What's with my grease gun?
Is lithium grease what I should be using, say for tie rod ends and
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
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
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, ...
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
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.
Hope this helps.
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
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.
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
No dumb questions, just dumb answers.
Larry Wasserman - Baltimore, Maryland - email@example.com
On Tue, 10 Oct 2006 22:58:16 -0500, firstname.lastname@example.org ()
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
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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