How to Lubricate Bronze Bushings

by Floyd Drake IIIUpdated July 18, 2023
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Bushings are common components used in industrial machinery, electric motors and many automobile systems, including differentials, transmissions and engines. Sometimes used along with bearings, bushings are a "removable cylindrical lining for an opening (as of a mechanical part) used to limit the size of the opening, resist abrasion, or serve as a guide," according to Merriam Webster. Bronze is a durable bushing material, giving years of service that sometimes outlasts the equipment it is installed in Depending on the component or machine the bronze bushing is installed in, lubrication is a straightforward task.

Things You'll Need:

  • White lithium or graphite grease
  • Latex gloves

1. Access the bushing, if still installed in the component

Access the bushing, if still installed in the component. To properly lubricate bronze bushings, the interior of the bushing needs to be accessed, requiring removal of any shafts or accessories the bushing is designed to hold. If the bushing is being removed, a slide hammer is needed to loosen the bushing, and an appropriately sized bushing installer is required to reinstall the bushing.

2. Apply lubricating grease

Apply lubricating grease. Liberally coat the inside of the bushing with white lithium, or graphite grease. Lithium and graphite greases are high-quality lubricants, often used in automotive racing applications.

3. Reassemble the component

Reassemble the component. When putting the component back together, wipe off any excess grease. Use a free finger to remove any excess grease forced out of the bushing when the component is reassembled.

Video: Machining and Installing Bronze Bearings/Bushings

Comments on this video:

  • Keith, thanks for the demos and explanations. Some of us are still early in the learning process, but I'm following your explanations just fine and learning lots.

I do have a question about an alternate solution to the mandrel...would it have been possible to just hold the bushing between live centers? Or would that have created too much runout, let the bushing flex too much, or was it just a matter of no length to clamp the dog onto? Just looking at alternatives...your method obviously works.

Can't wait to see the planer running! * Keith, I was taught as an apprentice that for every .001" off interference allow .0013" compression in the bore. It has always worked pretty well for me. If I am using the press I turn down a slight lip about .001"-.002" and about 1/8th. long, to align it square before pressing. It doesn't make any difference to the bushing but avoids it going in crooked.

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