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Replace turbo bearings?

Posted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 7:16 pm
by Nicker
I received a Pfeiffer Balzers TPU-170, pretty much gifted to me. The controller and turbo work fine with a short test, but both were out of commission since early 2008.
According to the manual I have, the oil should be changed every year/5000 hours, plus the bearings should be replaced if not used for 3 years.
Anyone know where I could get the bearings or equivalent, both sets (Pfeiffer #P4004314DX and #N4001318CT), also the oil TL 011.

Best Regards,

Nick DePasquale

Re: Replace turbo bearings?

Posted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 7:26 pm
by Linda Haile
I could suggest stripping the pump and checking the bearings for numbers. I assume Pfeiffer don't manufacture their own bearings.

Re: Replace turbo bearings?

Posted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 7:29 pm
by Chris Bradley
Change the oil (do an internet search for vac suppliers in your country) and if it works, leave well alone. This is a job for The Skilled and Experienced - mainly because you'll find the bearing kit likely costs 500 (of whatever currency you work in) and you'll probably bodge it (no offence intended...) wasting both 500 and a half-decent pump.

It'll take only a very small amount of oil. It may not need any at all. 2 years unused for a pump made from alloys designed to resist pretty harsh chemicals is nothing really, unless it has had such chemicals on/in it.

Re: Replace turbo bearings?

Posted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 7:36 pm
by Linda Haile
I'd tend to agree with Chris if you are unsure of what you are doing. I would, however, keep an eye out for any signs of wear in the bearings, though.

Bearing failure will make a mess.

Re: Replace turbo bearings?

Posted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 8:01 pm
by Nicker
Nope, I won't disagree with you there. I did find in a search that someone here replaced two bearings from Barden Bearings, costing him over $500 for them. I am confident I can replace them, as the manual has step-by-step pictures with the process, but if I cannot obtain the bearings, why open it up.

You are right with the small amount of oil needed, only 40cc to fill it up after a total flush.
Only thing I could find is that Invoil-S and Diffoil-S, both should be equal to the Pfeiffer TL011 oil.

Re: Replace turbo bearings?

Posted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 8:08 pm
by Doug Coulter
Pfeiffer has sales reps in most countries, so you should talk to your local guy. When I bought my new setups (two) they said the same stuff -- but both turbos have already lasted longer than that with no problems whatever. I figure to buy the rebuild kits someday....but not today. At least one of the pumps has well over both the hours and years on it, no problems, but then again, running fusors is a lot cleaner and easier job than a lot of what these pumps get exposed to -- and they have to recommend something that works for "normal customers". We treat our stuff much better than some wage slave doing semiconductor work would.

Most of what I've seen of their maintenance, they make it pretty easy for a reasonably skilled person to do -- they even provide special jig tools in their kits.

Interestingly, my rep mentioned that the ultradry forepump I got will need rebuilding long before the turbo it backs, I did buy a rebuild kit at the time of original purchase, and it's still sitting on my shelf. One of the very first things I did for both systems was program them for intermittent forepump run, based on how much power the turbo was drawing, and this means the forepump really doesn't run much, even leaving the systems on 24/7 -- this is a big deal for me as I'm running off the grid on mostly solar power, and it's the forepumps that draw the most net power.

Pfeiffer can be a pain to deal with direct -- they are very Austrian, everything in triplicate, sent back and forth a couple of's far cheaper than buying their stuff from some vacuum system aggregator so for me it was worth all the RFQ's, PO's and so on.

Upshot for me is: It ain't broke, and I ain't fixing it if it ain't. The kit with bearings is not that expensive (compared to just the oil) so if and when I need that, I'll get it then, until that point in time, I'll just run the things.

Along with the super Spellman supplies, these are the gems of my systems -- they just plain work, day in and day out, no problems despite some occasional abuse.

Re: Replace turbo bearings?

Posted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 9:36 pm
by Linda Haile
Nick, if you can identify the bearings you will probably get them for less than $100. Depends what your priorities are.

Re: Replace turbo bearings?

Posted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 10:19 pm
by DaveC
Excellent advice all around, Nick.

The only tidbit I could add, is to listen carefully when the pump is operating.... Best is to valve off the roughing pump and then shut down... and listen for bearing noise... a rushing or singing sound... is a sign of some level of wear, and possibly needing service, at some point. Good bearings will be nearly inaudible.

But squealing or loud noises, is obviously cause to shut down quickly. A seize up while at high speed, will quite likely ruin the pump.

Taking it apart to service it, requires some very careful preparation, and the proper replacement parts, and quite a good helping of patience.

Dave Cooper

Re: Replace turbo bearings?

Posted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 2:01 am
by Jerry Biehler
I just replace the oil cartridge in my TPU-071. It has been sitting over 3 years and it is running fine.

The only thing I can think of is Pfeiffer is worried about oil depositing something in the races.

I think the oil cart is something like $70.

Re: Replace turbo bearings?

Posted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 6:00 am
by Nicker
Well, first thank you Lyn for offering the bearings, sound much better then the 500$ for two bearings. But as other said, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. I will keep a sharp ear on the turbo now for any noises or signs that the bearings might be worn and going. I have always been one for fixing things that aren't broke, in my mind it is always preventive maintenance. As said, considering the abuse these pumps are made for, and the abuse we do not expose them too, the times I will use the turbo should be a walk in the park. Now I'll just find the oil, or equivalent, change that and keep it going from there.

Thanks for the sound advice all.

ps. for future search help, if anyone stumbles onto this looking for the manual, it can be obtained here: ... %20170.pdf