Clogged Zerks
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Thread: Clogged Zerks

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    Clogged Zerks

    I've only been dealing with tractors for a couple years so I've got some fairly rudimentary questions. I was greasing my tractor the other day and some of the fitting oozed grease pretty quickly, others I pumped for up to a minute or two and never had any come through. Are my zerks clogged. If so how do I unclog them.
    JD4044M likes this.
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    If they are clogged you wouldn’t be able to pump grease at all.
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    ^^^
    What he said! A clogged or restricted zerk will cause a manual grease gun not to be able to pump at all.

    What kind of grease gun are you using? Be aware if you run a cordless grease gun for long after the tube is empty if may collapse the tube and make it very hard to remove.

    Often the fitting is not clogged but may have pressure on it at the pin. For loaders and backhoes you may have to reposition the arms to get pressure off the zerk area.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnf View Post
    I've only been dealing with tractors for a couple years so I've got some fairly rudimentary questions. I was greasing my tractor the other day and some of the fitting oozed grease pretty quickly, others I pumped for up to a minute or two and never had any come through. Are my zerks clogged. If so how do I unclog them.
    Which fittings specifically did you pump away on and not see any grease? As others said, if the zerk is clogged it will build up pressure making the grease gun almost impossible to pump. If you have a super high pressure gun and continue to pump a clogged fitting you can blow a hose or something else as some guns can develop 10,000 PSI.
    2012 2720 -- 200CX Loader -- 54" Quick Attach Snow Blower -- Frontier LR5060 Rake -- Land Pride RB1660 Blade (Hydraulic Angle) -- Artillian 42" Forks -- Ken's Bolt on Grab Hooks -- Fit Rite Hydraulic top-link -- 2013 X500 for mowing duties

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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnf View Post
    I've only been dealing with tractors for a couple years so I've got some fairly rudimentary questions. I was greasing my tractor the other day and some of the fitting oozed grease pretty quickly, others I pumped for up to a minute or two and never had any come through. Are my zerks clogged. If so how do I unclog them.
    On grease guns you can get a Air Lock and pump like crazy and nothing will pump. If you do not lock the tip on the zerk good it will leak grease when you pump. Like others have said if clogged the Grease Gun will go rock hard on the pump handle. I find in the winter it stops pumping grease if I don't keep the gun warm? Make sure your grease gun is pumping grease when you do it for a long time pull it off the zerk and pump it once. A minute or two of pumping is a lot of grease going somewhere if the Gun is pumping it out!

    If your Zerk's do get clogged they have a tool you put on the Zerk and hit the tool with a hammer to blow the grease thru and open it up.

    Here is a link to several of them on the net;
    https://www.google.com/search?q=zerk...w=1277&bih=692
    Last edited by JD4044M; 05-03-2019 at 12:36 PM.
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    The gun is pneumatic. Some grease comes out, others it doesn't. When I go back to the ones that flow they keep flowing. I did that just to see if it was the gun.
    2008 John Deere 4010MCUT R4 tires with 410 loader, 5' box, 5' grader, 5' Rock Rake 4' John Deere Brush cutter, Linebacher (SP) Auger, 42" Homemade ripper, Homemade 3pt trailer hitch.

    Not a clue what I'm doing, but it's always lots of fun.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JD4044M View Post
    If your Zerk's do get clogged they have a tool you put on the Zerk and hit the tool with a hammer to blow the grease thru and open it up.
    For the price of most of those unclog tools you can get an assortment of zerks and just replace the ones that are clogged. Less aggravation than wacking away on those tools. Plus, there are a lot of places you can't access well enough to properly use those tools.

    If you keep getting hardened grease clogging the zerks you're probably not greasing often enough. :-)
    farmgirl19, rtgt, keane and 1 others like this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnf View Post
    The gun is pneumatic. Some grease comes out, others it doesn't. When I go back to the ones that flow they keep flowing. I did that just to see if it was the gun.
    OK - we need to know exactly what you are greasing on your tractor.

    With some types of joints you will see grease squeeze out once it is full. With other types you will not see grease escape.

    Take some mower deck spindles for example - you could pump grease into them for 5 minutes and not see or hear anything. But...that will cause damage. For fittings like that you have to refer to your manual. In the case of a mower deck I believe it calls for 3-4 pumps every 25 hours of use.
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    Quote Originally Posted by coaltrain View Post
    OK - we need to know exactly what you are greasing on your tractor.

    With some types of joints you will see grease squeeze out once it is full. With other types you will not see grease escape.

    Take some mower deck spindles for example - you could pump grease into them for 5 minutes and not see or hear anything. But...that will cause damage. For fittings like that you have to refer to your manual. In the case of a mower deck I believe it calls for 3-4 pumps every 25 hours of use.
    I had already asked the OP up in #4 specifically which grease points were not showing any grease escaping but haven't heard anything back.

    With mower deck spindles you will eventually see grease coming out from around the pulleys and if you were to look underneath you will see globs coming out around the blade spindles. Don't ask me how I know.

    On my 2720 I have some zerks on the break pedal linkage that take grease forever but none ever appears anywhere. I know I pumped about a half a tube into one of them as I was just curious if grease would ever appear. I figure there's now probably a huge glob of grease sitting inside the center cases somewhere. ;-) I had posted about this months ago but never heard if anyone else noticed the same thing.

    I've also had some hubs on boogie wheels like those on a brush hog or landscape rake that "seem" to take grease forever initially because you have to fill up that big space in the hub between the two bearings before grease finally appears.

    I also have an Ariens riding mower on which the axle spindle on one side grease will never appear no matter how much you pump. I suspect that when they welded the spindle tubes onto the hollow front axle that they created a void which allows grease to flow into the axle and preventing it from building up enough pressure to peak out at the usual spot. I mean, the grease HAS to be going somewhere, right?

    But... pumping grease and having it flow but never appear is not very common which is why it would be helpful to know which of the OP's grease points specifically exhibit this characteristic.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jgayman View Post
    For the price of most of those unclog tools you can get an assortment of zerks and just replace the ones that are clogged. Less aggravation than wacking away on those tools. Plus, there are a lot of places you can't access well enough to properly use those tools.

    If you keep getting hardened grease clogging the zerks you're probably not greasing often enough. :-)
    I have not found that to be the case. I have one of those unclogging tools and it has paid for its self many times. Mine came from Northern and it wasn't a lot of money. I believe that tool is well worth the investment. I usually pour a little bit of transmission fluid in mine and one or two blows with my dead blow hammer and the zerk is back in business. Mine has a flexible hose so it can get in most places. If I can get my grease gun in there, it will typically fit.

    Zerks clog up because they clog up sometimes. They get dirt or junk hanging out on the outside of them and yes sometimes the grease dries up and gets a little crusty on the inside.
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