Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Adding Tools to the URAL Kit

Over the last 2-3 weeks, I'd been trying out various grease fittings in order to inject grease into the zerk mounted onto my rig's main drive shaft's u-joint.

The deal is, one should grease a rig's u-joints on a consistent and periodic basis, more often if one does a lot of water crossings in the course of having fun off-road.

Before, with my other rigs, I thought that one had to dismount the pusher wheel, then pull the final drive with main drive shaft attached off the motorcycle in order to access the u-joint's zerk fitting.

I had planned on doing this on the upcoming 5000 KM service.  Still, I'd found water drops being squeezed out when I thought to inject grease in the sidecar wheel's u-joint which is easily accessible as the zerk is mounted on one of the u-joint caps.

My mind started worrying, is there water in the main drive shaft u-joint?

Here's the access I have with the drive shaft in place:

Looking at the U-Joint from the top, note the small gap 
one has to access the grease zerk itself.

Tried a regular coupler, too wide.  

Went and bought a needle fitting similar to the one below.

Turns out, not correct for U-Joints, but correct for Ball Joints.  I tried it anyways, even to the point of cutting off the tip, and still the grease just came out the way it went in.

Next, I tried a wider needle, based on info I saw online, mainly on  There seems to be, in the grease gun industry, some descriptive lapses when it comes to describing fittings designed to get at hard to get zerks.

All the above having failed, I decided one afternoon to take my trusty angle grinder and pared down a regular grease coupler so that it's outer diameter was 10mm.  This allowed the coupler tip to get past the gap and with a bit of "finesse" managed to get it to mate to the zerk.  Grease flowed into the U-Joint and all was well.  Of course, then I dropped the modified coupler and while searching for it, managed to roll the pusher tire over it and it cracked the housing.  :(

Tried for a long time to search for a grease coupler with an outer diameter (OD) of 10mm, to no avail.  So much time wasted.

Thought about replacing the grease zerk with one that had a 45 degree angle to it, but just placing it near the existing zerk showed there would be clearance issues with the U-Joint arms itself.

So, I'd resigned myself to dismounting the final drive each time I wanted to grease the driveshaft zerk.  Then I decided to give it one last try with a fitting mentioned in SovietSteeds:  a Lincoln 5803 Needle Nozzle.  Got it from today and it worked!

Kind of looks like the second fitting I tried doesn't it?  Well, it works and I am not looking back!  You still have to get a good square-on connection to it but I was able to inject grease into the zerk without getting grease all over the place!

The plan is to grease all the U-Joints every 2500 KM.  So glad I don't have to remove the rear disc brake caliper assembly, pusher wheel and final drive with drive shaft to get at this zerk.  I still plan to dismount all these things at the 5000 KM intervals to grease the splines on the wheel and drive shaft of course.

The other tool I hope will work out for my tool kit is a Valve Socket Wrench, 29/32", to access a recessed 22mm nut that holds in the seal through which the drive shaft transits from the transmission.  You can't use a regular 22mm socket as the walls are too thick on regular sockets.  I had almost bought what the British call a Tubular Box Spanner that came in 22mm but they wanted around $23 for one at

I've not tried to change out this seal yet, nor is it leaking.  Darrell S., a fellow Uralista has tried because his was leaking oil and discussions on had lead to tool fabrications by another member to meet this requirement.  Yep, you can grind down a regular socket but it weakens it, so it's only good for a limited number of uses.

Instead, I finally figured out that here in the US, we call the same tool a Valve Socket Wrench!  It's mostly used by plumbers, go figure!

It's 29/32", not 22mm but 23.01mm, which I hope will work.
Note the thin sides, allowing it to access the 22 nut which is recessed into
the rear of the URAL's gearbox.


A view of a 2007 Gearbox, showing the 22mm nut holding in the forward yoke
onto which the donut mates, and the rear yoke is part of the driveshaft leading to the final drive.
The clearance is less on the yoke for the 2014 models because they have a wider Nyloc nut instead of the castellated nut you see above.


bob skoot said...


that looks like a much easier way than having to remove all the parts. If you knew a machinist perhaps they could make a thin wall adapter/fitting using Chromoly or higher grade steel. Something that could be heat treated.

the problem now is that most new cars/vehicles have lifetime lube impregnated into the metal, and they require no maintenance, until they fail. There are no lubrication nipples. I just had a failure on my Corvette which had to be repaired for my tour this summer and it wasn't cheap.

I also had a failure on my Honda. There is a steady bearing on the Right transaxle which is lifetime lubed from the factory and it failed. I needED a new axel which was replaced under warranty (luckily)

seems like you have everything under control

Riding the Wet Coast

Charlie6 said...

Hi Bob, lifetime lubrication....ain't. Maintenance-free...ain't.


Jason said...

Laughing! I did the same thing with my Guzzi and am now the proud owner of all three grease gun needles. :)

Richard M said...

How difficult would it have been to remove the u-joint at the other end? Removing either end would allow enough movement to easily get a standard coupler into the u-joint. But it looks like you found a needle that'll work.

As far as the 22mm thin wall sockets, how much torque do you need to put on the nut? I suspect that a turned down 6-point socket would be strong enough and you'd still be able to use a torque wrench. But that's just my gut feeling...

And you're right, no such thing as "lifetime lubed" or "maintenance free". Just more time between service or it's a disposable component. If you are seeing water in your u-joints when adding grease, the seals aren't working. You may just want to proactively change them...

GlennandSun said...

Thanks for the sharing post Dom. Good info to know. I have a South Bend lathe in the basement, anything you want machined down would be my pleasure to do for you. Always love the challenge.

We bought a good used hub and wheel from Holopaw Gene and I ground out the male splines, which makes the U joints stationary....a great improvement in power and acceleration...2 WD is a 5 minute spare change away. Your advice to grease the zerk fittings at every oil change has been taken to heart....GlennandSun