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Old 03-22-2011, 07:50 PM   post #1 of 15
grilling24x7
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Default I'm in trouble now! Broken grease zerk?

I just got a grease gun and was attempting to lubricate my axle bearings. My JD Sabre 1646HS is probably over 10 years old and I'm guessing never lubed b/c it is hard to turn. The right wheel side went well. Of course I had to use all my might to squeeze grease into the bearing zerk thing (pardon my lack of knowing the correct name). Regardless I saw a little bit of grease come out on top so I stopped after 2 squeezes.

On to the left. I squeezed twice didn't really see anything happen so I removed the gun. Well off came the grease zerk. I see it has threads on it so I tried to screw it back in but the threads just wont take. Just when it seems to be screwed in it pops off.

Any thoughts on what to do? Do I attempt to get a different size zerk and get it to fit in there or should I just cut my losses and fill the hole with something (putty?) so dirt won't get in to the bearing.

So frustrating!

John
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Old 03-22-2011, 07:56 PM   post #2 of 15
dieseldave24v
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Default Re: I'm in trouble now! Broken grease zerk?

I would buy a new Zerk and try running a tap in the axle before switching sizes to try to remedy the issue. If that doesnt work then your might be stuck drilling and tapping up to the next size
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Old 03-22-2011, 08:00 PM   post #3 of 15
Kingwood990
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Default Re: I'm in trouble now! Broken grease zerk?

On one of my tractors the zerk broke off like what happened on your tractor. The PO re threaded the hole and placed a small threaded bolt with a screw in the top. Just remove the screw and the grease gun fits right over the bolt and the hub takes grease like it should.

They do make screw in replacement zerks. You might have to drill out the hole and re thread it where the original zerk screwed in.
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Old 03-22-2011, 08:43 PM   post #4 of 15
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Default Re: I'm in trouble now! Broken grease zerk?

You are in luck, they make a tool called an easy-out for such things. They can be had at Sears, and a lot of hardware stores and TSC. They usually come four in a pack of different sizes. To use one all you do is attempt to screw it in the broken zert backwards using a wrench that fits the end of the easy-out and it will back the zert fitting out. Once you do it you will tell yourself how easy that was. Then you screw a new zert fitting in.

Dick
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Old 03-22-2011, 09:12 PM   post #5 of 15
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Default Re: I'm in trouble now! Broken grease zerk?

I THINK this may be the tool JRJ is referring to as an "easy-out" tool....



I just call it a zerk took, I bought it when one of my zerks packed in and I needed to replace it. It was, like, 6 bucks at our local Princess Auto (roughly the equivalent of Harbour Freight in the States, I think).

You can see some other examples online here... And ya, looks like they're called "easy-outs".
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Old 03-22-2011, 09:19 PM   post #6 of 15
grilling24x7
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Default Re: I'm in trouble now! Broken grease zerk?

Thanks for the quick replies!
A few questions:

1. What does "running a tap" in the axle mean?

2. Regarding the "easy-out" - I think I may have been misleading. The zerk isn't broken off inside the axle, I think the axle's threads are actually stripped or broken b/c I have the zerk in my hand and it doesn't appear to be too stripped. I can start to screw it into the hole but it just wont stay put.

3. Kingwood: What is a "PO?"

Sorry if some of these questions are obvious - I'm a real rookie when it comes to any type of repair work.

What do you guys think of thread forming grease fittings? I found this link and it looks like it may help solve my problem:

http://www.saeproducts.com/thread-fo...-fittings.html

Thanks for your help.
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Old 03-22-2011, 09:24 PM   post #7 of 15
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Default Re: I'm in trouble now! Broken grease zerk?

PO is previous owner, and you are on the right track with the zerk you are showing, they are probably self threading to the next size.

Dick
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Old 03-22-2011, 09:27 PM   post #8 of 15
dieseldave24v
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Default Re: I'm in trouble now! Broken grease zerk?

A Tap is a tool that re threads holes. I was under the impression that the whole Zerk came out. I thought you couldn't screw it back in because the threads were boogered up. If this is not the case you will not need a tap. If the threaded part is still in the hole than use a easy out like others have suggested.

BTW taps a generally used to cut new treads, but they work great to chase existing threads and straighten them out if they are not to bad
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Old 03-22-2011, 09:28 PM   post #9 of 15
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Default Re: I'm in trouble now! Broken grease zerk?

Quote:
Originally Posted by grilling24x7 View Post
Thanks for the quick replies!
A few questions:

1. What does "running a tap" in the axle mean?
A "tap" is a tool that will cut new threads into a hole that has no threads in it already, if I recall correctly...
Quote:
Originally Posted by grilling24x7 View Post

2. Regarding the "easy-out" - I think I may have been misleading. The zerk isn't broken off inside the axle, I think the axle's threads are actually stripped or broken b/c I have the zerk in my hand and it doesn't appear to be too stripped. I can start to screw it into the hole but it just wont stay put.
One thing you could do with an Easy-out is run the threaded bit you see on it into the hole where the zerk WAS and see if it would cut a set of threads into which you could screw another threaded zerk
Quote:
Originally Posted by grilling24x7 View Post
3. Kingwood: What is a "PO?"
Previous Owner
Quote:
Originally Posted by grilling24x7 View Post
Sorry if some of these questions are obvious - I'm a real rookie when it comes to any type of repair work.

What do you guys think of thread forming grease fittings? I found this link and it looks like it may help solve my problem:
Those would be another solution/alternative besides running a tap in to rethread the hole, and would (in my mind anyway) accomplish about the same thing... Only problem I had when my zerk gave way was figuring out what size of replacement to buy. Not sure whether I got it right, as the new one wouldn't go well into the existing hole, but it seems to do its job...

Quote:
Originally Posted by grilling24x7 View Post
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Old 03-22-2011, 09:30 PM   post #10 of 15
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Default Re: I'm in trouble now! Broken grease zerk?

To go a little bit further, there usually isn't many threads that hold the zert in place so when you get one and if it is one of those self threading which should be o.k.(I didn't know they had the self tapping ones) just use care when installing it and make sure it goes in straight.

Dick
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Old 03-22-2011, 10:17 PM   post #11 of 15
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Default Re: I'm in trouble now! Broken grease zerk?

Depending on the size Zerk you have you may be able to find a slightly oversize one due to the availability of both SAE and Metric sizes. Lucky us.

If you find one that is just a bit larger it's often possible to run a tap matching the new Zerk into the hole and fit the new unit in place.

"Running a tap" means simply to cut the new threads in the hole by turning the tap in as you would a bolt. Cutting oil and careful work is highly recommended.

Depending on where the Zerk is located you may have to remove the spindle to run the tap in or, if needed, drill the hole oversize and then run a tap in. Most Zerks are not bolt thread so watch the pitch involved.

Another option, if it's impractical to simply rethread the existing hole, is to move the Zerk to the opposite side or up or down on the housing.

Stripped Zerks are a nuisance but seldom that big a deal.

Mike
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Old 03-22-2011, 10:59 PM   post #12 of 15
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Default Re: I'm in trouble now! Broken grease zerk?

Usually, the threaded hole is deeper than the grease fitting threads. Go to the hardware store, maybee Napa auto parts store, and buy one that is just longer.They make them, I do this every day.Just as llong as the grease fitting doesn't come in contact with anything at the bottom of the hole ( bottom out) you'll be fine.If Napa doesn't have them, then go to a heavy equipment place, heck JD might even have them, but they'll probably cost 10 times as much there.
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Old 03-23-2011, 06:09 PM   post #13 of 15
grilling24x7
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Default Re: I'm in trouble now! Broken grease zerk?

So I went to a couple of stores and I got a pack of zerks that had longer threads. The parts guy also gave me a non thread version which he said could be hammered in and the 'ribs' would make a tight seal.

Well I tried both. The longer threaded zerks went in just like the old one but didn't stay in. They wiggled right out when I tried to screw them in tighter.

The non thread version hammered in really well. I thought this was it. It was tight in there. I attached the grease gun, push, and.... ug... grease pushed the zerk out and there it was stuck in my gun.

So, since the autoparts store (advanced auto) and the hardware store which stocks JD parts all looked at me like I had three heads when I asked for a thread forming grease zerk/fitting I think its time to throw in the towel.

This tractor is probably ~12-13 years old and I'm certain the previous owner didn't lubricate it at all. I'm thinking just cover this grease hole with something and move on with my mowing. I know - total cop out but this seems like a losing battle since I don't have welding or tapping abilities. Perhaps I could ask the mower fixit shop the next time its in to see what he thinks. There could be something more serious with the axle hole.

Thanks for your help!
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Old 03-23-2011, 06:16 PM   post #14 of 15
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Default Re: I'm in trouble now! Broken grease zerk?

There you go, if you plan on taking the mower to a shop, I would just about bet that they have had similiar problems in the past and have on hand what is needed to fix it.

We all can't have the knowledge to repair everything, so don't feel bad, at least you ask for help which a lot of people wouldn't do.
Good Luck with the tractor.

Dick
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Old 03-26-2011, 05:36 PM   post #15 of 15
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Default Re: I'm in trouble now! Broken grease zerk?

You should be able to go to a parts store and get a 'tapered' thread zerk- take your broken one with so to ge the correct size-
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