Keeping Things Greased

The Chevy truck front end can be very confusing. It depends on what parts are original, and what aren't. Factory installed Upper and Lower Ball Joints, have no grease fittings. There is no way to grease them. Factory installed U - joints, have no grease fittings either. Grease fittings are also known as "Zerk" fittings. If the end of the grease gun is securely on a Zerk fitting, and you can't pump any grease into it, it may be clogged. Use something pointy, to press in the tiny ball on the end of the Zerk fitting. Make sure it moves in freely. If it moves freely and still won't take grease, try replacing it. These fittings often get broken, or clogged. Having spares is a good idea. They sell assortments that come in a plastic case, for about 10 bucks. Any time you get an extra Zerk with a new U - joint, save it. If you get a plug, and a Zerk with a new U - Joint, it's because you have to install the Zerk, grease the joint, then remove the Zerk, and install the plug. If you leave the grease fitting on, it will get broken off. That's why the U - joint comes with a plug.
When the grease oozes back out, immediately after pumping it in, the fitting is either clogged, or the passageways are. Usually the passageways are. This means the grease has dried up inside, and parts have to be disassembled, and cleaned. Use a coat hanger, or piece of solid wire if you have to, to push out dried grease. If the Zerk is on a U - joint, then replace the joint. Dry joints wear out fast. The needle bearings literally get ground into dust.
U - Joints have needle Bearings inside them. They need to be greased with wheel bearing grease. I only use Extreme Pressure Waterproof Wheel Bearing grease on my U- Joints, and front end parts. It's the best you can do, even if the grease is more expensive than typical chassis grease.

The front axle U Joints, if aftermarket, most likely have Zerk Fittings, or should I say the ability to have them installed for greasing the joints. The plugs are then put back in for normal driving. To grease these U joints, it's necessary to turn the steering all the way to one side. Aftermarket Upper and Lower Ball Joints almost always have Zerk fittings. Look close, they often get snapped off.
The Front axle commonly develops side to side play at the slip yolk. While you're under there, grab the slip yolk, and tug back and forth on it. if it moves enough that you can feel a "clunking", the splines are worn. Replacing it is the only cure, either having the splines replaced, or getting a complete new driveshaft. This is why it's important to keep your slip yolk splines lubed.

[Chevy Truck Front Axle Lub Points Diagram]

The front end can be very confusing. It depends on what parts are original, and what aren't. Factory installed Upper and Lower Ball Joints, have no grease fittings. There is no way to grease them. Factory installed U - joints, have no grease fittings either. What can be greased for sure, on all 73 - 87 K models, is both ends of the centerlink (not pictured), and both ends of the drag link. The centerlink connects the spindles together. The Drag Link connects the Steering Arm, to the Pitman Arm, which is connected to the Steering Box.
Also, the Front Driveshaft. Different drive shafts were used on different models over the years. Either way, there is at least one U - Joint on each end of the driveshaft to be greased. If you have a Cardan Joint, there are two U - Joints to grease. There is also a Centering Ball and Spring to be greased. This requires a needle tip attachment for your grease gun. The hole for greasing the ball may be hard to find. Look close, it resembles a roll pin in a hole. When greasing the driveshaft, put the truck in park, in 2wd, and make sure the front hubs are unlocked. That way, you can turn the driveshaft to the easiest position to get at each of the Zerk fittings. If your truck is full time 4wd, getting an angle at each fitting is much harder. It involves moving the truck forward, putting it in park, crawling under to see if you can get at them. Then inching it up a little at a time. There's two oval shaped holes in the Transmission cross member, to allow easier access to the Cardan Joint Zerk fittings.

[Chevy Truck Rear Driveline Lube Diagram]

Here's a typical rear axle. From 73 - 79, most trucks had Rear Drive shafts with Slip Yolks on the end of the Driveshaft closest to the Transfer case. The Rear Driveshaft was bolted in, on BOTH ends. The 79 and later models, have a Slip Yolk where the end of the Rear Driveshaft goes into the rear of the Transfer Case. This design almost always has a drip coming from the Tail of the Transfer Case. That's how it stays lubed, it's normal. Steady, or heavy dripping is not. The seal needs to be replaced if it is leaking.
Grease the U - Joint on each end of the Rear Driveshaft. If your truck's Rear Driveshaft has a Center Support Bearing, be sure to check it for play, and grease it too. You'll also have two more U - Joints to grease than the rest of us.
Something to keep in mind when changing gear oil, or getting ready to drain a Transfer Case, Differential, or Manual Transmission is the Fill Plug. If you can't get the fill plug out, and you drained all your Gear Lube, then what will you do? Have the truck towed to a shop? Try harder to get the plug out? Get the picture here? There are many different shaped plugs now. They used to all be standard pipe plugs. Either insert a 1/2" drive extension, and use a 1/2 socket wrench, or use a open end wrench to get them out. Now many are female, and are 6 point. I had to weld a nut to a 5/16" bolt, to make my own tool for a buddy's truck that someone put a female 6 point in. I welded a nut to a grade 5 bolt, and snapped the bolt trying to get the plug out. I then welded a grade 8 nut, to a grade 8 bolt, 5/16" again, and it works great!

1/4" bolts have a 7/16" head (i.e.; you use a 7/16" wrench to loosen/tighten)

5/16" bolts have a 1/2" head

3/8" bolts have a 9/16" head


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