Paul New’s May 2022 webinar included a section on lubrication, where he spoke about various types of lubrication for Cessna parts. One question was raised about powdered graphite, which the service manual lists as the preferred lubricant for piano hinges on control surfaces. However, powdered graphite can cause galvanic corrosion, and when New was asked if he uses it, he replied, “I have not started any corrosion on any of my airplanes because I don’t use it.”
So what lubricant should be used instead? New said, “I would use Corrosion X. I know it’s not designed as a lubricant, but it actually does a pretty interesting thing. Those piano hinges probably haven’t been lubricated in a while, and there’s likely all sorts of debris in there from the wear and tear. When you put Corrosion X on there, you will find these really dark streamers. That’s all the debris being flushed out by the Corrosion X.”
New continued, “So my suggestion is if your aileron hinges and your trim tab hinges haven’t been lubricated in a while, I would lubricate them with Corrosion X. Work them through their full travel a bunch of times, and then after all that nasty debris stops coming out after a year or so, switch to something like Tri- Flow or LPS 2. Tri-Flow is one of my favorites because it’s a Teflon lubricant. It does better in the elements outdoors. It hangs on a lot better than silicone lubricants. So I will use Tri-Flow in a lot of places.”
Other lubricants listed in the service manual include MIL-7870B, which can easily be substituted with easier to find, better lubricants. “There is a lubricant 7870B that’s in the list. Whether Piper or Cessna, they all call for 7870B, but it’s just a light oil. I bought a gallon of it. I think I probably still have three-fourths of a gallon. It doesn’t stick to anything. It doesn’t last in a little bit of rain. It washes it right off. So anything on that list that calls for 7870B, I consider using Tri-Flow or LPS 2. To me, those are excellent substitutes.”
Elizabeth Gibbs (writer) and Lyle Jansma (photographer) are private pilots and co-owners of a Cessna 172. When they’re not flying above the beautiful Pacific Northwest, they are working hard designing instrument panels for other Cessna owners. To learn more about upgrading your instrument panel, visit sixpackaero.com.