Saturday, May 22, 2010

#17 - What to do with flood-drenched machines - Part 2

As we talked about last issue, we’re trying to help those folks who need to get their machines running again…but not just ‘get them running’ but KEEP them running, with minimal damage.

If you have someone whose machines have been submerged in the flood water, please let them know about this week’s column and if they need to see Part 1 (last week’s column) send me an email and I will forward them a copy. Also, about a month ago, I answered a question about rusty table tops - anyone who is interested in checking that column out, drop me an email and I will send it out.

Alright, back to business. We were discussing motors and had stopped before we stepped off the cliff and brought up those small brush motors, also known as ‘Universal’ motors. These are your miter saw motors, benchtop planer motors and even your battery tool motors. The design as been time-tested and proven to be a good choice in small tools, but when those tools find themselves under flood water, there is a real choice to make.

Given what we talked about last week- the extremely abrasive nature of flood water- the choices are limited to spending a good amount of time taking the motor apart and cleaning/drying it out, or just replacing the motor. Only you can make that choice, but if you decide to clean/dry it, here are a few things you need to consider. Your motor bearings and all associated bearings need replacing. The commutator/brush mating surface needs to be cleaned with a commutator stone. All of the internal gear grease associated with the motor will need changing. At this point, depending on the size of the affected motor, it might cost less to replace the motor. Obviously, all of them CAN be cleaned, but on the smaller motors/tools…I’d opt for getting a new one.

OK, let’s talk about bearings. A good rule of thumb is: if the bearings are sealed and they were only under water for less than 15 minutes, and they were immediately washed and dried, they might be OK…ALL other bearings need to be replaced. Remember our discussion about the microscopic grit that permeates flood water? I can’t think of anything that will eat up your bearings faster. Just be safe, rather than sorry, and replace all of them.

Hopefully, these two columns have been useful to some of you. If you have any questions or comments please send me an email at: and we’ll see what we can do to help you.
Any views or opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of this newspaper. Neither the author, nor this newspaper, accepts any liability for the content of this article, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.

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