Zerk fitting snapped while greasing

(Greg) #1

Probably a dumb question, but I haven’t lubed/greased a car’s suspension/wheel bearings since Reagan was president!

Now that synthetic grease is available, will it be OK to use synthetic wheel bearing grease for all my lube points on the XJS?

(Doug Dwyer) #2


I’ve been using ‘modern’ wheel bearing grease for lube points (and u-joints) for years and years.

Decades ago it was common to buy and use ‘chassis grease’ for the suspension. It was a lower-grade product than wheel bearing grease. Nowadays it would probably take some effort to even find the old -style chassis grease.


(Robert Wilkinson) #3

Doug, what do you think of CV joint grease? It seems to be the most expensive.

Also, I remember some wheel bearing grease that contained filaments, making it want to stick together. Is that gone now?

(Paul Wigton) #4

Moly disulfide grease: made to resist the high shear forces in CV (Rzeppa) joints.

I’ve used it for ball joints, and it seems to work OK.

(Doug Dwyer) #5

I remember the lower-grade chassis grease being the stringy stuff with wheel bearing grease being creamy. But I’m harking back to the 70s now, so usual memory disclaimers apply :slight_smile:

Nowadays I use high-temp synthetic wheel bearing grease for almost everything.

One thing I’ve oft meant to research is how/when/if boat trailer wheel bearing grease can be used in automotive applications. It really stays put…you can hardly wipe it off your hands!.. and seems like it would have more water-resisting ability. Not sure about using it in high-temp applications but maybe for ball joints and suspension?


(Paul Wigton) #6

Ditto: got into using it for race car chassis.

(Kirbert - author of the Book, former owner of an '83 XJ-S H.E.) #7

The one note to add involves poly bushings. There are none in the OEM Jaguar chassis, but some owners like to upgrade to them – especially for the steering rack mounts, which fortunately don’t get lubed so not an issue here. Poly bushings can be incompatible with some greases; in fact, I think they are incompatible with hydrocarbons. The grease you’re supposed to use with poly bushings is red; whether or not that means it’s the same red grease that used to be needed for anything Girling, I dunno. Whatever, if you have any poly in your suspension, make sure to only use grease intended for use with poly.

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(Greg) #8

Thanks, that’s what I thought, but JUST wanted to make sure.

I assume it’s OK to mix the two. If PO used non-synthetic grease, squeezing a bit of synthetic on top of that won’t do any harm?

I have no poly bushings, yet, but will remember that once I do.

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(Greg) #9

So while greasing the front wheel bearings, one of the Zerk fittings snapped off.

Before I go looking, is it a pretty common size? Metric or Imperial?


Also, how much grease? I did like 10 pumps, and nothing overflowed.

(Jerry Mills) #10

JUST went through this, this week. All the zerks on my '66 S1 E
are 1/4-28tpi. It’s the most common size ever. Been an industry standard for decades. Second most common is 1/8 npt. Sold a bunch of them when I worked at an Alemite distributor. Probably the same on your '88 XJS.
So here’s the funny part. Went to 5 FLAPS and two hardware stores looking for a one inch long 1/4-28 straight zerk. Two of the FLAPS and one of the hardware store youngsters did not know what a zerk is used for, yet they all sold grease guns. All of them had a small selection of the standard straight, 45 and 90 degree, so should be easy for you to find.
Other JL listers should KNOW how much grease goes in the hub. While i’m not sure, I do know from reading old posts here to not “overfill” them.

(Greg) #11

Thanks! Good to know. I’ll probably try NAPA, they have “older fellows” like me.

I guess thirty years, the threads got weak. It only snapped when I tried pulling off grease gun! Luckily the bit still in the hub came out easily with a screwdriver.

(Aristides Balanos) #12

Did you remove the wheel Greg ?
Some bearing caps have a small hole in the center, so if the wheel is still on grease might be getting out of there and you not noticing, and making a big mess at the same tine…
Best remove also the cap and you will be able to see much better where the grease goes, and how much.
And indeed, if you want your wheels to stay clean, don’t overfill.


(Greg) #13

Sure did.

I don’t remember seeing a small hole in the bearing cap, but I will check. From what I’ve read, you grease the bearings until you see grease coming out of that hole. We’ll see if that gets on the wheels. :slight_smile: Perhaps the small hole was clogged, I will find it and clean it.

I don’t remember seeing any after 10 pumps, I hope the PO greased the bearings at least once!!!


(Carl Hutchins, Jr. ) #14

Biased views:

  1. I got a box of assorted ZERKS from HF. I used several on my Hot Rod project.

  2. A time ago, I got after the fittings on the Jaguar. Replaced several. used my manual ad air boosted grease guns, The manual produced more grunt than the boosted one!!

  3. I do not take to pumping in grease to the front hubs. I prefer the “old” way. remove the hubs. clean the bearings and races. Inspect while there!!! Loose in the cage??? Replace !!

Then squeeze “long fiber” grease into each of the four.

DO NOT pack the cavity between the inner and outers. Wasteful and counter productive… Source; An early employer/mentor…


(Kirbert - author of the Book, former owner of an '83 XJ-S H.E.) #16

…and if yours is one of those, I recommend putting a piece of aluminum tape over the hole.

(Kirbert - author of the Book, former owner of an '83 XJ-S H.E.) #17

Zerk fittings are certainly out of fashion, and several of the specific locations on the XJ-S would seem to support their demise. Originally there was a single zerk on the bottom of the steering rack, but several of the rebuilders started removing them and replacing with a plug bolt when rebuilding apparently because owners would try to fill the #$%$ thing! It led to the rack & pinion, so you could probably pump an entire grease gun cartridge in there without filling it. Then the first time you went to full lock, the grease would blow out the driver’s side steering rack boot.

There were originally zerks on the front hubs, but Jaguar did away with them in later years. Blamed as a cost-saving measure, but really probably a good idea. Again, you’d have to pump an entire cartridge in there to get to the inboard bearing, and having that entire chamber full of grease is probably ungood. Better to just yank the hubs off and regrease the bearings properly.

The original ball joints, upper and lower, had zerks – which didn’t help at all. The gaitors on those ball joints suck so hard that they actually pull wide open at full extension, letting grease out and dirt and water in. The gaitors themselves would rot and crumble in less than five years. With the introduction of the XJ40 in the late 80’s, these ball joints were upgraded to the Lemforder designs – which lack zerks but were vastly superior in every way. The gaitors have enough folds that the ball joint can move from limit to limit without excessively stressing the gaitor or pulling it open. So, instead of trying to apply grease to the zerk fittings, go ahead and upgrade to the later ball joint design.

The U-joints – all six of them – originally had zerks. The argument here is the same as with U-joints everywhere. U-joints without zerks are arguably a tad stronger as the cross is solid rather than hollow. More people are concerned with the fact that owners tend to just pump until they blow a seal out. My recommendation: If your U-joints have zerks, use them sparingly, but when a U-joint needs replacing use a U-joint without a zerk to replace it.

There is a single zerk on the bottom of each rear hub carrier, intended to lube the outer fulcrum bearings. Doesn’t work, those fulcrum bearings commonly suffer from false brinnelling and pumping the chamber completely full of grease doesn’t help. In the Book, I have suggested replacing the felt seals with actual lip seals and filling the chamber with oil rather than grease. I doubt if anyone has actually done that, but just the same these bearings would be better lubed at assembly with an EP grease and never bothered again.

The inner fulcrums also have zerk fittings, and honestly this might be one of the few locations where they might do some good.

How many locations did I forget?

(Greg) #18

Mine do have a pinhole in the hub cap. Why cover?

I ended up putting quite a bit of grease in front hubs, filling the sleeves. Why is it not good?

So if I see a Zerk for steering rack, just a couple squirts, or nothing at all?

You forgot rear bearings. Not a Zerk, but I’m supposed to fill the entire cavity with grease?

(Robin O'Connor) #19

I’ve just stripped and cleaned my rear bearings on my XJR, same set up, I just gave them a good slathering and put them back together.
Just did a classic trial at our local race track;
This was on the track that ignored the kink on the back straight, I hit 200klm/hr a couple of times, just for the hell of it.

(Kirbert - author of the Book, former owner of an '83 XJ-S H.E.) #20

The whole point of the cover is to keep water and dirt out and grease in. A hole defeats that intention.

It can heat up, especially if you use the brakes hard. It can bake into a hard block, it can separate and the thinner fractions squirt out, possibly onto the brakes. It does no good at all.

One small squirt wouldn’t hurt and might help the rack slide smoothly on the adjuster block, but none of that grease will get on the rack teeth. I think you could better lube the rack & pinion by removing the driver’s side boot.

Heavens no! It’d coat the entire bottom of your car! Just a small gob.

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(Greg) #21

Thanks a lot for the info, I will do exactly that for steering rack and rear bearings.

Looks like I have overfilled front hubs, so I’ll leave pinhole open to help dissipate excess (and continually to have to clean my wheels!)

Regarding baked grease, I thought using high temp synthetic grease is the whole reason to prevent that?