Cost to replace zerks

The zerks (aka grease fittings) in my car (2002 Subaru Legacy L wagon) are not plugs but actual zerks with the ball bearing to allow injection
of lube. Standard zerks won't fit: Subaru used some fine threaded or over-sized zerk (I forgot what the tech told me about the oddball size).
The zerks should be cheap (note that I said "should" since Subaru will overprice the part). I'm wonder what a car shop should be charging to replace the zerks and do a balljoint lube job. Neglecting the cost of the zerks, what should a grease jockey get paid to use a grease gun?
Yes, Subaru might claim the ball joints are lifetime parts. All that means they last until they fail; i.e., you replace them when they fail because, gee, that's their lifetime. There are zerks, so the assumption is that the ball joints are lube-able. Why wait until the ball joints fail if they can be lubed to prolong their lifespan? Newer cars don't have grease fittings but mine is a 2002 - and there ARE zerks.
The price the car shop quoted ($178) seems way too high, so I'm asking here what the labor should cost to replace the zerks (screw out the rusted ones and screw in new ones) and what a lube job should cost to inject new lube into the ball joints? I'm not sure if their quote includes the tie-rod ends (but then I only noticed the zerks for the ball joints when the muffler shop had the car hoisted). Replacing all the zerks should take all of about 10 minutes (for them on a hoist versus me under the car on jacks) and another 10 minutes to squeeze in some lube with a grease gun. For less than half an hour's work, their quote seems high. Don't they just pop off the wheels to get at the zerks while the car is hoisted? Maybe Subaru is charging them (and then me) an arm and leg for the zerks.
Besides seeing how rusted were the zerks (the muffler shop guy pointed them out to me noting they had never been used and they looked like it), I hear a bit of squeak when cranking the wheels to turn while backing out of the car port at home. I replaced the fan belts (which were old and cracked) just it case they were slipping but the squeaks didn't go away.
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On 7/28/2018 2:28 AM, VanguardLH wrote:

I haven't checked into this lately, but it used to be that there were both metric and non-metric ("sae"?) zerks. They looked very much alike: I think they were probably 5/16 inch and 8 mm threads, with fine (1 mm) threads on the 8mm version, 24 tpi on the non-metric. That was definitely the case years ago when I was assembling a 1960 Alfa Veloce Spider I had bought in pieces. At that time, when metric parts on cars were much less common in the US, some mechanics would use "metric-ness" as an excuse to charge more. I also have a 2002 Suby, an Outback, but I have never looked at a zerk on it and don't know for sure it has any! But if you can get your hands on one of the zerks, try a metric thread gauge on it.
But one comment on the mechanic's side: If they are really all that rusted, they may well break when you try to unscrew them. They get rusted in place, but also the rust will have weakened the zerk. And they are pretty weak to begin with, due to the hole down the middle. If one does break off you are in for a battle drilling out the broken off part and hoping you can rethread the hole or else tapping a larger hole and screwing in one of the thread repairing bushings. Bob Wilson
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There is a pretty good Subaru ball joint replacement video at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQeMiMlPe94
. As the filmmaker shows, you don't need a lift to replace the ball joints. It looks like a relatively simple task. The ball joints may be found for $25 each. If you need a ball joint seperator tool Harbor Fright has them for $10.
People have different opinions about Zerk fittings --- or the lack thereof -- on newer cars but all I can say is that I have over 500,000 miles of driving experience and have had two powerline components fail, both on American trucks with Zerk fittings, and no failures with permanently-sealed "lifetime lubricated" parts.
On 2018-08-06 01:06:29 +0000, Bob Wilson said:

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