How to Attach Grease Gun to Zerk Fitting

Attaching a Grease gun to a Zerk fitting can be a little greasy, so to speak.  Why?  Because the fitting itself calls for some tricks and proper knowledge on how to go about it.   If that is not the case, a person may just end up with greasy fingers.  So first and foremost, it is very important to understand how the Zerk fitting works.  In this article, we discuss briefly about How to attach grease gun to zerk fitting. The way the grease gun is designed helps it to push clean grease into the fitting, wherever it is required.  The Zerk fitting contains a ball bearing in a small nipple and threads into a hole.  This ensures the grease is inside and the dirt is kept out. Taper thread grease fittings also are known as taper thread Zerk fitting, or taper thread grease Zerk has dirt excluding ball check. 

To attach the Grease gun to the Zerk fitting, the following simplified steps are mentioned below:

  1.  Make the grease gun ready by fitting the extension hose with a coupler. This must be fit on the Grease gun’s tip.
  2. Inside the coupler, there is a 4-jaw construction.  There is a little space between the jaws.  Whenever the coupler is turned to screw it, the 4-jaw construction will close. 
  3. The Zerk fitting should be fitted inside the coupler.
  4. After that, the coupler should be turned so that the Zerk fitting is held fast by its shoulder that is the part under the ball bearing. The fitting zerk should be screwed tight with the grease gun.  If not, there is a chance of the Zerk fitting popping out.
  5. That is all that is needed to attach the Grease gun to the Zerk fitting.  
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If you are using the Grease Gun for the first time, there might be some queries regarding it.  So, you should go through some of the FAQs, such as:

Why does my grease gun get stuck on the fitting?

This is a very common problem faced by one and all.  This is mostly due to the clogging up of the jaw constructions or the joints.  As with all machinery, a regular and timely clean-up is the solution.  A high-pressure solvent can be injected to break up and remove the clog.   Also, unscrew the fitting from the hose and fix it back again.  Wiggling the pin and driving it back and forth will clear out the gunk.  Mostly, regular maintenance is the best way to prevent such occurrences in the future.

How much grease do you put in a Zerk fitting?

Experts say that the right procedure is to fill till the joint swells.  This is around 2 pumps on a standard size grease gun. The excess grease can be just wiped off.   However, there are no hard and fast rules for this.  If you hear a crackling sound while using the Zerk fitting, that means more grease is released than required.  So, stop the work as soon as you hear the crackling sound to prevent a grease blow out.  Usually, a mechanic’s stethoscope will make this easier to find out.  There is also a thumb rule that you can follow.  That is one stroke per inch of shaft.    That is around 2-3 grams per inch of the diameter shaft.    

How do you change the grease on a Zerk fitting?

This can be done in simple steps.  First, pull the plunger or T-handle up till all the air is released and lock it in place.  Unscrew the top of the grease gun off from the canister.  Using two fingers, pull out the old grease tube. On the new tube, pull out the sealed cap by twisting and pulling it out.  This end is the one which goes in first that is the open end. Put it in the canister. Then, pop-open the lid which has an opening like a soda can.  Rethread the canister back on to the part.  Make doubly sure not to cross-thread the part.  Release the pressure and press the handle down now. With a few pops, the grease will start coming out.  Press it till the new grease comes out and you are good to go.

How do you use a grease gun fitting?

First and foremost is to remove the factory given nipple thing.  Instead, use the automatic locking style couplers. Cover it with Teflon tape especially the area with threads.  Next is to loosen the barrel wherein the grease canister is to be put in. Pull the T-handle back till you can see a groove cut in it. That will make the handle fixed.   Now on the top, there is a small bleeder switch or valve which helps in removing all the exceeds air inside. No, take the grease canister.  One end of it has a soda can type of opening.  The other end goes into the barrel after removing the cap of it.  Now pop open the cap from the other side.  Now thread the head back onto the main unit.  To release the air stuck inside do a back-thread twist and then again a forward twist. That will let the air escape.  Now release the T-handle from the groove and slightly push it in.  The sound of air escaping can be heard.  Pump the piston a few times especially if you are using a new one.  After that, you can see the grease coming out with every pump.  So, grease as much as is required, usually about one or two pumps from the one-handed types.  The steps are very basic, and you are good to go. 


As with all machines, it is best to take the necessary precautions while using them.  The safety measures must be properly and meticulously followed.  To state a few:

  1.  Check the grease compatibilities or suitability with the job requirements
  2. Wear hand gloves to prevent grease from going into your eyes or stomach.

So please follow the instructions on how to attach the grease gun to the Zerk fitting properly.   To reiterate, always keep the Zerk fitting clean from dust sand, and dust.  This in turn helps to keep the grease from contamination and helps the grease gun to last for a long time.

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