How to grease the front end of a GM/Chevy HD truck 2011-2021

Wayne

Administrator
Staff member
My previous post here motivated me to write a quick how-to grease the front of a GM/Chevy HD truck. This applies to all GM/Chevy HD trucks from 2011-2021.

Edit: Thanks to AZJeff we now know the zerk threads size is 1/4x28.


Starting from the driver's side.

Left upper ball joint

Left lower ball joint

Left tie rod end

Pitman arm center link
This zerk points up and is very difficult to grease. Turn the wheel to position the zerk in a greaseable position or install a 90° zerk.

Idler arm center link
This zerk points up and is very difficult to grease. Turn the wheel to position the zerk in a greaseable position or install a 90° zerk. Notice you can also see the upper idler arm pivot zerk in this picture.

Upper idler arm pivot
This zerk points to the driver's side. It can be greased by snaking the hose around various hoses, but is much easier to grease if you remove the front splash guard. This picture is taken from the front of the truck looking back with the phone camera looking through a gap about 1". The picture is deceiving, the zerk looks easy to get to, it isn't.

Right upper ball joint

Right lower ball joint

Right tie rod end
 
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spasm3

Active member
Wow! what a PITA! And it looks like it would be difficult to even change the zerk on the pitman arm. Good thing you checked them. How can a truck be delivered and again missed at the dealer for no grease?
 

Wayne

Administrator
Staff member
Thread starter
And it looks like it would be difficult to even change the zerk on the pitman arm.
Yes, it is difficult but not impossible and you get undercoating on your skin and clothes.

How can a truck be delivered and again missed at the dealer for no grease?
I suspect they don't get greased at the dealer PDI because it's such a PITA to grease, but that doesn't excuse the other 6 zerks that are easy to reach.
 

Azjeff

Active member
2 - 90 degree fittings, 1 on the idler arm and 1 on the pitman arm make this much easier. Drop the splash shield. 1/4x28 threads.

This is the idler arm with the wheels straight ahead, plenty of room and you can see what you're doing.
90zerk.jpg
 

Azjeff

Active member
I think he is talking about the previous pic of the right tie rod end.
Duh. Looks like Wayne didn't wipe the fitting off. Probably looking at all the rust. 🥴 We don't have that here. I'm from Pa so I say a little thank you prayer every time I go under one of our vehicles.
 

Wayne

Administrator
Staff member
Thread starter
2 - 90 degree fittings, 1 on the idler arm and 1 on the pitman arm make this much easier. Drop the splash shield. 1/4x28 threads.

This is the idler arm with the wheels straight ahead, plenty of room and you can see what you're doing.
Jeff,

Big thanks! I ordered the 90° zerks and will install them the next time is gets greased.
 

Azjeff

Active member
The zerks I got from NAPA didn't have much of a taper on the threads so they went in a bit stiff. Worked out because it let me clock it where I wanted and didn't have to bottom it out. I didn't quite trust the counter guy at NAPA so I went to the ACE up the street and used the thread gauge in the hardware section to confirm the threads on the one I pulled out. I'd really rather grease the truck myself as I could see the guy working the grease rack skipping the PITA ones. Nice that the truck actually has them.
 

Wayne

Administrator
Staff member
Thread starter
Nice that the truck actually has them.
I agree. My friend that owns a auto shop told me that if the front ends are regularly greased, they will last almost indefinitely. He also said that most people don't bother to grease the front ends and they wear out fairly quickly, much faster than sealed joint vehicles. Grease zerks are meant to be greased!
 

Wayne

Administrator
Staff member
Thread starter
I installed the 90° zerks in the pitman arm center link and idler arm center link, while the upper idler arm pivot got a 45° if I had another 90° I would have installed it in the place of the 45°

The upper idler arm pivot zerk is MUCH easier to access if you take the splash shield off - thanks @Azjeff !!


upper idler arm pivot - picture taken from front where the splash shield is removed. I will remove the splash shield to grease this zerk. The splash shield with an cordless drill takes about 30 seconds to remove and it is MUCH easier to get to the zerk from the front.


The pitman arm center link and the idler arm center link now can both be greased in about 30 seconds and no swearing.

pitman arm center link:


idler arm center link

 
Glad you have found a better solution. Now the only hard part is fiddling with that splash guard especially when you don’t have a lift. 🙂
 
This splash guard is the easiest splash guard I ever had to remove, because it's small, only has four bolts, and is easily accessible.
That’s good. If it was a newer Ford you’d have about 20 little 7mm bolts to take down and when it comes down it comes down lol. I’ve almost been knocked out by them before. That’s why I always get an assistant for those. Lol.
 
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