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Adding Grease Fittings to Ball Joints

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Old 12-15-2011, 11:02 PM
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Default Adding Grease Fittings to Ball Joints

I was doing some research on new ball joints and noticed that the new ball joints did not come with a grease fitting just like the factory joints. I decided since my 99 VDP only has 54k miles, that it was a bit premature for ball joints. Seemed to me that there was not much grease in the joint, just by squeezing the rubber on the joint. So I decided I would add grease fittings to the joints and see if it helped. Worst that can happen is I will still have to replace the ball joints. I drilled the hole with a #3 drill bit and tapped the hole with a 1/4'-28 thread for the grease fittings. Here is what it looks like.

This is the upper ball joint. It was fairly easy to get to.



I used a ball joint separator to break the top ball joint free to make room to get the drill in to get at the bottom ball joint.



Here is the spindle swung out of of the way to get to the lower ball joint.



Used a center punch to keep the drill bit from wandering.



Tapping the lower ball joint.



The threads in the lower ball joint.



The lower ball joint grease fitting. Used a 90 degree fitting for easier access with the grease gun.



I also went ahead and tapped the tie rod ends and greased them as well.



I took the car out for a short test drive and it seemed to be improved. Will see if it lasts and or how long it lasts. It was not too bad of a job. I took a bit of extra time to clean the brakes and add some brake quiet, so it took a little more time. I also took time to clean the abs sensors while I was in there.
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Old 12-15-2011, 11:36 PM
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Nice job.

Did you take any special precautions to prevent chips from entering the joints from drilling and tapping?

The older models had something like 19 grease nipples. You have 9 more to go
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Old 12-16-2011, 03:29 AM
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really nice work and a great idea IMO......certainly being able to grease these moving parts can do no harm.
Thanks for sharing your work and a great post to compliment the write up too
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Old 12-16-2011, 09:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plums View Post
Nice job.

Did you take any special precautions to prevent chips from entering the joints from drilling and tapping?

The older models had something like 19 grease nipples. You have 9 more to go
Yea Plums, actually if you look at the photo where I am tapping it you will notice my pickup magnet next to the tap (the red thingy). I did the same thing whilst I was drilling. I kept the magnet up close to the bit and stopped and cleaned it frequently. Also when I was done drilling and tapping I used my air blow gun to blow across the hole. I noticed it did a good job creating suction by blowing across the hole and it actually caused some of the grease that was in there to get sucked out as well. I looked pretty good at each one when I was done, and did not see any fragments in the joint. I am fairly confident that it stayed clean in there.


Here is a picture of me drilling as well with the magnet close by:




I also ran the magnet over the hole a couple times:




Yea I am not sure why they did not put grease fittings on the front of this car. I noticed in the rear that the half shafts have grease fittings on the u-joints, why stop there. Well if this experiment works, I may have 19 or more fittings by the time I am done. I will put one on everything that does not stand still. haha

Last edited by XJRJeff; 12-16-2011 at 09:19 AM.
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Old 12-16-2011, 11:08 AM
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Nice job. I just did my whole front suspension, and replaced all four ball joints. When I pulled the gators off of the old BJs, the grease was in good shape, and there was plenty of it down in the ball of the joint. The car had 142k miles on the clock when I started the project. However, I just might do this as you never know how much grease the assymbler at the fatory actually put in there before pressing the BJ together ...
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Old 12-16-2011, 11:09 PM
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I did something similar a few days ago, however I went against drilling and taping as I was worried bout the debris and the fact that I didn't want to damage the joint as even a scratch on the ball would cause premature wear. i opted to use this.
Also, with how often you need to lubricate it it made more sense to me.

Autotec/1 1/2 in. stainless steel grease injector needle (57413) | Grease Gun Accessories | AutoZone.com

I was carefull to pick a puncture point in the dust boots as you want to do it in the thickest area what will not create a leak.

Also, I was nicely surprised to see grease fittings on the u joints in the axle shafts.
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Old 12-17-2011, 05:15 AM
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Superb excellent post and thanks for the pics too

I think this is worth FAQ
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Old 01-22-2012, 04:31 PM
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Default Too late for the grease fittings....

Well I guess it was too late to add the grease fittings. It seems as though my bumping sound from the ball joints is back. The grease only quieted it for a short time. Well I guess I am going to have a ball joint project in my future.
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Old 01-22-2012, 06:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XJRJeff View Post
Well I guess it was too late to add the grease fittings. It seems as though my bumping sound from the ball joints is back. The grease only quieted it for a short time. Well I guess I am going to have a ball joint project in my future.
They used to sell ball joint rejuvenation kits. You injected something into the ball joint using the grease nipple, it hardened and took up the slack.
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