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How To Grease Sealed Ball Joints in 2021 – Easy DIY Instructions

Wondering how to grease sealed ball joints or zerk fitting? The simple technics are discussed below in this article.

Ball joints are in constant motion whenever your vehicle is in motion. Furthermore, they are in place to ensure you do not have to steer with too much effort.

So your ball joints must remain in good shape for as long as possible. A reliable way to make sure your ball joints are perfect is greasing them as at when due. As such, this post will educate you on the appropriate way to grease sealed ball joints.

How do the ball joints work?

The car’s suspension system is connected to the wheels by the ball joints. It’s what enables both components to move together. A ball joint is no different from a pivot. They have a huge resemblance to our hip joints.

Ball joints comprise a socket and bearing stud that fit inside a casing that is lubricated. They are positioned to control the steering knuckles to the control arm, ensuring a solid and free movement within the suspension.

Most cars have a front suspension of lower ball joints only, whereas others have upper ball joints.

Different kinds of ball joints

If you are searching online for this, you will come across so many types. All those types are grouped under two broad categories: Upper ball joints and Lower ball joints.

Why do you need to grease a ball joint?

Every time your ball joint goes into action without the right amount of lubricant, it experiences a certain level of wear and tear.

As you use your ball joint, it accumulates impurities that could reduce the ball joint’s lubricating ability. Rust is another thing that can ruin these suspension parts too.

When a ball joint begins to deteriorate, you notice looseness on the suspension. With more looseness, the vehicle will wiggle more or jolt up and down.

If allowed to continue, that is an act that would eventually cost you more in terms of damages. Therefore, greasing your ball joint is just as important concerning smooth driving and ensuring safety.

Symptoms you need to grease your car’s ball joint.

Certain symptoms show that you need to grease your ball joint. If you notice any of the following, you know it is time to have your ball joint greased;

  • Clunky sounds whenever you move past bumps.
  • Squeaking the suspension anytime is in motion.
  • Drifting to either of the sides when you are supposed to be driving straight.
  • The steering system starts to produce vibrations.
  • Tire wears out unevenly.

Step by Step Instructions on How To Grease Sealed Ball Joints (Without Fitting)

Many people detest the act of greasing ball joints without fitting. That’s because they find the process to be tedious and frustrating.

Fortunately, this task is not as complicated as you think, particularly for those who know what to do. Let’s kick-start this section with the materials needed for this job.

Materials

  • Grease injector needle
  • Grease gun
  • Grease
  • Hose for the grease gun

Step 1: Do A Boot Check

First, take out the tire to enable you to check the boot. The chances are that your boot has accumulated a lot of dust due to how old it is.

You will need a new replacement if the boot is torn. Otherwise, you can proceed with the other processes.

Secondly, you need to prevent the grease from oozing out from the needle by cleaning the boot & joint with a rag. That is necessary to ensure the smooth passage of the grease inside.

Step 2: Grease Gun Preparation

Take your grease injector needle adaptor and snap it on your grease gun. You need a great deal of concentration while doing this, so you do not hurt your fingers. Make sure you tighten your needle injector adaptor.

It would be best if you didn’t tighten it to the point where you cannot open it later. Scan your grease gun to see if the end has a coupler. Can it be adjusted?

If yes, make it a bit lose to ensure the process goes without too much stress. Please, use the grease gun for the injector needle connection. Also, a new injector needle will be preferable.

 

Step 3: Inject The Needle Into The Boot

Since your boot doesn’t have any grease fitting, you can put your inject needle through the boot’s side. This will ease the passage of the grease down the ball joint’s bearing.

Getting this done can be a bit tough due to the tight bear within the boot. In that case, you can apply some extra pressure to get it in.

Step 4: Pump With Grease Gun

Connect your injector needle adaptor to the grease gun hose and pump the grease slowly. Do the pumping for some time, stop, and start again.

Do it consistently till you notice the grease pouring about the boot. Keep a close eye on the boot as you continue to pump.

Continue to pump until you see the boot swell. Be careful not to allow the needle to stick inside the boot.

It would help if you exercised patience while doing this, as it may take some time. With time, you’ll notice the oil coming out of the needle hole.

Step 5: Get The Needle Ejected

Now, you need to get the needle out of the injector. As well as removing the needle injector adaptor, use your rag to clean out any excess grease. Save the needle in its packet for later use.

Step 6: The Drive Test

Just make sure everything is in order before taking the car out for a test drive. Drive it through those bumpy roads, and observe the sound.

Take it back to your garage and check to see if grease is leaking out of the ball joints. Hopefully, if not, congratulations on a job well done.

Step by Step Guide on How to Grease a Zerk Fitting

This one is quite similar to what has been described above, except for a zerk fitting included in this very scenario. So how is this greasing process different from the one above? Let’s see how.

Materials

  • Grease gun
  • Grease
  • Flexible hose
  • And a rag

Step 1: Dust Boost Inspection

The first thing you need to do is check the dust boot for any leakage. If it is not in good shape, the best thing is for you to have it replaced. This is highly necessary to avoid premature failure in the future.

Step 2: Clean The Zerk

The grease you are putting inside should not be contaminated with impurities. That’s why you must clean the zerk fitting properly.

It needs to be bright and shiny before you fix it on the grease gun. Otherwise, change it before you continue with the process.

Step 3: Attach Grease Gun To Zerk

Here, it would be best if you got the grease gun attached to the zerk. Make sure the grease gun fits squarely with the zerk.

Press it down until you hear the adapter grab the zerk; if yours has an adjustable coupler, that makes this stage easier.

Try to make the clamp mechanism a bit lose and make it tight before you start pumping again.

NB: Grease will only come out when the grease gun’s nozzle hasn’t connected with the zerk properly.

 

Step 4: Pump Grease Till Booth Swells

Pump the grease gun slowly and observe the boot as you do so. Your target is to do it till you notice the boot swell. Stop greasing when you have noticed the boot swell.

With more than the required pressure, it is easy to compromise the seal holding the ball joint in position. So, it would be best if you did everything to avoid that from happening.

Step 5: Tilt Coupler Carefully And Detach By Pulling

Carefully tilt the coupler, and it will not be difficult to pull it out. If you do it well, it should come out easily.

You have to do this with a great sense of caution not to end up damaging the zerk. That might just set you back and cost you more.

NB: if your grease gun lacks an adjustable coupler, try getting one. It makes this process easier.

Step 6: Get Rid of Any Excess Grease

Use a rag to clean the boot and the zerk and ensure no excess grease remains. If you are done with that, you can hop into the car and drive around. You are to check if any of the joints are leaking.

Preferably, you should drive the car on rough roads with bumps to see how effective your work is.

Important notes

  • The dust boot must be clean and in good shape before you do anything.
  • Patience is an important virtue that is highly appreciated when you are doing this. It takes some time to grease your ball joints.
  • Get all the old, contaminated grease out before forcing in the new one.
  • Keep an eye on the boot as you pump the grease.
  • Apply some more pressure on your coupler to ensure a tight seal.

Dos and Don’ts

If you want this whole thing to be as quick and painless as possible, you need to ensure you are not breaking any of these unwritten rules;

  • It is not advisable to use your grease gun without a coupler. The coupler simplifies how you use your grease gun.
  • Don’t drill and tap a zerk on a sealed ball joint.
  • Whenever you are pumping the grease into the ball joint, you have to do it slowly. Do not be in a hurry when doing this.
  • Don’t pump any grease again when the boot swells. The pressure must not be more than what is required to keep the seal in place.
  • Do not apply extreme force when removing the coupler. If it is not coming out, keep tilting it till it becomes loose enough to come out easily.
  • Do not test drive the car after you are done without cleaning out every extra grease you can find.

Frequently Asked Questions On How to Grease a Sealed Ball Joints

01. What type of grease is required for ball joints and tie rods?

The type of grease recommended for ball joints and tie rods is the Type LB. It is what is also applied in control arm shafts and U-joints.

However, it would be best if you did not use this grease type on wheel bearings.

02. How long can a greased ball joint last?

Your ball joints would be due for replacement after you drive between 170000 and 150000 miles.

If your ball joint is beginning to show signs of failure and use them like that, you are only endangering your life.

03. Do you need to grease new tie rod ends?

While it is true that brand new tie rod ends are greased from the factory, you are expected to grease them when you want to have them installed.

This is necessary to have the interfacing boot and mating surfaces lubricated.

04. Where can red grease be applied?

They are mostly used in several industrial, automotive, and agricultural applications. If you have open gears and sliding surfaces to deal with, this grease type will be your best shot.

05. How regular should I grease my ball joints?

You can do it every time you are changing your oil. If the said joint does not have any bleed hole, you can do this once in 2 years. Otherwise, do it during every other oil-changing process.

Verdict

That is how you lubricate a sealed ball joint safely. This is an interesting DIY task you might want to try because all the tools required are not far-fetched.

If you follow the instructions that have been spelled out here, you shouldn’t have any problems getting the job done.

Instead, they are easy to get. Save yourself the headache of buying new parts for your car when you grease the ball joints correctly.

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