READER: I am having a hard time greasing the pins on my front-end loader. The fittings get stopped up and won't take grease. Have you got any idea how to prevent this from happening and how to clean out the old hard grease in the fitting and hole?
STEVE: The most common cause of your problem is using a poor grade of grease. Low-quality grease can harden and, when combined with dirt, dust and the normal wear from turning metal, can become too dense to be pushed through the fitting. There is a tool made to apply a large amount of pressurized oil to blow out the blockage, but sometimes that still is not strong enough to clear the grease's path. I usually remove the fitting and install a small drill bit in a drill, and run the bit around against the pin. Sometimes, I have to raise the loader a little and run the bit around again. Next, I spray some penetrating oil in the hole, clean out the hole with a pick and install the grease fitting. This usually does the trick. If it still will not take grease, build up gun pressure and slowly raise and lower the loader while the grease is pressurized. In extreme cases, the pin area can be heated, and that will melt the blockage away.
SAFETY TIP OF THE MONTH:
The holiday season is here, and with it comes many opportunities for accidents to happen around a farm or ranch. Mowing, feeding, baling, combining and handling chemicals are just a few ways to be injured. Putting up holiday decorations ranks up there as a safety hazard. Electricity, ladders, ice and fire are a few things that can offer danger in this time of Christmas cheer. Here are a few safety tips: Use only "outdoor certified" lights outdoors. Wear shoes with soles for traction on ice. Keep an eye on the fireplace (never burn the tree in the fireplace), lighted natural trees and candles. Ask someone to help hold that old shaky ladder. Stay safe. Your family, your animals and your crops need you.
> Write Steve Thompson at Ask The Mechanic, 2204 Lakeshore Dr., Suite 415, Birmingham, AL 35209, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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