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Implement Alley Discussion Forum

Gearbox lube for McCormick Rake

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dick s

11-06-2018 09:46:05

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Hi, everyone,

I'm in the process of rehabbing a McCormick "Enclosed Gear Tractor Side Delivery Rake (4-bar)", the old, old one with steel wheels. Got a copy of the original manual, but it leaves a lot to be desired and doesn't specify anything regarding what to put into the gearbox. Cleaned out the old gunk, a combination of old grease from the axles, milky-looking stuff which might have been gear oil at one point, etc. Now need to figure out what to use to replace that mess.

Input appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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John Deere D

11-07-2018 20:03:40

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 Re: Gearbox lube for McCormick Rake in reply to dick s, 11-06-2018 09:46:05  
My Father, used RAILWAY GREASE, in the gear boxes of any of his hay rakes and Horse Drawn Mowers:

Railway Grease is still available...additives are certainly different:


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11-07-2018 06:31:46

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 Re: Gearbox lube for McCormick Rake in reply to dick s, 11-06-2018 09:46:05  
And for your information that rake was first built in 1940 and ended production in either 1958 or 1960 with the open gear 3 bar rake tedder being the other year of ending production. I have all the parts books that the dealer would have had.

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11-07-2018 05:40:09

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 Re: Gearbox lube for McCormick Rake in reply to dick s, 11-06-2018 09:46:05  
I use the same rake myself. Not fast, but does an excellent job. Like JR says, for some reason, the gearboxes get water in them. At the outset of haying season, I dump the goop out, flush out the box with diesel and refill with gear oil. I use a generous amount of grease on the axle which mixes in with the oil. I also put grease on the gear teeth themselves whenever I'm doing the rest of the rake.
Who sells teeth for that rake?

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11-07-2018 06:00:33

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 Re: Gearbox lube for McCormick Rake in reply to Davidj, 11-07-2018 05:40:09  
Not sure if you can find new teeth - our rake was a 4h project, and someone donated a parts rake to our club - so we were lucky to have that with plenty of good teeth on it, that's probably your best bet if you can find one cheap. A lot of them out there selling for scrap prices.

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11-07-2018 06:27:00

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 Re: Gearbox lube for McCormick Rake in reply to JRSutton, 11-07-2018 06:00:33  
Not any around her to be found good or parts. And those teeth are easy to get new, I think they are or were about $2.75 each, haven't bought any tho as I found enough used from Old on this site. And I remember when we were talking as you were redoing yours. All that have been avaible I have gotten and rebuilt for the Amish and that is were I would need to go for the rake teeth. Not only for that model but JD 594 and NI No 4 as well and they are about half the price if you can even find them at a farm store. In prosses of rebuilding a NI NO 4 now and it will be my last rebuild. All enclosed gear rakes get water in from setting outside and just a plain old 90 weight gear oil is good, when you grease them they get gun grease pushed into the gearbox and pretty soon thegun grease is all that will be in there and too thick it will not lube anything in there. Over the past 15-20 years I have probably handled over a hundred rakes of that style, some combining 3 or more rakes to get a good one and then parts I did not use on that one good one I used on several others in repairing them. JR your rake with the rubber would not be worth much but one in that shape on the steel wheels will retail from dealer in around the thousand dollar range. The McCormick, John Deere and New Idea are in big demand. Case is a good rake but just will not sell and Moline you cannot get parts for.

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11-07-2018 04:52:31

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 Re: Gearbox lube for McCormick Rake in reply to dick s, 11-06-2018 09:46:05  
In those gear boxes I'd say virtually anything that's slippery is fine, so I'd stick with something you already use in other equipment.

I wouldn't go too thick since the boxes do have a tendency to get flooded with water, you may want to drain it for the winter and refill in the spring. But even that may be overkill, those gear boxes can and have survived decades of abuse.

Your biggest concern will be the wheel bearings all around. When they rust up, they can be a real pain in the butt.

If you're going all out and painting - I did a lot of research on mine and what I came up with is this red/white/blue color scheme. Guy Fay's book - I think it's titled something like "1950s farmall tractors" - or something to that effect - has a picture ... think it's page 9 or 10 (I'll stick a link to it on amazon, and you can do the "look inside" thing to see some of the pages without buying the book - which is a painful $150).

That color scheme matched perfectly with the old paint flecks that were left on mine, so it was nice confirmation. I had been in doubt because I'd seen a lot of other old pictures and talked to a lot of people who say they were all red. I think they probably had a lot of different color schemes.

If I were to do anything different with the paint - I wouldn't have gone with the standard IH color paints - I'd have eyeballed it more to that picture and what I saw as left over paint. The modern color codes seem a bit too bright for matching paint from the 40's/50's. Not a big deal though.

I still use the rake on small fields when I have time to go slow - it's a real pleasure to use. It works better than my more modern rake, picking up every single blade of grass. You just can't go too fast, and you can't get too tight in the corners.

Good luck with yours.
third party image

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11-06-2018 20:09:34

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 Re: Gearbox lube for McCormick Rake in reply to dick s, 11-06-2018 09:46:05  
Just plain 90 weight what I put in them, not onlyon that rake and I have completely rebuilt several but any make rake.

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d beatty

11-06-2018 13:28:03

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 Re: Gearbox lube for McCormick Rake in reply to dick s, 11-06-2018 09:46:05  
We had a McCormick and Case steel wheel rakes and used SAE 140 gear oil and you can still by it.

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Ellis Kinney

11-06-2018 12:12:34

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 Re: Gearbox lube for McCormick Rake in reply to dick s, 11-06-2018 09:46:05  
You can make your own by mixing bearing grease and 90 weight oil. Use equal amounts and whip it with a mixing beater and the electric drill. Do not let SWMBO catch you using the beater. Ellis

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11-06-2018 11:03:23

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 Re: Gearbox lube for McCormick Rake in reply to dick s, 11-06-2018 09:46:05  
More modern NH roll a bar rakes used to have a gear lube in them, but NH changed to using ‘corn head grease’ in them because the bottom seal always always always leaks anything thinner.

Corn head grease is creamy thick like a soft grease, but with any heat at all it melts and behaves like a good gear oil. When it cools it returns to a grease like consistency.

I forget the technical number on it, 000 or some such? Ask an implement dealer for ‘corn head grease’ and that is the only way I know of it......

It would be about perfect of the modern greases and oils for your old machines needs.


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Tx Jim

11-06-2018 10:07:18

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 Re: Gearbox lube for McCormick Rake in reply to dick s, 11-06-2018 09:46:05  
Corn head lube is good for gearboxes. It gets to be thinner viscosity when warm & thicker when cool so it doesn't leak past the seals as much as gear oil.

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11-12-2018 19:41:11

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 Re: Gearbox lube for McCormick Rake in reply to Tx Jim, 11-06-2018 10:07:18  
Tractor Supply has 00 Grease. It is semi fluid grease.

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