Windmill central lubrication - no resistance

Hi everyone! It´s great to be here at Briar Press, amongst so competent printers. I´ve been reading and learning from many of your post the last year, and this site is an enormous help to me.

I´m a newbie in letterpress so to speak. My studio is almost ready, and my presses, a Heidelberg Windmill 1953, a Vandercook 4 and an Asbern proof press, are more than ready to be brought to life again.

I´m having trouble with the central lubrication on my windmill. The handle in the rear doesn´t offer any resistance when I pull it. I think I pulled it 50-60 times, but no.. Light as a feather. I´ve noticed that the oil container underneath the lever is full.

When I pull the lever when the press is shut down, I can hear the sound of small bubbles of air.. Any ideas what I can do to fix this problem?


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Pull the lever and hold it for 5-10 seconds. Then release and pull again. See if that helps.


The Windmill should be running than you do this, you should see oil coming out the base and see oil on the axle of the occilating ink drum. Mine had 4 cloaked caps, now everything is fine.

That line on the oil glass means not to let the oil go below it, for years i thought it was a line to fill to. Dick G.

Thank you for the respons. Typenut, I don’t see any oil coming out of the base at all, only bubbles of air when I pull the lever. If the caps are cloaked, how do you clear them out? My guess is that there must be something wrong between the fill cup and the lever-pump.. What do you think?

Disconnect the oil pipe exiting the pump. Remove the 4 screws holding the top of the pump on. Remove the top and pump assembly. Make sure that there is no debris in the pump or at the bottom of the reservoir. Reassemble and fill with oil. leave the oil pipe off and see if the pump functions. If so, reconnect the pipe and see if the oil gets to the ink oscillator bearings as mentioned in an earlier post. If not, then you may have a problem in the distributors under the ink fountain. You can email me if you need to get instructions on how to clean the distributors out. Do not run the press if the oiler does not work. There is an oil line that goes to the pump crank bushing on the pump side of the press. If this bushing seizes up, you are in for an expensive repair.