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View Full Version : How to oil trunnions?



Mark Jones
11-02-2004, 02:20 PM
It is my understanding (correct me if I am wrong) that the trunnions on my Spitfire are suppose to be oiled, not greased. What kind of contraption is required to pump oil into the grease/oil nipple, I mean zerk, and where do I get one?

UltimateQuestion
11-02-2004, 02:31 PM
Trash the zerks! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/hammer.gif Those are for grease. There should be removeable plugs and you can fill the Trunnions with a syringe. Or check out this link for the best way to oil your trunnions with zerks.
VTR on Trunnion Oiling (https://www.vtr.org/maintain/trunnion-oil.html)

Geo Hahn
11-02-2004, 02:45 PM
There used to be a guy on eBay selling a tool for this. Bascially, he took one of these:

https://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=36629

and replaced the spout with a grease gun hose and zerk coupler. Of course he got about 10X the price when done.

Would be easy to make *if* you want to oil these -- but aren;t there many modern greases that will do as well and not leak away?

I never understood why this oil thing came along as the TR3s & 4s specify grease here.

bunzil
11-02-2004, 05:03 PM
West Marine, and probably most boating stores, sells a generic plunger type pump with a short hose that screws into a regular 32 oz plastic bottle of gear oil - screw it in once and forget about it forever. $10.50 here:

https://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs/sto...productId=81999 (https://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?keyword=3704673&resultCt=1&storeId= 10001&catalogId=10001&productId=81999)

This also works very nicely for difficult to reach trannies and differentials. Question: Mercury Marine Quicksilver High Performance Gear Lube is commonly pictured (two links above) with the "grease gun" solution for trunnions. Yet everything I've read says stay away from GL-5 gear oil as it can corrode brass parts. This is clearly a better gear oil than most, but aren't trunnions made of brass?

Anyone?

Mark Jones
11-02-2004, 05:17 PM
The reason that I have been given is that oil will flow down around the threads of the trunnion, where grease will not work down around all the threads of the trunnion, and therefore the trunnion will fail/wear out. Sounds plausible to me.

txtr3
11-04-2004, 01:45 AM
This is a great web site and forum... I wish I'd found it earlier.

I went ahead and used grease on my TR3, even though the Triumph service manual calls for oil.

First, I couldn't find anything like the cool tools mentioned above (again, I wish I'd found this forum earlier). Then, a couple guys in the local Triumph club said the modern grease is so much better, so go ahead.

Finally, Charles at TRF writes that grease is better than nothing (but oil is preferred).

So, now that I used grease, can I still get one of these nifty tools and use oil next time? /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/thirsty.gif

RobT
11-04-2004, 11:24 AM
I have a seperate grease gun for oiling the trunnions. Just load the gun with oil instead of grease and away you go. The oil does leak a bit so have some rags handy.

Also if you do use oil, make sure it is low sulfur hypod gear oil (from The Roadster Company or other British car parts supplier). Modern gear oils have a higher sulfur content and can eat into the brass components. Same is true for gearboxes, which have brass syncro rings that can be erroded by sulfur. For diffs its not an issue - all steel components.

Rob.

Geo Hahn
11-04-2004, 10:34 PM
[ QUOTE ]
I went ahead and used grease on my TR3, even though the Triumph service manual calls for oil...

[/ QUOTE ]

All my manuals (incl those published by Standard) specify grease for the TR3s & 4s. 4As call for oil.

txtr3
11-07-2004, 04:41 PM
[ QUOTE ]
All my manuals (incl those published by Standard) specify grease for the TR3s & 4s. 4As call for oil.

[/ QUOTE ]

Interesting... my Standard-Triumph manuals both call for oil. I wonder why they changed, and why the 4A went back to oil? I guess I feel better about using grease, since at least some of the Triumph manuals specify grease.

My books:
-- Service Instruction Manual TR2, Incorporating Supplement for TR3 Model, P/N 502602
-- Practical hints for the maintenance of the Triumph TR3, P/N 501528
-- both belonged to PO, probably ordered from Moss or TRF

Geo Hahn
11-07-2004, 09:03 PM
[ QUOTE ]
...my Standard-Triumph manuals both call for oil.
-- Service Instruction Manual TR2, Incorporating Supplement for TR3 Model, P/N 502602
-- Practical hints for the maintenance of the Triumph TR3, P/N 501528

[/ QUOTE ]

I'm not doubting you -- but could you give me a page number? I think I just looked at the lube chart and read 'steering swivels' to mean trunnions. Perhaps this was incorrect.

txtr3
11-07-2004, 09:21 PM
Hmmm, maybe I misunderstood or didn't read the original question closely enough... I'm referring to the drive shaft U-joints, not the steering linkage trunnions. (I thought I saw the U-joints also called trunnions somewhere.) Anyway, it's the lube chart on page 10 of the Service Manual's "General Data" section.

Alan_Myers
11-07-2004, 10:08 PM
Hi all, Just stumbled on this discussion and wanted to add a few things. First, thanks to the folks who posted a couple links where I can find or cobble together an oiling tool. I've been looking for one (currently am building the front suspension on my TR4).

My TR4 manuals definitely call for 90W gear oil on the horizontal trunnion shafts (the outer/lower suspension axis, lubed by two zerks on either side), but grease on the vertical screw portion (the steering axis, lubed by the single zerk on the very bottom of the vertical link assembly). TR2 and TR3 v-link and trunnion assemblies are quite similar to TR4. TR4A, TR250/5 and TR6 are slightly different so I'm not sure if this applies, but would guess it does. I also don't have any up close and personal experience with Spitfire trunnions. However, with the TR4, the rule of thumb I've always heard it said that if you can actually get grease into the horizontal trunnion joints, they are worn out and the bushings need to be replaced. The bushings are pressed into the end of the lower wishbones, then honed to fit the horizontal trunion shaft very closely, which is why heavy oil is used instead of grease. Over time, the bushings wear and clearance increases. When this reaches the point where you are actually able to work grease into the joint, it's got excessive wear. I would think uneven and more rapid tire wear would be the biggest problem caused by excessive clearance, in most cases. In more extreme, erratic steering and handling problems migh come up. The previous post is correct. Parts of the trunnion assembly are made of brass or brass alloy, so do *not* use modern GL5 gear oil. Look for GL4 or earlier types. (By the way, TR4 gearboxes, ODs and diffs also have a lot of brass/brass alloy parts, and the same is true for them, use no GL5 oil.) GL5 will gradually degrade the brass parts.

Geo Hahn
11-09-2004, 07:27 PM
[ QUOTE ]
...My TR4 manuals definitely call for 90W gear oil on the horizontal trunnion shafts (the outer/lower suspension axis, lubed by two zerks on either side), but grease on the vertical screw portion (the steering axis, lubed by the single zerk on the very bottom of the vertical link assembly)...

[/ QUOTE ]

My manual says to use grease on the 'Lower Wishbone Outer Bushes' which is what I think you are refering too. Indeed, it specifies nothing but grease for all front suspension components.

Seems to be some discprepancy among manuals -- I use grease since that is what Standard-Triumph specified.

TRTEL
11-14-2004, 01:16 PM
Having worked on a lot of different TRs over 35 yrs, I think its a wash. The only advantage to oil is if you tend to forget to follow the normal maintenance schedule. The oil hangs around a little better whereas the grease being a type of emulsion can loose some of its lubricative property. But up front when fresh the grease would provide a bit more protection.