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Old 06-01-2012, 07:33 AM   #1
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Greasing the ball and the sway bars.

I am curious to know if any one puts a light coat of grease on the ball and sway bars. I have a reese hitch.

Thanks

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Old 06-01-2012, 07:37 AM   #2
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Wheel bearing grease, about a finger full, on the ball and on the pivot points of the bars on the hitch head. A very SMALL amount on the cams will lessen the creaking when turning, but too much will reduce the friction that is a part of the sway control. You didn't say, I assume you have Dual Cam.
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Old 06-01-2012, 07:51 AM   #3
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I use a piece of wax paper on the ball, doubled over a few times. No grease to get on me when the hitch is off. I use just a few small dabs of waterproof (marine) grease on the WD bars where the manufacturer says I could. FWIW I have the Equalizer Hitch.

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Old 06-01-2012, 08:58 AM   #4
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Thans for the reply and the hint about the wax paper. Also can you tell me where the manufacture recommends greasing the WD bars.

Thanks

John
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Old 06-01-2012, 09:18 AM   #5
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If you have the Reese with the trunion type bars, the manufacturer recommends using OIL at the head, top and bottom, daily, where the bars go into the hitch head. There are some holes in the top of the hith head for the oil to go into. This data is in the instructions.
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Old 06-01-2012, 09:41 AM   #6
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When I used my Reese dual cam, I used the REESE grease at the ball and trunion points (not sure what their formula is, but it is the BEST ball grease I have ever used) and VASOLINE at the cams, per Reese recommendation.
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Old 06-01-2012, 09:49 AM   #7
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Old 06-01-2012, 10:02 AM   #8
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milk jug plastic

I have heard that milk jug plastic works to lube the ball (versus waxed paper). I have not tried it, But I would tow to the end of the world with the fellow who told me this.
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Old 06-01-2012, 10:12 AM   #9
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I do exactly as overlander63 sez, except...
Quote:
Originally Posted by dznf0g View Post
... and VASOLINE at the cams, per Reese recommendation.
Yes to the petroleum jelly on the cams. Saw it in the Reese instructions myself (not like I ever read instructions). This is optional and intended to lessen squeal during turns. After a couple years the cams will begin to show significant wear from bar contact whatever you do.
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Old 06-01-2012, 11:23 AM   #10
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Supposedly the Reese ball lube is no longer available, hence the recommendation for a smidge of wheel bearing grease. Petrolatum (Vaseline brand) does work well on the cams, but does turn into one more thing to carry along.
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Old 06-01-2012, 11:29 AM   #11
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I put spray lithium grease on the ball and the pivots for the load bars.

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Old 06-01-2012, 11:30 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander63 View Post
Supposedly the Reese ball lube is no longer available, hence the recommendation for a smidge of wheel bearing grease. Petrolatum (Vaseline brand) does work well on the cams, but does turn into one more thing to carry along.
I just bought some last month. It is Reese part number 58117.
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Old 06-01-2012, 11:34 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander63 View Post
Supposedly the Reese ball lube is no longer available, hence the recommendation for a smidge of wheel bearing grease. Petrolatum (Vaseline brand) does work well on the cams, but does turn into one more thing to carry along.
Really, is that recent? I ordered directly from reese sometime around March 2011. Wish I knew want it is. What I found with every other kind of grease (Wheel bearing, CV joint, white lith....) was if I had 2 long towing days back to back where I didn't unhitch...say 1000 miles total, other greases would move away from the ball contact point and they would rub "dry". The reese stuff seemed to stay put and wet under this scenario.
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Old 06-01-2012, 11:43 AM   #14
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I have an older Draw-Tite weight distribution system, and I lube both the hitch ball and the distribution bars with Sta-Lube CV joint lube. It's available in a tube like toothpaste, making it convenient to add a glob wherever you need it without getting your hands greasy. As a practical matter, I lube the whole ball, and the whole portion of the bars that engage the hitch head (including the groove). Realistically, the wear point on the ball is the leading edge, while the wear point on the bars is the trailing edge. I keep the ball(s) covered when not in use, but at irregular intervals I wipe the grease off to remove the chunks, then use brake cleaner to remove the film and grit, including up inside the trailer coupler, then start over. Is it the best lube for this purpose? Who knows? But it's better than nothing, and it's convenient to apply as frequently as necessary. I got tired of dipping my gloved hand into the wheel-bearing grease can, then dealing with the mess. So far, so good. I tried to attach a picture, but I don't know if it did successfully.
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Old 06-01-2012, 11:45 AM   #15
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One more try...
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Old 06-01-2012, 11:51 AM   #16
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It's not recent, it's been several years. I just checked, and the regular oil, black hitch lube grease is no longer available. I still have part of a bottle, but once it's gone, it's gone.
The white teflon stuff is not what we were originally discussing, or at least not what I was talking about.
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Old 06-01-2012, 12:59 PM   #17
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Ace Hardware sells a marine and wheel bearing grease in a blue can. It doesn't migrate from ball surface, perhaps because of the high drip point (500˚ I think).

I clean off the old grease from the ball with a paper towel and then use another one to apply the clean grease to it—usually do this every time we hitch. Periodically I spray the inside of the coupler with WD40 and clean with paper towel.

Although grease (and just about anything else you can think of) is attracted to my clothes and hands, I've been pretty good at avoiding a mess. My wife suggests gloves to avoid grease and sometimes I remember to use them. I try not to wipe them on my pants.

I also use the grease in the bar sockets on the Equalizer hitch head. Keeps it a little quieter and should reduce wear; none on the other end of the bars.

I don't understand why if you don't use grease on the ball, why be inconsistent and use grease on the wheel bearings or oil in your engine?

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Old 06-01-2012, 01:05 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander63 View Post
It's not recent, it's been several years. I just checked, and the regular oil, black hitch lube grease is no longer available. I still have part of a bottle, but once it's gone, it's gone.
The white teflon stuff is not what we were originally discussing, or at least not what I was talking about.
Oh, OK, I didn't know there was a black Reese grease. I was talking about the white stuff that comes in a small white "prescription" bottle size, pictured upthread. That's the stuff I really like.
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Old 06-01-2012, 01:16 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dznf0g View Post
Oh, OK, I didn't know there was a black Reese grease. I was talking about the white stuff that comes in a small white "prescription" bottle size, pictured upthread. That's the stuff I really like.
If I didn't think the lettering would smear off, I'd clean the bottle up and post a picture of it. It's good stuff, but very few "modern" Airstreamers know about it. Of course, now that it's gone, it doesn't matter so much, other than from a historical perspective.
Okay, on edit, I cleaned up the bottle a bit, and here are a couple of photos of it, in case you ever see any at a swap meet:
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Old 06-01-2012, 01:24 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by wmarsha View Post
I have heard that milk jug plastic works to lube the ball (versus waxed paper). I have not tried it, But I would tow to the end of the world with the fellow who told me this.
I've actually tried both of these, and while they both probably provide some lubrication and isolation between the surfaces, they don't last very long. Every time I unhitched with each method, the paper or plastic had been worn completely thru, and obviously for quite a while.

It's one of those "good ideas" that just didn't pan out, at least for me.

Now, since I use a ProPride hitch that never comes off the ball coupler, I have drilled a hole and added a zerk fitting to the coupler, and I give it a shot of grease every few days of towing.
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