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Best Oil/Lubricant? for dial.

Started by HowardPgh, November 09, 2012, 10:50:49 AM

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Quote from: DavePEI on April 21, 2014, 09:32:47 PM
Can't blame you, Denis!

Things that are free in life come seldom, and when they do what you need are even better!


I agree Dave :D...thank you for the nice comment.


This is a summary of the oils (in alphabetical order) used by those who posted to this topic (a few were suggested twice).

Before buying and/or using one of these oils, make sure you find the reply where it was first posted so you have a good understanding of the oil, if it will be what you want on your dials after restoration. (this list is intended to offer lubricant options, cleaning and penetrating products are not considered acceptable dial lubricants)

3 in 1 Oil
3M 08897 Silicone Lubricant (Dry Type) ( not recommended )
CRC 2-26 Contact Cleaner ( not recommended )
Hoppes No 9 Lubricating Oil
Kroon Sewing Machine Oil
Light Weight Sewing Machine Oil
Marvel Mystery Oil
Mobil 1 synthetic oil
Moebius 941 / 2 (ml) Synthetic Watch Oil (for gear teeth and gear axle bearing points)
Moebius 8300 Watch/Clock Grease (for main spring shaft raceway lubrication)
Radio Shack's "Precision Oiler with Teflon
Silicone Lubricant (Spray Types) ( not recommended )
Synthetic CLP Gun Oil
Tri-Flow with PTFE    not good, dries out in a few months ( not recommended )
Wahl Hair Clipper Oil
WD-40 Penetrating Oil ( not recommended )
White Mineral Oil (Huile Blanche sewing machine oil)

Last updated 01/03/20


Mr. Bones

Quote from: TelePlay on April 22, 2014, 09:23:02 PM
To date, this is a summary of the oils (in alphabetical order) used by those who posted to this topic (a few were suggested twice):

Hoppes No 9 Lubricating Oil
Light Weight Sewing Machine Oil
Marvel Mystery Oil
Moebius 941 / 2 Synthetic Watch Oil
Radio Shack's "Precision Oiler with Teflon
Synthetic CLP Gun Oil
Wahl Hair Clipper Oil
White Mineral Oil
3 in 1 Oil

     I have learned much about the myriad variety of oils/ lubes that are usable on rotary phone dials, from this topic. Thanks to all of you for contributing your experience.

     If I may interject here, I have found that a shot or two of high-quality contact cleaner, then gentle cycling of the dial never seems to hurt, prior to oiling. I use Priority 1, non-corrosive, no residue. Your mileage may vary. I hope this helps some...

Best regards!
   Mr. Bones
      Rubricollis Ferus

Matilo Telephones

I use sewing machine oil too, but the white kind. Huile Blanche as Denis called it. After 25 years the first bottle I bought ran out. So now I have Kroon sewing machine  oil (also for use on fine mechanics).

It does not dry out or gum up after many years in my experience.


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Was searching the forum for info on lubricating an AE dial and came across a post using Tri-Flow so added that to the above list. Anyone using that oil, had success or failure with that oil?

EDIT: Dries out in a few months dramatically slowing dial speed - not good for rotary dials

Dave F

Quote from: TelePlay on April 26, 2014, 02:48:01 AM
Was searching the forum for info on lubricating an AE dial and came across a post using Tri-Flo so added that to the above list. Anyone using that oil, had success or failure with that oil?

Tri-Flo contains Teflon, and works well on complex mechanical devices that seem to need continuous lubrication.  I have used it for years on my cross-cut paper shredder, and I'm convinced that the life of the cutters has been substantially lengthened.  I have not tried it on a telephone dial but it seems like a reasonable product for that use.



A lubricant I have used for a number of years on many different mechanisms with good results is Mobil 1 synthetic oil.  I save the remainder of the oil in the jug from my oil changes and keep it in a precision oiler. It is easy to clean any excess and it is also a good rust inhibitor.  I have just used it in my AE 40 dial.  I also use it to lubricate electric motors with porous bearings that might become clogged from teflon additives.
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
— Arthur C. Clarke


Have any of you ever tried WD40?  How about automatic transmission oil?  I haven't used them on dials, but I would be willing to do so.  I've had good luck with them on electric fan motors.


Quote from: andre_janew on January 05, 2015, 06:03:01 PM
Have any of you ever tried WD40?  How about automatic transmission oil?  I haven't used them on dials, but I would be willing to do so.  I've had good luck with them on electric fan motors.
Never use WD-40 - it might let the dial work for a short time by virtue of washing off some of the gum on the dial, but over the long term it will attract dust. Actually, the WD in WD-40 stands for water displacement. It isn't a lubricant but a product designed to displace water from a mechanical device.

Sewing machine oil would be a better product to use if looking for something easy to find and while not your best bet, will work.

Incidentally, one of the best to use for fan motors etc. is the blue 3 in One motor oil.

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I just scratched the oil I was using off of the list above

Moving on to another oil, a synthetic clock oil which seems to have the same characteristics a Moebius 941/2.

If anyone else has an oil to add to the list or one to scratch, please post and I will update the above list.


I use a synthetic oil recommended for precision works. I think just about any thin oil will work. I would guess that the new light weight oils being made today have got yo be superior to what was available when the phones were originally manufactured.


The More People I meet, The More I Love, and MISS My Dog.  Dan Robinson


I found a US source for Moebius 941 synthetic watch oil. It's not cheap ($32 plus $10 shipping for 2 ml) but it's quicker than ordering from Europe. My hope is a little will go a long way.  (scroll about 1/3 down the page for used Edit/Find on the page for 941)

I've been using some of the oils on this list but haven't been happy with any of them so went looking for the expensive stuff. This thin oil suggest by some as the best will be my only hope.

The chart below is from the Moebius web site showing the different types of oils by their product number. Not all oils are the same. Just a bit more information for those dealing with this part of restoration.


John   ....   Here's a picture of the oils I use.    Are you referring to the little 2ml bottle of blue colored oil on the left ?   I'm also trying the oil sitting in the bottle in the middle of the picture.    The bottle on the right with the snap on, snap off plastic cap is clock grease.     I use that once in a while on Western / Northern type 6 dials where the larger gear shafts run in the top and bottom gear cage plates.    It helps to quiet the noise generated the type 6 dials when there's wear involved.    Can't go wrong with the Moebius Synthetic oils though.   
I have a telephone technician's manual printed by a Canadian Telephone Company on the east coast, and in the "General Information" part of the manual, it recommends "clock oil" to lubricate dials.
Once  I have the manual scanned, I'll make in available in "PDF" form.      Using clock oil, it would appear, is not a new idea.




Thanks. You certainly have a better knowledge of what to use where an for what.

The oil you pointed out, on the left, is their 9010 oil which according to the Otto Frei site is "Moebius Synthetic Oil 9010 has been the standard general purpose oil in the watch industry for decades" while the same page describes 941 as "    Moebius 941 developed for pallet jewels of mechanical movements is now also recommended by ETA for use on high grade quartz movements. Moebius 941, has a higher degree of oiliness than conventional synthetics and is rated a fine oil while 9415 is rated as a grease"

This site, posted also above, is a great resource to finding out what each Moebius oil by number does or is used for. The 941 seems to be the finest or thinnest and therefore most penetrating of their synthetic oils. These are all geared to watches but could be used for anything. I thought buffing compounds and ultrasonic cleaning solutions were complex. Add top quality oils to that list.

I can see where 9010 or some other oil would work when a dial was taken apart but what I do, ultrasonically clean and oil, means I need an oil that penetrates and lasts. I'm hoping this 941 does that. Everything I've tried so far was too thick to deeply penetrate axle friction points.

The Moebius home page allows one to review their oils, greases and other stuff and the Otto Frie site describes their "typical" uses.

Looking forward to your PDF file.


Here's something I've used recently: Fluid Film.

The opposition towards other lubricants seem to be either because they are dry lube (wears off in a few months), or gum up after awhile. Fluid Film doesn't gum up at all, and doesn't have any solvents, so it isn't dry lube and doesn't wear off. It's also much thicker (more oil-like consistency) than watery WD40.

It's more popular for annual rust protection on vehicle body panels and frames during northern winters; I even used it for winter prep on my truck this year!

I just used it on a #6 dial. Not only does the dial work perfectly now, but Fluid Film doesn't seem to evaporate, disappear, or run after spraying it like other lubricants, it keeps a bead of liquid around the oiling point.

To sum up:

-No solvents, silicone, or teflon
-Corrosion protection
-Does not dry out or turn gummy/tacky
-Stays liquid
-Thicker than other lubricants I've tried
-Does not run or drip easily
-Safe on plastics and rubber

I think I'll be using this for dials from now on!
Christian Petterson

"Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right" -Henry Ford