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DrKlahn
DrKlahn, Engineer
Category: Printers
Satisfied Customers: 2006
Experience:  BSci: Electrical Engr., Industrial Engr, and Computer Sci.
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The rollers are making squeaking noise. How do I lubricate them?

Resolved Question:

The rollers are making squeaking noise. How do I lubricate them?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Printers
Expert:  DrKlahn replied 2 years ago.

DrKlahn :

Good evening. Thanks for using JustAnswer, the internet's independent source for answers to questions. I'm XXXXX XXXXX, XXXXXnamed "DrKlahn."

DrKlahn :

disclosure: JustAnswer has no business relationship with Brother, and is not an official support site for Brother products.

DrKlahn :

Please let me know when you're online and ready to chat, and we'll proceed.

Customer:

Thanks. I am online

DrKlahn :

The reason that the manuals do not address the topic of lubrication is that lubrication is not recommended. Traditional oleate lubricants attract and hold paper dust, which is remarkably abrasive. The result of lubricating printer rollers with oil is quickly a messy, abrasive wad of paper dust that invariably drops off into the section of the printer where it will cause the most damage.

DrKlahn :

There are only two lubricants safe to use on printer rollers, and they must be used very sparingly. Dry graphite is available at any auto shop. A small tube for two dollars will last a lifetime. If you have access to high-tech equipment, dry powdered Teflon will also do the job, though it is very expensive.

Customer:

Thanks. I have dry graphite but dont know how to access the rollers!

DrKlahn :

That is going to be a problem. Since it is not a recommended procedure, it'll have to be a "best guess" approach. Do you have the service manual for the printer? Not the user manual, the service manual?

Customer:

if it is not recommended then does it mean that I have to contact a Brother authorized service provider? I am assuming it will damage the cogs/rollers if i continue to use it. I looked for the service manual on the web but couldn't find it for this printer model. That's how i cam across your link.

DrKlahn :

The service manual can be purchased as a download for $3 at the following link:

DrKlahn :

http://servicerepairmanuals.net/printers/brother-mfc-7840n-service-manual/

DrKlahn :

The squeaking, though it may be annoying, is harmless. The hard plastic gears will fail long before the squeaking roller is worn down to the point where it is unserviceable. I agree that the noise will drive you nuts after a while, but the rollers are in no danger of failing.

DrKlahn :

If you were to ask my "Why don't they use Teflon sheaves in the rollers?" I'd have to say "Beats me." It would solve the problem completely.

Customer:

Thanks for your advise. Let me try to download it quickly. If it is not recommended, does it mean that Brother either wants me to get service from them or buy a replacement?

DrKlahn :

Ah. Here we get into a different issue. It's so common that I have written up an answer for it already. Let me drop a copy into this session.

DrKlahn :

Except for business-grade workgroup printers, few modern printers are repairable, and fewer are worth repairing. It is unfortunate that printers are now manufactured to a "replace not repair" standard. To understand why this is the case, consider the cold, hard, real-world cost of having a printer repaired.

In most repair facilities there's a two hour shop time minimum charge, with technician time at $US 65/hour. Then comes the cost of parts - figure a $US 50 minimum for parts. The minimum cost of having a printer repaired is $US 180. Then add another $US 40 for shipping if the repair must be sent off to be fixed at a regional repair center outside your local area, for a total of around $US 220.

The rule of thumb for repair vs. replace is repair only when the repair cost is less than 2/3 of the cost of replacement. Therefore, if you can buy a replacement printer for $US 300 or less, you're better off with a replacement printer.

There may be an escape hatch on the warranty, however. If you purchased the printer with a credit card (American Express and Visa are good on this), many cards double the manufacturer's warranty up to one additional year. If this might apply, check your cardholder's benefits flyer. If this does apply, contact your card supplier at the number in the benefits flyer to have the printer replaced or refunded.

Otherwise, the best choice is to purchase a replacement printer. In most cases, ebay is a good source for replacements. Used, refurbished and NOS ("New Old Stock") printers are generally available for all printers made within the last ten years. An identical replacement has several advantages:

1. Continue using the same printhead or toner cartridge (assuming it is removable, of course) and keep the replacement's unit as a spare.
2. Use up the ink / toner cartridges from the old printer.
3. Continue using any expendable supplies such as ink tanks or toner cartridges from the old printer.

4. Eliminates the need to remove existing printer software and replace it with different software -- always an "iffy" issue.

DrKlahn :

Since it would cost in the $200 range to send the printer off to Brother for repair, and you can buy three new printers for that money, I would have to say that repair is uneconomic.

DrKlahn :

Does your graphite have an extended needle attachment for the tube? This is a needle four to six inches long, and it makes lubricating hard-to-access parts considerably easier.

Customer:

Thanks. I will check the lubricant tube. Anyway, I will buy the manual and see what it says! Thanks for your help. You have earned your fee! Goodnight.

DrKlahn :

It is my pleasure. Can I assist you further tonight, on this question or any other computer-related topic?

Customer:

No thanks, XXXXX XXXXX are an expert in refrigerator repair also!

DrKlahn :

Alas, Freon is not within my domain. However, we do have experts in that area, and they will be glad to help you with refrigerator woes.

DrKlahn :

I thank you for using JustAnswer, and I wish you a pleasant evening.

DrKlahn, Engineer
Category: Printers
Satisfied Customers: 2006
Experience: BSci: Electrical Engr., Industrial Engr, and Computer Sci.
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DrKlahn
DrKlahn
Principal Systems Engineer
741 Satisfied Customers
BSci: Electrical Engr., Industrial Engr, and Computer Sci.