An Intimate Day Greasing Our RV’s Suspension Bearings and Bushings



Andy and I had an intimate day with our 1965 Clark Cortez motorhome, and this is because we greased our old lass’s nipples.

Yep, you read that right.

I’m learning that humans are not the only ones with nipples — Vehicles, in fact, have nipples too … and as I type this, I’m now curious what other things have nipples so I took to Google. I mean, we all know mammals have nipples and a baby bottle’s flexible mouthpiece is called a nipple, but Google is letting me down in a search for what else has nipples. (Just so you, as I type now I am in the process of recruiting Andy to help. He, by the way, is laughing at me, saying, “You know, you drag me into some weird s***,” which means I’m having a hard time determining if he finds my request frustrating or humorous, though he does tell me there are bleed nipples, which mean a valve to allow liquid to flow. “What a time to be alive,” he adds before stating he refuses to look due to being on his work computer.)

With a bit more Google searching though, I learned nipple terminology is found in his line of work, too. (He is a manufacturing engineer.) According to Schlumberger, who is “a global technology company, driving energy innovation for a balanced planet,” their Energy Glossary defines the word ‘nipple‘ in two other ways: in drilling and in completions (which is apparently a type of assembly of oilfield pipes and oil or gas well production equipment).

Wow, the knowledge one can learn on the internet. Andy is right — What a time to be alive!

Our learning journey isn’t over though …

I also gathered there are specific types of nipples — which by now, I understand, you’re either really into this nipple-knowledge (like I am) or you are bored, in which case I’ll simply drop in this link for a fascinating read. It is important to note though that there are even more types of nipples left off this list, such as the all-important grease nipple, or Zerk fitting. Hang here with me for a second because this fitting design was named after an Austrian named Oscar U. Zerk in 1929 (though other reports state earlier, such as this interesting read found from midad [my father-in-law] that dives into a wonderful pool of grease-nipple history).

The Zerk fitting means a metal fitting that serves as a lubrication point because it feeds lubricants — usually grease — into mechanical system bearings; and this, my friends, is where we pick up our Cortez story …

Despite the Zerk fitting becoming the proper name for these lubricant points since 1929, our Cortez owner’s manual says ‘grease nipples’ so that’s what terminology Andy and I use, too.

And this means I sent you through a long-winded explanation on what we are focusing on — We are greasing our Cortez’s nipples. (You’re welcome though because now you’re all the more informed and better for it.)

Manual in my lap, Andy and I aimed to locate our Cortez’s twenty grease nipples, which admittedly took me too long to figure out what I was reading.

But listen — If you aren’t used to looking at this mumble jumble of riddle manual maze lines, then maybe you understand, too.

“Look,” he finally said pointing, “the grease gun tells you where to grease.”

“Ohhh,” I exhaled because knowledge was imparted, “see I don’t know these things.” But now I do and now I know to look where the grease guns and ‘Chassis grease’ labels are.

We set to work, grabbing the grease gun then squeezing into our wheel wells or sliding under our RV. With a quick nipple-clean to ensure debris is not forced inside the fitting and cup, we snapped the gun tip in place then gave the gun a pump or two. This allowed grease to flow out, through the nipple, and into our grease cups containing our Cortez’s suspension bearings and bushings.

Why is it important to fill the cups though? For two reasons:

First, maintaining grease in grease cups is standard maintenance on classic vehicles. Second, our Cortez was deprived of this maintenance based on a metal grinding/squeaking/screeching noise we hear whenever we move the RV.

(You’ll be able to share our ear-pain, too, if you listen to our test drive to the gas station video.)

With a bit of grease oozing out of each cup, we moved from cup to cup on the driver’s side …

though we couldn’t fill one cup because we noticed it was split. That one housed our lower ball joint, which means changing it can be added onto our Future Mechanical Restoration list, too.

Soon, we were finished with the passenger’s side …

or so we thought. We had greased nine nipples; yet, our manual said there should have been eleven …

so we recounted … and somehow lost a nipple, bringing us to eight.

“Let’s work through it systematically,” I suggested grabbing our manual again as we quarduple checked the nipples we greased. At the time, we couldn’t find the remaining two nipples and decided to move on, but you should know we did locate them and successfully filled the grease cups when overhauling our suspension later. Also and interestingly enough, we later found another grease nipple — not listed in the manual’s illustration, and this one is located in our steering column.

Migrating to our passenger’s side, we began again and only had nine nipples to grease, though we did also find another cracked ball joint — this one an upper — so that will be another addition on that Future Mechanical Jobs list.

I should note that at the time we only found six; however, same as above, we returned to the remaining three when working on our suspension.

“Oh God, I’m stuck,” Andy announced as he tried to pull himself from the wheel well. “I’m stuck on a nipple!”

“I don’t think anything says love more than greasing one’s nipple together,” I told Andy after we both managed to get out of the wheel well.

“Couples that grease nipples together stay together,” Andy announced. “Not only on this channel do you get expert technical tips, but you get expert relationship advice as well,” he said waving the grease gun at the camera as we filmed our YouTube video.

And that about sums up how amusing we found this job because I, for one, found it hard to stop laughing.

Now to the unfortunate news: Did our efforts vanquish the metal grinding sounds? No, not really. It did help some; however, overall the screeching continued when we moved our Cortez from the garage back between Chicken Houses Three and Four, and that only meant solving a different mechanical job … but that’s a different story.

PS–Back to the light-heartedness of our task, our YouTube video shows us childishly laughing whenever we say the word “nipple,” and for record that was thirty-three times.

PPS–Oh and in case you’re curious how that compares to this post, I alone said the word thirty-one times.

Author: L

Hi there! I am the impulsive do-er, the jumper, the one tugging to move past comfort zones to embrace a life of sheer surprise. I am a writer -- a pursuer of stories -- because I believe in the destination over the journey. I am a chaser of sunrises and sunsets and cherisher of the moments between. I have an overwhelming curiosity, an insatiable desire travel, and an obsessive yearn to turn dreams into realities. For all of these reasons, the word that best summarizes who I am is "seeker" -- I am forever a seeker.

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