Model A Original Grease Gun Questions

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CJB
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Model A Original Grease Gun Questions

Post by CJB » Thu Jun 17, 2021 3:22 am

Apologies in advance for this query about modern Fords, but I was unable to find much information through Google and really don't want to join any Model A forums to post one query. I know many members here are familiar with and or own Henry's Lady.

I believe the grease gun show below fits the original style Model A grease fittings, also pictured below.

Is this indeed for the Model A, and if so, is it complete and how is it filled and operated?

Signed, Befuddled

Model A grease gun1.jpeg
Model A grease gun2.jpeg

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Re: Model A Original Grease Gun Questions

Post by DanTreace » Thu Jun 17, 2021 5:25 am

Typical Model A grease gun with the tool kit is this style.
9D745214-5510-412B-91A0-0FA4CF1E4EB1.jpeg
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Re: Model A Original Grease Gun Questions

Post by CJB » Thu Jun 17, 2021 10:13 am

Thank you Dan.

The "Lube your Model A" videos I found feature modern Zerk fittings in place of the original type.

I remain perplexed as to how this period grease gun is filled and operated. Can someone please steer me in the right direction?

Thanks in advance.


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Re: Model A Original Grease Gun Questions

Post by Dropacent » Thu Jun 17, 2021 10:26 am

Chris , the leather piston must be in good shape. To use, a wooden paint stir stick would be used to fill it out of a tub of grease. Not much else to tell. They are messy little critters.

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Re: Model A Original Grease Gun Questions

Post by George Mills » Thu Jun 17, 2021 1:01 pm

Chris,

The zerk fitting in your kit is the red herring!

A gun like that was filled as Larry Smith suggest. Grease can, paint stick, with piston removed and then piston replaced after.

As to the serious end...

I'm not sure about that form of 'zerk' being available in the Model A era...I just don't know. The answer is...look at the male fittings on the 'A', and there is a FEMALE screw in adapter that goes in the 'business' end of the gun that matches it. Usually on a short piece of really stiff, braided steel hose.

I believe that I have proven to myself that the 'zerk' system as shown in your stash was either not available until the 30's and the precursor was a 90 degree twist and lock system that in my opinion is actually superior to the snap on type shown in your pic.

Here is a picture of a similar gun. This pic shows a screw type as opposed to a plunge type. The business end is the type of the T era. My '19 Hack actually has aftermarket grease cups used as front hubcaps

The A may be different, but here's what the twist on fitting looks like. They are still available and the Chinese use them all over the place!

IMG_4301.jpg
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Re: Model A Original Grease Gun Questions

Post by CJB » Thu Jun 17, 2021 1:05 pm

Thank you Tim. I'm echoing Steve Jelf's "Feeling stupid" sentiment with this grease gun conundrum.

On the grease gun in my photo above, the leather washer slides freely up and down the shaft. Is this correct? And what is the purpose of the washer? It seems no amount of plunging would move the washer in either direction, nor would the washer force/encourage grease to move toward the tip end as the reservoir is depleted. The shape of the leather washer appears to let grease travel from the tip end to the handle end, but discourage movement in the other direction.

The plunger rod travel is about 3/4", toward the fitting end, with a spring return. The fitting end appears to have a ball check valve.

I could fill it with grease and hope for the best, but I would really like a better understanding first, particularly of the leather washer. To my mind, there ought to a spring between it and the handle to keep the tip end filled.

What am I missing?

Model A grease gun3.jpeg

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Re: Model A Original Grease Gun Questions

Post by CJB » Thu Jun 17, 2021 1:30 pm

George Mills wrote:
Thu Jun 17, 2021 1:01 pm
Chris,

The zerk fitting in your kit is the red herring! ...

I believe that I have proven to myself that the 'zerk' system as shown in your stash was either not available until the 30's and the precursor was a 90 degree twist and lock system that in my opinion is actually superior to the snap on type shown in your pic....

The A may be different, but here's what the twist on fitting looks like. They are still available and the Chinese use them all over the place!
Thank you George. Interesting post.

And not to argue, but the loose fitting in my photos was taken off the Model A in question, and matches exactly the illustrations in an seemingly-comprehensive and well-regarded Model A repair manual. The manual does not discuss original grease guns, only the use of a Zero-to-Model A adaptor, or the replacement of old style fittings with new Zerks.

My understanding is the pin type in your photo was not Model A, but used in other cars of similar era. I have a couple of those guns and a few loose fittings.


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Re: Model A Original Grease Gun Questions

Post by Dropacent » Thu Jun 17, 2021 1:41 pm

Chris, all you pump into the pin alemite fitting each time you stroke is what grease is captive in the slot. This causes pretty good hydraulic ( not sure the right word) pressure to do the deed. I’m heading out in a bit and will take one of mine apart, to see how the washer with leather operates. Hate to say without looking at one.


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Re: Model A Original Grease Gun Questions

Post by Dropacent » Thu Jun 17, 2021 1:50 pm

Mine has a solid pin that acts like the piston. The leather sandwiched washer just floats on the shaft, probably to aid in getting the grease neatly inside when filled. Perhaps the suction action keeps it on top of the grease when pumped. The stroke is not much but they work well. I’ll check a couple others.
9FBFD808-9D3D-46DE-B2DE-E6E5641D3E18.jpeg
D1D34006-82B2-4967-9BE1-BF8B3CCA6FA2.jpeg

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Re: Model A Original Grease Gun Questions

Post by George Mills » Thu Jun 17, 2021 4:03 pm

Hey Chris...

No argument taken. Cars had grease systems from the time of inception.

There were grease screw cups...then, there were the pin type twist on, then there was a Zerk (early) and then there was a Zerk (late).

The 'zerk' concept came along as an idea in 1919, and as was common in the era...he who had a better idea got shut out if he didn't work or royalty free the car makers. The owner eventually gave up about 10 years in and sold his idea and patents to Stewart...the speedometer people and 'surprise' they knew how to sell to the auto folks!

There are some that believe all Model A were built with Zerk (early), some who want to believe that a Zerk (late) was used on later A and is in fact superior technology, therefore appropriate for all Model A.

So let's look at your problem backwards. From what you show, that's a Zerk (late). If the car is all Zerk (late)'s...then the tip of the gun has to be for a Late, so that it snaps onto the ball tip. End of discussion.

If the tip is for an Early...it's good for show but not that type of Zerk...no problem, tip can be changed on the gun, modern auto zone tip will work if you can get the threads to line up with the gun tip.

As far as how does the gun work? Here is the original patent for the Early type and its derivative.

There is a spring check in the gun, it moves forward when squished...
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Re: Model A Original Grease Gun Questions

Post by Dropacent » Thu Jun 17, 2021 5:20 pm

A pin Alemite fitting and a zerk fitting are two different animals, George. Chris is showing a pin Alemite gun.


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Re: Model A Original Grease Gun Questions

Post by Dropacent » Thu Jun 17, 2021 5:23 pm

And a cross pin Alemite is yet a different animal. I think one is shown on the hubcap picture.

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Re: Model A Original Grease Gun Questions

Post by CJB » Thu Jun 17, 2021 7:26 pm

Thanks, as always to those who replied. This has been a good education for me.

The gun I have does indeed work on these fittings. The secret, for me, was to ignore the apparent uselessness of that sliding leather washer.

It is no surprise most Model A have modern Zerks.

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Re: Model A Original Grease Gun Questions

Post by Mark Gregush » Thu Jun 17, 2021 8:33 pm

The fitting in the top picture is correct style for Model A. Push the gun on the fitting and push down on the plunger handle. That is why it does not have a flex hose. Have to keep pressure on both unlike the zerk or pin or button type.
I know the voices aren't real but damn they have some good ideas! :shock:

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Re: Model A Original Grease Gun Questions

Post by Dropacent » Thu Jun 17, 2021 10:49 pm

I went online a bit to refresh my memory, which is always good. What I’ve always called Pin Alemite, are pretty much referred to as Alemite fittings. These were indeed what model A Fords used for grease fittings, among other autos. Larger cars and equipment used Pin Alemite fittings which have the two pins on the side. Really high end cars used the pin Alemite grease fitt8ngs that even had little plated removable covers. I sold all of those awhile back, so no picture. Zerk fittings are on the right. Alemite and Zerk were two different inventions, and great automotive history to read. They both have specific grease guns, and another gun for the Pin Alemite. I can’t think of either of these used anywhere on model T originally. These were all better and a big improvement over the old grease cups, sometimes called “dope” cups.
957AD8A1-5C5F-4F03-81BA-0FA2365D6218.jpeg


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Re: Model A Original Grease Gun Questions

Post by Erik Johnson » Fri Jun 18, 2021 12:29 am

RE: pin type Alemite fitting dust caps

It's common for the dust caps to be missing. In my opinion, some time during the vehicle's history, a mechanic who did an oil change and lube job probably never bothered to reinstall them after greasing the chassis.

If you are a stickler, you should have the dust caps.

If you keep your eyes open, you can find the dust caps at swap meets. Otherwise, I believe Restoration Supply carries new ones.
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Re: Model A Original Grease Gun Questions

Post by Mark Gregush » Fri Jun 18, 2021 12:46 am

Then too a number of the Model A grease fittings don't even have check valves in them, so grease can go in and come back out.
I know the voices aren't real but damn they have some good ideas! :shock:

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Re: Model A Original Grease Gun Questions

Post by Dropacent » Fri Jun 18, 2021 2:21 pm

You made me look Mark. All of my loose model A Alemites have a spring loaded ball in them. Perhaps if filled with dry grease that could act like they don’t. Perhaps you’ve run into a spurious part we’ve been warned of!


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Re: Model A Original Grease Gun Questions

Post by kmatt2 » Fri Jun 18, 2021 2:56 pm

The farmcollector.com has a short story, " From Alenmite to Zerk ", that tells the story of grease fittings and how they got named, zerk fittings. A very interesting read.


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Re: Model A Original Grease Gun Questions

Post by Dropacent » Fri Jun 18, 2021 5:06 pm

Matt, this jumped out at me in that article
E29C53C0-0E73-439F-AFD6-5D34D7ACF937.jpeg


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Re: Model A Original Grease Gun Questions

Post by kmatt2 » Fri Jun 18, 2021 7:18 pm

Yes, the Model A used the Zerk type fitting, like what was shown at the top of this thread. By the time the Model A came out, Stewart Warner owned both the companies that made both Alemite and Zerk type of fittings and chose to use the name Alemite for both types of fittings that they sold. The Zerk style fitting would have been less expensive to produce, no wonder in 1928 why Ford used that type, now sold by Steward Warner under the Alemite name. This has confused me for years, but it is now clear what type fitting is what.


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Re: Model A Original Grease Gun Questions

Post by kmatt2 » Fri Jun 18, 2021 7:18 pm

By 1928 Ford knew that the Model T grease dope cup system was so outdated. Grease dope cups fit the Model T but not the new Model A.


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Re: Model A Original Grease Gun Questions

Post by Dropacent » Fri Jun 18, 2021 10:07 pm

I have to admit when I learn something new it is still a good thing. Especially things that aren’t really important. Moving ahead, though......... ok, so I ask someone to get my Alemite gun for me so I can grease my zerk fittings. What happens when I ask for my zerk gun, that will NOT work on model A type zerk ( new name here) fittings. See where I’m going with this? Maybe a new rule to ask only for a grease gun......and then you need an assortment brought to you. These are the type of things that will keep me up at night! Is it new history , is it revisionist history, maybe a combination? None of it really matters. What would Seinfeld say about it?

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