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Johnny Joint grease—an experiment


Mike_H

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I'm one of the poor guys who wheels in clay and can't seem to keep grease in my Johnny joint. You've all seen the nasty shit that results from clay pulling the oil out of the binder. If you need a refresher, go look through @taylormade73's thread.

I've been chatting back and forth with @mrblaine about this, since he made the brilliant connection of oil soak being a clay base. It's no wonder the redline turns into a sticky mess. Started looking at grease for poly bushings. Decide to try some from energy suspension. They call it Formula 5 Prelube. It's a silicone base and sticky as hell. Designed to be used on their poly busings (think shock bushings, sway bar links, etc.) I found this blurb on their website...

If you put your car through hard turns at speed, or your off-road vehicle occasionally finds itself up to the axles in mud, Energy Suspension's Formula 5 Prelube will keep your bushings operating as intended.

I added the emphasis on the mud part. If you want to investigate yourself, here are a couple links...




Here is what it looks like in the Tub...
IMG_20210911_213523648.jpg


Energy Suspension- 9.11104 8 OZ TUB OF FORMULA 5 PRELUBE https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000MW5SJ4/?tag=wranglerorg-20

Put a thin layer in the bushings and assembled.
IMG_20210911_213513522.jpg

It made joint assembly much easier...the stuff is sticky enough that I didn't have to worry about the shells falling off the balls. The breakaway force is also higher with this grease vs the Redline CV2. The joints still move by hand and feel smooth.

I have a trip planned in about a month that will show these joints some mud. Hopefully this grease will last.

Will update as they do or do not develop squeaks. Hopefully, I can get to a yearly maintenance interval.
 
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someguysjeep

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since we share the same mud i'm following too.

i was given a small tub of silicone/teflon grease with some other joints i bought, i wondered if it might do any better.
 
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williambmac

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In clay based mud terrain?
We've never had any issues with any of that style bushing lube either but we aren't in mud.
Not clay based, but mud.
The other thing I like about it is that it tends to stay longer in the joint verses your standard grease.
Trying to lube a JJ thru the zerk is damn near impossible. I disassemble the joint and lube it by hand, which I assume most people do.
Using the silicone based grease requires less maintainence intervals for me.
 

mrblaine

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Not clay based, but mud.
The other thing I like about it is that it tends to stay longer in the joint verses your standard grease.
Trying to lube a JJ thru the zerk is damn near impossible. I disassemble the joint and lube it by hand, which I assume most people do.
Using the silicone based grease requires less maintainence intervals for me.
The issue we are trying to solve is clay based mud pulling the oil out of the base on the various lubes used for the JJ.
This started many years ago when folks in OK complained that their JJ started making noise very shortly after install. Always a bit of a surprise since we have 1000's in use around us with zero issues and a maintenance interval based on whether we feel like it and not because we have to.

Lots of observational data points over the years finally pointed to clay based muds really pulling the oil out. Not really understanding what was happening or why until I had an epiphany that the common oil absorbents we use in granular form are in fact clay based.

It all made more sense after that so the experiment is trying to find a high quality lube that is resistant to clay based mud so the oil won't leave the base or binder.

Yes, most folks disassemble the joints and lube that way but that is also a major point of contention by the haters.
 

mrblaine

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so basically we get caked up with kitty litter, that makes sense.
Exactly. And, because it is in liquid or semi liquid form when it is sprayed onto the undercarriage, that allows it to get tightly into the interface between the race and ball to make a solid connection or path to start sucking the lube out when it dries.
 
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Mike_H

Mike_H

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Not clay based, but mud.
The other thing I like about it is that it tends to stay longer in the joint verses your standard grease.
Trying to lube a JJ thru the zerk is damn near impossible. I disassemble the joint and lube it by hand, which I assume most people do.
Using the silicone based grease requires less maintainence intervals for me.
What kind of stone or rocks do you have in NJ? Here, we have lots of sand stone and limestone...which powders down very fine and creates a silt that will remain in suspension in mud. It gets carried everywhere and when it drys, it cakes up and sticks like crazy. Spraying it with water won't do it...you need to agitate it mechanically and flood it with water to get it gone.
 

williambmac

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What kind of stone or rocks do you have in NJ? Here, we have lots of sand stone and limestone...which powders down very fine and creates a silt that will remain in suspension in mud. It gets carried everywhere and when it drys, it cakes up and sticks like crazy. Spraying it with water won't do it...you need to agitate it mechanically and flood it with water to get it gone.
I believe most of what you find in NJ is Granite, Shale and Puddingstone. The stuff we deal with isn't the powdery stuff that sticks like glue. It usaully comes off easily with a pressure washer. I try to avoid the sandy areas at all costs.
 

someguysjeep

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the great lakes region is a massive sediment zone and the reason it holds all the water it does is because of clay content. in some cases the deposit radius is hundreds of miles.
 
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Mike_H

Mike_H

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Yes, most folks disassemble the joints and lube that way but that is also a major point of contention by the haters.
I had a thought about that too. If you assembled the joint with the two halves line up so the intersecting holes were fully opened AND lined up an open hole with the casting zerk opening, I wonder if the joint would take grease?

I know I've greased my track bar joint before, through the zerk. It's a JKS and the bushing halves are of a slightly different design that Currie's are.

Since I don't have a gun set up with the silicon stuff, I didn't worry about building the joints with that much care, but looking at the design, listening to those who sometimes have success with greasing them... Made me think about what might be possible. Then again, the bushing is free to rotate (esp if grease is present between the shell and the bushing) and we'll be back to pulling them apart again.
 
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someguysjeep

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ahhh the coast has a fairly good, nice rocky composition, that's why it's stays the coast. you get into mid NY state and you got plenty of the shit zone.

at least i might think that way.
 

mrblaine

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I had a thought about that too. If you assembled the joint with the two halves line up so the intersecting holes were fully opened AND lined up an open hole with the casting zerk opening, I wonder if the joint would take grease?

I know I've greased my track bar joint before, through the zerk. It's a JKS and the bushing halves are of a slightly different design that Currie's are.

Since I don't have a gun set up with the silicon stuff, I didn't worry about building the joints with that much care, but looking at the design, listening to those who sometimes have success with greasing them... Made me think about what might be possible. Then again, the bushing is free to rotate (esp if grease is present between the shell and the bushing) and we'll be back to pulling them apart again.
This is another educated guess, highly educated but a guess nonetheless. Goes back many years ago to Team Purple and the wishbone design upper rear link he ran. He used a non shank JJ barrel with the bolt horizontal on the apex of the wishbone to locate his rear axle with two straight lower links to the frame. I studied that a bunch. What I finally came up with as to why the side loads didn't puke the snap ring out under high load was the effect of the ball in the race. As the ball is forced to one side, it expands the race against the inner face of the shell. The harder it is forced, the more expansion happens which means the ball would eventually have to extrude the race out the little gap between shaft and the washer to fail since it is gripping the wall.

My contention is we don't want any lube between the outside of the race and the shell inner wall. That's just a bad idea all the way around which is another reason why I don't like the body grease fittings.

Of course, I could be fully wrong about all of it and it may turn out that even if you fully lube the outside the race, you won't be able to puke the snap ring out. I've landed hard on lower links too many times to want to find out. And before anyone gets confused, you can shove on an arm sideways against a rock to easily side load the crap out of the snap ring.

As an aside, this could easily all be Team Purple bullshit. After all, he did have the brilliant idea to mount a Honda car motor to his rear axle to get the weight down lower, so there is that.
 
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Mike_H

Mike_H

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This is another educated guess, highly educated but a guess nonetheless. Goes back many years ago to Team Purple and the wishbone design upper rear link he ran. He used a non shank JJ barrel with the bolt horizontal on the apex of the wishbone to locate his rear axle with two straight lower links to the frame. I studied that a bunch. What I finally came up with as to why the side loads didn't puke the snap ring out under high load was the effect of the ball in the race. As the ball is forced to one side, it expands the race against the inner face of the shell. The harder it is forced, the more expansion happens which means the ball would eventually have to extrude the race out the little gap between shaft and the washer to fail since it is gripping the wall.

My contention is we don't want any lube between the outside of the race and the shell inner wall. That's just a bad idea all the way around which is another reason why I don't like the body grease fittings.

Of course, I could be fully wrong about all of it and it may turn out that even if you fully lube the outside the race, you won't be able to puke the snap ring out. I've landed hard on lower links too many times to want to find out. And before anyone gets confused, you can shove on an arm sideways against a rock to easily side load the crap out of the snap ring.

As an aside, this could easily all be Team Purple bullshit. After all, he did have the brilliant idea to mount a Honda car motor to his rear axle to get the weight down lower, so there is that.
Yeah, I don't think having grease between the bushing and the shell is a good idea either. You want the things that are designed to rotate to do so, and the things that are NOT designed to rotate to stay put...I know you've seen the damage a spun bearing does. But again...if the polyurethane rotates in a steel shell...Does it really matter? Is it any worse than the steel ball rotating inside the bushing halves?

Hmmm....I have an idea...