Starter Gears Grease Types: White Lithium v Moly v Specialty (EP/EM)

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Dec 29, 2023
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Hi all,

Regreasing my 2010 Subaru Outback 3.6r starter, since after 14 years the grease has hardened up. Since I'm in negative F temps a lot when I ski, I want to make sure I get something that will work at a wide temp range. Just planning on cleaning and lightly regreasing the planetary gears + bindex, and not trying to buy a $30 tube of grease I won't use again if possible (see exploded view)

What I can't figure out from reading is what grease would be best.

Options I've read:
- White Lithium ($13,16oz): Operating temp only down to 0c, so bad in the cold
- Moly ($8, 16oz): Heard it's too thick for this application
- Mobil Polyrex EM ($14, 14oz): Recommended for Japanese starters but confused if it's only for use in the electrical bearings, vs the gears of a starter turning over an engine
- Molykote 7514 ($32, 14oz): Recommended but seems overkill for something not used much

Is EM grease ok to use on the gears? Or should I just get some Mobil EP 2 grease (not sure if extreme pressure is even necessary other than wider operating temp)?

Am I overthinking this on a 14 year old starter? Yes 😅 but thank you in advance for any advice!!
 
Honda FSM specifies moly grease on the planetary gears but I have used Superlube ymmv
 
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Polyrex is for motor bearings. Same stuff at Chevron Black Pearl SRI

What to do have in your grease guns? Probably something that'll work fine.
 
You don't need high temp grease there, but I'd get something that deals with moisture
Was thinking of EP due to pressure from turning the engine over but my idea of extreme pressure might not be to scale of what it's intended for
Honda FSM specifies moly grease on the planetary gears but I have used Superlube ymmv
Just regular superlube, not ep?
Polyrex is for motor bearings. Same stuff at Chevron Black Pearl SRI

What to do have in your grease guns? Probably something that'll work fine.
I just use Lucas oil marine grease (tds) since the only zircs I have are on our riding mower.

Only issue was I couldn't find a stat on the data sheet saying what it's lower limit operating temperature so was concerned how it would work in the winter
 
Realized the marine grease I have from above is calcium sulfonate, which should work just as well I believe?

Think I'll probably stop overthinking this and try that out and if it seems to start sticking again, will try some 274 or superlube!
 
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