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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys,

I tried to find a dedicated thread about zerk installation on Miata arms, my search was unsuccessful. -If you know of a dedicated thread just drop the link here.

If you already had a look, you probably found Emilio's page.

I was not so happy about the location of zerks on rear arms.
The lower are, in my opinion, too exposed to be safe.


The rear upper arms are known to be a problem because of suspension travel.


For both rear arms, I have come out with my solution.

Here it goes :

I chose to use an already existing cavity, probably used in plant to hold various sheet metal parts before welding.

Here is the top rear arms, on the left hand, you can see the cavities I was referring to.

I chose to put the zerks in these holes.
My zerks come from here : http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI....7333229&ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT#ht_500wt_922
specs : M6 thread. 7mm hex key.

To accommodate their size, I had to enlarge the holes to a good 10mm, 11mm to 12mm are even better but I had no 11 or 12mm drill that day.

Drilled at 10mm + 5mm hole for the zerk, both must be perfectly centered. (the picture makes it look like it's off, but it isn't)


M6 tapping


Zerk installed


From the inside (of course, deburr as required)


As my arms were powder coated before I had the chance to install the zerks, I removed paint in the process... No problem, a little rattle can and away it goes.


On the bushing side, I slightly modified them to make sure the grease goes through perfectly.


The tool :D


Here is what it looks like once modified & installed


The rear upper arms were done as follows :


With the nipple caps, my 7mm hex key could just fit, this is why I recommend to drill a bit larger than 10mm.


Looking perfect to me !


If you need a scale : look here

Yes, the grease pump still fit on the zerk, just picture it as if it was one of the caps


The rear lower arms were done following the same idea, to avoid any possible damages with objects on the road.




The other locations are pretty straight forward looking at this picture or on 949 website.


One last thing : don't always try to locate the zerk in the center of where it goes, but look at where is the junction between two bushings. It is sometimes offset a few millimeters ;)

Useful links :
zerks on ebay UK
Caps on ebay UK
949 Racing zerk page
My friend's Dustin official "red neck bushing removal tool" thread

Hope it helps!
 

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Very nice work you've done there! Ive always thought that when I got poly bushes I'd put the zerk fittings in the premade holes aswell :p.
 

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Nice work! I didn't have the time or patience to photo-document the process when I did mine. Thank you for making the effort for the benefit of the community. The job isn't all that hard, just a little tedious. I also used the 949Racing guide when installing mine. Here are some extra notes I made to supplement their instructions:

Adding Zerk Fittings to your Mazda Miata Control Arms
Applicable to 1990‐2005 Mazda Miata with Aftermarket Polyurethane Bushings

General Instructions
• This guide contains pictures of a Mazda Miata with Zerk fittings installed in the control arms to facilitate lubricating the pivot points when you’ve installed aftermarket polyurethane bushings. These pictures are intended to serve as a guide but they are not definitive and you are solely responsible for your own actions.

• Use common sense when installing Zerk fittings. Make sure you can readily access them with your grease gun and they don’t cause interference or inhibit suspension travel.

• Zerk fittings are not absolutely necessary but they will allow you to readily maintain the lowest possible friction in the suspension action over time. You could disassemble your suspension and pay for another wheel alignment each time you need to lubricate the pivot points but it’s easier to leave the suspension alone and simply lubricate the pivot points with your grease gun.

• If you run out of the Hyperlube grease the bushings come with, 949Racing recommends Superlube available at Ace Hardware stores. Personally, I use a synthetic grease from Royal Purple in my grease gun and it does a great job so far.

• 949Racing used 6mm threaded Zerk fittings but there are a few different types of grease fittings that will do the job.

• The basic procedure is to remove the control arms from the vehicle, press the old bushings out, drill holes for the Zerk fittings, deburr and tap the holes, install the grease fittings, lubricate and install then new bushings, lubricate the mounting hardware and then re‐install the control arms. Subsequently, you can maintain the lubrication with your grease gun.

• Take care to locate the Zerk fitting at the exact spot where the two halves of the bushings meet so injected grease fills the space between them. For the one piece bushings, remove the steel sleeve, locate the drill in the hole you just made in the control arm then drill all the way through the plastic bushing, then reinstall the steel inner sleeve.

• The rear upper inner (R_U_I) control arm only has enough room for a Zerk fitting if your suspension has droop travel less than OEM. Check your RUI with dampers installed at full droop before you pull it all apart. See Canaille's method above for an alternative solution if your suspension has interference.

• For lowest friction and best suspension action, 949Racing recommends lubing once a year in most climates, or twice a year if you drive the car in really wet climates.

What is a Zerk fitting?
• A Zerk fitting is a threaded grease fitting that is screwed into components that require lubrication. The patent for the Zerk fitting was granted to Oscar U. Zerk in January 1929, and the assignee was the Alemite Manufacturing Corporation (thus the eponymous names for the fittings). Today many companies make these grease fittings.

• Zerk fittings can be installed in ball joints, universal joints or parts that contain bearings.
They are commonly used on heavy industrial machinery. They used to be common in automotive applications but have largely been phased out in favor of “maintenance free” components that get thrown away and replaced with new ones when they wear out.

• The lower section of the Zerk fitting is threaded and is screwed into the component you wish to keep lubricated. The non‐threaded part of the fitting is a grease nipple to which a grease gun is attached when grease needs to be injected into the part. The nipple usually contains a ball check valve so that grease can only flow one way into the fitting.

• Installing a Zerk fitting requires drilling and tapping a hole in the part, then screwing in the fitting. Installation is made easier if the part is already removed from the vehicle.

• Zerk fittings do have a finite life span and will need to be replaced on occasion. They can get clogged, rusty, get broken or mysteriously disappear. Keep spares handy.

What size Zerk fitting do I use?
• Zerk fittings are available with straight (UNF, UNEF) or tapered threads (NPT, NPTF, PTF, SAE‐LT, BSPT, Metric).

• Zerk fittings are available in straight, 45° and 90° and flush nipple configurations.


• Using 6mm Zerk fittings on your Miata would allow you to stay consistent with the rest of the metric hardware used on the vehicle.

• SAE ¼”‐28 fittings are readily available and they are popular for many automotive applications. The threads are close to the same size but they are not interchangeable with 6mm Zerk fittings and their bodies tend to me much larger than 6mm Zerk fittings, making them less ideal for confined spaces.

• Use the size/configuration Zerk fitting best for your particular application and grease gun.

• Be sure to use the proper size drill and tap for whichever size Zerk fitting you choose.

What size drill / tap do I use?
• M6 x 1.00 Zerk fittings require a 5mm drill bit and a regular M6 x 1.00 tap to cut the threads. If you don’t have a 5mm drill bit you can use a #8 or #9 drill bit. Unless you have a complete drill index, you probably don't have a #8 or a #9 drill bit, either. Go ahead and use a 3/16" drill bit. The Miata control arm is relatively thin and soft. My M6 x 1.00 tap had no trouble cutting threads in a 3/16" hole.

• It is recommended that SAE‐LT taper threads be assembled into 1/4"‐28 UNF, Class 3B, straight threaded holes having a modified maximum minor diameter of 0.2151 in. to insure 75% minimum thread height. Therefore, you should use a #3 drill bit. If you don’t have a #3 drill bit you can use a 7/32” drill bit. Most people have a 7/32” drill bit laying around,
making SAE ¼”‐28 fittings a popular choice.

How do I drill the hole?
• Safety goggles!

• Secure the control arm in your bench vise. Be sure to use protective rubber jaws so you don’t damage the control arm.

• Mark the location of the hole you are going to drill with a center punch and hammer. It should be exactly in the center of bushing.

• Use your electric drill to make just one hole per Zerk fitting. Don’t create two holes by drilling all the way through the other side of the control arm.

How do I make the threads?
• Once you have drilled the hole you must remove any metal filings and smooth any sharp edges with a Whirly‐Gig deburring tool or a file or a utility knife

• Carefully start the tap in ‐‐ the most important thing is to keep it STRAIGHT. Screw in a few turns, back up a turn. Screw in a few turns, back up a turn. Don't force it. Use a cutting fluid like TAP Magic or WD‐40 to keep the tap well lubricated while cutting.

Installing the Zerk Fitting
• Clean the threads to ensure there are no contaminants.

• Screw the Zerk fitting into the threaded hole by hand to reduce the possibility of cross-threading the hole.

• Continue tightening the fitting with a wrench until the hex flats on the fitting bottom out on the part's surface.

• Do not over‐tighten! Zerk fittings are relatively fragile and easy to break if you over-tighten them.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks freedomgli, very interesting post of yours :)

I'll try to source some Teflon grease that can be used in grease pump, I'll let you know if I find any.

Regarding drilling, as you said, a punch must be used to mark the hole.
I highly recommend buying an automatic punch.

Locate, push until it impacts, and your done.
Best investment I've done in years of drilling & DIY.
 

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Excellent topic!

It looks like there could be some interference between the grease gun and the remaining metal in some areas where there is room for the fitting but it is shrouded by the reinforcement. Is there a hole size for clearance for the grease gun nozzle?
 

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Very nice write-up. I always questioned whether cutting a "V" shape into the interfering bracket would be suitable also.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Excellent topic!

It looks like there could be some interference between the grease gun and the remaining metal in some areas where there is room for the fitting but it is shrouded by the reinforcement. Is there a hole size for clearance for the grease gun nozzle?
Thanks.
The grease gun should fit without any issues, it should fit like the caps do.

I have two grease guns at home, but was lazy trying them for the picture. I need to find the right grease and I'll have to use them once installed on the car anyways.
I'll take pics when I do so.
 

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wow thats awesome found this thread in time im reassembling my rear subframe tomorrow night just got my bushings today will for sure be doing this
 

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Great thread! I did the same job a few weeks ago and the handle is a lot more precise/immediate.

I didn't drill through the bushings like you did, so I'll have to go back in there and do something about it ... maybe over the winter. I'll probably bevel the bushings, though: In case the bushings move I don't want to have to realign it again.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Hi there,

Just a quick note as I have finished the installation of zerks on my arms.
The last one were the front upper arms, and I installed the zerk like this :





I also took a couple of pictures with the grease pump on the zerks.

1st case, the zerk is flush mounted






2nd case, the zerk is recessed in one of the already existing cavities. Not very obvious but no clearance issue, the grease pump is securely fixed to the zerk.









Next time I'll take pictures it will be when I'll install them on the car !
 

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Great thread. The DIY section on this site is awesome.
 

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Nice write up. Sorry for my ignorance on the topic but I have a few questions as I will be looking to replace all the bushings in the future:

1: Will the bushings move around at all? I realise they are suppose to stay in place while the center pipe rotates but it seems without being secured in place there will be some movement. I guess the tail end of the zerk fitting would possibly help to hold them in place as it sets into the bushings slightly. Just wondering if it is possible for the bushings to rotate enough for the cut away section in the bushings to go out of alignment with the zerk's.

2: Is there much real merit in this? How often would they need to be regreased? I have never dealt with poly bushes so have no idea on the matter. It seems like a cheap and fairly easy job so may as well consider it at the same time as doing the bushings.

Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Hi,

1- Time will tell. If you look at your bushings, the inner surface contains grooves for the grease. The sleeve also slides in in whistle it is more secured in the arm. This added to the zerk that may prevent it from turning, makes me think it will remain as is.

2- 949 racing (link in first post) recommend to grease bushings every 6 to 12 month according to use & climate.
You can always remove them but it takes a day and you must do a geometry.
My opinion : install the zerks and pump a bit of grease at every oil change !
 

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Sounds good.

If you don't cut the grooves in the bushings wouldn't the grease just sit between the control arm and bushing causing the bushing to rotate rather than the sleeves?
 
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