View Full Version : grease zerks

Viseras lawn service
09-19-2007, 11:50 PM
Hey guys had a question about clogged or non working grease zerks.

some times on our backhoes or skidders, you get those few zerks that dont want to take grease. Sometimes its just the zerk that is clogged other times its the actual hole where the grease zerk screws into.... what is the best way to clean this crud out of them besides pulling the pin out completely?

or is that the only way? ive tried compressed air, which works some times, but most of the time it ends up in having to pull the pin, degrease it, and put it back in with a new zerk.. which is a PITA.:cry:

09-20-2007, 12:39 AM
I don't know why it would be a PITA. The zerks on my Exmark are threaded into place. It takes a minute to remove, clean, and rethread. Are they not threaded on your equipment?

09-20-2007, 01:07 AM
If a zerk on my old loader wouldn't take grease, I tried replacing the grease fitting first. Pretty easy so far.

If that didn't work, there's a good chance that the bushing has spun, so that the grease can't get to the pin because the hole in the bushing ain't lined up with the grease fitting. Had this happen once when I was running used machines and still learning about the importance of grease.

With the bucket pivot on the front of the loader, it wasn't too bad to fix: pull the pin, pull the zerk, drill a new hole in the bushing, clean (carefully) and reassemble. Not too bad if you can get to it easily. If the same thing had happened on the back end of the machine, now that would definitely be considered a PITA.

RockSet N' Grade
09-20-2007, 01:09 AM
I have found the easiest way to go about that whole deal is buy an abundant supply of zerks and carry them with you. When one clogs, unscrew it and replace it. End of story. Super easy, super fast.......On another note, one of the reasons I have found zerks to plug or become non-functional is that they are not being used/greased on a regular basis. It is easy to see that on a piece of equipment that is just run by an employee.....they sometimes hit the easy ones, but seldom hit the ones that are not so easy to get to.

09-20-2007, 07:31 AM
before pulling the pin and tearing everything apart put some heat on it, and while hot add some more grease,

09-20-2007, 08:04 AM
I also carry a box of different sized zerks with me. I grease daily, and if one clogs, unscrew it, clean the area in the bushing with a pick or small screwdriver, and screw in the new zerk. It only takes a few minutes.

Sometimes the bushing will get in a bind, and if you have someone move whatever part of the machine that you're trying to get grease to back and forth, that usually works unless the zerk is damaged or clogged.

By the way, I use Lincoln battery powered grease guns. They aren't cheap, but they're priceless to me, and one of my favorite tools. It beats pumping or messing with a compressor.

Brad Ent
09-20-2007, 08:26 AM
I agree with yardmanlee, put some heat on it.
Also, you can try moving the joint into a different position (move bucket or boom in/out, up/down) while applying grease.

09-20-2007, 09:08 AM
Sometimes the bushing will get in a bind, and if you have someone move whatever part of the machine that you're trying to get grease to back and forth, that usually works unless the zerk is damaged or clogged.

Yeah, definitely try to spin the bushing back around before you tear it down and drill it out. Good call.

09-20-2007, 07:10 PM
GREASE! Especially those closest to the ground, for example the lower bucket pins, there always in the muck. The above methods work very well, I've found a high pressure method that's works extremely well...a Porta-Power. You'll have to undo the end and screw a 1/8" nipple in the end or adapt to the thread size where the zerk resides. Your basically pushing the hydraulic fluid from the Porta_Power itself through the hole where the zerk was. Sometimes you'll need heat, but that is very rare.

Dirt Digger2
09-20-2007, 08:19 PM
i dont like using heat, i usually catch something on fire...but i usually am on the site and dont have access to heat...a lot of times if you just hop in the machine and reposition the peice you are greasing it will except grease...like if you are greasing the front bucket and it is curled and something wont take grease, grease the fittings that will and then dump the bucket and try again on the ones that wouldnt take it. Also if you have the bucket on the ground sometimes pressure on the pins wont allow grease in...i usually grease my machines with the pressure off of the implement then put pressure on and put a few more shots into the pins that have the pressure on them.

09-20-2007, 09:52 PM
While we are on the subject of greasing !!!!!! I hate it when they put the zerk on the bottom of the pins instead of the tops.The grease always comes out around the bottom of the pin first before it gets to the top.

Don't the engineers know grease, oil ,doesn't run up hill ????? Even i can figure that one out ! Don't take no rocket scientist.Law of gravity here i would think?:rolleyes:

Some will say they are more protected! I would wether have to change or fix a broken zerk now and then then to have dry pins around the top part where they will wear faster because of the grease not getting up around the top of the pin.

Plus get tired of a hand full of grease all over everything trying to get the grease at the top !!!!!!!:walking:

gammon landscaping
09-20-2007, 11:10 PM
well i know that i will get flack over this but it does clean them holes really well, if you unscrew the zerk and try all the before metioned things with no sucess and it is not in a place that would make taking the pin one practical. a electroinic blasting cap fits perfictly in the 1/8 pipe hole. just unscrew place in blasting cap hide around the other side of the machine and fire it. the reason for hiding is not so much flying metal but flying grease. we have done it a time or two on our old 941b's lower bucket pins. it doesn't hurt the machine, if a blasting cap breaks it then a rock would have distroyed it tomarrow.

09-20-2007, 11:57 PM
if the bushing does turn, you can pull the pin out along with the jerk. then drill a new hole through the opening for the jerk and through the bushing.

09-21-2007, 06:56 PM
I have a tool that is loaded with light weight machine oil, like 3 n 1. You put it on the fitting and wack it with a hammer. It injects oil into the joint breaking up the hard grease. When it breaks loose, grease as usual. Works about 90 percent of the time.

RockSet N' Grade
09-21-2007, 08:56 PM
XcopterDoc.....where did you get it, and what's it called?

09-21-2007, 09:30 PM
Ditto, I would also be interested.

09-22-2007, 12:25 AM
Here you go: http://www.alemite.com/catalog/details.aspx?identifier=accessories_fittings_jointcleaners

gammon landscaping
09-22-2007, 12:29 AM
northeren sells them

09-22-2007, 12:13 PM
Yup.. thats the one. I think I got mine from NAPA years ago.

09-22-2007, 08:16 PM
Works sometimes, but I mostly like to unscrew the fitting, take a pick and remove any hard packed grease, and try the new fitting. If this doesn't work, and there is space, then I thread in a short pipe nipple, or combination of elbows and nipples, until I get the pipe running vertical. Then I take a penetrating oil known as KROIL, and fill the pipe and cap it. Then every time you get on the machine, or just walk by it, refill the little reservoir with KROIL, and soon, you will see the penetrating oil seeping out of the bushing or part in question. Then rinse out with the porta-power and jack oil. There is also another way that is dangerous, but cheaper than buying a porta-power. Use this knowledge AT YOUR OWN RISK! Take a piece of hose and plumb hydraulic pressure into the grease fitting that you have prepared with the above penetrating oil treatment. Cover the fitting with rags, wiretie the hose securely, cover with more rags, and also cover anywhere you might think hydraulic oil might squirt out if and when the fluid starts to flow. Also, if you are doing this, use fittings and hose that are pressure rated to your machine's rated output. Start the machine, and actuate the port that is plumbed into the fitting. If no flow at first slowly cycle the affected joint, working back and forth. Generally this will get hyd fluid moving through the fitting, lubing the joint. After you get hyd oil through, grease is easy. All of this works best if you have an operator in the machine, an observer behind a sheet of plexiglass, and the OSHA man nowhere in sight! Remember that hydraulic oil, hot and under pressure can inject itself under the skin, causing serious injury or death, so work safe and smart!

09-23-2007, 07:41 AM
I like to live on the edge but opening a high pressure hydraulic circuit to try to punch out a frozen zerk seems a little risky. I think I'll pass.

09-23-2007, 11:16 AM

RockSet N' Grade
09-23-2007, 04:39 PM
I have been shot before with blazing hot hydraulic fluid in the middle of summer strapped inside a skid steer with nowhere to go from a broken hose........that was bad enough, but to actually set up a system that could harm me for a clogged zerk fitting just doesn't feel right to me. If my zerk was that buggered up that I had to even think of a high pressure system to clean it out.........off to ye-ole-mechanic she would go.

09-23-2007, 09:31 PM
I said be careful. In about 20 years of mechanic experience, I have never gotten more than a few mashed knuckles, because I try to think of everything that CAN go wrong! Being human, I assume that sometime or other the unexpected will happen, that's why I said to tie the hose down, and cover the expected exit area with rags, and to have any observer behind a shield! Do yourselves a favor, and read the post, meanwhile I'll be waving at you WITH ALL TEN FINGERS!:waving: