Roller grease and guns

Facts and knowledgebase about John Deere crawlers
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Stan Disbrow
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Roller grease and guns

Post by Stan Disbrow » Sat Nov 14, 2015 8:51 am

Hi,

This post is for those of us with the older machines where we need to lubricate the track rollers and idlers every day we use them.

For those with newer sealed rollers, there is nothing to see here. ;)

Generally, we talk about John Deere Corn Head Grease, available at Ag dealers - not Industrial, as they don't know about corn heads on combines. There are alternate sources for NLGI #0 grease, and any form of it will do for our needs.

Recently, I had tripped across a Cheveron conversion chart for their products and how they relate to the long-gone Kendall offerings. I had posted this info in the Early Crawler Forum, but also think it ought to be here in the FAQ. The topic certainly comes up often enough.

Now, being Lazy, I will just copy and paste from the earlier post:

-----

I just tripped across another source of track roller lubricant.

Chevron MultiFak EP

This is a Lithium thickened grease available from 000 thru 2. For rollers, number 0 is what to use.

Of course, this is pretty much the same as JD Corn Head grease. But, maybe someone has a Chevron lube dealer which is handier than a JD Ag Dealer.

I found it after tripping across a conversion chart for Kendall lubricants (most of which I am familiar with from when we had our tractor shops). Kendall's was L-406.

The chart crossed L-406 to Chevron Dura-Lith, which has had a name change to MultiFak.

Actually, any make of Lithium-thickened number 0 grease would be the same as the original Track and Roller Lube. The problem is finding a convenient source of it these days. Most places only carry number 2, usually with several different thickeners, but number 0 is harder to come by.

The key to number 0 is that is stays put like a grease when idle, yet flows like a gear oil when under motion and/or pressure. Just what we want in rollers. :)

-----

Ok. So now you have the JD Corn Head grease cartridge in hand. How should you get it into the rollers? First you need the correct gun. Not, I repeat *NOT* any old gun you have on hand!

The common grease gun has too much pressure! Anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 PSI! You want a gun that keeps it below 2,000 PSI.

That would be the Alemite model 4015-A4. This delivers 1 oz in 7 strokes at 1800 PSI.

They are available from many sources.

As the part number indicates, this is the fourth model in a series. Any series 4015 will do.

Note that Alemite has a B series, as in 4015-B4, which is a longer 24-oz variant for loading from a bulk bucket pump. Not what we want for a tube of Corn Head Grease.

BTW, if you use a normal gun, you risk blowing out those *very* expensive bellows-type roller seals. Better you spend a couple hundred bucks on the proper gun.

Stan

Edit: I had said that I thought Lavoy stocked the low pressure gun, but he has corrected me. So, I just cut that line out.

Also, the Kendall I refer to is the original up in Bradford, PA. Witco bought them and, in the end, sold the operation and the trademark names separately. So, what was Kendall is now Brad-Penn, and what you see labeled as Kendall, isn't. But, neither offer a roller lube, so that doesn't really matter to us.

Edit 2: We can also use a heavy oil in the rollers. In fact, that was what Deere specified back in the early days.

The problem with heavy oil is it tends to leak past older seals a bit too quickly. The seals are designed more to keep dirt out than oil in. As they age, this tendency increases.

Deere stopped specifying heavy oil and switched to light grease about the time the JD series (350, 450) came along. They called it Track and Roller Lube. Now it is gone since they went to fully sealed rollers with 30 weight oil in them. But, it exists still as Corn Head grease.

Anyway, a good oil still exists as Deere Cotton Picker Spindle oil. But, you need an oil gun instead of a grease gun to use it. An oil gun has no spring inside the barrel to push the plunger seal. It gets sucked down as you pump. A spring just slowly pushes the oil out the business end when you are not using it and make a mess.

Note that just pulling the spring out of a grease gun does not do. They still make too much pressure! Alemite makes an oil gun still as the model 4035, and it has the same 1 oz per 7 strokes at 1800 PSI as the 4015-A4 grease gun. :)
Last edited by Stan Disbrow on Tue Oct 04, 2016 4:34 am, edited 2 times in total.
There's No Such Thing As A Cheap Crawler!

Have: 1958 JD 420c 5-roller w/62 blade
Useta Have: '68 JD350 & Terratrac GT-25
Also Have: 1950 M, 2008 5103 (now known as 5045D)

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shugy368
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track rollers

Post by shugy368 » Sat May 28, 2016 8:43 am

Good morning, half a cup a Joe , heads clearing :) having read Stans report on roller grease, what years had the need for this and what years had sealed rollers :?:

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Lavoy
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Post by Lavoy » Sat May 28, 2016 9:40 am

Deere did not go sealed til somewhere in the 350's at least, so everything back from there. Also anything with aftermarket rollers would not be grease able.
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Stan Disbrow
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Post by Stan Disbrow » Sat May 28, 2016 12:36 pm

Hi,

JD350C and 450C went sealed, so sometime around 1975. Give or take a year or two in either direction.

Stan
There's No Such Thing As A Cheap Crawler!

Have: 1958 JD 420c 5-roller w/62 blade
Useta Have: '68 JD350 & Terratrac GT-25
Also Have: 1950 M, 2008 5103 (now known as 5045D)

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mapaduke@yahoo.com
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Post by mapaduke@yahoo.com » Sun May 29, 2016 4:46 am

What do you guys use to grease Lindeman role's?
nothing crawles like a deere

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Lavoy
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Post by Lavoy » Mon May 30, 2016 1:03 am

The heaviest, stickiest stuff you can find.
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Scottyb
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Post by Scottyb » Mon May 30, 2016 6:05 pm

Stan.?...every day?? I'm in trouble
450`s c-dozer 6 way, b-loader.
350`s c-loader + ripper, b-loader with winch arch. B-loader with dozer pads
backhoe attachment.
1010 loader with forks for round bales
a few 610 Bobcats. many attachments

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CuttingEdge
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Post by CuttingEdge » Mon May 30, 2016 6:13 pm

Dumb question in the interest of roller grease...

My 1988 350D did not have grease fittings for the original front idler bushings, but the used ones I found did. I put them in and pumped them full of grease, but only until I felt resistance...I am not so dumb as to blow those grease seals out with my grease gun.

Should those front idlers be greased though or filled with oil? Or, does it even matter as long as they have something reducing metal on metal contact?
I have no intention of traveling to my grave in a well manicured body; instead I am going to slide into heaven with a big power turn, totally wore out with busted knuckles, jump off my dozer loudly yelling, Woo Hoo, another Shepard has just arrived!

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Stan Disbrow
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Post by Stan Disbrow » Mon May 30, 2016 7:01 pm

Hi,

Yes, it matters. You want a really heavy oil, as in 200+ weight, or a really runny grease like #0 (or 00 or 000 - and at 000 we are back to a heavy oil).

The grease needs to become fluid when the roller is in motion, or the lubricant will pack and not actually lubricate where it needs to.

And, yes, daily lubricating because the seals are designed to keep dirt out more than lube in. The operation causes lube to be lost, carrying dirt with it.

The gun needs to be low pressure / high volume so you ensure you feel the backpressure building before you damage the seal. The high volume means fewer pumps.

The grease gun I use delivers 1 oz of lube for 7 strokes at 1800 PSI (far below the 10,000 PSI guns I use for other greases). My older oil gun pumps a little faster but with about the same volume.

The difference between a grease gun and an oil gun is that the oil gun has no spring inside the tube.

One heavy oil still out there we could use is Deere Cotton Picker Spindle oil. If you have an oil gun instead of a grease gun.

Stan

Edit: when we say grease daily, that means a full day of working with the machine. I do it after starting up, while it is warming up. ;)
There's No Such Thing As A Cheap Crawler!

Have: 1958 JD 420c 5-roller w/62 blade
Useta Have: '68 JD350 & Terratrac GT-25
Also Have: 1950 M, 2008 5103 (now known as 5045D)

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Post by Lavoy » Tue May 31, 2016 8:13 am

If the seals are good, and you use the correct lube, Deere recommends longer interval for greasing but only for rollers and idlers, all else is daily pretty much.
Lavoy
Parts and restoration for antique and late model John Deere crawlers.
Owner and moderator www.jdcrawlers.com

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CuttingEdge
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Post by CuttingEdge » Tue May 31, 2016 4:21 pm

Interesting Stan.

I wonder if the fittings I replaced; button style, were for an oil gun? I just assumed they were old school and threaded in new grease zerks.

I am not sure where I can find an oil gun, or low pressure/high volume grease gun, but I'll look around.

I really do care. PondHogVT could tell I think and really spent some time with me going over ll the problem areas on the 350's because he knew I was not just out to get a dozer and use it a few times a year. It will run for awhile. Now if he only knew I was coveting the love of his life the whole time I was there...his Komatsu!
I have no intention of traveling to my grave in a well manicured body; instead I am going to slide into heaven with a big power turn, totally wore out with busted knuckles, jump off my dozer loudly yelling, Woo Hoo, another Shepard has just arrived!

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Post by Lavoy » Tue May 31, 2016 5:44 pm

Button head is just an older, heavier duty zerk. The 1010 on back used button head fittings, and were originally supposed to use 140wt gear lube in the rollers. Later on, Track and Roller grease took over for gear lube because it would hold better if you had a marginal seal.
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jtrichard
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Post by jtrichard » Tue May 31, 2016 6:31 pm

"I wonder if the fittings I replaced; button style, were for an oil gun?" YES


two reasons for button head (ONE) DEERE did NOT want some grease jockey to be-able to grab any ole gun and blow the roller seals and the (TWO) is buttons are less vulnerable to damage (near tracks.rocks ect.) ...... LOW pressure gun came with machine when new .....


Here is one http://www.amazon.com/Alemite-4015-A4-D ... B009K50ZOM
2010 with 622 dozer with mod. 35 ripper and a 2010 with 622 dozer bought in 1969 and a 2010 loader with drott and mod. 36 ripper

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Stan Disbrow
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Post by Stan Disbrow » Wed Jun 01, 2016 4:40 am

Hi,

The Alemite guns are readily available, if a little pricey. But....think about dropping track and pulling rollers to replace seals....

You want the 4015-A4, not the -B4. The B4 has a longer barrel to hold more grease and is filled from a pump on a drum. The A4 is a standard size barrel and takes the usual cardboard catridge which the Corn Head grease comes in.

The button head fittings, and there are several sizes of them, are a common fitting in the machine world. As in machine shop machines, production machines, all sorts of machines. Not just crawler machines. As pointed out they are tougher than a zerk.

But, my Dad replaced the button head fittings with zerks on his (now my) 1958 420c back in 1966 and all of them survived until this very day. So it is OK if you want to replace them on yours. Dad did so because the oil gun he had worked better if the back end pointed upwards, and that was easier with the steel delivery tube and a zerk end than with a flex tube and the button head end.

I find that it is also easier with the Alemite grease gun with the steel tube and a zerk end. The protective 'eyebrow' around the bottom of the roller fittings means the flex tube has to be used with the button head fittings and it can be a little futzy to hold it in place while pumping sometimes.

The important thing is to get the correct grease or oil in there and know to put a couple pumps in once in a while.

Stan
Last edited by Stan Disbrow on Wed Jun 01, 2016 6:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
There's No Such Thing As A Cheap Crawler!

Have: 1958 JD 420c 5-roller w/62 blade
Useta Have: '68 JD350 & Terratrac GT-25
Also Have: 1950 M, 2008 5103 (now known as 5045D)

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Stan Disbrow
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Post by Stan Disbrow » Wed Jun 01, 2016 4:41 am

Hi,

Important point:

If you replace the button head with a zerk on the top idlers.....they need to have that one bolt pulled and the idler rotated so the hole is pointed upwards. They need to vent the air. And, they are made such that you cannot get the button head end of the gun onto the fitting without removing that bolt....

With a zerk in place, you can grease with the bolt still in, and those seals have no give the way the roller seals do. One pump can blow it out!

Stan
Last edited by Stan Disbrow on Wed Jun 01, 2016 6:15 am, edited 2 times in total.
There's No Such Thing As A Cheap Crawler!

Have: 1958 JD 420c 5-roller w/62 blade
Useta Have: '68 JD350 & Terratrac GT-25
Also Have: 1950 M, 2008 5103 (now known as 5045D)

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