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proper front-end greasing

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  • proper front-end greasing

    The most pleasurable of all stude jobs (greasing the front end) is not going well. Somewhere I read that gease must come out of the thrust bearing, and to do this the car must have the suspension loaded or perhaps unloaded, I can't really remember. I did some searches on the forum , greasing, kingpins, kingpin greasing but can't find the info. Looked in the factory service manual, no answer again. Am I imagining this?? When I try greasing the kingpins all kinds of grease comes out between the steering knuckle and lower support, but nothing out of the thrust bearing. I've tried greasing with the suspension loaded and unloaded, heat and no heat. When the suspension is unloaded, I have no problem turning the outer housing of the thrust bearing leading me to believe there must be some grease in there.

    1. Am I greasing this area properly?
    2. Do I have any concerns if I can turn the thrust bearings by hand?

    Another problem I encountered today was greasing the lower outer pins. There are 4 grease points here, 3 took grease,one would not, no matter how hard I squeezed the grease gun. Tried some heat, and some grease came out of the zerk, but still could not get any in. Looking at the shop manual it looks like the path the grease would travel would be through the threads of the bushing and outer pin. Is this correct? Why can't I get grease to flow through this area? Any suggestions? If worse came to worse, wouldn't the bushing seize to the outerpin, causing the bushing to rotate in lower control arm? I checked the bushing tightness in the control arm and it does not move, so I think I'm okay there. Once again do I have a concern?

    Thanks in advance, any help is appreciated. I'm really want to get the car back on the road...should have new tires this week, still waiting for the zddp, and want to get this lube job done properly. Junior
    sigpic
    1954 C5 Hamilton car.

  • #2
    For the kingpin thrust bearings, I'd go with unloaded, unless the cork seal at the bottom of the kingpin has been replaced with a nice tight "O" ring. Since you see lots of grease coming out the bottom, that's probably not the case. The grease will take the path of least resistance. I'd suggest using a C-clamp or a chain and crowbar to create as much pressure between the lower face of the steering knuckle and the face of the lower trunnion as you can. Then apply heat to the casing of the thrust bearing. Don't get it red hot, but hot enough that it smokes some. That should soften the old grease inside. Then apply the grease gun, and try again. You may have to repeat the whole process several times.

    On the lower outer bushing; yes the grease passes through the threads. Again, heat is your friend. Not red hot, but hot enough to melt grease. Might help to get the gun on the Zerk, and have a helper jounce the car while you operate the grease gun.

    Once you have grease going through all the grease points, drive the car a few miles, and repeat the grease job. Next go-round should be easier. The factory called for 1000 miles intervals between grease jobs; every month or so for a car in daily use. The grease got flushed out before it had a chance to harden up. Many Studebakers probably never got such frequent service, and stored cars might go for decades without a grease gun coming near them. (mine included)

    Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands
    Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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    • #3
      The front end should be greased with the wheel unloaded. On the zerk you could remove it and try a new one. While it is out run a piece of weld wire in the hole and see if the grease is packed inside, but usually it is the in the zerk that the ball is rusted solid and frozen in position.

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      • #4

        On my Avanti i have to remove the lower A frame zerk nuts (supported with a ball joint jack) and then put the grease gun on...nothing else worked,but this is getting old fast. this on the lower drivers side.



        quote:Originally posted by Alan

        The front end should be greased with the wheel unloaded. On the zerk you could remove it and try a new one. While it is out run a piece of weld wire in the hole and see if the grease is packed inside, but usually it is the in the zerk that the ball is rusted solid and frozen in position.

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        • #5
          Since the front end of my 54 Coupe does not get greased at the factory recommended intervals, I try to make sure its greased at least once every 5 years, whether it needs it or not. I wait till Summer when its in the 100 degree range for a week or two. Then I grease the livin' daylights out of it till grease is coming out of the top of the kingpin. Once the grease is up there, its good to go for as many miles as I care to drive it for several years. If the grease in yours is so crusty that it won't soften, then it may be time to drop the lower control arm and clean that sucker up. Its not as difficult as you may think. Just pull the nut off the bottom of the kingpin, and with a chain around the spring for saftey, use a floor jack under the lower control arm and jacks supporting the frame, drop the lower arm with a few raps from a heavy hammer on the kingpin. Keep track of any shims and watch the bearing while you pull it apart. I used a brass wire brush to clean it up. It does not need to be spotless, just enough to make a path for the new grease. Putting it back together is only slightly tricky as you need to align the keyway as you raise the control arm into place. Replace the nut and cotter pin and you're done.
          One thing to consider.... once you get the kingpin apart, its the perfect time to pull the springs out and cut them down a couple coils to lower the front end. Just a thought, eh? When I pulled mine apart to cut the springs, I had both sides done in a couple hours, and that included cutting the springs.

          sals54
          sals54

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          • #6
            If you follow Sal's advice, at that point you might as well drop the upper bearings in a coffee can full of Diesel fuel (everyone has one, right?) to break up the old crusty grease. Also replace the cork gasket at the bottom, either with a new one, or with an O-ring with a little bit snipped out of it to provide a path for some grease to exit.

            nate

            --
            55 Commander Starlight
            http://members.cox.net/njnagel
            --
            55 Commander Starlight
            http://members.cox.net/njnagel

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            • #7
              thanks for all the suggestions. Remember, I'm in the frozen climate, yesterday, well yesterevening it was a warm 2 degress C, that's probably about 35 F, anyways grease was probably a little stiff. I don't think I'm going to get too concerned here, at least not yet as I can easily rotate the outer casing of the thrust bearings with my fingers and the suspension in full droop mode, so I'm hoping thats a good sign. With the suspenion unloaded and the wheels off I can manually grab the rotors and move the steering lock to lock with little effort, so I'm sure nothing is seized. I'm going to take Gord's suggestion and somehow clamp the knuckle and lower support together, and then try greasing. As for the lower outer pins and bushings, I tried to remove the zerk, but it felt like it was going to break off, but i really don't think its a zerk problem as grease came out of it when I was heating the pin, so I figure if grease can come out it must be able to go in. Lower it sals54, did you say LOWER it, hey I'd be messing with my life as my wife will do me in if I even mention the words around her, she has put up with lowered vehicles for the last 30 years, her only stipulations with me and my vehicles are no lowering, and no Gassers (sob, sob), besides my 54 sits okay because it still has the champion springs on the front, and the new rear diff perches I put in it last year lowered the rear about 1", but don't tell her. regards, Junior



              54 Champ C5 Hamilton car.
              sigpic
              1954 C5 Hamilton car.

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