View Full Version : kingpin

04-07-2007, 08:41 PM
On the center of the king pin there is a grease fitting, is it removable? I have started to chip away all the mud on my front end and I am now trying to grease the front end parts. This fitting looks broke. If I am unable to get grease into it the kingpin will go dry and become damaged, I will take all the weight off the front wheels first then try to introduce grease to the fitting.If it is possible to remove it, I will install a fitting before trying.http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v145/mr1940/IMG_0282.jpg

Studebakers forever!

04-07-2007, 08:50 PM
In general, yes. I guess the question is, is *YOURS* removable :) But yes, it is a standard threaded grease fitting, so have at it.

Worst case, you may need to pull the backing plate off and disassemble the kingpin on the car to clean and get fresh grease in there. Sounds like a PITA (and it kind of is) but not really that bad of a job. If you do that you might as well have a new thrust bearing on hand "just in case" your old one still feels crunchy after a good cleaning and a new cork seal for the bottom (or o-ring, if you prefer that.)

If you have hard steering issues that are causing you to tackle this job, I'd highly recommend just biting the bullet and disassembling the kingpins. Old grease can harden in the thrust bearings and keep the rollers from turning and this will dramatically increase steering effort, very noticeable on a car without power steering. A good clean and repack can do wonders.

good luck


55 Commander Starlight

52 Ragtop
04-07-2007, 09:35 PM
Try to "degrease" it steam clean is best, once you get the fitting out, use a Mapp gas tourch, and "warm" up the old dried out grease, the while still "warm" pump in fresh grease. Warming up the spindle seems to get the old grease softened up enough to get pushed out. I bought an air grease gun and use it a lot.


04-07-2007, 10:00 PM
What Jim said!
That king pin looks eminently saveable to me. Wire-brush that zerk (by hand, so as not to scratch the sealing surface), and it may take grease. It should unscrew quite easily, too.

See that fat "washer" about 2" above the zerk? That's the kingpin thrust bearing, and it's a ball bearing designed to carry the weight of the car. It's built like an Oreo cookie, with steel balls instead of white goop. If you grease the car with the weight off the wheel, grease may not make it into the interior of that thrust bearing, and will ooze out beneath it instead, or ooze out the bottom of the knuckle. Use heat, like Jim suggests, but make sure that at least part of the time, you use the grease gun while the wheel is bearing weight. You want the grease to ooze out between the shell of that thrust bearing and it's lower race. The grease will appear to come straight down like a curtain from the bottom corner of the thrust bearing, if all's well. If it's bypassing the thrust bearing, it will appear to ooze out sideways from beneath the thrust bearing, and then curl down. The difference is distinctive, once you learn to recognize it.

I cannot over-stress how important these thrust bearings are. They carry the whole weight of the front end of the car. If tight, you will have hard steering, and the car may wander because the steering will not auto-return to dead center. Get them freed up, and the car will steer very easily.

When applying heat, don't go overboard. Hot enough to make water sizzle is plenty. Red hot wil destroy stuff.

BTW, it looks like you have finned drums on the car. They are becoming scarce. Don't let them get ruined by driving on worn-out brake shoes.

Good luck!

Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

Mike Van Veghten
04-07-2007, 11:18 PM
I agree...it does not appear broken or damaged in your picture. Just full of grease, road grime and maybe some over sprayed undercoating. Clean the area to bare metal and you might be surprised.
Clean the area well and grease the spindle well.


Chucks Stude
04-08-2007, 09:14 AM
If you are trying to grease the car with the wheels on the ground, that may also be a problem. I was always told, and have always greased a stude with the wheels hanging off the ground.

04-08-2007, 10:38 AM
didn't I read that it might help get grease in there by having a helper turn the wheel back and forth a little while greasing it?


John Kirchhoff
04-08-2007, 11:59 AM
If the fitting won't take grease and you can't get the fitting removed, they make a little cylindrical grease gun affair with grease inside that you put on the zerk and then whack the other end with a hammer. You build up more pressure than you ever could with a manual, electric or air powered grease gun. Often times that is enough to get the old dried grease out of the fitting and after that a regular gun will work. Those little whack'em things are pretty common in ag country so you might try an ag implement or heavy equipment dealer. If not, I've seen them advertised in ag publications. If it won't take grease, I'd sure try getting the old one out. When old and/or dry, that top bearing can get pretty bound up and removing it and soaking the bearing in gasoline or diesel fuel is necessary to get it freed up.

04-09-2007, 08:50 PM
KIng pin cleaned up kind of nice, both have good looking grease fittings. It's funny how much mud was on the front end of that car, were there paved roads in 1961? I must have removed about 15 pounds of dirt from both sides, I wuld think that would effect wheel alighnment, wheel balance and front end responsiveness.http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v145/mr1940/IMG_0288.jpg

Studebakers forever!

04-09-2007, 08:54 PM
I think the issue is that nobody ever wiped excess grease off after a lube job, and the dirt all sticks to that and makes this rock-hard paste as you have discovered.

Wha' happen to your sway bar? It does make a difference to have it installed...


55 Commander Starlight

04-09-2007, 11:50 PM
Oh yeah, When you remove the fenders from the hawk the center chasis bolt is the sway bar bolt, I got to the shop late that day and some modern era body man cut the bolt to save time. I had to order new sway bar links and rubber so after I paint the frame I will install them, your right without sawy bars the will rock& roll like chuck Berry.[:p]

Studebakers forever!

04-10-2007, 07:59 AM
So....When are you going to clean off the other 5 pounds of crud?[xx(][}:)]

04-10-2007, 09:24 AM
If you have the "popsicle" sway bar mounts to the frame, which I assume you do from your description, the later 63-64 style mounts will bolt right on and use your existing sway bar. I'd recommend that upgrade as those mounts more securely locate the sway bar. I know repros of those are readily available.

Were you able to grease everything without any major disassembly?

good luck,


55 Commander Starlight