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Treacodactyl

Cement mixer maintenance question

I own a small Belle electric cement mixer. On the gear box there's a bolt that can be removed so you can check the oil level and a sign that says check oil level regularly. However, I can't undo the bolt and before I take drastic measures to undo it I was wondering has anyone ever checked the gear box oil in a cement mixer or know of any gear box problems?

I've also just realised that an empty one of those bulk bags makes an ideal cover for the mixer.
Behemoth

Never, my folk's machine has stood outside for 20 years and starts every time! Shocked Confused
Gervase

Yes, do check the oil at least once every six months or so, as the gearbox will seize if there's not enough oil in there - I've seen a Belle mixer with a Honda engine where just that had happened. It's an expensive thing to put right (more so than letting a mix set in the drum, as a new drum is only 60!).
Try some penetrating oil around the nut and a close-fitting ring spanner.
RichardW

If safe apply lots of heat (small blow tourches are rarely enough). SOmetimes I will weld a bigger nut on to the stuck item, one to increase the size of the tool I can use but also for the heat input.

Justme
dougal

Justme wrote:
If safe apply lots of heat (small blow tourches are rarely enough). SOmetimes I will weld a bigger nut on to the stuck item, one to increase the size of the tool I can use but also for the heat input.


But if its a bolt plugging a hole into the gearbox, its the gearbox casing that needs to be heated (to expand the hole more than the bolt).

If the polar bears will forgive you, you could obtain a 'freezer spray' and (more or less simultaneously) apply that to the bolt, to maximise the temperature difference... such things are used in electronics hardware troubleshooting (but its just as well not many people use them, I expect).
Treacodactyl

Thanks for the replies, it looks like I do need to check then. It's a largish bolt-in-a-hole but even with a good fitting socket or spanner the head is starting to deform and the bolt not moving. I didn't want to try the penetrating oil or heat unless I had to as I thought that might degrade the oil, looks like I don't have much choice though.
vegplot

Try some 'shock 'n' lock' (I think that's what it's called). I got some from Halfords and it worked on a difficult bolt. You may have to be liberal with the stuff or try several times. The gear box on the belle is alloy so it's easy to ruin the threads if using brute force.
Northern_Lad

GT85's good - it's like WD40 on steroids.
RichardW

dougal wrote:

But if its a bolt plugging a hole into the gearbox, its the gearbox casing that needs to be heated (to expand the hole more than the bolt).

If the polar bears will forgive you, you could obtain a 'freezer spray' and (more or less simultaneously) apply that to the bolt, to maximise the temperature difference... such things are used in electronics hardware troubleshooting (but its just as well not many people use them, I expect).



Its not realy about expansion of the part more about breaking the rust bond between the two. The heat causes movement between the two parts that makes the rust bond break. Also the welding does heat the surounding metal anyway. Also a ring of weld around a plug will reduce the size of the plug as the weld cools.

Freeze spray is good when used in tandem with heat to "crack" open the joint with repeated heating / cooling cycles.



Justme
Treacodactyl

Just to add it's not rusty at all, I first tried to undo the bolt when the machine was new. It's either a case of being done up too tight when made or being stuck with something such as dried oil. A few taps with a hammer might help, taking care with the casing.
vegplot

Treacodactyl wrote:
Just to add it's not rusty at all, I first tried to undo the bolt when the machine was new. It's either a case of being done up too tight when made or being stuck with something such as dried oil. A few taps with a hammer might help, taking care with the casing.


If it is tight get some penetrating oil soaking in there, it will help reduce the effort needed to undo the bolt and thus reduce stresses on the thread and casing.

When you do it back up put some coppaslip (coppaease) on the bolt thread to avoid it seizing in the future. I put coppaslip on the thread of the main shaft of my Belle, makes it very easy to take the drum off.
crofter

Treacodactyl wrote:
Just to add it's not rusty at all, I first tried to undo the bolt when the machine was new. It's either a case of being done up too tight when made or being stuck with something such as dried oil. A few taps with a hammer might help, taking care with the casing.


Could it be glued in with something, to prevent it from vibrating out? If you cannot move it by using penetrating oil and hammer impacts as you apply pressure on the spanner and if there is no sign of oil having leaked form the gearbox I would assume that the oil is still in there and not worry about it. It will probably seize, now that I said that!!!
dougal

Justme wrote:
...
Its not realy about expansion of the part more about breaking the rust bond between the two. The heat causes movement between the two parts that makes the rust bond break. Also the welding does heat the surounding metal anyway. Also a ring of weld around a plug will reduce the size of the plug as the weld cools.

Freeze spray is good when used in tandem with heat to "crack" open the joint with repeated heating / cooling cycles.

Yes that's *almost* the point I was making.

Heating and/or cooling should cause differential cooling.
The different expansion and contraction will often weaken whatever is bonding the thing in place. Whether that bond be simple corrosion, polymerised oil residues, thread lock compound, sealant, or galvanic corrosion caused by two different metals in contact with different amounts of Oxygen present at the thread interface and the external surfaces... Phosphoric acid (penetrating oil, coca cola, etc) is good for accessible corrosion products but useless tackling thread sealant.
Differential expansion (and/or contraction) will crack the most stubborn bond as long as its brittle rather than deforming plastically.
Since the bolt and its hole are made of dissimilar metals one cannot rely on the hole expanding more than the bolt on simple thermal expansion (which will happen, fractionally, with the same material).
But with different materials, the bolt might expand *more* (locking it tighter) - in which case pure cooling will help to free the bolt. Natch, if the bolt expands less then pure heating is the trick. Hence try each individually, then in combo.
Heating the surrounds of the hole and cooling the bolt is the best you can do to maximise the relative thermal movement to 'crack' whatever is locking the plug in place.

Agree that a few smart taps with a hammer (while heating/cooling, and *also* while applying torque) can assist with bond-breaking... This is after all the basis of an 'impact driver' ... you don't have one (yet), I suppose?
Treacodactyl

No one mentioned the "try it for the umpteenth time and mysteriously it will undo easily". Rolling Eyes Laughing OK, I tapped it a few times with a 4oz hammer first but I think it just loosened itself over time, I've tried several times in the past with no luck.

Off to now track down the instructions to see how much oil it should have. When resting on the stand, so the bucket tipping slightly upwards, the oil starts to fill up the hole so there's plenty there but it's not full.
Nick

Perhaps Bugs loosened it off for you?
Treacodactyl

I'm thinking it was the power of positive thoughts ...
Nick

She'd so like you to believe that.
vegplot

Treacodactyl wrote:
No one mentioned the "try it for the umpteenth time and mysteriously it will undo easily". Rolling Eyes Laughing OK, I tapped it a few times with a 4oz hammer first but I think it just loosened itself over time, I've tried several times in the past with no luck.

Off to now track down the instructions to see how much oil it should have. When resting on the stand, so the bucket tipping slightly upwards, the oil starts to fill up the hole so there's plenty there but it's not full.


As far as I recall the oil level should come upto the hole with the mixer standing on level ground.
Treacodactyl

vegplot wrote:
Treacodactyl wrote:
Off to now track down the instructions to see how much oil it should have. When resting on the stand, so the bucket tipping slightly upwards, the oil starts to fill up the hole so there's plenty there but it's not full.


As far as I recall the oil level should come upto the hole with the mixer standing on level ground.


The instructions are on Belle's web site and they say the oil should be level with the filler plug. Unfortunately it doesn't say what position the mixer should be in, "discharge" or "mix". There's a picture of the 'box that looks like the "mix" position so I'll assume it is.
crofter

Treacodactyl wrote:
the oil starts to fill up the hole so there's plenty there but it's not full.


I knew there would be oil left in there... Laughing Rolling Eyes
vegplot

Treacodactyl wrote:
vegplot wrote:
Treacodactyl wrote:
Off to now track down the instructions to see how much oil it should have. When resting on the stand, so the bucket tipping slightly upwards, the oil starts to fill up the hole so there's plenty there but it's not full.


As far as I recall the oil level should come upto the hole with the mixer standing on level ground.


The instructions are on Belle's web site and they say the oil should be level with the filler plug. Unfortunately it doesn't say what position the mixer should be in, "discharge" or "mix". There's a picture of the 'box that looks like the "mix" position so I'll assume it is.


Definately the mix position. That's is normal, out of the box, off the stand sitting squarly on the ground (not that you need to take it off the stand).
Treacodactyl

crofter wrote:
...if there is no sign of oil having leaked form the gearbox I would assume that the oil is still in there and not worry about it. It will probably seize, now that I said that!!!


There was no sign of leaking near the plug but you can't see the other side of the gearbox as it attaches to the drum. That'll be just as hard to take off to check for leaks. Laughing
Jadey

Can anyone tell me if it's ok to use EP 80 oil ( which I already have ) or do I really have to go and get EP90 for a Belle 150 electric cement mixer Exclamation
T.G

BELLE ENGINEERING (SHEEN) LTD

SHEEN
Nr BUXTON , DERBYSHIRE
SK17 0EU
Phone : 01298 84606
Fax : 01298 84722

www.belle-group.co.uk
sales@belle-group.co.uk (Machine Sales)
spares@belle-group.co.uk (Spares Sales) All Spare Parts are now available online at www.belle247.com
warranty@belle-group.co.uk (After Sales)

They aren't a million miles from where we live, it's a little tiny village, lovely lady lives around there wih some great chickens too.

The company are very nice people to deal with and fast despatch on parts, I've telephoned them a few times about random different things, they are very helpful people.
Jadey

Thank you,
The gentlemen at Belle were very helpful and basically there is a slight difference in viscosity however not enough to make any difference in such a basic gearbox. Very Happy
12Bore

It's nice when people are helpful, and sensible. Very Happy Welcome to Downsizer BTW. hello2
Nick

Naw, they told you that so you'd trash your mixer and have to buy a new one. Wink
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