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Some Questions About Oils Answered


In the past some brands of oil used rape seed as an agent which did burn off in contact with hot surfaces. These days more advanced compound agents are used. We only sell lubricants that are rape seed free and do not stain metal or paintwork.

Q. Which Cylinder oil do I need?

A  This is a complicated subject for which there is no simple answer. Heritage Steam Supplies supply a complete range of steam and bearing oils, all of which have been developed to yield optimum performance in the correct application. We have tried here to answer some questions on application, however due to the various combinations of boiler pressure, methods of lubrication and condensate recovery, if you are unsire, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Q. Cylinders are noisy, I need thicker oil?

A  A Common misconception is that thicker oil is better. Whilst thicker oils may well produce a good oil film, if the delivery is poor then inadequate lubrication will still be achieved and / or high levels of deposits formed. This is the reason why large amounts of carbon build up around pistons and valves. Whilst saturated steam conditions can tolerate over lubrication, any excess in dry superheated conditions can pool and decompose on the cylinder walls and valves, causing excessive wear. Carbon formation is also symptomatic of poor atomisation

Q. Compound or Straight Cylinder Oils?

A  Compound Oils should always be used in cylinders where conditions allow. Moisture will always be present in cylinders at some point, be it on start up, during the expansion phase or when superheat conditions are low. Compound oil emulsifies any moisture and retains correct lubrication. There are however, some applications where compound oils are not ideal, particularly where the condensate is recovered and recycled back into the feed water. In these cases it is necessary to seperate out the condensate via a suitable separator and it would not be possible if compound oil had been used.

Q. Cylinders are rusty when left for prolonged periods?

A  Because engines are not used as originally designed, spending long periods out of use, cylinder bores can often rust. Whilst various methods can be employed prior to shutdown such as over oiling etc, some cylinder oils are especially formulated to have advanced shutdown properties, such as Morris Compound Cylinder Oil T, minimising corrosion and free piston movement on start up.


As the majority of bearing and cylinder oils are formulated from a base cylinder oil, Morris Lubricants working in close corporation with Heritage Steam Supplies have responded to a request to especially formulate a superior and carefully balanced cylinder and bearing oil with excellent wicking properties that with a higher viscosity is also an excellent cylinder oil operating at higher temperatures and pressures. It also incorporates additives to provide enhanced shutdown protection, bringing together all the optimum properties for saturated and light superheat steam conditions. It is particularly suitable for small scale engines and locomotives, although equally suitable for some full size engines operating within the operating pressure limits.



Compound or Straight oils for most road or rail steam engines are equally suitable for all bearing applications.


The benefit of a compound oil is that it provides a stronger film between the bearing surfaces in 'overload' conditions. Such conditions are however not really found in Traction Engines which are relatively slow and not demanding, unless the engine is being used for extended and hard work, but even then, it is in oil terms not likely to be in 'overload' conditions. One advantage compound oil has over straight oil is its ability to deal with water contamination. This can be relevant in Traction Engines and Locomotives, especially where water from, for example, a feed pump drips constantly onto a bearing. The oil will emulsify with the water and continue to allow lubricity and is acceptable in a total loss lubrication system. If the oil did not do this the water could flush the oil out of the bearing and allow it to 'run hot'. It's ability to emulsify and water ingress that may occur into a bearing and so retain the right level of lubrication. To avoid the need for specific grades however, Morris Lubricants have introduced their Golden Film Bearing Oils which are specifically formulated to provide optimum wicking rates with either Cotton or Wool.


Have all the main benefits of a compound oil and are perfectly suited for all general applications.

Some users prefer to use straight oils as they have fewer additives.


Both Straight and Compound Oils wick succssfully. Worsted trimmings can be made to govern the flow of oil depending on the grade of oil used.


Morris Lubricants blend a range of motor oils specifically tailored for older engines taking into account their design and lubrication requirements. The Golden Film range of monograde engine oils (SAE 30 or SAE 40) are suitable where mesh or gauze filters where originally fitted. Golden Film Classic 20W-50 maybe used where monogrades were previously specified as its low detergency allows operation with poor filtration whilst giving the advantages of Multigrade temperature operation.

Where post WWII engines have been rebuilt and retrofitted with full flow cartridge filters, Golden Film Classic 15W-50 is particularly recommended due to its higher additive levels and stability under high loads.


Morris Lubricants range of Golden Film AG gear oils has been specifically designed for gearboxes where the use if modern, highly active chemistries can cause premature wear. Golden Film AG gear oils contain both R&O additives (Rust & Oxidation) together with proven, non aggressive antiwear technology to ensure optimised life from your gearbox or differential. (Not highly offset or Limited Slip).

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