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Old 09-12-2019, 10:56 PM
riobison riobison is offline
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Oliver BC & Red Deer Alberta Canada
Posts: 338
Default Best oil for my Artificial Horizon?

Wondering what the recommendations would be for an oil for my Artificial Horizon?

For the last 8 yrs RV 4 it has shown a 5 deg bank to the left. Things are improving and now its showing about a 2 to 3 deg bank. Otherwise it appears to operate normal

Iím starting to do some Instrument training for VFROTT here in Canada and I would like to have this thing read properly. There is a new vacuum pump installed and Iím running 5.2Ē of vacuum so Iím sure that itís the AH.

In the future I will look at installing AV 30 from AeroVonics.

But to get me through this Iím going to pull the AH, tear it apart and inspect it. Then put a drop or 2 of oil on each bearing and hopefully milk a little more life out of it.

Iím looking for some one that has had some experience with these and suggestions on the best oil to use.

Iím thinking sewing machine oil unless someone has a better suggestion?


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Old 09-13-2019, 06:00 AM
Jpm757 Jpm757 is offline
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Sherman, CT
Posts: 746

There is obviously a problem with your horizon, trying to "lubricate" it or repair it yourself is not the answer. If you want a reliable horizon, either have the unit overhauled or replace it. Better yet install an electronic replacement.
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Last edited by Jpm757 : 09-13-2019 at 06:02 AM. Reason: Add
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Old 09-13-2019, 06:12 AM
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dlloyd3 dlloyd3 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Locust, NC
Posts: 438

Jake is correct. The only oil that will fix that is squeezed out of a big stack of loonies.
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Old 09-13-2019, 08:31 AM
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FasGlas FasGlas is offline
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Prescott, AZ
Posts: 714

There's no guarantees but I've used watch oil to lubricate gyro bearings with good success. After a period of time the bearing oil dries up. I wouldn't fly in hard IFR depending on it.
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Old 09-13-2019, 09:10 AM
Canadian_JOY Canadian_JOY is offline
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 2,230

Tim - I know you're dedicated to steam gauges... And I know a cheap fix is desired. I'm going to add then to the unpopular suggestion that you consider not using this artificial horizon in true VFROTT operations. If you can't trust it 100% then you don't want to be flying with it.

There are electronic instruments being produced now which will fit in that standard 3 1/8" instrument hole and provide a huge improvement over your existing AI.

An example:

Another example:

As well as some of the long-standing products like the Dynon D10-series. In fact I have a D10 that I'm considering liquidating. Most of these products will give you an AI to fill that hole in your panel, and will add airspeed, altimeter, VSI, T&B, skid/slip, heading (or GPS ground track) and other instruments into the package. By pulling your AI and installing more modern glass you are taking that one small piece of panel real-estate and using it to provide primary attitude information and backups for all your other six-pack instruments.

We've reached a point where investing time and money in vacuum-powered instruments is no longer a sound investment. Yeah, I know... it makes some of us feel a bit long in the tooth, but once you've flown with some of the new glass you'll wonder why you didn't switch to glass sooner.
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Old 09-13-2019, 09:23 AM
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Flyhud Flyhud is offline
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Burleson, TX
Posts: 66

Try some light weight sewing machine type oil, If it’s just for vfr /training purposes and you can get it to work I say why not. You can “bench” check these with compressed air to get it to spin up. With all of the glass going in panels these days, good working vacuum instruments can be found pretty cheap, if you can’t get it working.
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Old 09-13-2019, 01:01 PM
Desert Rat Desert Rat is offline
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: 50-50 Wichita KS & Scottsdale AZ
Posts: 250

Personally, I wouldn't hit any gyro with shop air unless you have a way to turn it down to almost nothing. Vacuum pumps only pull around 3 psi.

I went to A&P school with guy who was killed a few years after we graduated because he was doing that. The gyro came apart and fragged him in the face and neck. He bled out in the hangar.
Terry Shortt
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Old 09-13-2019, 07:59 PM
riobison riobison is offline
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Oliver BC & Red Deer Alberta Canada
Posts: 338


Thanks for the input. Its only for VFROTT training. Absolutely no IFR with it and thatís why Iím going to tear it apart, check it out and use sewing machine oil. Worse case is that I wreck it in my journey to repair it then Iím forced to replace it. Best case is I learn something and can use it for my training and VFR flying until our Federal Govt in Canada is replaced and I can get back to work. At that point I will most certainly replace it with one of these new Electronic Artificial Horizons that are available.

Thanks again

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