Summershandy

Greasing universal joints

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I'd like to shoot some grease to my universal joint bearings and have never done so before. I think I can access the front fitting if I remove the parking brake bracket. But the rear on the '54 Pontiac StarChief is not accessible with my grease gun. The driveshaft is turned for the best access. Are there narrow grease gun tips or do I have to remove something? Also noticed the bolts on the brackets are kind of sliced open as if to lock or make a wrench hard to fit. If you look really close at the top bolt you can notice the slice. Suggestions?

 

 

IMG_6975.JPG

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It looks like the spider is installed backwards.  If it was flipped, your grease gun would fit.

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Yes, it does. Back in the day however, it was common for there not to be enough room to get a fitting in to grease universal joints, even when installed correctly, so your local gas station had an adapter like the one on the bottom in this pic labeled "needle-end adapter" It is not a needle-end adapter.

 

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Here is how it works. Your air-powered grease gun has a standard fitting like the one on the upper right, that would not reach the universal joint fitting. The large barrel-shaped right side of this thing they are calling a "needle-end adapter" has a zerk inside. You pull that outer barrel back, and snap the fitting on the zerk, then a spring on that barrel pushes it back around your fitting, locking it in place. The long tip of the adapter is concave, so that if you push it up against the tip of the zerk on the universal joint, It will sort of seal. You have to hold it up against the zerk tightly while you squirt the grease in, because you are the only thing holding it there. This actually works pretty well on an air powered grease gun. I have never tried one of these on a hand-powered gun. I imagine it would be a little like trying to do calligraphy while riding a mechanical bull.

 

If that adapter wont get the job done because it is still too big around to get a straight shot at the zerk fitting on the universal, then you need an actual needle adapter. These seal around the inside of the little hole, and either the grease or some part of the needle pushes the little ball out of the way. Be sure it is a grease needle for zerks, as other types of grease needles exist. The best of them have a tip at the universal joint zerk end that looks about like this:

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Warning: this one may get grease on your hair, the cat, the neighbor kids, the ceiling, and any birds that might be flying overhead.

 

Have fun :)

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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9 hours ago, Bloo said:

Warning: this one may get grease on your hair, the cat, the neighbor kids, the ceiling, and any birds that might be flying overhead.

Tell me about it....I haven't greased since I was a teen and forgot how much fun it was! ?

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I found a needle adapter in stock at the local parts store. It even advertises for use with tight fitting spaces like universals. I'll also remember when it comes time to replace the spider, not to install it backwards. Would have never known. Thanks gang!

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14 hours ago, Mark Shaw said:

It looks like the spider is installed backwards.  If it was flipped, your grease gun would fit.

 

Nice catch...............Bob

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Good advice here. Also grease nipples come in different lengths and angles. Long ones are especially handy in uni joints, as are 45 degree extensions. Bring them out to a point where your standard grease gun fits correctly. The little extra weight isn't noticeable in the balance of the shaft. I keep a collection of used nipples of odd sizes and angles. (No parts stores nearby).

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18 hours ago, Bloo said:

Have fun :)

Didn't know how to take that Bloo....I picked up the needle adapter and after wasting much grease and a shot that just missed me, I found the fit at the needle tip is hit or miss. I took the needle to the bench vise and narrowed it out some to fit deeper into the nipple. Voila, hold it tight and hit it hard! The fun was pumping it but that's what your chest is for, your second or third hand if you will....so ya, I had fun! Thanks.

 

4 hours ago, Bush Mechanic said:

Long ones are especially handy in uni joints, as are 45 degree extensions

I wish I could have done a swap but not even a wrench would fit without dismantling the joint. When I change them one day I will remember. I too keep zerks kicking around. 

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