What's with my grease gun?


What's with my grease gun?
Is lithium grease what I should be using, say for tie rod ends and ball joints?
If there is leftover brown grease in the gun already, do I have to clean every little bit out to use the lithium, or will it mix together all right?
I cleaned it pretty well, put in a lithium tube, and after I released it, somehow the plunger when almost all the way down. Is the new grease too thin for the old tube, and now all the grease is behind the plunger instead of being pushed by it? I pump the lever and get no resistance and nothing comes out of the tube. I'm going to check what's going on inside, but I want to do it outside and it's dark out until morning. :)
Details if needed: I got a grease gun at a yard sale, with a hose, and there seemed to be no more grease in it, including when I opened it up.
So I got a tube of lithium grease. It wouldn't go in until I took the plastic cover off of the one end, so the grease gun diameter isn't very excessively big. I pulled out the plunger and latched it, put in the tube, screwed on the head, released the plunger, and it went part way down. I pumped the lever, and when nothing came out, I pushed on the plunger a bit and with almost no effort on my part, it went half way down. But still the lever worked just as badly. I pushed a bit more and the plunger went all the way down. I pulled and it came all the way back.
I don't want
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mm wrote:

Don't know, can't see it from here... :)

That's fine...

Depends on what the old grease is...lithium and moly generally won't mix well and can turn into a non-lubricating mess with certain types.

Did you also remove the seal from the other (rear) end of the tube? Could be the pump mechanism wasn't working was why the gun was in the garage sale to begin with.
The rod (on most decently made guns, anyway) _should_ go on in, it's not rigidly attached to the plunger, only on the front so it can pull it back for loading.
Could also be dry grease has blocked the exit somewhere, may simply have an air pocket you've got to pump out, ...
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That's it. The rod went in but didn't take the plunger with it. The plunger was stuck trying to get all of itself into the cardboard sleeve that the grease came in.
I worked the pplunger into the sleeve, but after that, I couldn't pull the rod out far enough to latch on the back plate. So I had to screw on the head while the plunger was being pushed into the grease. I lost 10 tablespoons' worth, that came out evenly around the circumference where the head screwed on, and I couldn't see the threads because of that, so it took extra times and the losing of extra grease.
But I got it, and at the rate I use grease, I won't have to go through this for another 10 or maybe 59 years.

I pumped enough lithium through that I got most of the brown (which I guess is called red) grease out. Indeed what overflowed from my outer tie rod end was all lithium.
Thanks a lot.
I also have two zerk fittings on the '69 Honda I'm trying to get to run, and they seem to be clogged, but they have no flat sides and I think they don't unscrew. Can they be clogged and how would I unclog them.
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mm wrote:

Toss it, the thing is junk. Buy a decent grease gun, some lube tubes and READ THE LABELS and follow directions.

No. Both need a high pressure grease. Litrhium is best for low pressure applications that may be subject to water, like boat trailer bearings. Moly greases are better for higher stresses.
<snip>
Hope this helps.
Joe
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Joe wrote:

Depends on the formulation of the grease--moly greases are a comparatively recent thing, so while they are common now there are lithium formulations as well that are fully suitable for the application. We're still using a lithium-based grease on all vehicles and farm equipment and have been using this particular formulation (from a large farmers' co-op) for nearly 30 years and have never had a lubrication failure in all that time.
There are other lithium greases (like some of the white greases) that aren't suitable so I shouldn't have made the blanket "yes" but qualified it w/ a "depends", but I was thinking of similar greases as that am using. (It's a nice bright blue, btw, the same Co-op's common moly is a pretty golden color :) But, mix the two together and it turns into an ugly brown near solid gritty-feeling gel that gets very hard and the net result is worse than not lubricating at all. :( ).
The compatibility problem is the prime reason I continue to stick exclusively w/ the lithium-based--not having multiple products on hand is part of it, but the biggest reason is a hand can't use the wrong one on a $150k piece of equipment if there isn't anything but "the right stuff" in the oil house.
So, out of curiousity since I've continued w/ the same product for so long (simply because it was doing the job, why change?), and I've not really looked at what's happening overall although I do know there's a transition to other products even at the local Co-op, a quick DAGS from the Lubrizol R&D web site found the following interesting tidbit...
"In North America and Western Europe, the use of commodity greases is declining by about 5% per year, whereas the use of both high-specification and specialty products is increasing by about 5% per year. Almost half of the greases used in North America and Western Europe are lithium-thickened products, and about one-fifth are lithium complex products."
So, maybe I'll only be a true anachronism in another 20 years or so... :) But, I really should talk to the lube specialist and find the recommended transition path since undoubtedly this product doesn't have an indefinite future life, though. This subthread kinda' got my attention on looking into that a little more seriously.
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Generally, no. If this grease is white in color, it is not at all close to what you want for front end work. The most common spec for tie rod ends, ball joints, etc. is "EP #2". It would be best to check your owner's manual for the type of grease called for, but a general purpose EP#2 is used by most shops. It is commonly a dark brown, gray, red, or black color. Years ago grease of this type was called sodium grease, but I haven't seen that designation in probably 20 years. You can't go by the color alone. Look for an SAE or other specification.
White "lithium" grease is for door hinges, lock strikers, latches, and similar non critical uses.
As for the grease gun, sometimes it is just tough to get them pumping if they get air in the pump ahead of the grease. Or it may just be worn out or otherwise broken. That's the way it goes with yard sale stuff!
--
No dumb questions, just dumb answers.

Larry Wasserman - Baltimore, Maryland - snipped-for-privacy@charm.net
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On Tue, 10 Oct 2006 22:58:16 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@fellspt.charm.net () wrote:

It's a good thing I asked. Thanks to you and Joe.
I was confused because it came in a tube, for a grease gun, and all of those that I have seen have had things on the end that fit zerk fittings. !! More importantly, for the mini-grease guns, with mini-cartridges (that will still last me for decades) all I've seen for sale is lithium. Of course this is at HD and Lowes. Harbor Freight had lithium, red, and moly in the full size tubes, but only lithium in the small size. I should start looking in autoparts stores.
Now I have a lifetime supply of lithium grease!

Yard sale was shorthand. It and the other grease gun I have actually came from a burglar alarm guy, who retired a few years ago and put his leftover stuff in my friend's ministorage. He died last spring, and his kids all came and took what they needed or wanted, and my friend let me go though the rest. So I figure these things worked. Although there were 2 or 3 things he was saving in parts that I fixed. I think he would be happy.
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