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GREASE IN TRANSMISSION UNIVERSAL JOINT


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Everyone,
 
Larry Schramm and I have been talking about what grease everyone is using in their vehicles for the transmission u-joint.
 
Looking at grease some of the selections we have seen is corn head grease which liquifies when worked, regular "CV" joint grease, and moly-graphite grease. Reading about each, they all have benefits and just OK benefits. 
 
Is there a consensus opinion which is the best grease to use today?  I have attached links to some of the options below.
 
Regards,
 
Terry Wiegand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Terry Wiegand
South Hutchinson, Kansas
 
 
 

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None of the above.  
 

At least not in 1923.  Not sure about other years. Does your lube chart call something out?
 

Per the 1923 manual it is ‘automatically lubricated’ and I would agree.  The rear ‘seal’ of the transmission allows transmission lube to make its way to the U-joint. Each time I have removed the U-joint boot, the joint itself has been well coated in transmission gear lube.  No wear/play present in the joint either. 
 

I run the 600w lube from Snyder’s.  They call it M533.  It’s actually an EP Chevron product.  Good stuff.  Don’t get me started on bronze oxidation. Manufactures have been putting anti oxidation additives in for decades. 
 

As previously discussed this product is heavy enough to allow for proper gear shifting and does a good job of reaching the U-joint too.  Anything heavier will channel and you will have limited lube at the spinning gears and possibly limited transfer/migration to the U-joint. I run it in the differential as well. 

Edited by Brian_Heil (see edit history)
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33 minutes ago, Brian_Heil said:

Anything heavier will channel and you will have limited lube at the spinning gears and possibly limited transfer/migration to the U-joint. I run it in the differential as well. 

Good advice!

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Brian,

I'm pretty sure that I need to clarify some details about the universal joint on my '16 D-45.  This joint is not connected to the internal gear oil of the transmission in any way.  After I got everything disassembled and cleaned up I found that the joint was in remarkable condition.  I also learned that it was a Spicer Universal Joint.  The way that this u-joint is constructed is that there is a cover that fits over the entire joint and a tightening ring on the end to hold it in place.  There is a pipe thread tapped hole on the side of the cover that allows for the cover to accept grease and then a headless slotted pipe plug is put into the threaded hole.  Right now I am leaning toward using the John Deere Corn Head Grease for this application.  When this stuff warms up a bit it becomes somewhat fluid, and I'm not sure that is the word I want to use here.  When it cools it tends to stiffen up and stay put.  I have not filled the joint as of this time.  I want to wait and do that after the rear axle assembly is back in place under the car.  The Reference Manual calls for using Soft Cup Grease in the Universal Joint.  I am thinking that the oils, greases, and lubricants today are light years ahead of what was available back in the day.  Here are a couple of photos that show the u-joint from the rear and the pipe plug on the side of the cover.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

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Terry I was pretty sure yours was different. 

 

What does your lube chart say?

 

If they recommend steam cylinder oil then I would fill with the above M533. If there are leak concerns then I would use the Penrite Steering Gear box lube. 

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The corn head grease actually is not affected by temperature but rather by ‘work’.  It becomes more fluid when squeezed for a better term.  Not sure how much of that is going on in there. 

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Wow, totally different from my 1918. I have a torque ball that allows motion of the torque tube, not like that giant gimbal you have. Inside the torque ball is the much smaller U-joint for the drive shaft. There is no place to lubricate them, the torque ball is automatically lubricated by transmission oil. Not sure how the U joint for the drive shaft gets lubed. 

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Bob,

Thanks for providing that link.  That just cinched it for me - the Corn Head Grease is what it will be.  Here are some photos of the tube and specifications.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

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Corn Head Grease NLGI grade No. 0 looks like just the ticket for your u-joint lube. I see it is formulated not to leak during idle periods. 

 

From the Nye lubricants page. “NLGI grades 000 to 0.  Grease within this NLGI range to continuously replenish the lubricant in the contact zone."

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The ott greases should be right . Double ott NLGI rated is what is used in steering boxes . You can find at your Tractor Supply store , in by the tractor lift and drive shafts . Those look pretty similar to tractor shafts joints .

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OK.  First time that I have ever seen anything like this.  Just proves that a person can learn something new every day.  Now, would you just happen to have one of those for the 1916 Buick Six?

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas  aka  Doo Dah

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Since Buick never even bothered itself to make a ‘Shop Manual’ (though it seems like a stretch to call that a ‘Shop Manual’. Let’s see: “Put it in.” [really? How much?] “Adjust it” [really? By doing WHAT and WHERE?]) until 1922 I’d be very surprised to see a ‘comprehensive’ lube chart as Brian illustrated for the ‘23 for these earlier cars.

Just the more simplistic numbered jobs that turn up in the ‘Reference Book’ as Morgan pictured is all I’ve seen so far.

Would be nice to be proven wrong though.

That’s an interesting chart Brian.

15D4279F-F076-44A3-9F09-7E5284AFB2CA.jpeg

Edited by Ben P. (see edit history)
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Perhaps a better approach might have been ‘my 1916 calls for soft cup grease in the U-joint housing.  What are others using in theirs?’

 

Terry, you have every Buick print for your car along with Walter Marr’s grocery list the day your car was made along with his 5th grade report card but no lubrications chart?  I’m speechless. 😷😷😷

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All,

I think the issue has been cleared up for me at least.  I'm going to go with the John Deere Corn Head Grease and not look back.  For me at least, if Deere and Company says it's OK to use in/on their machinery, then it will be more than OK for me to use.  Brian, one simply cannot argue with documentation.  Happy New Year to you and Christine and Huck and Finn.

 

Terry Wiegand

Out Doo Dah Way

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My instruction manual for D-6 44&45 dated January 1, 1917  on the lubrication chart shows #19 lubrication point.  UNIVERSAL JOINT -  Steam Cylinder oil.  Move car forward or backward until pipe plug in joint comes opposite the offset in the driving ring, then remove the plug and inject oil with a grease gun.  Be sure the plug is put back securely.

 

I agree with substituting corn head grease.  I do favor the use of CV joint grease in many applications, but it is much more expense than Corn head grease.

 

Bob Engle

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My preference is the M533 and if leakage is a concern, the Penrite steering box lube. 
 

Migration is what gets the lube into the tight fits of the yoke bearings.  
 

Corn heads run ~300 RPM, our U-joint ~5 times that.  I would be concerned with the corn head grease being thrown and stuck to the inner wall of the ball and not being worked and fluid and getting where it needs to be.  I’d at least pack it fairly full so you know it’s in contact with the spinning joint and being worked and not just hanging on the walls. Channeling as it is known is a significant consideration in machinery lubrication design. 

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Brian,

That is exactly what I plan to do - put an Alemite fitting in and pump the joint as full as is possible with the Corn Head Grease.  When I took that u-joint apart to clean things up there was evidence that that was exactly what had been done in the past.  The old grease was about like tar.  I had to let things soak overnight in gasoline before I could remove the residue.  I have a Reference Manual for the 1917 Models 44 and 45 that is dated January 1, 1917 (same one that Bob has) and he is correct, it calls for using Steam Cylinder Oil in the u-joint.  I also have a Reference Manual for the 1916 MODELS that is dated June 1, 1915 and that manual calls for using Soft Cup Grease in the u-joint.  This manual is the one that I follow since I know that our car was built in the calendar year of 1915.  This is interesting to say the least as to the reason for the change in about a year and a half.  Brian, thank you for the information that you are providing with regard to lubrication application.  This is how we all learn.  You're the best.

 

Terry Wiegand

Way Out in Doo Dah

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1 hour ago, Brian_Heil said:

And very soon it went to ‘automatic’ lubrication. A design evolution that would suggest it did not get serviced often enough in the prior designs. 

 

I think the E series were the first with the automatic lube:

 

torqueBallLube.jpg

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I was going through photos on another memory card and found this photo that I had taken of the u-joint before it went back on the transmission.  This gives a better idea of the details as to how the cover on the back end is secured.  There is a thick,

heavy felt gasket that covers the back end of the body.  The threaded ring clamp puts pressure on the cup to maintain the grease seal to the solid part of the body.  I thought everyone would like to see what this looks like out in the open.  Note the headless slotted plug that allows for the grease insertion with an Alemite or Zerk fitting.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

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