / 100ml!
The test drive:
10km at 80km/h - 100km/h, undulating, more downhill than uphill: No problems, whining noise acceptable as before, cannot hear it due to wind noise at speeds higher than 50km/h; no uneven whining. The low speed clunking (caused by cogging torque) is a bit quieter than with the synthetic mix. Gear box temperature slightly warm, not as warm as the wheel rim, nowhere near as warm as the motor! Air temperature was about 20°C.
The 10km return trip, high speed but more uphill, also went well.