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Old 10-06-2014, 08:18 PM   #1
PO51
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Default U-joint

I'm quickly putting my 28 open pickup together to trailer down to church for a trunk or treat event, How do you grease the U joint mine does not have a zert fitting on the clam shell cover that encloses the u joint, I'm only going to drive it about 1 mile before it get dis assembled again.
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Old 10-06-2014, 08:27 PM   #2
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Default Re: U-joint

Without the grease fitting on the clamshell, I don't know how you could grease it except through the speedometer gear hole with the speedo gear drive removed. You would have to pump a LOT of grease in there to get it to the U-joint. Tom Wessenberg greases the U-joint well before ever putting the rear end in the car. That's excellent advice.
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Old 10-06-2014, 08:35 PM   #3
Tom Endy
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Default Re: U-joint

The grease fitting for the U-joint is usually found on the lower right side of the transmission rear bearing retainer.

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Old 10-06-2014, 09:33 PM   #4
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Default Re: U-joint

OK I found the parts and in the inner half sphere theren is about a 5/8 hole is there a zert fitting that goes in there or do you just pump the grease in through the hole? If it is just a hole how does the grease stay in?
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Old 10-06-2014, 09:34 PM   #5
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Default Re: U-joint

Mine has the grease fitting, how many pumps should you pump into it.
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Old 10-06-2014, 09:38 PM   #6
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If yours is the earlier style "ring" type universal, grease is essential as the ring unit has not bushings or bearings. I've packed mine by hand with good gobs of grease during assembly as I don't have zerks on my covers.

Later OEM and aftermarket "clevis" type universals (made probably by Dana-Spicer then and now - they've got the market almost all to themselves) are not needful of grease as they come pre-lubricated. Some of these type universals targeted at open drive trains DO have zerks (usually at the apex of the cross) but a lot don't and even in open drivetrains are usually designed to last the life of a car (although I have NEVER owned a car that did not need a universal joint sometime in it's life.)

Still, I would give the model A clevis type a good all over coating of grease before I put my axle together simply to prevent corrosion on a part that might otherwise be subject to captured/entrained water picked up from the road.

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Old 10-06-2014, 10:15 PM   #7
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Default Re: U-joint

Quote:
Originally Posted by PO51 View Post
OK I found the parts and in the inner half sphere theren is about a 5/8 hole is there a zert fitting that goes in there or do you just pump the grease in through the hole? If it is just a hole how does the grease stay in?
The inner half sphere is what the driveshaft housing pushes against to move the car forward. It needs to be kept well greased as the driveline is bouncing up and down over each bump in the road. It's the outer cast housing, which fits over the bell on the front of the driveshaft, that has the grease zerk, or should have one.

I remove the two bolts holding the speedometer gear and pump grease in the zerk until it comes out the speedometer gear opening, It may well take a full tube of grease to make this happen. I use the original grease gun and had to refill it between 10 and 12 times before grease showed at the speedometer opening.

Last edited by Tom Wesenberg; 10-07-2014 at 06:47 AM.
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Old 10-07-2014, 03:09 AM   #8
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Default Re: U-joint

I spent Sunday afternoon on my back under the car filling an empty UJ housing... I kept going until I thought my arms were going to fall off.

It's still not coming out the speedo opening.

I hope my arms have recovered by next weekend - I'm tempted to order a pneumatic grease gun
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Old 10-07-2014, 09:54 AM   #9
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Default Re: U-joint

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Originally Posted by Allanw View Post
... I'm tempted to order a pneumatic grease gun
Amazon $75
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Old 10-07-2014, 11:52 AM   #10
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Default Re: U-joint

Can I put lots of grease around the U joint before I connect it to the driveshaft? I'm installing engine and trans into a rolling frame before the cab goes on.
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Old 10-07-2014, 12:27 PM   #11
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Default Re: U-joint

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Originally Posted by Allanw View Post
I spent Sunday afternoon on my back under the car filling an empty UJ housing... I kept going until I thought my arms were going to fall off.

It's still not coming out the speedo opening.

I hope my arms have recovered by next weekend - I'm tempted to order a pneumatic grease gun
If your transmission doesn't have a sealed rear bearing, you could be pumping the transmission full of heavy grease. Just a thought. Its best to pack the area around the U joint with grease when it is installed.
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Old 10-07-2014, 12:37 PM   #12
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Default Re: U-joint

i have the same gun carl posted a pic of.. it works great
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Old 10-07-2014, 03:23 PM   #13
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Default Re: U-joint

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Originally Posted by PO51 View Post
Can I put lots of grease around the U joint before I connect it to the driveshaft? I'm installing engine and trans into a rolling frame before the cab goes on.
Yes you can. I put almost a full tube in this one before I installed the tranny.

BTW, I always place the 2 holes in the inner cap shown in the second picture at 9 and 3.
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Old 10-07-2014, 03:40 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Tom Wesenberg View Post
BTW, I always place the 2 holes in the inner cap shown in the second picture at 9 and 3.
And depending on the production year of your half sphere/clamshells - you may not have a choice.

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Old 10-07-2014, 04:27 PM   #15
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Default Re: U-joint

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Originally Posted by Purdy Swoft View Post
If your transmission doesn't have a sealed rear bearing, you could be pumping the transmission full of heavy grease. Just a thought. Its best to pack the area around the U joint with grease when it is installed.
Yeah.. nah - it's a sealed one!

I put in some while assembling, but didn't want to make it too messy or cover it with crud while assembling.

Now I just have to deal with "Grease Gun Arm"
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Old 10-07-2014, 05:47 PM   #16
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Default Re: U-joint

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Originally Posted by Allanw View Post
...Now I just have to deal with "Grease Gun Arm"
See post #9
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Old 10-07-2014, 05:50 PM   #17
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Default Re: U-joint

If you don't have a zerk, can you drill and tap the housing and install a zerk?

Thanks
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Old 10-07-2014, 06:52 PM   #18
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Default Re: U-joint

H.
Ii guys,
Certainly new to the model A thing and not new to automotive. So I thought the ujoint was lubed by trans lube draining back and around the ujoint. I don't get how packing grease all around the outside of the ujoint lubes it.
Is there a modern sealed ujoint that is available to install in the driveshaft to eliminate the issue?

Gary
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Old 10-07-2014, 07:11 PM   #19
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Default Re: U-joint

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Originally Posted by beechboy View Post
If you don't have a zerk, can you drill and tap the housing and install a zerk?

Thanks
If your bearing retainer doesn't have the zerk, then feel around for the hole for the zerk. I haven't seen one without the grease zerk or at least the hole for one. If you need original parts give Bert's a call. Bert's 800-321-1931

Gary, that red grease isn't just packed around the joint. It's packed solid and will also get some tranny oil over time. Remember greasing is needed for the bell as well as the U-joint. The grease also lubes the speedometer drive gear.

Last edited by Tom Wesenberg; 10-07-2014 at 11:06 PM.
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Old 10-07-2014, 07:18 PM   #20
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Default Re: U-joint

Quote:
Certainly new to the model A thing and not new to automotive. So I thought the ujoint was lubed by trans lube draining back and around the ujoint. I don't get how packing grease all around the outside of the ujoint lubes it.

Is there a modern sealed ujoint that is available to install in the driveshaft to eliminate the issue?
The original U joint for the Model A was a so called "ring U-joint." With no actual bearings that could be changed, these WERE lubricated with gobs of grease.

Along about 1930 or so, Ford changed over to the so called "yoke" U-joint which is two yokes and a cross more in the modern pattern. (The change over is documented in the Service Bulletins IIRC) These were originally self lubricated for life - but Ford continued to put gobs of grease into the U-joint housing for reason that Tom explained (lubrication of what is essentially a ball & socket joint - and whereby the entire rear axle is allowed to move relative to the frame/body.)

Spicer (now Dana-Spicer) was the originator of this yoke pattern of U joint. And in the 80 years since then nobody has really come up with a better U-joint solution and competed with them. Well, maybe the invention of the Rzeppa CV joint or it's variants? (A universal joint is NOT a cv joint)

Its probable that with the U-joint change Ford cut back on the amount of gob that they put into the U-joint housing - but nobody really knows.

I do know that on other vehicles today the yoke type joint is totally exposed to the weather and road dirt - and since they're life lubricated and sealed (mostly) they last the life of your car - or should. Although as I indicated above it seems like EVERY car I own eventually ends up with a new U-joint. But I'm kind of frugal and keep my cars a long time.

The original oil sealing arrangement in the back of the Model A 3 speed transmission is a "slinger plate" which is actually more of an oil shield. Some mixing of the transmission oil with the U-joint grease was likely to occur - but we're talking about a car and an age when 5000 miles was a LOT of miles to drive in a year. Nobody really gave it much thought. And if they thought about it at all, they simply topped off the transmission and repacked the U-joint when that ring type arrangement wore out (with no bushings or bearings, the ring type is a flawed design - but as flawed as it is many have survived. Good gobs of grease I guess?)

Most restorers of the 3 speed transmission use a "sealed & lubricated for life" bearing in the back shaft of the tranny. This removes the bearing from lubrication by the transmission oil - but also keeps the bearing cleaner - dirt is what kills bearings. And the rear bearing seal double duties and keeps the transmission oil IN the transmission - and likewise the grease IN the universal joint.

The best U-joint to buy is the modern Dana-Spicer type. Today that is all that is available anyway.

Edit: Tom, I don't think my lower clamshell has a grease zerk. The upper has the finger - but I don't seem to remember any place in the lower to put grease. The sphere does have the two holes and I believe it's all the unevenly spaced bolting. So it's not likely to be assembled incorrectly.

I'll confirm this this weekend.

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Last edited by Joe K; 10-07-2014 at 07:27 PM.
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Old 10-07-2014, 07:19 PM   #21
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...
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Old 10-07-2014, 07:41 PM   #22
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Cute little "stump" you have there Pete. For a Mitchell I assume? Possibly a Doodlebug.

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Old 10-07-2014, 09:49 PM   #23
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All that I have ever seen have the grease fitting in the lower right side of the rear transmission bearing retainer just like Tom Endy states in post number 3 . The rear transmission bearing retainer bolts to the rear of the transmission and has 6 bolt holes that the two halves of the U joint cover bolts to. I suppose that someone could have bolted the rear bearing retainer on backwards and this would put the grease fitting on the left upper side of the rear bearing retainer. I've owned model A's for 54 years and have a bunch of them. I've never seen one with a grease fitting in one of the halves of the clam shell . The one that Pete has pictured in post number 21 must be a custom installation or one that I've never seen. You must be confused about what and where the rear transmission bearing retainer is . If it wasn't getting late I would go out and get one out of my collection and take a picture, store the picture and post it. You just need to feel around at the rear of the transmission behind where halves of the clam shell bolts . There are four sides to the rear transmission bearing retainer, if it has been installed wrong ithe fitting could be on any of the four sides of the retainer.
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Old 10-07-2014, 09:56 PM   #24
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Thank you Purdy. The mind is back. The grease zerk is on the BEARING RETAINER in the back of the tranny - NOT in the clamshells.

Hence I wouldn't have remembered it.

Not to say that it might not be a bad idea to ADD them to either clamshell, like the pix above.

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Old 10-07-2014, 11:09 PM   #25
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Thanks Purdy. I don't know why I said the rear bottom shell had the zerk, when it's in the rear bearing retainer, but I did make the same mistake a couple years ago. I corrected my earlier posting.
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Old 10-08-2014, 11:31 AM   #26
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Tom and Joe, that is an easy mistake. I've been fooling with these things for most of my life and pretty much have a mental picture of most of the parts in my mind. I wasn't trying to be a smartazz in post 23. I was ust trying to explain it so that the original poster could understand and find the grease fitting .
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Old 10-08-2014, 05:42 PM   #27
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I'm now more confused as to where I to look for the zerk fitting can some one post a pic of the rear bearing retainer?
Steve
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Old 10-08-2014, 06:29 PM   #28
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I'm now more confused as to where I to look for the zerk fitting can some one post a pic of the rear bearing retainer?
Steve
There is a cutaway chassis at the Model A building at the Gilmore Auto Museum in Michigan. Here is the view from the passenger side. Notice the grease zerk at the lower left of the tranny. This is located at the 5 o'clock position in the rear bearing retainer.
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Old 10-08-2014, 09:31 PM   #29
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You'll find some good info regarding those parts on Pluck's website. Try this link -
http://www.plucks329s.org/studies/studies_ujoint.html
Check out "U-Joint Study - Part Descriptions"
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Old 10-08-2014, 10:22 PM   #30
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I have a 31 Victoria and got a Lincoln sealed bearing U-joint from Drake Reproductions. Slipped right on, no messing with "gobs of grease"... Not sure it will fit your pickup, ask them.
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Old 10-08-2014, 11:43 PM   #31
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Thanks Joe and Tom. I believe I'll go the direction of kressej and occasionally grease the "ball and socket."
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