Windmill Maintenance

Windmill Maintenance

A windmill is a very simple machine and requires very little maintenance. The best thing you can do for your windmill is listen to it. Any unusual sounds should be investigated right away.  If a windmill makes noise, there is something wrong!

Windmill Book

There is a great book that you will find very helpful if you have the Aermotor 702 style windmill. It is sold to help fund the windmill museum and it is a great resource.

THE 702 MODEL WINDMILL ITS ASSEMBLY, INSTALLATION AND USE by T. Lindsay Baker is a comprehensive how to on the assembly, installation and use of the Aermotor 702 water pumping windmill. You can call the museum at 806-747-8734 or order the book online.

Inspection and Oil Change

The windmill should have a yearly inspection and oil change. An old windmiller once told me that an easy way to remember to change the oil is to send your wife up the tower each year on her birthday to service the windmill. Back in the “good old days,” the Aermotor Windmill company gave you a double-sided card to hang on your barn wall to record the oil changes.

Windmill Oil

Windmills use a very thin non-detergent oil. The non-detergent oil is critical as it allows dirt to settle to the bottom sump in the gearbox. Detergent oils carry the dirt and allows the dirt to build up and plug small passageways such as the oil collector. We only use 10 weight non-detergent oil.

Windmill Size and Oil Amounts

On the front of the Aermotor style windmills you will find a letter code that tells you the size of the windmill.

Siz Code Oil
6 foot X 1 Quart
8 foot A 2 Quarts
10 foot B 2 Quarts
12 foot D 1 Gallon
14 foot E 2 Gallons
16 foot F 2 Gallons

 Safety First

Make sure you have all the proper safety equipment and understand how to use that equipment before you climb the tower. You should never work on a windmill alone. Always have one or more people on the ground to assist you. Windmills and windmill towers can be very dangerous. Don’t risk death or injuries while working on or near a windmill.

How To Change the Oil on a Aermotor Style Windmill

  1. Turn off the windmill and make sure it is secured. Do not work on windmills if the wind is blowing or expected to blow.
  2. Check all the nuts and bolts on the tower before you climb and as you ascend. Look for any loose or damaged tower components including below ground anchors.
  3. Visually inspect the windmill system and check all nuts and bolts for tightness.
  4. Remove the nut on top of the windmill helmet. Be careful not to drop the nut or washers as you remove the cover.
  5. Remove the drain plug on the front of the gear box and drain the oil into a proper container. If you notice water in the used oil, locate the source of the water penetration.
  6. Fill the gear box with a solvent to flush containments if needed.
  7. Check the oil ring and spout washer to make sure they are not broken or damaged.
  8. Replace the plug and fill with oil as noted.
  9. Replace the cover and be careful not to over tighten the top nut and dent the cover.
  10. Grease the mast pipe if it has a grease fitting.
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