No Nipples? No Problem!




About: I fix lasers for a living, love a lot of stuff (see interests I guess). Wish I had more time :D

So you're car has started squeaking but when you look for the grease nipple there's just a hole with some stripped threads  :(

What now?

Strip the part to pieces so you can drill to a large size and tap for a larger nipple?

No time for that? OK, I've got a solution.

Here's how I got my girlfriends beetle back on the road in record time without having to strip the whole front beam.

Safetywise, this may or may not be the best solution for you, it is merely what I did and it seemed to work very well.
You are likely going to be working under a ton of metal. Take precautions, never rely on hydraulics to support it above you, axle stands, bricks, large lumps of wood. These are the things of safety.

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Step 1: Fabricate the Solution

As I said in the intro, I don't have time to strip the front end, take everything apart so I can drill and tap to a larger size, then put it all back together.
Plus if I were doing this I'd want all new bushings and bearings on standby to swap in for this poor old unloved beam.

So here's what I made.

I got a sheet of metal, thin enough to easily work but thick enough to hold a thread. It was probably just under a mil thick steel.
I drilled it before I cut it to prevent holding issues (holding small lumps of metal can be frustrating even with a vice). You guys know how to drill right? Centre punch where you want the hole, get a decent sharp bit, maybe a little cutting fluid, not too fast for steel. Hold the drill as perpendicular to the piece as you can eye (or better yet use a drill press).

Once drilled to 5.5mm, the nearest size I had to the correct tapping drill size for an M6 thread, I deburred the hole, then cut out the small rectangle of steel from the large sheet.

Bend it around a form, you might need a vice and or pliers to help, steel is tough, fingers are soft!
The form could be a broom handle, I used a mastic tube as it was close to the right diameter and just rigid enough for this thin sheet.

Tap the hole to M6. I used a first and a second tap. Didn't bother with the final as I wanted a tight thread. The sheet was thin enough I didn't worry about tapered thread shenanigans.
Make sure to tap AFTER bending, otherwise your hole will distort the threads as it bends.

Step 2: Oring

Even though the nipples nearly threaded in the old stripped holes I couldn't rely on that as a seal. I had some o-rings so put a suitable size one on the back of the nipple.

It worked a treat

Step 3: Clamp It On

Hose clips, jubilee clips, whatever you call them or the best bet here.

Step 4: Job Done

Repeat for all the required nipples, four in the case of this car.
The image shows the last and most awkward one, tricky to get to thanks to the steering box right next to it. I put the jubilee clips on the other way round for better access to tighten them.

You gotta keep pumping grease in till you see it come out the ends.
It took six refills of my (small, old) grease gun. That's about 3/4 of my pot of grease used up!

No more squeaking!

Ideally I should leave something covering the holes, 3 more of this fitting? Perhaps, perhaps I should just strip the beam and do a proper job as soon as I get time.
All I know is my girl friend is back on the road and not squeaking any more  :D

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    12 Discussions


    8 years ago on Introduction

    They make a grease injection needle it looks like the picture you just attach it to your grease gun you just stick it into the hole and give it a couple of pumps then just put some silicone caulking and smear a blob over the hole to keep out water and debris you can also use the needle to grease lifetime non-greaseable fittings use the needle to pierce the boot grease the joint the use the silicone caulking to seal the hole wait for it to dry and your done.

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    That's a neat tool. Never seen one of them before.

    It would be great for greasing sealed bearings but in this application you need to force in grease until it comes out the end of the shafts. The grease would choose the easiest root and come back out around the needle instead of forcing through the bushings and out the ends, as the needle wouldn't form a tight seal with the hole.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Sage advice on not relying on hydraulics (or any kind of jack) to support your car while underneath.  ALWAYS use jackstands or "large lumps of wood".  NEVER use concrete block - it cannot handle the crush load.  I'm not sure about bricks... they'd be too brittle for me to trust and I'm not sure if they can handle crush loads or not.  


    4 replies

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I'm totally with you on that, I keep telling everyone at the car meets . Never use concrete block or bricks  when fixing you car. Cars are repairables, human death isnt


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Yeah... keep it up.  Concrete block IS strong, but only in certain ways.  People in general don't understand the pressure exerted by the weight of a car and how it can be concentrated in one place.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    interesting, I had never considered that concrete would fail. Large lumps of wood have always protected my up till now.
    I used to be in the habit of jacking and leaving the jack in with a large lump of wood under something sturdy. Don't want the jack to give up only to watch the wood go through a soft bit of floor or something  :)

    My trolley jack tends to go down overnight too. Once left my motorbike without a front wheel only to find it the next day sitting on its forks  :(  At least it was still upright  :)


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Solid concrete would be OK - but who has that?  But block - pretty common.  Unfortunately it can't handle the crush pressure that can be generated with a substantial amount of weight resting on a relatively small area.  You may have seen video of bullets blowing thru a block wall - same principle.


    9 years ago on Introduction

     OK, so I'm the only one who went "Eeew!" on the title, until I realized he was talking about car repair...?

    1 reply

    9 years ago on Step 4

    Nice MacGyverism!

    Use a piece of innertube, a small rectangle of stainless steel, and clamps to put a patch over the holes until you can pull the beam. This will keep the dirt out and the grease in!

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    good plan, I was thinking something similar, perhaps involving twisted wire tourniquets instead of clamps (I'm a bit cheap  :)