sump / utility pump filled with what type oil?

Discussion in 'General Off Topic Forums' started by markthefixer, Dec 28, 2008.

  1. markthefixer

    markthefixer On Hiatus, dealing with Dad's estate full time Subscriber

    Help!! (hey, coming from markthefixer?????? here's one for the books!!)

    I repaired a submersible Simer 120v 1/6 h.p. utility / sump pump yesterday in anticipation of today's floods. The pump caught me by surprise and dumped it's entire fill of oil on the bench (no manual, too old?) and mopping the flood of oil up contaminated it badly, that which wasn't absorbed by the towel.

    The submersible pump appears to be filled to the brim with oil for lubrication and cooling, as the water to be ejected flows up around the wall (aluminum no less) of the motor chamber under pressure, thus absorbing heat from the motor.

    All I have to do is refill the thing with oil, close up the o-ringed fill hole (why didn't I drain it? good question... in retrospect) and start pumping away.

    After a day of dedicated searching, I have NOT come up with a good answer as to what to use. It was too late on Friday night to call Simer to find out.

    If it's too viscous at low temperatures, pumping 32 degree water will either stall or drag the motor badly.

    It must be compatible with the varnish insulation on the motor coils ( I WAS considering using brake fluid - until I remembered how brake fluid will take off paint!!) as well as the rubber seals.

    I thought of compressor and pressure washer pump oil, but rejected it because there was no indication of electrical compatibility of the additives they bragged about.

    I also thought of Mineral oil, but that appears to be too thick compared to the saved and contaminated sample.

    SO, has anyone successfully repaired an oil immersed sump pump motor and refilled it with NEW oil? It would have been SO much simpler if that darn fill plug hadn't been set up with a straight screwdriver blade anti-tamper "slot" that was REALLY frozen....

    Any thoughts? I would like to pump out my backyard tomorrow...

    By Monday, there's plenty of places that will be open for me to call, but by then, I'll probably have an ice-rink...
  2. SAE2922

    SAE2922 got sae?

    North Texas - DFW area.
    Mark - Read this link and/or read it below. Maybe this can give you an idea of the viscosity and characteristic of your pump oil.

    Good luck.


    Electric Motors - submersible pump motor
    Expert: Will - 9/7/2007

    QUESTION: had to dis assemble a submersible pump to replace a float switch. did not realize that inside the sealed steel casing - the motor was "immersed" in oil. The oil leaked out.Have replaced the switch - is it simply a matter of reassembling the motor into the case and then filling with an appropriate oil? and if so how can I find out how much to use.

    ANSWER: Noel, no nameplate? the correct way to do this is to drain the oil, save it, have it tested, and then match what came out.

    This sounds industrial or commercial, I have not seen an oil cooled sub pump for everyday use.

    I need more information.


    ---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

    QUESTION: Hi Will - thanks for the response. ~The pump is made by the ABS company - model # MF 054 & its a light wastewater pump. It's used in septic tank to pump waster water upto a percolation area. Unfortunately all oil leaked away. Just wondering if it is possible to refill once I know the oil type or is it beyond repair. Can see the pump details at regards Noel

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    Normally these pumps are filled with "turbine oil". ISO 68 or ISO 100. It is used in huge turbine bearing applications.

    It can be bought in small quantities, but you will have to go to a bearing distributer or lubricant distributer.

    I have no idea about this pump other than what it says on the website which obviously is available to anyone.

    You might call them and ask if they have a seal kit that includes the oil.

    But just because a pump had oil in it, does not make it beyond repair.

    It may be a type that is not designed to be repaired, but many oil filled pumps are repairable, I would say the majority of oil filled pumps are repairable.

  3. SAE2922

    SAE2922 got sae?

    North Texas - DFW area.
    MSDS sheets and info for turbine oils.



    For a price prospective, I googled-up a company that sells turbine oil ISO 68 in a bulk 55 gallon drum for $15 and change per gallon!!.

    Another site says to use ISO 30 turbine oil or synthetic SAE 5W30 motor oil as an alternative. Read here:

    :scratch2: :saywhat: :dunno:
  4. vegabass25

    vegabass25 Awesome AK member.

    North Bay, Ontario
    E-mail the company about what they use in their new pumps.
  5. dokblues

    dokblues Just Glad to be HERE! Moderator

    Turbine oil is exactly what you need, the only reason I know this is that my DAD`s company when I was a kid dealt in water wells and all water related equpiment for decades. Internally cooled sump pumps (ie) commercial types use turbine oil for cooling. And you can buy in small quantities or contact a local pump supplier.
  6. fotno

    fotno Lunatic Member

    Buzzardtown, NC
    Try calling around to your local plumbing shops. Especially if you have an older Mom & Pop shop that's been around for a long time. Chances are they'll have some turbine oil that they'll gladly sell you a cup of. I've been out of the business for a while, but I always kept a gallon or two at my store.
  7. markthefixer

    markthefixer On Hiatus, dealing with Dad's estate full time Subscriber

    Thanks for the replies and after balancing the various options, I'm probably going to go with the Liberty Pumps fill FAQ's suggestion, because of ease of acquisition (my ease, I don't get out much), Liberty's suggestion to use synthetic 5w30 (at least at first, If I run into drag problems, then I will make efforts to get the turbine oil).

    The weather beat all my expectations, hours after the original post, before daybreak Sunday the temperature had dropped below freezing, and the only way that the water will leave the yard currently is if I chop it loose and carry it out. :D (or melt it)

    So I have plenty of time now to get the stuff.
  8. x_25

    x_25 Big Vandies!! Mwahahah...

    Northern NJ
    Flame thrower. :D
  9. Dine

    Dine New Member

    My pump was turning off and on about every two minutes. I started googling for answers and ran across this forum but figuring I was not going to buy an expensive turbine oil or dielectric oil but rather just buy a new pump.I thought well if I'm buying a new pump anyways why not a little wesson 100 % vegetable oil its been running an hour and a half now no problems
  10. SolderIron

    SolderIron Super Member

    Only question is how long will the Veg oil last. If you can get a couple years then it is a good temp fix ...
  11. blhagstrom

    blhagstrom Mad Scientist, fixer. Subscriber

    Duvall, Washington
    If you start to smell French fries, change the oil.
  12. leesonic

    leesonic Hold on, here comes the bass. Subscriber

    Southern NJ
    Stinky oil. I know this doesn't help much, but that's all I remember from when the sump pump at my old house rotted out and dumped it's oil in the sump pit.

  13. jcamero

    jcamero If you plant ice, you're gonna harvest wind. Subscriber

    The Dark Star
    Your pump is assembled by Pentair Water Systems in Delavan, WI. My wife actually assembles your pump. I asked her what oil is used, but was unsure. The supply is
    pumped to the assembly area, so she does not know. She was told the oil can be used for cooking, (sort of makes sense being that if the water mixed with the sump pump
    oil, the got into the municipal water, it wouldn't be a huge concern). BTW, she said it really stinks, (the oil). The wife spoke to a supervisor, it's not just straight oil, anti-foaming agents, anti-freeze are also additives. My suggestion... Buy a new Simer or Flotec, and keep her working.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2017
  14. markthefixer

    markthefixer On Hiatus, dealing with Dad's estate full time Subscriber

    Since this popped up, I might as well update: I got two 4 oz bottles of actual turbine oil, and at the time I bought it from ACE hardware.
    It was made by Norvey INC. 300 So. Standard Ave. Santa Ana, CA 92701 - It has a "zoom-spout"

    The pump took 5 to 6 oz and has been used in winter and summer periodically since then. I have the remaining oil still.

    It did/does have a slight odor.

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