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How to load a grease gun? How to use a grease gun? How to use a grease gun? The various types of grease guns? Plus, much more advice and tips when it comes to using a grease gun. Also, we review two excellent grease guns that we feel are worth your money.
Introduction | Grease + Grease Guns
Taking care of your basic vehicle and garden equipment maintenance yourself is a great way to save money. Perhaps some tasks are better left to a professional if you’re not too technically minded but there are many routine maintenance jobs that don’t require much skill, you just need to have the right tools for the job.
All machinery that has moving parts need lubrication. It doesn’t matter whether this is a motor car or a lawn mower – there are several components that need to be lubricated in order to prevent unnecessary wear. Lubricants can take the form of oil or grease. Grease is basically the same as oil, just much more viscous. Grease manufacturers use additives in order to make oil thicker. Oil is used when it’s necessary for the lubricant to flow. This can be by means of an oil bath where the gears pick up the oil from a sump as they move or the oil can be circulated by using a pump like in your engine and many transmission systems.
VIDEO | How Grease Fittings Work
You use grease on parts that require the lubricant to stick to that part, mostly bearings, propeller shafts and ball joints. This means that the grease is always in contact with the moving parts and fills all gaps inside them. It’s much easier to contain grease than oil as it’s thicker and therefore doesn’t leak out as easily. Most components that use grease will be sealed and will have a greasing nipple which allows you to push the grease in under pressure. To do this you’ll need a grease gun.
This article will help you understand grease guns better. You may be familiar with grease guns or this may be your first encounter. Either way, I hope that this article will provide you with all the information and tips that you need to get the most out of your grease gun.
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Types of Grease Guns
You get two basic types of grease guns. Auto workshops will generally use a large capacity grease gun that pumps the grease from a large container using a hand pump, pneumatic, or electric pump. As this article is intended to help the home user and farmers who are not working on mechanical equipment on regular basis, we’ll focus on the second type of grease gun.
A cartridge grease gun is very common in home workshops, they are cheap to buy and very easy to use. You also don’t need to buy grease in large quantities. A cartridge grease gun can be manually operated by using a lever to pump the grease through or they can have an electric motor to do the pumping for you. The basic function and operation remain pretty much the same for both.
So let’s go through all that you need to know about using a cartridge grease gun.
How to Load a Grease Gun
Before you start using a grease gun, you have to load the cartridge. This is a simple process but, surprisingly, there are many people (even with some mechanical experience) who have problems doing this correctly. So don’t feel stupid if you need a little help understanding this. You’re not the first person who requires some guidance on how to load a grease gun.
Before you start any procedure using a grease gun, remember the number one rule of grease gun usage. Always have a clean rag with you. Grease is messy and sticks to everything so you need to constantly wipe your hands and any area that the grease comes into contact with. Any surface with grease on it will attract dust and dirt, so work as clean as possible. I’m going to repeat the number one rule of working with grease to emphasize its importance ALWAYS HAVE A CLEAN RAG WITH YOU WHEN USING A GREASE GUN.
VIDEO | How to Load A Grease Gun
So let’s start with a step by step guide to loading a grease gun. The procedure is the same for any cartridge grease gun, it doesn’t matter whether you’re using a battery grease gun or a manually operated one.
- Remove the used cartridge by unscrewing the cap at the front (where the nozzle attaches to the grease gun). At the back of the grease gun, you’ll find a metal handle that operates the piston rod, this compresses the cartridge into the housing. Pull back on the handle to release the spent cartridge. You may have to give the handle a slight twist to disengage it.
- Once the handle is pulled back all the way, the cartridge will fall out, you might have to tap it a little to get it out.
- There’s going to some grease on the inside of the gun housing – on the threaded area where the cap and the housing meet. Wipe away this grease with a rag.
- You’ll see that the unopened grease cartridge has a pull ring on one end to open it. This is the front of the cartridge and must always face the nozzle of the grease gun.
- Insert the new cartridge into the grease gun and remove the seal with the pull ring.
- Before screwing the cap back onto the housing, make sure that any grease that may have seeped from cartridge whilst opening is wiped away.
- Fasten the cap by screwing it until almost tight. Leave about 2-3 turns from completely tight to allow air to escape.
- Before you can tighten the cap properly, you need to bleed the air from the grease gun. Most grease guns will have a bleeding nipple to expel the air, but it’s always best to follow this procedure properly. If your grease gun is self-bleeding, you can skip this step because this will be done automatically.
- Push the piston rod down into the housing until it pushes firmly against the cartridge.
- Lock the piston rod into position by twisting it until it won’t move when you pull back on the handle.
- With the piston rod is locked into position, push on the rod handle whilst pumping the greasing mechanism. Do this until the air escapes and grease comes out of the nozzle.
- Tighten the cap properly and loosen the bleeding nipple. Give a quick pump to make sure that all the air has been expelled and then tighten the bleeding nipple.
- Your grease gun is now ready to use.
Types of Grease
You should always use the correct grease for the part that you are lubricating. If you’re not sure what grease to use, check with the manufacturer of the machinery you’re working on. It’s very important to use the same grease every time. Grease manufacturers use a variety of additives, depending on the intended application. The additives used to thicken grease may not always be compatible with grease of another type. It can easily happen that the additives will react in a way that causes the grease to break down and liquefy, this will cause it to leak out.
For a lawnmower or farming equipment that doesn’t move at high speed or build up much heat, you’ll probably be using all-purpose or general-purpose grease. This is a thick light brown grease and looks a lot like soft toffee. There are special applications where you may have to use another type of grease.
Moving parts that come into contact with moisture that need to be lubricated are traditionally lubricated with red rubber grease, this is distinguished by its red color. However, these days, there are many types of water resistant grease types and some are specifically developed for marine applications – colors may differ, depending on the manufacturer. CV joints and some other specialized parts may require graphite grease. This is much thinner than other types of grease and is black in color.
This is a basic guide to grease types. The color is not always the best way to tell what grease you’re using as lubricant manufacturers are always coming up with new and improved additives and they will add their own colorant to distinguish their product. Because components used on vehicles and machinery are becoming more sophisticated (and so are the types of lubricants that they use), it’s important to check with the manufacturer which grease is recommended for the particular part that you’re lubricating.
VIDEO | Choosing the Right Grease
How to use a grease gun
Loading the cartridge is probably the most complicated part of using a grease gun. So, having completed this task, it’s going to be plain sailing from here on.
- First, remove the dust cap from the greasing nipple and wipe it clean. This helps to prevent unwanted dirt from entering the component housing.
- Place the grease nozzle over the nipple. Press down firmly on the nozzle until you feel it click into position.
- Begin pumping the grease and pump until you see excess grease oozing from the nipple.
- If you’re greasing a component where a rubber boot is used to contain the grease, you want to see grease being expelled from the boot itself and not just the nipple.
- After you’ve completed the job, wipe away all the excess grease and replace the nipple dust cap.
- Not all nipples have a dust cap. So if you don’t see one on the component, don’t worry.
VIDEO | How to Use A Grease Gun
Grease Gun Tips
- Always ensure that the pressure of your grease gun doesn’t build up to a point where it may damage the seals on the component that you’re greasing.
- When a component has not been greased for a long time, the grease inside may solidify close to the nipple. In this case, the pressure will build up and eventually force the solid matter away from the nipple and allow the fresh grease to be pumped in. Be aware of this and monitor how much pressure is building up. Usually, when the pressure becomes too great, the grease gun nozzle will release from the nipple. If this happens continuously, you may have to replace the part because it is unable to take in new grease.
- It’s important to grease your equipment regularly to prevent the grease from solidifying and to keep the component sufficiently lubricated and working properly.
- Just as you should never mix the type of grease that you’re using inside the part, you shouldn’t mix the type of grease that you use inside the grease gun. Remember that after you’ve used the grease gun, the pipe remains full of grease. If you change the cartridge and use another type of grease, the two will mix in the pipe and can easily cause the grease to degrade.
- Always clean your grease gun with warm water before storing.
Recommended Grease Guns
Having the right tool for the job is always the first rule of DIY. So before you start greasing your equipment, you want the best grease gun. A battery grease gun is going to make your life much easier. They will cut your working time down by a lot and are very simple to use.
A quality battery-powered grease gun is going to set you back more than a manual grease gun. If you don’t want to spend too much you should rather buy a manual grease gun and do the pumping by hand. Going for a cheap battery grease gun isn’t really worth it. So, if you want to save money, rather buy a quality manual grease gun.
To help you with this, we’re going to review your best options. The DeWalt DCGG571M1 is probably the best battery grease gun. People in the know have recommended this model above all the others. If the DeWalt DCGG571M1 is above your price range, I’d suggest the Lincoln Lubrication 1133 as a great manual grease gun — both are reviewed next.
20-volt MAX Lithium Ion Battery Grease Gun
- Powerful motor delivers 10,000 max psi to power through clogged grease fittings.
- High-volume pump pushes up to 5.0 oz/min high-flow applications.
- Up to 16 cartridges per charge with a single DEWALT 20V MAX Battery (4.0 Ah)
- Variable speed trigger offers precise control of the grease flow
- 42″ extra long and flexible hose designed for reaching hard to access grease fittings.
- Bright LED light assists in locating hard to see grease fittings in low-light situations
- Innovative pump filter screen prevents dirt and contamination from clogging the pump mechanism.
- Integrated no-mar foot design allows operators to rest the tool on flat surfaces
- Air-bleeder valve assists in pump priming after cartridge changes
✓ View or download the MANUAL.
Overview | DeWalt DCGG571M1
Even though the DeWalt DCGG571M1 is far from being the most expensive battery-powered grease gun on the market, it’s hard to beat in almost every aspect.
The DeWalt DCGG571M1 has a battery that will keep you working for longer than any other. This is part of the FlexVolt range of DeWalt tools and this battery can be used with an incredible range of DeWalt power tools. The FlexVolt 20V/60V battery is probably the best on the market. It comes in either 6AH or 9AH, offering incredibly long battery working time. What’s even more impressive about this battery is that it can be used with any DeWalt 20V; 60V or 120V tools and there’s a lot of them.
The DeWalt DCGG571M1 gives you exceptional pressure, able to blast through the hardest build-up of old grease and grime. We’re talking about 10000 PSI, supplied effortlessly with the touch of a button. If you need to grease heavy equipment in a very short time, this grease gun will make your job a breeze – the DeWalt DCGG571M1 pushes through 5 OZ of grease per minute.
The infinite control trigger allows you to control the volume of grease that you’re pushing through. So if you’re worried that the powerful pressure generated from this machine will burst delicate seals, there’s no need to worry. You can start with full power to break open any blockages and then ease off on the trigger to give you greater control over the grease flow.
The standard 4AH 20V lithium-ion battery that comes with the DeWalt DCGG571M1 will give you enough charge to work through about 16 cartridges (cartridge capacity for the machine is 14.5 OZ). Of course, if this isn’t enough working time for you (which I doubt), you can always upgrade to one of the FlexVolt batteries and more than double this time.
You’ll also save a lot of time and hassle when you change the grease cartridge on the DeWalt DCGG571M1. To make things as simple as possible, this model is fitted with a self-bleeding valve. Insert the cartridge and begin pumping, the valve will ensure that the air is removed automatically.
Numerous people have pointed out how convenient the DeWalt DCGG571M1 is to use and I agree. DeWalt always include a lot of simple design features that make one’s life so much easier. When you look at it, these features always seem so logical and this leaves you wondering why all manufacturers don’t do the same. One of these little gems of design genius is the standing base of the DeWalt DCGG571M1.
Most grease guns are completely round, making them a hassle when you place them down – they tend to roll away. The cool thing with this machine is that you can stand it firmly down next you when working as it has two standing feet with rubber grip surfaces. To add to this, they’ve provided an extra-length 42” pipe. This means you don’t have to hold the gun whilst working and you have both hands free.
You can place the machine in a convenient position and the pipe will reach just about any place on the machine that you’re greasing. See what I mean? Why has no one else thought of this? Just another reason why DeWalt impresses me so much. The pipe is excellent, in that it’s kink-free and makes for uncomplicated and easy operation.
Another fantastic feature is the LED light fitted to the gun. Greasing points are, all too often, in the most inaccessible of places with poor light. With the extra-length pipe and handy light, you won’t experience the usual frustration when working under these conditions.
Built to last, the DeWalt DCGG571M1 is exactly what I’d expect from the brand. This being innovative features and robust design. A truly magnificent grease gun. As with all DeWalt products, you get their incredible 3-year warranty, 1-year free service plan, and 90-day money back guarantee.
Read our full review of the DeWalt DCGG571M1 battery powered grease gun.
- Rugged cast pump head for strength and durability.
- Jam-proof toggle mechanism prevents binding or accidental bending of plunger.
- Exclusive “Flip-Over” follower allows a superior seal for either cartridge or bulk loading applications. Tough, resilient and impervious to lubricant.
- Extra-heavy follower spring insures positive priming and uninterrupted pumping action.
- Accessible check valve allows easy cleaning without gun disassembly.
- Precision fit and hardened plunger prevents lubricant bypass, resists scoring for longer life.
- Follower rod locks into follower to force prime.
There can be no disputing that Lincoln Lubrication is one of the leaders in this market. Good old-fashioned design principles make them durable and dependable tools. The Lincoln Lubrication 1133 heavy-duty pistol type manual grease gun is an excellent tool and will keep working perfectly for many years.
There are many common factors that make all manual Lincoln grease guns so robust and reliable. The cast iron pump head is about as durable as it gets and will hold up to the harshest working conditions. Their unique “flip over” follower design ensures a perfect seal and the Lincoln Lubrication 1133 can accommodate either a 16 OZ bulk or 14.5 OZ cartridge.
The Lincoln Lubrication 1133 is designed for easy priming (bleeding). To assist in this, they’ve made use of an extra-heavy spring and follower rod lock. The plunger has been hardened to improve the seal (preventing lubricant by-pass) and this also makes the grease gun much more durable.
It has a pretty good reach, thanks to the 18” pipe. As with all components on the Lincoln Lubrication 1133, the pipe is made to last and won’t form cracks too easily or burst under pressure. A really cool feature on the Lincoln Lubrication 1133 is their accessible check valve that makes your maintenance of the tool incredibly easy, there’s no need to take it apart to clean.
For a well-made and ultra-durable manual grease gun, you can’t go wrong with the Lincoln Lubrication 1133. The quality of Lincoln products has been proven over many years and you can be sure that you’re getting something that’s going to last and remain trouble-free.