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Old Iron Connoisseur
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm sure others have experienced the same as me, that often the rotary plow / rotary cultivator gauge wheels will seize up when left somewhere other than in the 'barn'. I'm sure no one wants to admit leaving their toys where they may encounter the effects of moisture and ultimately Fe203 aka Iron Oxide/Rust but it happens. The plow wheels I'm speaking of are the style with the pressed hub centers as opposed to the early style with the spoke wheels. I have had three sets come to me that are frozen solid to the axle and while robust on the plow, they are a chore to free up if they have been sitting for years. Rosebud, Kroil, PB, etc have all been used with minimal success but that is a topic for another thread...

The question I have is this: Would it be beneficial to add a zerk fitting to the hub of the wheels? I see this as drilling a hole in the hub, welding a nut to the hub to screw the zerk into, and then adding a zerk approximately mid point of the hub on the back side of the wheel. Am I complicating the simple wheel? Do others have thoughts? I know that I am more likely to squeeze grease into them a couple times a year but not very likely to remove a cotter pin, smear grease on the axle and then reinstall.

This is the style of wheel I am speaking of:

 

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I have G.A.S.
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1,567 Posts
I've also considered adding grease fittings but I'm afraid the dirt from the garden would mix with the grease & become an abrasive paste that would eventually ruin the wheels & axle. Maybe add bearings?
 

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Gravelyyard.com
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5,922 Posts
The tolerance between the axle and the hole in the wheel is much smaller on the new style stamped wheels than on the older spoked wheels. Plus, the axle steel doesn't seem to be as good a the old stuff. So when it rusts, it puffs up and really locks the wheel to the axle. I see many more of the newer style frozen solid than I do the old ones.

At the end of the season, I squirt some oil and spin the wheel to keep the rust at bay over the winter. I also store the wheels inside the shed.
 

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I have a set of those gauge wheels on my working rotary plow and I never could break one of the wheels free. It was frustrating until someone gave me an older plow. The old style version has grease zerks in the hub and also in the clamp part of the front swivel.

Not the best picture, but here's the older style plow I have. Much heavier duty front wheel setup than the newer style.

 

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Banned
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I've also considered adding grease fittings but I'm afraid the dirt from the garden would mix with the grease & become an abrasive paste that would eventually ruin the wheels & axle. Maybe add bearings?
I would think that the grease would help keep the dirt out.
 

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Gravely Model L Guy
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464 Posts
I just heated the hub up to red hot and the wheels freed up fine on mine.
 

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Premium Member
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If it were me, I would drill the shaft axially and then cross drill a grease hole. Sure the zerk would be sticking out the end but they are usually chrome plated. Failing that I would just drill the hub and put in a 1/4 grease zerk. The grease serk doesn't need but one partial thread to get it started. I have a couple of wheels that I could do that to today. Let me bang one out.
 

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Premium Member
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Here you go. The path of least resistance. Elapsed time including taking pictures and processing them was 25 minutes.





 

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Premium Member
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Given it's a loose fit (supposedly) wheel on a steel shaft, without bearings, I don't think you could do any real harm adding a grease fitting. I would probably add either a nut or tapped washer to give the grease fitting something to thread into while keeping the end of the fitting from rubbing on the shaft. Without seals, it may tend to squirt grease out one side of the joint, but it will be better than nothing, and you can redistribute grease by spinning the wheel. Richard's idea of end and cross drilling is really professional, but a bit more work.
 

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Old Iron Connoisseur
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2,783 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Here you go. The path of least resistance. Elapsed time including taking pictures and processing them was 25 minutes.





That is EXACTLY what I was thinking, but I would just add a nut welded to the hub to give it more "meat" to thread into. If I had a lathe, drilling into the end of the shaft would be ideal.

As for the wearing out of the axle due to dirt, if it is frozen, it's just as worthless. If I have to get rowdy with it on a regular basis to use it, The Boss will make me get rid of it! Axle is easy enough to replace with some 3/4" cold rolled.
 

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Old Iron Connoisseur
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2,783 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The tolerance between the axle and the hole in the wheel is much smaller on the new style stamped wheels than on the older spoked wheels. Plus, the axle steel doesn't seem to be as good a the old stuff. So when it rusts, it puffs up and really locks the wheel to the axle. I see many more of the newer style frozen solid than I do the old ones.

At the end of the season, I squirt some oil and spin the wheel to keep the rust at bay over the winter. I also store the wheels inside the shed.
Wish I had room to bring it all into the shed. Unfortunately they have to live under the lean to which is better than nothing.
 

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Old Iron Connoisseur
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2,783 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I just heated the hub up to red hot and the wheels freed up fine on mine.
Worked on one set for me too, my big victor torch and a rosebud and they came apart. Second set still were no go. After a week in an electrolysis tank, they literally fell apart and just slid off the axle with out any hammering or anything. More on that in another thread.
 

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Old Iron Connoisseur
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2,783 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I would think that the grease would help keep the dirt out.
I would think so also, just pump until new/clean grease comes out much like the steel seals on the 40"/50" spindles.
 

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Premium Member
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The zerk isn't even close to rubbing on the shaft. Use a good grease and it won't seize up again. I purposely drilled and tapped it at an angle.

More meat is pointless as it is at 80% or better thread engagement so welding a nut is just a waste of time and money. Take a look at the trailing wheels for a 5" deck. There is less meat there than on those.

I think I could screw the zerk in another full turn but I felt that was pointless too.
 

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3/4 inch torsion bar

Most residential style overhead garage doors that have a torsion spring lifting apparatus, rather than the long springs, use a 3/4" inch round torsion bar. These bars are slotted for their entire length and hardened. The overhead door guys usually throw them out when replacing a door meaning you can usually pick one up free. The slot is there to hold set screws in the spring's end caps, otherwise that slot might be used to advantage in distributing grease. These make great axle shafts and are about 4" long for an 8 foot door.
 

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Get it good and glowing hot, they will come loose. Get the wheel off the shaft, clean it up, grease, reassemble. Good for another 10 years. I had one that was burried in the dirt over the axle for 15 years, they fit a bit loose on the shaft, but they turn.
 

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Various old farm machinery had steel on steel wheels like these. Most of the time there was a grease zerk in the hub. Just grease it every 5 hours or so of operation and you'll be good to go. The fresh grease pushes the dirt out pretty well. Way better life than a dry axle.

For things of this nature that are rusted solid I've had very good luck just putting them in a barrel of diesel for a few weeks. Things usually just come right apart after this soaking.

Mike
 

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Old Iron Connoisseur
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2,783 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Various old farm machinery had steel on steel wheels like these. Most of the time there was a grease zerk in the hub. Just grease it every 5 hours or so of operation and you'll be good to go. The fresh grease pushes the dirt out pretty well. Way better life than a dry axle.

For things of this nature that are rusted solid I've had very good luck just putting them in a barrel of diesel for a few weeks. Things usually just come right apart after this soaking.

Mike
I've heard that diesel works wonders. Only issue is #2 fuel is at 3.89/gallon right now here which slows me down a bit.
 

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I've heard that diesel works wonders. Only issue is #2 fuel is at 3.89/gallon right now here which slows me down a bit.
Compare the cost of diesel to the squirt cans of various rust busters on the shelves. Cost effective to me. One five gallon bucket of diesel will soak a lot of parts.

Mike
 

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Premium Member
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I had a set of gauge wheels that were locked up. I clamped the axle in a vise and heated the wheel hub. Once I got the wheel to move a little bit, I was home free. I made the mistake of using penetrating oil on one. That locked it up completely. Apparently the dirt between the axle and hub absorbed the oil causing the dirt to swell.
 
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