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Champion 400 blower overhaul?


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Guys,I am fairely new to blacksmithing.I recently purchased an old cast iron forge table equipped with a Champion 400 blower.The gear box of the blower
looked like it has been dry for years.I filled it with oil,and it leaks out into the fan area.The bearings sound a little noisy,and the copper gear that drives the
pinion shaft is worn.I have not had a chance to tear it down yet,but I have several questions.First,are any parts available?What is used for a seal.
Are the bearinge something I can match up at Detroit Ball Bearing?
What type of lube is used?How full should it be?
Also,my fire pot is 4" deep.My tuyree is 3" diameter with clinker breaker.
Does this sound about right?

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You should be able to find bearings and bushings off the shelf by measuring the old ones.

The bronze gear may be a little worn but this isn't a turbocharger, a little wear is okay.

You don't fill the case with oil. You put a few drops in the oiler hole at the top of the case before a session and maybe a drop or two every couple hours as you work.

Plain old 30w motor oil is just fine, non-detergent if you can find it but it isn't critical. You do not need or want to use something really heavy like STP or chainsaw bar oil, they tend to gum up the works.

If it turns, flush it with kerosene and gently work it till it moves freely. Let it drain, put a few drops of oil in it while you turn the crank slowly to distribute it. If it's moving air it's probably okay unless it's making, grinding, crunching, squealing, clanking, etc. sounds. A little rattling from play and such is pretty normal.

There's not a lot you can do to hurt one if you don't force it.


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What he said...;-)

I just overhauled one that had sat unused for about 40 years. The gears had stiff grease in them and there were mud dauber nests in the fan case so everything was stuck. I put diesel in the crankcase and worked it very gently (after removing the wasp domiciles). I flushed and dumped the contents several times until there was no more trash floating out of the gear case. I then blasted the innards with compressed air and liberally coated everything with ATF. At this point, it turned easily and produced lots of blast. Two weeks later, we used it for a full weekend's worth of work at a local folklife festival.

They all leak at the fan case so that is a design characteristic - not a flaw. Just keep puttin a few drops of oil everyday.

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I took mine apart and sanded the blades and the interior casing as well. Because of a slight wobble in the bearings, I took a pair of tongs and twisted each fan blade about .25 inches. It gave the walls that much more clearance and now its almost whisper quiet (unless you REALLY start to crank, then the air blast is very loud!)

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Frosty,that answers alot of my questions,and raises one more question.Is there a seal where the shaft exits the gear box into the fan housing,or is a seal not necessary?

No. You don't fill the case with oil so there's no need for seals at the shafts.

I have a Champ 400 and it "suffered" all the symptoms you describe but it cleaned up nicely and works just fine.

As Mooseridge says you MAY need to tweak the innards a little but only if someone has tried to force it. I did have to move my fan blades maybe 1/8" to clear the case but used the set screw and moved the whole assembly. What I did was loosen the fan blades and put a piece of paste board on either side then bolt the case back together. When I opened it back up the fan was adjusted and I tightened it up. No more rubbing and it moves air a treat.

These things are simple, low tolerance and durable as all get out. They were designed and built in a time when building for a lifetime was the norm.

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I have 3 of these such blowers and mainly use them for demo stuff, my primary blower is electric. 2 of these I bought and worked well, albeit they leak oil. The 3rd made a lot of noise and finally locked up and some of the bearings fell out.

One of our local Saltfork ABA members mentioned that he had rebuilt several of these type blowers so I gave him this one to work on. He put new bearings in it and who knows what else and charged me a sack of coal. He said he greased it and it would not need oil. I'm not sure about that but it works well although it does make some noise that the other 2 don't.

If anyone has a blower that is absolutely past repair, he might be able to fix it. Email for his name/phone number.


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