Mister Mangle
Oil Servicing
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Maintenance and Repair

Oil Servicing for the Model 85

July 2010 Update:  Improper oil levels or old, congealed oil can cause your gearbox to malfunction, which is bad since no one I know can fix gearbox problems!  The most common problem is that the roller will not lower onto shoe or rotate properly when the knee levers are moved.  Based on recent experience, I have added new step 7 below for people who are dealing with gearbox problems or who have discovered old, congealed oil. 

1. Collect the following items and tools you will need for this task:

a) A chopstick or other similar-sized piece of wood (wooden coffee stir stick?) to use as a dipstick. 

b) Small bottle of hydraulic jack oil (available at auto parts stores) *

*Note: Other mangle repair persons say to use 50-weight auto oil. I don’t know if this is any better or worse than hydraulic jack oil. I can only tell you that I’ve used jack oil for ten years in several different mangles and it seems to work fine.

c) Tools (Phillips head screwdriver and 9/16 inch wrench)

d) Some sort of tray. See Figure 1 below for one example of a disposable type made from aluminum foil. Tray must hold at least six ounces of fluid but must be shallow enough to fit under the drain plug.

e) Clear plastic tumbler or glass that you don’t mind never drinking out of again. Measure five ounces of water and pour into this tumbler, then mark a line for the five-ounce level. Drain the water and dry the inside of this cup thoroughly. See Figure 2.


Figure 1

Update as of March 2010:   Thanks to my lovely wife (I guess she would be Mrs. Mangle . . .ha ha), who has suggested a new, "high tech" drip pan made from a 1/2 gallon plastic jug.  This seems to be more practical than the tin foil thing I show in Figure 1.   The observant reader will see that it reads, ". . .mange oil" rather than "mangle oil." Sorry!





Figure 2

 2. Using a Phillips head screwdriver, loosen and remove the screw on the back of the gearbox, then remove the cover. There is a spring clip at the back, so grasp cover at rear, pull in while lifting up, and the cover will rotate out and up from the rear. See Figure 3 below. There is a gasket under the cover. If this is not in good condition you will have to buy some bulk gasket material at an auto parts store and fabricate a new gasket.


Figure 3

3. Put a layer of paper towel or cloth shop towel under the gearbox to soak up any future oil drips.

4. Locate the drain plug at bottom of gearbox. See Figure 4 below. Place your small drip pan under the drain plug. Get it very close to the inside edge of casing as this is a point of possible drips outside the edge of your drip pan.


Figure 4

5. Use a wrench ( 9/16 inch ) to loosen drain plug, then use your fingers to fully remove it. Oil will drain out. Watch out for drips onto your shiny white mangle housing!

6. After all oil has drained out, carefully slide out the tray and replace the cap. Tighten, but not fiercely tight.

7.  This step is especially important if your mangle has sat unused or otherwise neglected for months or years or decades!  Use your wooden "dipstick" to poke around near bottom of gearbox.  If you come up with any globs of old, congealed oil or thick black stuff the consistency of molasses, you might need to clean the gearbox before putting in new oil.  Refer to  Cleaning your gearbox.

8. Pour 5 ounces of new oil into the tumbler you have pre-marked in Step 1.*

* There are those that say six ounces is the right amount. If anyone has irrefutable evidence of this, please let me know. To add to the controversy, I have some old pictures of an original can of Ironrite Gear Oil, and I'd swear it says "4 OZ" on the can.   I can only tell you that five ounces has been working well for me.

9. Make sure you replaced the drain plug back in step 6! Pour the new oil into the top of gearbox. Do not be alarmed that the oil level looks low. Oil is picked up by the motion of the turning gears. See Figure 5.


Figure 5

10. Replace cover on gearbox. Insert front first and then lower rear into place. It will snap into place.

10. Please discard oil to an environmentally correct place. Figure 6 below shows old, darker oil compared with cup of new oil.


Figure 6

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