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Old 10-30-2011, 08:01 AM   #1
tietze
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Thumbs up Greasing up the Warthog

I few weeks ago I stumbled on the "Inside view of TM HOTAS Warthog"-thread and read with interest about hairiness of balls and the stick's sticktion-stucktion-stickiness and different proposed solutions. Overall I've been quite happy with the stick, but being one of those claiming that the movement could be smoother I was not completely happy. In relation to that I readily admit that I might be quite picky about the smoothness.

The stick provides good tactile feedback around the center, so I would rather avoid the proposed solution of removing the big spring and space-wise there is unfortunately no room for the garden hose neck extension. Instead I opted for the re-greasing solution proposed by Callsign.Vega. Below is a description of how I got the stick smooth using the Molykote EM-30L grease:


Encouraged by Callsign.Vega's post and 59th_Bird's positive experiences. I moved on to contact Thrustmaster support to find out whether it would void warranty to open up and re-grease the stick. To my surprise this was not the case as long as the grease was intended for metal & plastic and I didn't break anything in the process:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thrustmaster Support
Opening the device to lubricate it will not void the warranty as long as any possible damage that you might encounter latter on is not a direct consequence of your action, is not generated by a mishandle of the components of the joystick when you have opened it and then reassembled it.

The lubricant has to be both plastic and metal friendly as well.
While it can become hairy to argue about the directness of consequences of action, I overall saw this as an encouragement. It's probably connected with the craving for disassembling and fiddling with all kinds of gizmos. I ordered the Molykote EM-30L on ebay.

After receiving the grease I opened up the stick. While the initial parts opening the stick is well-documented by previous pictures and video, I have not found any guides detailing how the last part with the ball-joint is disassembled.

Joe Keefe on simHQ mentions that he "... was unable to separate the two parts of the ball joint". Being careful and taking note of earlier mistakes involving the soldering iron [also see post 12 below], it took me some time to figure out how to disassemble the last axis. The procedure is to remove the two round parts that are visible on the plastic ball-joint:


I used a 3mm Allen key to push them out from inside. It requires quite some force, so if attempting this please be careful. Here is a picture of the inner part of the ball joint with the two round parts pushed out from inside the joint (the metal visible is just part of the base, for fixating the ball when disassembling):


And this is the inner part of the ball-joint (cleaned):


Both of the two small plastic gizmo's have a small square on the upper side one should be aware of when assembling the joint again:


After disassembly I cleaned all the grease of the plastic-parts with mild soap and water [also see post 9 below] - it took quite a while! Re-greasing them with the Molykote grease didn't take quite as long. When minding the wires as described in the thread about assembly everything slid into place!

To my big surprise the new grease really has made a difference - smoother movement when starting and stopping motion are now much easier. The interesting part is how long this will last and whether the stick needs to be re-greased on a regular basis (hopefully this will not be the case).

Happy flying!

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Last edited by tietze; 11-01-2012 at 08:03 AM. Reason: Oops! attachments disappeared... & Clarifying. Updated link.
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Old 10-30-2011, 09:50 AM   #2
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I haven't had the balls to grease mine, but your guide just have changed that.
But I think you need to re-grease the integration of your pictures.


Now, as this slope seems slippery to me, I'll shut up now xD


Thank you!
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Old 10-30-2011, 09:17 PM   #3
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Great!

My stick is still in the closet, so I will try this when I have some time. I would really love to fly with the stick if it does what it supposed to be doing, being super smooth and precise!
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Old 10-31-2011, 06:27 AM   #4
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It takes some effort to get the old grease off, but the new grease has contributed to making it smooth. I really hope this will be a lasting solution.

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Old 11-07-2011, 11:02 PM   #5
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Thanks for the guide. I think I'm going to risk it and do this to my Warthog. Anything mechanical, I am extremely hesitant to mess with. How much of that grease should I order? I don't want to get more than I'll need, do you think 1oz would be enough or should I go with 2oz?

If this works, that is one problem solved with my Warthog. Now I need to figure out how to reduce the center play that the joystick has.
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Old 11-09-2011, 07:13 AM   #6
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I would say that 1oz is more than enough. After applying the grease I have come to be less aware of the centerplay (which I am cancelling out with a deadzone of 5 for both axes in DCS axis adjustment). It is definitely not gone but maybe less noticeable with the smoother movement.
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Old 11-10-2011, 08:50 PM   #7
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Well I got the grease today. I am having second thoughts on attempting this. Trying to clean off the current grease using soap and water and having those fragile little wires nearby makes me more than a little hesitant.

What don't you grease inside? Obviously nothing electronic. I took my stick apart and the grease was almost all dried so it was hard to tell what had grease and what didn't. I know the spring and ball had grease. Anything else?

I'll play around with the new patch a little. It would suck for me to screw up the stick and not get to check out the patch.
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Old 11-10-2011, 09:17 PM   #8
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It works pretty well, and I wouldn't worry, the grease is non conductive.
I accidentally covered my hall sensor with the stuff, and it still works.
You shouldnt be scared to do it if you've already disassembled the base, that's the second hardest part of the process, right after putting it back together.
Thanks for the illustrated guide tietze much appreciated and rep'd
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Old 11-11-2011, 10:53 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fuzzysham View Post
Well I got the grease today. I am having second thoughts on attempting this. Trying to clean off the current grease using soap and water and having those fragile little wires nearby makes me more than a little hesitant.
I understand that - maybe a lot of kitchen/ toilet paper, moist cloth and rubbing would be a more appropriate description of the procedure. First removing most of the grease with paper. Then using soap on cloth. Finally using one moist cloth and paper to remove the soap. I would have preferred to put it under water and wash it, but I did not disconnect all the wires, as it required to desolder one of the wires on the small circuit board.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fuzzysham View Post
What don't you grease inside? Obviously nothing electronic. I took my stick apart and the grease was almost all dried so it was hard to tell what had grease and what didn't. I know the spring and ball had grease. Anything else?
I removed the grease from everything except the spring as it seems quite separated from the joints, so I did not re-grease the spring.

I did only grease up the inside and outside of the ball-joint and the two small gizmos that are part of the ball-joint. I tried not to grease anything else, not because I think it would break anything, but to avoid making a mess with the grease.

One thing that might pose a problem is to grease the rubber-ring. I don't know how it will react over time.

Last edited by tietze; 11-11-2011 at 11:00 AM. Reason: clarification
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Old 11-11-2011, 11:27 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fuzzysham View Post
Well I got the grease today. I am having second thoughts on attempting this. Trying to clean off the current grease using soap and water and having those fragile little wires nearby makes me more than a little hesitant.

What don't you grease inside? Obviously nothing electronic. I took my stick apart and the grease was almost all dried so it was hard to tell what had grease and what didn't. I know the spring and ball had grease. Anything else?

I'll play around with the new patch a little. It would suck for me to screw up the stick and not get to check out the patch.
Hi Fuzzsham

I felt the same way, so I only wiped the old grease off with a rag and didn't take water anywhere near it.

Then I put loads of grease in the joint, ball, spring, and the 4 posts with little springs, and the top of the ball that touches against where the stick exits.

It is a big improvement. Dont worry you don't need to be so thorough just do what you are comfortable with and be careful not to pinch the wire.
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